Real cyclists are always learning how to keep their bikes functioning efficiently. I bet you know how to install and remove the pedals on a bike. You can even easily remove and install the pedals on your Peloton bike. But what do you do when the pedals on your lovely rig just won’t come off? It’s time to learn how to remove stuck bike pedals. And that’s what this post is all about.
Related post: How to Install and Remove Pedals
What Causes Bikes Pedals to Get Stuck?
If your bike is a 30-year-old clunker, the pedals are probably rusted and stuck. And if you enjoy spewing nice rooster trails, some of the mud will end up in the pedals, clogging them up.
It’s also possible you over-torqued your pedals during the installation process. Perhaps you forcibly screwed the right pedal into the left crank and attached the right pedal to the right crank. Or you tightened the pedals in a way that caused cross-threading when installing them.
No matter what caused your pedals to get stuck, there are a few effective ways to get your stuck pedals unstuck. And in this post, I’ll highlight and describe those stuck pedal loosening strategies.
6 Ways to Unstuck Frozen Bike Pedals at
Whether you’re trying to get a regular bike’s stuck pedals or stuck Peloton pedals unstuck, you can try the following methods. I suggest you start with the easiest stuck pedal removal method. Only move to the next suggestion if the current one fails to force the stuck pedal to come off.
- Use a longer wrench or find ways to make your tool longer.
- Use your leg to provide leverage.
- Get some penetrating oil into the pedal threads.
- Use a hammer to tap the wrench.
- Use heat to expand the crankarm’s eyelet.
- Make a trip to your LBS for help.
Let’s now examine each stuck bike pedal removal method so you can see how you might use each.
1. The Best Way to Unstuck Frozen Bike Pedals? Use a Longer Wrench
Do you remember an idea they called leverage back from your high school physics classes? I once read about a crazy scientist that claimed they could move the Earth if only they could get a long enough lever.
But you’re not trying to move Mother Earth. You’re performing a far less demanding task — breaking the bond that keeps your pedals stuck. And it’s time to put that knowledge to work and get your stuck pedals to come off.
I can hear you saying you don’t have the equipment needed to lengthen your wrench. But you know what? You don’t need any fancy tools. All you need to do is buy some pipe at your local hardware store and fit it over your wrench’s handle. I’ve done this, and it works.
Using a longer wrench is in most situations the best way to make a stuck bike pedal budge. Leverage is a powerful force. Leverage can make you insanely wealthy, and it can also help you solve stuck pedals.
Take care so you won’t hit the chainring with your knuckles. That happens, and one way to avoid ending up with bloody knuckles is to shift the chain onto the largest chainring.
2. Use Your Leg as Leverage
If you can’t find a way to lengthen your wrench, you can always use your foot to provide leverage. To use this stuck pedal removal suggestion, position your tool in a way that gives you a mechanical advantage.
Of course, you can’t use the method I’m about to describe unless you have pedals with flats, like BMX pedals. If you have a mountain bike or road bike pedals without flats, you can’t use this method. You’d need to use an 8mm Allen bit to remove such kinds of pedals.
So, put the jaw of your wrench onto the pedal spindle between the pedal and crankarm. Then, rotate the crank backward so that your tool comes to a position where it’s parallel to the ground.
Then, put your hands on the handlebars. Next, straddle your bike’s frame and place your foot on the pedal. You want to step on the pedal with the front part of your foot (ball of your foot).
At this point, bring your body weight to bear on the wrench through your heel. Believe me, using your leg as leverage works really well. It is pretty much like using a longer tool, if not better.
3. Get Some Penetrating Oil into the Pedal Threads
This method may not work all the time, but it sure works some of the time. Get some WD-40 or something similar into the pedal threads.
Once you apply the penetrating substance, you want to give it enough time to work its way into the pedal threads. Usually, allowing the oil to sit for 30-45 minutes before trying to remove the pedal again should work.
4. Use a Hammer to Apply Force on the wrench
The best approach is to use a longer wrench, but applying some force on the wrench may also be a good idea. Start by tapping the wrench using light blows and increase force only if needed. In most cases, hammering a stubborn pedal should remove it quite easily.
5. Heating the Eye of the Pedal Works, too
When you heat solids, they expand. When you subject a stuck pedal to a considerable amount of heat, it expands. Most importantly, the eye of the crankarm where the pedal goes becomes slightly wider. And that makes it easier to take the frozen pedal off.
Some cyclists say to use a blow torch to supply the heat needed to make the crank’s eye expand. I haven’t tried that, but I’ve tried using hot water. And it works.
How do you use hot water to remove a stuck pedal? Some people say to submerge the crankarm and pedal in boiling water.
But that’s not something you want to do if you want to keep your pedals. Instead, dribble a stream of hot water over the crank’s eyelet. That should do the trick.
I’ve already read somewhere that you can actually use an open flame to heat pedals. Simply unscrew the crankarm with the pedal still attached and hold the eyelet end over the flame. That should make the eyelet expand, making it easier to remove the stuck pedal.
Note: using an open flame works best with aluminum pedals.
On the whole, using heat to remove frozen pedals works pretty well. Many cyclists have had luck with the method.
6. Take Your Bike to Your Local Bike Shop
I get it. You came here for ideas to get a stuck pedal loose at home. But if you’ve tried all the suggestions in this post and still the pedal won’t budge, it’s time to ask for help.
Bike mechanics are bike mechanics for a reason — they’re really good at solving problematic bike issues. Odds are any of the cycologists at your LBS can get the stuck pedal unstuck.
To make it more convenient for you, remove the crankarm and take it to your LBB with the pedal attached. But if that’s not possible, you’ll have to carry the bike to the cycle repair shop.
How to Unstuck Bike Pedals That Won’t Budge: Conclusion
Bike pedals can get stuck for any number of reasons. Fortunately, there are quite a few simple but effective ways to remove such tricky pedals.
You can use heat, apply some penetrating oil such as WD-40, or hammer the pedal wrench. But most cyclists agree that using a longer wrench is the simplest and perhaps the easiest means to unstuck a problematic bike pedal.
But what if everything fails and your pedal stays stubborn no matter what you do, have a cycologist at your local bike shop help out.