How To Take Off Bike Pedals Without a Pedal Wrench

Have you ever tried to remove a pair of pedals from a bicycle when you find out that they’re really stubborn maybe because they’re rusted in place and over-tightened?

In this post, we are going to show you a quick, easy and simple way to get the most stubborn pedals off any bike. If you are a bike owner and you do not have a pedal wrench handy, there are a few steps you can take as explained below.

Use a standard wrench

Another way to remove pedals is to use a standard wrench. This works any time on both the left and right sides.

First, you must make sure that the pedals are not in a locked position. Then, you need to turn the pedal wrench counter-clockwise to remove the right pedal. The left pedal is the non-drive side. The left pedal is reverse-threaded and cannot be removed with your fingers.

To loosen the pedals, you should place equal weight on each. For the left-side pedal, you should rotate it to the left. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is the correct way to do it. Then, you need to rotate each pedal counter-clockwise to loosen it from its original position.

Place the wrench in the end opposite to the pedal and hold the wrench in place. Be careful to make sure that you do not damage any of the parts of the crank arm as you work. You should also place a folded towel underneath the pedal to prevent any damage to the floor.

Using a wrench is a good option for bike repairs if you have one. It can be used for a variety of tasks. For example, if you have flat spots on the axle near the crank arm, a wrench can grip these flat spots. Alternatively, if your pedals don’t have flats, you can use an Allen key that fits into an Allen key hole on the end of the pedal axle.

Now, this method is only gonna work on pedals that have a wrench flat area on the spindle like a BMX bike, it’s not gonna work on some mountain bike pedals and road bike pedals.

Use a Spanner

Using a spanner is another option. If you don’t have a pedal wrench, use a spanner to tighten the pedal spindle. Left-hand pedals are reverse-threaded, while right-hand pedals have standard threads. In addition, a spanner will help you remove grease from your pedals.

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Use a Hammer

You can also use a hammer and a large screwdriver. If you don’t have a cycle wrench, you can use both of them to remove the pedals by placing the screwdriver or rod into the pedal and tapping it gently with the hammer to loosen the pedal.

Use a Hex Key

You can also try using a hex key and 15 mm wrench to remove bicycle pedals. While these tools are great for bike repairs, they cannot take the place of a pedal wrench. For this purpose, you can use a standard 15 mm open-end wrench.

You can also use a lubricant to avoid damaging the threads of the crank arm. By doing so, you will make it easier for you to take off the bike pedals. However, if you don’t have these tools, you can still use the lubricant to make them easier to remove.

Use Pliers

You can also use a pair of pliers. You just need to grip the pedal with the pliers and turn it counterclockwise to loosen the pedals.

Final Words

Changing bike pedals is a fairly simple process when you know what you’re doing. However, if you make a mistake, it can lead to a stuck pedal or a ruined crank arm. Regardless, removing bike pedals is a quick and simple process if you have the correct tools.

How To Inflate Tubeless Bike Tires

Being an owner of a road bike with tubeless tires, I have always felt the need to inflate the tires often. As visiting a bike shop at a time when your tires lose all their tightness is not possible every time, you must know how to inflate your tires by yourself.

This is pretty common whether you are using tubeless or tubed tires as you will definitely require to inflate your tires at some point. Flat tires not only give you bad cycling performance, but they will also waste a lot of time in your cycling journey.

In this post, I am going to guide you on how to inflate the tubeless tires the right way as tubeless tires have become pretty common.

What do you need to inflate a tubeless tire?

To inflate tubeless tires, you do not need a lot of equipment but some are necessary and some are optional. The most important tool you need is a Floor Pump.

I personally use a Floor pump as it is handy and doesn’t need any big storage area. It’s easy to use and inflates the tires in a minute or two.

However, if you don’t own a floor pump right now, there are a couple of more tools you can use to inflate your tubeless tires. These are the Tire Booster or Compressor.

Do you need a special pump for tubeless tires?

No, there is no need for any special pump for inflating tubeless tires and the floor pump is all you need. However, as I mentioned earlier, there are a few other types of pumps you can use to inflate the tires.

A Compressor is one of them which is a fine solution but not the best one. It should only be used when you have no floor pump available with you. While it is not necessarily bad for inflating tubeless tires, it can be problematic when your rim is made up of carbon.

If you are thinking of other types of pumps that will work, then, unfortunately, it may not be possible. The “Tankless” bicycle pump, available at car parts stores, won’t work. A tubeless bike tire requires a fast and powerful burst of compressed air, and a standard hand pump won’t provide the required force.

A floor pump works just fine for installing tubeless bicycle tires. For stubborn tires, however, you’ll need a higher-pressure pump. Professional mechanics typically use a compressor. You can also purchase an adaptor, which transforms an air compressor’s fitting into a bike valve.

