How to Remove And Install New Mountain Bike Pedals

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One of the best upgrades you can give to your bike is to give it some new pedals. Pedals impact how you cycle. They impact how the bike feels between your feet. If you get new mountain bike pedals that are suited to the shoes that you wear, then you are going to feel as if the world is your oyster every time you hop onto that bike.

Now, when most people opt to replace their bike pedals, they head to the closest bike repair company and ask for them to be swapped out. However, let’s save you a few dollars. Let’s teach you not only how to remove MTB pedals, but to get those brand new pedals installed on your bike.

If you follow our guide on how to remove MTB pedals (and know how to replace a tire yourself), then you will pretty much know most of the things you need to know about keeping your bike in pristine condition. 

Finding Compatible Mountain Bike Pedals

Before you can go about installing new MTB pedals, you are going to need to pick yourself up some brand-new pedals. Remember, you can’t always just install any old pedal. It needs to be compatible with the mountain bike that you have. If you have already purchased pedals (or know what you are looking for), then skip ahead to the next section on how to remove MTB pedals.

The great news here is that, unless you have a ridiculously old bike, any mountain bike pedals on the market nowadays will be compatible with it. The industry has done a pretty decent job at standardizing everything. This means that the bulk of bikes on the market are 9/16″ x 20 TPI. If you are unsure, then you can have a flick through the manual, either online or offline for your bike, to get confirmation.

If you have selected the right thread (which you are almost guaranteed to do), then your main concern will be choosing a pedal that is right for the shoes that you are wearing, or the style of pedal that you want. We won’t go into that here. It is a whole subject in itself. However, we can assure you that any pedal style will likely work, assuming that the thread is right.

How to Remove MTB Pedals

So, now let’s move on to how to remove MTB pedals. Don’t worry. This part is pretty simple. Chances are that you will be able to do it ‘in the field’ as you don’t need that much in the way of tools. All you need is:

  • A hex key for the pedals. Nowadays, this will almost always be metric, either 6mm or 8mm. Have a set of them.
  • Your new MTB pedals

These are the same tools that you will need for installing your new MTB pedals, although we do recommend that you throw in a pot of anti-seize grease too. It is going to make your job a whole lot easier.

Removing The Left Pedal

Each of the pedals will need to be removed in a very specific way. It is still a case of taking that hex key directly to the hex bolt, but you need to rotate in different ways.

Let’s start with the left pedal.

The left pedal has what is known as a REVERSE thread. This, essentially, means that the thread is going to undo in the complete opposite way that you would expect.

With a standard thread, you would spin the bolt in a CLOCKWISE direction to tighten it up. That isn’t the case with the left pedal on your bike. You will spin the bolt in a CLOCKWISE direction to loosen it.

So, go ahead. Move that bolt in a CLOCKWISE direction. The pedal will eventually come out.

Removing The Right Pedal

The right pedal is a standard bolt. This means that you need to move it in the opposite direction. Move that bolt in an ANTI-CLOCKWISE direction.

In both cases, do try and be careful. While it is unlikely, if you are a bit too forceful in your movements (or you move the bolt in the wrong direction), then you do run the risk of ruining the thread on the pedal. The only way that you are going to be able to fix that problem is by rethreading everything, and that is going to be a challenge. It is the sort of challenge that will require using a professional.

Installing New MTB Pedals

Now that you know how to remove MTB pedals, we have to get your new ones on there. This process is pretty much the reverse of what you have just done.

Your first job is to identify which pedal is which. Thankfully, most of these will be labeled. As you can probably imagine, a pedal with an R on it will go on the right side of the bike, while a pedal with an L on it will go on the left side of the bike. If there is no lettering, then look to see if there is any cut-out on the pedal. This will normally indicate it is the left side, although do consult the manual if you are unsure.

Now all you need to do is reverse the process that you followed before:

  • Screw the left-hand pedal on ANTI-CLOCKWISE
  • Screw the right-hand pedal on CLOCKWISE

We recommend that you tighten as much by hand as possible. You can finish by using a hex key. If your pedals need to be tightened to a specific amount, then use a torque wrench. You don’t need to use a torque wrench in the field, but make sure that you give those pedals a good tighten when you get back home.

As you can see, when it comes to how to remove MTB pedals, it isn’t too difficult. It is a job that you can do at home. Your main challenge is ensuring that you select the right pedals, to begin with.

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Paul Tuthill
Growing up in Scotland, Paul developed a love for the outdoors and a desire for adventure from an early age.