fitting pedals
 

A Quick Guide to Fitting Your Bike Pedals

Hurrah! You've just received your brand new bike. Before you can ride it, there are tasks that must be done (boo). Fitting pedals is one of these. Don't worry, though, as this relatively simple task is even easier when following this guide.


 

Tools you will need for fitting or replacing pedals


 
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Step 1 : Work out which is left and right!

The first and most important step to installing pedals is to determine which pedal is left and which is right. Your pedals might be stamped with an L and R respectively; if not, the thread on the left pedal will slope up to the left, while the right pedal's thread will slope to the right. Simple!

Step 2: Apply anti-seize grease

After figuring out which pedal is which, it's time to apply some Anti-Seize Grease to the threads. This helps make fitting the pedals easier and ensures that when the time comes to remove them, they will not be bonded (seized) into your crank arm.

Cycling Image
Cycling Image

Step 3: Screw the pedals into the crank arm

Screw the pedals into their respective crank arms by hand. Important: Do take extra care not to cross-thread the pedals (screw them into the wrong side) as this could irreparably damage the bike - and, even worse, this isn't covered under warranty.

Speedplay pedals look a bit different but screw in the same

If you've got a high end set of pedals, they'll look a bit different but the threads will still be opposing and you'll need to ensure you get the left and right pedals in the right crank arms.

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Cycling Image

Step 4: Tighten with tools (pedal spanner)

Take your pedal spanner to the nut-like part of the pedal (pictured left) and slowly rotate the crank backwards until the thread is fully inserted. Nip up with a pedal spanner to ensure your pedals are 100% secure. If your pedal doesn't appear to have a groove for a pedal spanner like below, then you may need an allen key to tighten the pedal from behind the crank arm.

Speedplay pedals won't need a pedal spanner

A 6mm hex key / allen key tool is what you need here.

Cycling Image
Cycling Image

Step 5: Test for stability

Before going for a big ride, remember to test ride your pedals to ensure there are no problems. Do so by simply pedalling gently and slowly around a large open space. Always test ride your bike after any maintenance

Pedal Fitting FAQs

Not all bicycle pedals are the same size. Due to the crank arms defining the precise sized threads that it will accept, bicycle pedal sizes vary; this depends primarily on the age and type of your bike. For instance, a modern bike from a major brand would typically have a different size pedal thread than older bikes with a one-piece crankset.

Almost, yes. Most modern, adult bikes use pedals with a TPI (Threads Per Inch) measuring 9/16 20. The only bikes you're likely to find a different measurement is on are childrens bikes which measure at 1/2 x 20 TPI.

As long as the thread is the proper size for the crank you have on your bike, pedals are universal. There are only the two primary threads described before because the 9/16 20 TPI size is now largely standardised in the industry for adult bikes.Therefore, you can rest easy knowing that whatever modern bike you buy, whether it's a road bike, hybrid cycle, or mountain bike, will take a 9/16 20 TPI thread pedal.

You're better off using a pedal wrench but depending on space, you could use a standard 15mm wrench if it fits in the gap. A pedal wrench is a lengthy, thin tool made especially to fit the flats on the external spindle, which are located between the pedal and the crank leg. Another option is a hex key, depending on what fitting/fastening options are available on the pedal. You’ll usually see a hex fitting on high end pedals at the end of the middle spindle.

Each pedal is specifically threaded in the opposite direction to which they turn. In this case, the left pedal and right pedal will be different. Be careful not to try and force a pedal into the wrong crank arm or you’ll risk damaging the thread. Remember that your LEFT PEDAL won’t screw in the same way you’d normally tighten a bottle screw cap or screw in a screw. They’re designed specifically to screw against the direction of travel - to avoid them loosening to easily with each turn.

Yes. You must lubricate the pedals before screwing them in. Use a titanium installation paste if your axle is made of titanium rather than oil. The treads on the pedal and crank are shielded from corrosion by adding grease, which is water resistant. You'll be glad you oiled the pedals when it's time to swap them out!

No! You shouldn't use WD40 on bike pedals as there are a number of added chemicals and solvents that make this unsuitable. It might feel greasy to touch, but it's actually a degreaser. You can still use WD40 on other parts of your bike like your chain.

No! You shouldn't use Vaseline for greasing bike pedals as there are a number of added chemicals and solvents that make this unsuitable. It might feel greasy to touch, but some of the additives may react with the metals used in the bike pedals.

Most bicycle pedals accept a 6mm Allen key.

Yes. Technically you should be able to fit any type of pedal to a modern, adult bike as they share the same thread size. The differences between these types of pedals are the shoe fittings (holes) which are paired with cleats for specific types of cycling shoe.

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Author

Aaron Scott
23/08/2022