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  1. #1
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Removing pedals on tour?

    I will need to remove the pedals while transporting my bike to where I am touring. To save space and weight on my tour, I purchased a 6 inch crescent wrench. I just tried removing my pedals and it was impossible. I had to use a box end wrench to remove the pedals.

    1. How tight do the pedals need to be when I reattach them (sorry I am not going to carry a torque wrench ). Will I be able to get them sufficiently tight with my crescent wrench?
    2. What made the pedals so tight? Was it my gorilla LBS or was it just use?
    3. If use, how long will it take before I cannot remove the pedals with my sissy little crescent wrench?
    4. Should I just invest in a pedal wrench and carry that?

  2. #2
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Cresent wrenches are a last resort.

    Just tighten them fairly snug. The threading will prevent you from pedaling the pedal off. A gorilla at the LBS probably over tightened them.

    Does your pedals have a 6mm or 8mm allen head on the back of the spindle? If so, carry that wrench.
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  3. #3
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Thanks I did not even realize there was an allen head on the back. It is a 6 mm. I have one of those folding all in one sets with a plastic case. You don't seem to be able to put a lot of torque on it. Should I invest in a separate set of wrenches and carry that size?

  4. #4
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    Park makes a travel double open end wrench (RW1) with a 32 mm headset opening (1" threaded headsets only unfortunately) on one end and a 15 mm pedal opening at the other. It's slightly thicker than a cone wrench and about 6" long so it's light and easy to store. It even has holes in the handle so you can mount it under a water bottle cage.

    It loosen pedals that aren't torqued way beyond necessary and will tighten them sufficiently for anyone. DieselDan is correct, there is no reason to torque pedals beyoud "good and snug". Why bike shop mechanics and some home mechanics tighten them so hard is a mystery.

  5. #5
    My bikes became Vintage OLDYELLR's Avatar
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    As DieselDan said, adjustable wrenches are useless as serious tools. I'me not even sure if you can get enough torque with an allen wrench to loosen pedals. However, using the adjustable on the end of the allen wrench may work. You really need a pedal wrench as below. Even these need a whack with a hammer.
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  6. #6
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is to grease the threads. If you have Ti spindles, make sure to use anti-sieze instead of regular grease.
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  7. #7
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker
    Should I just invest in a pedal wrench and carry that?
    Yeah, get a pedal wrench and carry that OR better yet get a 12" crescent wrench and carry it. That will be more versatile. I used to use a 12" crescent to remove pedals, and frankly I don't see what's wrong with using it... I'd just tighten it firmly onto the wrench flats, and it worked great. I never round off a pedal or anything.
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  8. #8
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    I used to use a 12" crescent to remove pedals, and frankly I don't see what's wrong with using it...
    It depends on the pedal. Crescent wrenchs often have too thick a head to properly get the last few revolutions in. I found this to be especially true with SPD pedals and the clones of the PD-M737.
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  9. #9
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khuon
    It depends on the pedal. Crescent wrenchs often have too thick a head to properly get the last few revolutions in. I found this to be especially true with SPD pedals and the clones of the PD-M737.
    True... maybe I have a thin 12" crescent wrench (about 6 mm thick I would say), but it seems to fit most pedals fine. I haven't tried it on that particular model though.
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  10. #10
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    Why bike shop mechanics and some home mechanics tighten them so hard is a mystery.
    There is no mystery at all. If a pedal comes off, a seat slips, a handlebar slips, crank bolt loosens, or a stem/fork rotates, then it immediately becomes a liability issue for a shop. It's the same thing as the reflectors. A new bike has to go out of the shop with those things tight and the reflectors installed. What the customers do after that is their own business. Not everyone is checking over their bikes for proper tightness on a regular basis.

    It's great to take good care of your bike and be a decent home mechanic, but for every one of those there are probably at least 50 people that will NEVER check if their pedals are tight. How many reports of "oh, my crank bolt got loose and the crank fell off - is my crank ruined now?" stories have we all seen on this forum. Many, many, many. You have to build bikes for those fifty people who don't check things until they fail. You have to protect them in some fashion. When those things fall off or slip, you can get seriously injured.
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  11. #11
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cascade168
    There is no mystery at all. If a pedal comes off, a seat slips, a handlebar slips, crank bolt loosens, or a stem/fork rotates, then it immediately becomes a liability issue for a shop.
    Except that pedalling immediately tightens the pedals. You'd have to have some Cameron Frye type pedalling backwards forever to accidentally loosen them.