There are a few different types of adapters, including the Prestaflator Professional or Arundel Shop Inflator.

Compressors vs. Floor Pumps For Tubeless Tires

Even though some may prefer using Compressors for inflating the tires with adequate air pressure, this might lead to problems if the rim is made up of carbon.

Typically, the floor pumps slowly fill up the air inside the tubeless tires and is a controlled way of inflation. However, a compressor may put too much pressure on the carbon rims as the carbon fiber is not able to tolerate the high pressure and the air may try to escape from the rim cavity.

This may result in the destruction of the rim but this is not the case with rims that are made up of aluminum.

Step by Step method for inflating the tubeless tires

Clean the Rim

If you want to make sure that there is no air loss and the contact between the tire and rim should be strong, then clean the rim first. This is a fairly easy process and all you need is a dry rag or a cloth that can clear the dirt off the rim.

Position the valve correctly

To make the connection between the valve and the pump head easier, you should position your tire in such a way that the tire valve should either be at 3 or 9 O’clock. This not only makes an easy connection but also ensures a perfect build-up.

Inflate the tire

Now start inflating the tire with the floor pump and as the process goes on, the pressure should make the tire tight enough to make a seal between the tire and the rim.

Make sure the valve nut is secured properly after the inflation so that the air cannot escape. If air is escaping around the valve, you should tighten the valve nut further.

Air pressure needed to inflate tubeless tires

The best pressure for tubeless bike tires is lower than for tubed tires. However, you should also keep in mind that different types of bikes and tires require different levels of PSI.

If you are using an MTB, then you will need around 40 PSI but for road bikes, you will need higher pressure. There is no specific number for each bike and tire type as this also depends on the wheel load and tire size. If you want to know the correct pressure, then refer to the following chart-

In general, the recommended pressure lies between the maximum and minimum sidewall pressure. Now as you inflate the tire to the point when it is tight enough, it’s time to make sure the pressure is maintained.

The first step is to close the valve. Once you’ve closed the valve, the air pressure will turn the straps and form a seal.

After inflation, you should close the valve again. This will prevent air from getting in the tire, which can lead to high tire pressure. Incorrect inflation can ruin the tire.

How to seat a tubeless tire with the compressor?

If you’re wondering how to seat tubeless bike tires, then this process can be tricky, especially if the tire is stiff and flimsy.

Also, the rim’s shape may make it difficult for the bead to pop into the seat properly. And the air in the tire can’t get into the valve fast enough. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution that can help you seat your tire without the help of a compressor.

You can buy a “tankless” compressor at an auto parts store, but these models aren’t designed to seat tubeless bike tires. Rather, they’re designed to inflate car tires. Despite being cheap, these devices lack the volume and pressure necessary to seat tubeless bicycle tires.

To properly seat tubeless bike tires, you need a good air compressor. These tools can make the process a breeze. Use the pressure regulator on your compressor to check for correct inflation pressure.

You can also use a prestaflator inflation tool. Some prestaflator tools have an integrated pressure gauge, which can help you keep a constant pressure.

Lastly, you can check out the video tutorial by Neil on how to mount a stubborn tubeless tire with a simple floor pump.

How To Adjust Handlebar Height

It takes some time to understand the dynamics of a bike and once you start tweaking things, you feel the difference.

This is why it is recommended that you never get satisfied with the default settings of your bike structure because you are missing a lot if you are not playing with the customizable options in your bike.

One of them is adjusting the height of your bike’s handlebar. You may have already noticed how different a professional biker’s bike looks to those who ride casually. Professional riders generally tend to have lower handlebar height than non-competitors, all thanks to the dynamics of a bike that helps them achieve better speed.

In this guide, we will be looking at how you can adjust your handlebar height with a few tools without spending any money. Before that, we will take a look at how this can affect your riding experience and performance.

The effect of handlebar height

There is a big difference in the structure of a professional road bike and bikes that are designed for riding off the road and for casual bikers. This is because speed matters the most for professionals.

A lower height of a handlebar helps professional riders achieve a more aerodynamic position. Their handlebars are generally below the height of their saddle and in this way, they get more traction by having more weight over the front wheel.

This also helps them control the bike effectively but at a certain point, going too lower can negatively affect their performance. Similarly, a mountain bike that runs off the road may need a different handlebar height than a road bike.

On an uphill ride, if the handlebar height is lower, it will be easier to maneuver than going downhill which can be pretty difficult. Therefore, changing the handlebar height depends on your preference and you can only know about your ideal handlebar height when you start to tweak it by yourself.

