Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm trying to troubleshoot a weird barely-felt click on my cruiser. The nest step of the process is to swap out the pedals and see if the problem goes away (if not, the problem is likely the bottom bracket).

I've replaced pedals before, own a good pedal wrench, and know how to remember which pedal has reverse threading. I was surprised to find that I couldn't get my only spare pair off the cranks--they were removed from a bent frame for me by a shop, an currently live in a box next to the frame I'll eventually hang them on. I usually grip the crank opposite to the one I'm removing a pedal from, but I can't get any leverage with just one crank!

TL;DR/ The question: How do I get enough leverage to remove the pedals from these free-range and short mountain cranks?

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The best option would be to place the crank in a table vise - or in a pipe that has been gripped in a table vise.

If you don't have access to a vise, another option is to try and attach the pedal wrench so that the handle is only a few degrees away from inline with (right on top of) the crank, so that you squeeze the wrench and the crank together.

share|improve this answer
Yeah, when removing a pedal I always put the crank and wrench a few degrees apart and squeeze. Shouldn't matter too much that the crank isn't attached to anything -- might even be easier, since you could place the crank on a hard surface and press down. – Daniel R Hicks Jun 9 '11 at 2:24
The latter is what I tried, and I couldn't get enough force to loosen the pedal. Will try a pipe, thanks. – Neil Fein Jun 9 '11 at 2:34
Make sure the pedal is resting on the same surface as the crank, so you can push down on that with one hand and the wrench with the other. It's not ideal, but it does work IME. The best option is to put it back on the bike... – Мסž Jun 9 '11 at 23:13

The answers to how to increase leverage have already been stated above. But the best option is to put it back on the bike first.

The vise risks at least cosmetic damage to the crank arm. Using pipe to lengthen the lever work, assuming you have 2 pipes, with large enough internal diameter to fit over the crank arm and the pedal wrench, but can also do cosmetic damage.

The aforementioned position close to the crank increases leverage, but still requires strength and that can't be increased easily.

If you put it back on the bike, and use a proper pedal wrench, the bike acts a stable base, obviating the use of a vise, and the pedal wrench has plenty of length (in most cases) to carry the leverage necessary.

share|improve this answer
While this isn't an option in this case--I don't have the tools to reattach the cranks to a bike frame--this is still good advice. – Neil Fein Jun 21 '11 at 17:58
The only tool required is a 14mm or 15mm socket wrench. Or an 8mm allen key. Which, along with the crank removal tool is usually also required to remove them. How'd you get 'em off? :) – zenbike Jun 21 '11 at 18:27
A bike shop did it for me a couple of years ago. – Neil Fein Jun 21 '11 at 18:34
I had this recently - the trick was to mount an old square taper bottom bracket axle into a vice horizontally, put the crank on the end vertically, one helper using a 6 millimetre hex driver on the back of the pedal while I used a pedal spanner on the other side. Lots of penetrating oil too. The last resort was to ply a brazing torch on the crank, but it came loose before that. Surprisingly, the threads were fine. It was just really tight, and probably had no grease or anti-seize compound. – Criggie Sep 29 '15 at 8:53
If you could do that, you could also put it back on the bike. :) – zenbike Oct 15 '15 at 2:29

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.