  12. #12
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Lifu has a Z-shaped 5/6mm Allen wrench that a LBS can order for you. However, you can get suffcient leverage by using a small section of pipe with a normal L-shaped Allen wrench.
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  13. #13
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker
    Except that pedalling immediately tightens the pedals. You'd have to have some Cameron Frye type pedalling backwards forever to accidentally loosen them.
    Wrong! Pedaling immediately loosens the pedals if they're not tight enough!!! I was under this misconception when I was a noob, and I nearly crashed because I thought that riding would tighten the pedals so didn't bother to tighten them.

    Your right crank turns clockwise in forward motion, and if the pedal remains flat then it's turning counter-clockwise with respect to the crank, which will cause it to loosen. Try it if you don't believe me: put your pedals on very loosely, just one or two turns into the cranks, and then ride around the block CAREFULLY. The pedals will fall off.

    The reason pedals are threaded the way they are is NOT to prevent "normal" loosening, but to prevent precession, which is a kind of rotational motion that goes in the OPPOSITE direction of the "overall" motion, and hundreds of times slower. Because the motion is much slower, the forces involved can be immense (torque = force X distance), enough to overcome the frictional force opposing motion of tightened pedal threads. THAT is the real reason why left pedals are left-threaded; see http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/left.html for more info. "Normal" loosening can ONLY be prevented by tightening pedals sufficiently.
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  14. #14
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Wrong! Pedaling immediately loosens the pedals if they're not tight enough!!! I was under this misconception when I was a noob, and I nearly crashed because I thought that riding would tighten the pedals so didn't bother to tighten them.

    Your right crank turns clockwise in forward motion, and if the pedal remains flat then it's turning counter-clockwise with respect to the crank, which will cause it to loosen. Try it if you don't believe me: put your pedals on very loosely, just one or two turns into the cranks, and then ride around the block CAREFULLY. The pedals will fall off.

    The reason pedals are threaded the way they are is NOT to prevent "normal" loosening, but to prevent precession, which is a kind of rotational motion that goes in the OPPOSITE direction of the "overall" motion, and hundreds of times slower. Because the motion is much slower, the forces involved can be immense (torque = force X distance), enough to overcome the frictional force opposing motion of tightened pedal threads. THAT is the real reason why left pedals are left-threaded; see http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/left.html for more info. "Normal" loosening can ONLY be prevented by tightening pedals sufficiently.
    And the Wright Brothers (of aviation fame) "invented" the left-hand-thread left pedal, around 1900.

  15. #15
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked
    And the Wright Brothers (of aviation fame) "invented" the left-hand-thread left pedal, around 1900.
    Yes, I've heard that too. The left-hand-thread is there to prevent the left pedal from loosening due to precession, NOT due to "normal" rotation. Precession can loosen a pedal over many, many miles, but "normal" rotation can loosen a pedal in a matter of seconds or minutes.

    That's why pedals must always be tightened fully.
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  16. #16
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    Oh, Moxfyre has just enlightened me about one of the small questions that's been bugging me for ages.

    BTW, the pedals being stuck is not necessarily the fault of a gorilla in the shop. They get stuck through riding all the time. Combination of corrosion, and precession I guess.
    So, if you want to be able to remove the pedals, have a good tool with a long arm. The multitool allen wrench that gives you just enough leverage to install your pedals will definitely not be enough to remove them.
    Last edited by LóFarkas; 09-05-06 at 05:37 AM.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    The allen-key works if you use an automotive 12" 3/8" drive ratchet-wrench with allen-key socket.

    Also handy for tightening down the crankarm-bolt to proper spec as well. Most people can't get them tight enough with the itty-bitty double-sided Park wrenches.... all you need is for the crank to loose just one and the harder BB-spindle will bugger the crank enough to render it useless.

  18. #18
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    While on my way to Oregon last year, Took my pedal wrench on the train along with the bike. It easily fits into my panniers. Luckily , I had a home base, so did not have to carry it with me, everywhere I went.

