How to Change Pedals on a Mountain Bike

Last Updated on December 13, 2021

The pedals are one of the core parts of your bike. Your mountain bike can’t move without it as this serves as the contact point between you and the bike. This means that you need to make sure it’s placed right.

Removing and installing the pedals on your bike might also seem easy. But you can end up making simple mistakes that can damage your crank arm and spindle if you haven’t tried it yet.

This is why you need to know the proper way of doing this “technical process.”

That’s just what we’ll talk about here as we’ll show you the right way to change your pedals the easy way.

So, how to change pedals on a mountain bike?

Use the Right Tools for the Job

Use the Right Tools for the Job - mountain bike pedlas

Like every part of your bike, it’s necessary to have the right tool to help you in changing your pedals.

There’s a dedicated pedal wrench that you can buy from brands like Park Tool. Or you can use a hex wrench with a size that fits the hole at the spindle of your pedals.

Know Between Left and Right

Know the difference between the left and right pedals. Both of them have opposing threads to each other and placing them in the wrong crank can bring about cross threading. This is very dangerous because it can damage both your crank and pedals.

There is also an “L” and “R” marked into each crank so you can easily tell them apart and prevent you from placing them on the wrong sides.

Steps to Changing the Pedals

You need to have the tools before you start the step-by-step process of changing the pedals for your mountain bike. What you’ll need are:

  • Pedal wrench
  • Hex wrench
  • Grease (poly lube or an anti-seize compound)
  • Lubricant

Taking the Pedals Off

  1. Rotate the crank arm to a spot which makes it easy for you to access the pedal bolts.
  2. Pace your pedal wrench into the spindle flats of your pedals. Use a hex wrench if it doesn’t have a spindle flat. Then place it into the port at the back of the crank.
  3. Unscrew the pedals by pushing hard on the tools you’re using. Do a clockwise rotation for the left pedal and a counterclockwise rotation for the right side.
  4. Continue to rotate until the pedal is fully free from the crank arm.

Putting on the New Pedals

  1. Search for the “L” and “R” indicators of your pedals. They’re usually at the spindle. This tells you where your pedals should be properly attached. Check the threads if your pedals aren’t marked. The thread on the right pedal goes to the right while the one on the left pedal goes to the left.
  2. Place a good amount of grease on the thread to prevent it from seizing on the crank.
  3. Insert the pedal into the crank at a right angle so its thread is properly aligned with the thread of the crank.
  4. Place the pedal wrench into the spindle flats or the hex wrench into the ports of the pedals.
  5. Tighten the pedals by rotating the left spindle counterclockwise while the right spindle at a clockwise motion.
  6. Continue to tighten the pedals until you feel a bit of resistance on it. Some pedals require a specific amount of torque. So you need to check the manufacturer’s site to prevent over tightening it.

Tips on Changing the Pedals of a Mountain Bike

Shift to the largest chainring

It’s a good idea to shift to the largest chainring of your crank arm if you’re running on a 2x or 3x set up on your mountain bike. This prevents you from injuring yourself during the process because of the unpredictable changes in gears.

Use penetrating fluid on seized pedals

Use penetrating fluid on seized pedals

Seized pedals happen when you haven’t lubricated your pedals or haven’t removed them for a while. It becomes difficult to loosen them so you need to apply a bit of lubrication in order to loosen them from the crank arm.


changing mountain bike pedals

Now that you know how to change the pedals in your bike properly, do a proper test to make sure that everything is installed properly. Afterward, you can then go to the trails and check out what your new pedals can give you.

Shred hard, but always remember to ride safely.

Related: The Best Flat Mountain Bike Pedals

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