How to change the handlebar height: Step by step

Adjusting the handlebar height is not difficult at all but can be done by anyone if they possess the right tools. You don’t need special tools for this but if you have the correct ones, it will be easier to secure the stem to the steerer tube like before.

Note that the process of adjusting the handlebar height will be different for threaded and threadless stems. It is easier and less time-consuming to adjust the height of handlebars on threaded stems than on threadless ones. Regardless of the difference, I will show you how you can easily do it.

Tools needed

While you can easily get this done with the help of a set of Allen keys, it is recommended that you also have a torque wrench. As manufacturers have a particular recommended value for securing the stem clamp bolts, a torque wrench does this better than an Allen key.

As you may need different-sized Allen keys for different types of bikes and stems, it’s better to buy a folding Allen wrench set that can also come in handy in other works. On top of that, it is also easier to handle than a single piece of an Allen key that may not provide you with a good grip to properly tighten the Allen screw.

Most manufacturers recommend a value between 5Nm to 8Nm of force that can be easily achieved with a torque wrench than an Allen key which is particularly beneficial for working with carbon parts.

For threaded stems

Step 1: Loosen the stem screw

To adjust a threaded stem, you will need a 6mm Allen key. Hold the handlebar firmly and loosen the screw to the point where you can raise or lower the threaded stem from the steerer tube.

There will be a marking at the bottom of the stem that will indicate the maximum height you can achieve with it. You must keep that marking inside the steerer tube or your stem could snap.

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Step 2: Secure the stem screw

Once you increase or decrease the height of the stem, align the handlebar to make sure that it is at a right angle to the front tire.

Now tighten the screw with the Allen key to the point where you can feel good resistance.

Shake your handlebar sideways by holding the front tire firmly on the ground to see if the handlebar moves from its correct position. If it moves, then loosen the screw and tighten it enough again to avoid its movement.

For threadless stems

Step 1: Loosen the stem clamp bolts

You will follow a different procedure on a threadless stem because a threadless stem is firmly attached to the steerer tube through one or two clamp bolts at the back. The stem does not extend or go inside the steerer tube like the threaded stem and the way to adjust the height here is to use the spacers.

Use your Allen wrench key to loosen these bolts. These may require a good amount of force if you are doing it for the first time and it is advisable to pour some oil or grease on them. When you see that the bolts are loose enough so that the handlebars can be turned to either side easily, it’s time for the next step.

Step 2: Remove the top cap

Threadless stems come with a top cap that is circular and holds a long screw that secures it to the steerer tube. Simply insert your Allen key and remove the screw from the inside.

Now, you can remove the stem from the steerer tube completely and all you have to do is adjust the spacers in a way that can either lower or raise the handlebar height.

Step 3: Adjust the spacers

As you can see from the image below, spacers are circular rings that come in different sizes in height. Their diameter is generally less than 30mm and their height ranges from 2mm to 10mm. These help increase or decrease the height of a handlebar and can be put either at the top or at the bottom of the threadless stem.

If you want to decrease the handlebar height, take the spacers from the bottom and put them at the top. You can exchange one or more spacers depending on your requirement but remember that every single spacer has its effect.

If you want to increase the height, simply put the top spacers at the bottom of the stem and you are good to go. Make sure you utilize all the spacers and do not leave any space empty because this will hinder you from securing the stem in the right position.

Step 4: Secure the top cover and bolts

Once, you are done adjusting the height, put back the stem and then the top cover and put the screw back like before. Tighten it with the Allen key and now tighten the stem bolts using the Allen key or Torque wrench.

Make sure you tighten the bolts after you have adjusted the position of your handlebars to the center and keeping the recommended torque in mind, use the torque wrench to secure the stem firmly.

Now you have adjusted the handlebar height successfully. Make sure you give it a test ride to see what changes it did for you and if the new height is uncomfortable, repeat the steps above to get to the ideal height.

How To Adjust Suspension On Mountain Bikes

Mountain biking is an exhilarating and challenging sport that requires precise control and balance. One crucial factor is properly adjusted suspension if you want a smooth ride.

The suspension system on a mountain bike allows for the absorption of shocks and impacts, enhancing the rider’s comfort and overall performance. In this blog post, we will try to provide expert guidance on how you can adjust the suspension on a mountain bike.

Understanding Suspension Components

Before delving into the adjustment process, it is important to familiarize oneself with the key components of a mountain bike’s suspension system. There are two main types of suspension systems: front suspension, also known as a fork, and full suspension, which includes both a front fork and a rear shock absorber.

The front suspension consists of stanchions, which connect the upper to the lower legs, and a damper unit that controls the fork’s movement. The rear suspension comprises a shock absorber and a linkage system that connects the swingarm to the mainframe of the bike.

