Whether you’re building your bike for the first time, giving your “everyday” an upgrade, or hunkering down for a complete overhaul – pedals can be a headache if you’re not prepared. Lucky for you, head-mechanic Christian is here to walk us through the ins-and-outs of popping on the pedals - so you can get swappy without all the suffering. Let’s get to it!
Identify Left and Right
Skipping this step is the most common cause of stripped cranks, pedals, and all around general-sadness. Seriously.
The thing about pedals is they're threaded differently. The left-pedal is reverse-threaded so it won’t unscrew itself while you’re moving and the right pedal is threaded “normally” for the same reason. That’s an awesome bit of engineering, but it means if you try to install them on the “wrong” side, you’ll strip the crank arms, pedal threads, or both.
Before you get started, check the ends of the spindles for labels. You should see an “L” on the left pedal and an “R” on the right. Just be sure to keep track of which is which and the rest of your install will go swimmingly!
Grease those Threads
This step isn't optional either. Skipping the grease is the easiest way to make your future expensive because you'll strip out the pedals, crank arms, or both. Even worse, without grease the pedals can seize in the crank arms and you'll need to replace most of the drivetrain the next time there's an issue.
Avoid that nonsense by generously greasing the pedal spindles and crank arms before you install and you'll be all set!
Last but not least, it's time to tighten everything down. Remember how the left side is reverse threaded? That means you won't be able to just righty-tighty these guys down without thinking.
Luckily, there's an easy trick to remember when it comes to tightening pedals. No matter what side of the bike you're on, place your wrench on the pedal spindle, then turn the cranks backwards and the pedal will tighten right up! Repeat the process on the other side (remember, crank back = pedal on) and you're all set!
You can give each pedal an extra torque if you want (drive side = righty-tighty, non-drive side = lefty-tighty) and hit the road!
When it comes time to remove the pedals, you can just reverse the process. Pop the wrench on the spindle and this time turn the cranks forward. You'll drive the pedals right off (thanks to that grease we used during the install) :).
And now you know!