In this post I detail how to change pedals on a bike. I also review the MKS 3000 rubber pedals. Most Dutch and Danish bikes come with old school rubber pedals. These old rubber pedals are great for regular shoes because the real rubber is very grippy on shoes with smooth soles. For my Schwinn Dutch Bike conversion, I had an unused pair of Shimano “commuter” pedals laying around that I put on. These are pedals with a platform side and a clipless side. I never used the clipless pedals on my commuter bike, and the metal platform side was slippery with some of my shoes.
So today Casey and I rode over to Ben’s Cycle and Fitness, a shop I have been going to since I lived nearby 20 years ago. Ben’s is great because they are totally up on the new lightweight carbon this and that, have a great online retail store and even have their own Milwaukee Bicycle Company frames. But they have also been a family owned bike shop for 80 years, so they are also great with old bikes and stock a great selection of pratical bicycles and parts, both vintage and new. All the employees are cool, but if you have never been there, ask for Vince and tell him Dave said to give you the tour. He has some draw droppingly cool vintage bikes and stores on both sides of Lincoln Ave.
Anyway, Ben’s had the MKS S-3000 pedals I was looking for in stock of course, price: $19. Here they are and the cool box they came in. It seems most of the MKS stuff comes in great packaging.
The only tool you need to remove pedals is a 15mm (usually) wrench. There are special pedal wrenches, but I have never owned one. Sometimes you need a thin 15mm cone wrench for some pedals, but most commuter style pedals will come off with a regular wrench. There are a couple tricks to getting pedals off easily. First, they are threaded so you always turn towards the back of the bike to get them off and towards the front to put them on. This means the “lefty loosey” rule applies to removing the right pedal, but the left pedal you have to turn to the right to loosen it. The other trick is to position the wrench so you have leverage against the free to spin crank arm. I show to ways of doing this below. Note the pressure is applied in the direction my thumb is pointing in each photo.
Sometimes you may find the pedals are on too tight for you to remove. In this case you can get a length of pipe to use as a “cheater bar” to add leverage to your wrench, or take the bike to a shop. I never screw in my pedals that tight, so these came off easy. The other trick to getting pedals off is to grease them well before you put them on. You can really use any grease, but I like Phils. But then I like almost anything in that comes in celeste. All you need is a little dab of grease on each pedal. Then you spread it around so it sits in the threads.
Before you put your pedals on, note which is the right and which is the left. Pedals typically have this stamped on the spindles.
Again remember to get the crank arms in a good position to give you leverage when you use the wrench to tighten the pedals. I did not include the photo here, but simply do the opposite on the left pedal and apply pressure towards the front of the bike again.
You can see the sole is worn on these old Puma Pele’s I can’t bear to get rid of. They slipped on the Shimano metal pedals, as did some of my other shoes.
Here you can see me pedalling away with no more slip. I was super pleased with these new pedals. Not only did they grip my slippery shoes, but the larger pedal platform is way more comfortable with shoes that have thin or soft soles. I also really like the way that they look.
You can see that these pedals do not have removable dust caps to repack the bearings. That and the weight (about a pound and three quarters for both) are the only downsides to these classics. But don’t worry about greasing the bearings, they should last at least 10,000 miles. And here is the money shot.
Although I won’t be entering enough catagories to qualify for to win the Batavus Bub, this maintenance is one of the things to try in the Lets Go Ride A Bike Summer Games. That is one of my favorite blogs. Check it out.