Setting Sag

The first step in adjusting the suspension on a mountain bike is setting the sag, which refers to the amount of compression on the suspension when the rider is seated in a neutral position.

Sag is typically set between 20-35% of the total travel of the suspension system. To set the sag, follow these steps:

1. Ensure the suspension is in its neutral position by pushing the bike down and letting it settle.
2. Measure the distance between the O-ring or zip tie on the stanchion and the seal of the fork or shock absorber.
3. Sit on the bike in your usual riding position with your full biking gear.
4. Get off the bike without pushing down on the suspension and measure the distance once again.
5. If the distance has been reduced by the desired sag percent, the suspension is correctly set.

Fine-Tuning Rebound

Rebound damping is another essential aspect of suspension adjustment. Rebound refers to the speed at which the suspension extends after being compressed. Fine-tuning the rebound ensures the suspension responds optimally to different terrain conditions.

To adjust rebound damping, locate the rebound adjustment knob on the fork or shock absorber. Turn the knob clockwise to slow down the extension speed or counterclockwise to increase it. Experiment with different settings to find the sweet spot that balances control and comfort.

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Adding Compression

Compression damping regulates the speed at which the suspension compresses when encountering bumps or impacts. Adjusting compression allows riders to adapt their bikes to specific trail conditions and riding styles.

To adjust compression damping, locate the compression adjustment knob on the fork or shock absorber. For forks, turning the knob clockwise increases compression, while turning it counterclockwise decreases compression. Similar principles apply to rear shock absorbers.

Tuning Preload

Preload adjustment is specific to front suspension forks and determines the initial spring tension. Proper preload ensures the suspension is responsive and supportive. Adjusting preload differs across fork models, but most require adjusting the air pressure or adding/removing spacers. Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines to fine-tune the preload to suit your weight and riding style.

Suspension Setup for Different Terrain

Cross-Country (XC) Riding

For cross-country riding, where speed and efficiency are key, a firm suspension setup is generally recommended. Set the sag towards the lower end of the recommended range and increase rebound damping to prevent excessive bouncing on flatter sections. Additionally, a moderate amount of compression damping helps with stability during high-speed descents.

Enduro and All-Mountain Riding

Enduro and all-mountain riding involve a mix of climbs and descents on rugged terrain. A balanced suspension setup is essential to handle varying trail types effectively. Set sag slightly higher to improve traction on rough climbs, and adjust rebound damping to allow for quick recovery over multiple consecutive bumps. Compression damping can be adjusted to provide more support during aggressive downhill sections.

Downhill Riding

Downhill riding demands maximum suspension performance to absorb large drops and provide optimal stability at high speeds. Set sag nearer to the higher end of the recommended range to maximize travel. Increase compression damping to prevent excessive movement during hard landings and adjust rebound damping for quick recovery between successive hits.

Related: How to shift gears on a mountain bike?

Trail Riding

Trail riding covers a variety of terrains and requires a versatile suspension setup. Aim for a balanced sag setting and experiment with rebound and compression damping to find a setup that suits your riding style. Adjustments can be made based on personal preference, seeking more responsiveness or stability.

Suspension Maintenance and Upgrades

Regular Maintenance

To keep your suspension performing optimally, regular maintenance is essential. Clean and lubricate stanchions and shock seals to prevent dirt build-up that can affect suspension performance. Ensure pivot points are clean and well-greased, and check for any signs of wear or damage. Regularly inspect air canister pressure and replenish if required.

Changing Suspension Fluid

Over time, suspension fluids can degrade and lose their effectiveness. Changing the suspension fluid periodically, as recommended by the manufacturer, ensures smooth and consistent suspension performance. It is crucial to follow the specific guidelines for fluid types and volumes provided in the owner’s manual.

Upgrading Suspension Components

For riders seeking enhanced performance, upgrading suspension components can make a significant difference. Consider upgrading to higher-quality forks, shock absorbers, or even a full suspension system. By choosing components with improved damping and adjustability, riders can fine-tune their suspension to match their riding style and terrain preferences.

Seeking Professional Assistance

While adjusting suspension can be done by experienced riders, seeking professional assistance is advisable for complex tasks such as major overhauls or upgrades. Professional bike shops or suspension service centers have the expertise and specialized tools to ensure an accurate and optimal suspension setup.

Final Words

Understanding and adjusting the suspension on a mountain bike is crucial for every rider aiming to optimize their performance, control, and comfort. By familiarizing yourself with the key suspension components, setting sag, fine-tuning rebound, and compression damping, and experimenting with different setups for varying terrains, you can tailor your suspension to match your unique riding style and preferences.

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