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    I use a cone wrench to attatch and remove pedals on tour. Hand tight with a cone wrench is more than adaquate for safety. You should attach them using this tool at home so you know you will be able to remove them at the airport. Dont forget to grease the threads.

  20. #20
    Senior Member masi61's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    The allen-key works if you use an automotive 12" 3/8" drive ratchet-wrench with allen-key socket.

    Also handy for tightening down the crankarm-bolt to proper spec as well. Most people can't get them tight enough with the itty-bitty double-sided Park wrenches.... all you need is for the crank to loose just one and the harder BB-spindle will bugger the crank enough to render it useless.
    +1 on using allen key sockets and a 3/8" ratchet. Better yet get a complete set of metric allen key sockets to fit 3/8" drive and carry a small "T-handle". T-handles don't ratchet but I love mine for its versatility: you can extend the arm out for maximum leverage like a mini breaker bar or use it centered in a "T" configuration for better balance and feel. Yes carrying these tools on the road with you is heavy, but I've done it, and I think you quickly forget the added weight when you have the peace of mind that you can handle situations that arise when you are out in the country. After having said all that, I must mention that a real pedal wrench is still the best tool for removing pedals properly. When you use the allen socket/t-handle I have proposed on the allen recess on your pedal, you have to be extra carefull that it doesn't slip out of its shallow hex recess. To me, pedals that accept an allen wrench on the back sometimes get messed up from wrenching the wrong way or not having the tool deep enough in the socket before torquing it.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by LóFarkas
    BTW, the pedals being stuck is not necessarily the fault of a gorilla in the shop. They get stuck through riding all the time. Combination of corrosion, and precession I guess.
    That can be a factor but I've seem many LBS mechanics install pedals and they seem to use the long-arm pedal wrench as a test of strength.

    Wrong! Pedaling immediately loosens the pedals if they're not tight enough!!! I was under this misconception when I was a noob, and I nearly crashed because I thought that riding would tighten the pedals so didn't bother to tighten them.
    If the pedals are just finger tight, they can indeed loosen while riding. However, hand tight with a modest wrench is plenty tight enough to prevent this. I've ridden tens of thousands of miles having installed my pedals firmly but not absurdly tight, certainly not too tight to remove with the fairly short Park wrench I mentioned above. I have never had a pedal loosen in any way. I completely agree with MichaelW on this point.

  22. #22
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    If the pedals are just finger tight, they can indeed loosen while riding. However, hand tight with a modest wrench is plenty tight enough to prevent this. I've ridden tens of thousands of miles having installed my pedals firmly but not absurdly tight, certainly not too tight to remove with the fairly short Park wrench I mentioned above. I have never had a pedal loosen in any way. I completely agree with MichaelW on this point.
    Right! I never said that pedals had to be insanely tight, just tight enough so that the rotation of the cranks isn't enough to overcome the friction of the threads.
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  23. #23
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  24. #24
    34x25 FTW! oboeguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    Park makes a travel double open end wrench (RW1) with a 32 mm headset opening (1" threaded headsets only unfortunately) on one end and a 15 mm pedal opening at the other. It's slightly thicker than a cone wrench and about 6" long so it's light and easy to store. It even has holes in the handle so you can mount it under a water bottle cage.
    I have quite a bit of experience with this wonderful little tool. In fact, I own two of the same. When travelling with our Dahon SpeedPro folding bikes, it's the perfect tool for removing and re-attaching pedals (I don't use the MKS "quick release pedals) as well as the rear wheel, which happens to use 15mm nuts. I keep one of my "Road Wrench" tools in the saddle bag of my folder at all times to deal with rear tire flats. It's hard to get enough leverage on it for tight pedals but IME if you put the pedals on with the "Road Wrench" it's not a problem to remove them with it.
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  25. #25
    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan
    Cresent wrenches are a last resort.

    Just tighten them fairly snug. The threading will prevent you from pedaling the pedal off.
    Oh they will unthread. I destroyed a crank set once by not getting the pedals snug enough. They eventually loosened to where my pedaling force bent them out of the hole destroying the threads forever more
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