How to Remove Bike Cranks? – [Quick Guide]

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As a bicycle owner, it is often that you have to remove the cranks. It could be because you want to upgrade or just simply clean your chainring and crank pedals. But “How to remove bike cranks?”- you might ask.

Following a few simple steps, you can easily remove the cranks of your bike. And in this article, we will guide you every step of the way.

So, let’s begin.

How to Remove Bike Cranks?

You are going to need a few tools to remove the bike cranks. They are very intricately installed on your bike. Taking the cranks off without them is going to be pretty difficult. There are ways to remove cranks without using such fancy tools. But this is the safest option.

So, make sure you have the following tools before starting –

  • Screwdriver or pin spanner
  • Hex wrench
  • Wrench
  • Crank remover
  • Mallet

After, you’ve gathered all these tools you can begin crank removal.

Here are the steps to properly removing a bike crank –

Step 1: Remove the dust cap

Some bikes may have a dust cap over the crank bolt. These are fairly easy to remove if you have the proper tools. There are two types of dust caps – pressed and threaded.

For, pressed dust caps pick up a screwdriver and insert the head into a small opening on the cap. Then push downwards on the handle to pop open the cap.

If your bike has a threaded cap then you are going to need a pin spanner. You can identify this cap by the presence of two small holes for the pin spanner. Grab the pin spanner and enter its two heads into the two holes of the cap. Turn them to loosen up the cap. Now, use just one head of the pin spanner and keep turning the cap until it comes off.

Step 2: Remove the bolt

Now, take the wrench and enter it into the bolt chamber. Spin counter the wrench to take out the bolt. It should come out fairly easily. Make sure you grab to the pedal of the opposite side so that the crank wheel does not spin.

Step 3: Remove the washer

If the washer does not extract with the bolt then carefully remove it. Use any small tool you want to safely pull it out.

Step 4: Remove the crank

Observe the bolt you just removed. There are bolts of many sizes. And the crank remover you will need is going to be determined by the size of the bolt.

Grab a proper crank remover and enter it into the crank chamber. Spin the spindle driver back and enter the coupler. Screw it in by hand. Then you a wrench to tightly set it in.

Now, spin the spindle driver down or forward with your hand until you can’t anymore. Then use a small wrench and keep spinning. This will a bit tough in the beginning but as you keep spinning it will get a bit easier. Spin until the crank wheel comes off.

Step 5: Remove the crank arm

Follow the same steps to remove the crank arms and you’ll have successfully removed the crankset.

Self-Extracting Cranks

If your bike has self-extracting cranks then removing them will be a lot easier for you. In this case, you won’t even need the crank removal tool.

First, we are going to take off the crank handle on the opposite of the wheel. Use the pin spanner to tighten the cap. Yes, in this case, you are going to tighten the cap as the cap is needed to remove the bolt. Sometimes a hex wrench might be needed to tighten the cap.

Now, enter the proper hex wrench into the bolt chamber and turn until the handle comes off. Use the pin spinner again to loosen the cap and take out the bolt.

For removing the wheel, take out the spacers if there are any. Now use a mallet to tap it out of the frame. Use the same technique to remove the bolt from the wheel.

Reasons Why You Might Need to Remove Your Bike Cranks

There are plenty of reasons why you might need to remove bike cranks. Let’s talk about some of those reasons –


Your bicycle parts will wear off eventually. So, when it’s time for a replacement, taking off the bike crank could become necessary.


It not essential to fully take off the crank wheel to clean them. But doing it does make the task much easier. Also, you can get to every nook and cranny of your crank wheel to do a thorough cleaning. So, in this case, many would want to remove their bike cranks.


Many advanced enthusiasts like to beef up their bikes with 3rd party gear. If you are one of them then you could be doing crank uninstallations more often than the average person.


To make sure you don’t break your bicycle while trying to remove the cranks you got to look for a few things. And here they are –

  1. Know your crank type
  2. Make sure you have the proper tools
  3. Establish proper positioning while removing the bolt
  4. Do not remove cap in case of self-extracting cranks
  5. Make sure you apply proper lubrication before reinstallation
  6. Observe the bolt size before choosing a crank removal tool
  7. Remember to check for the washer after removing the bolt
  8. Remove spacers, if there are any before malleating out the crank wheel
  9. Do not use excessive force while re-installation as it might cause damage
  10. Make sure there are no kids or pet around your working area


We are at the end of our article “How to remove bike cranks?” I hope I was able to properly explain the procedure. Follow this guide well and you will find that it is really not as complicated as it might seem.

With proper practice, you will eventually become a pro rider at tweaking your ride. Hope this article helped you out. Thanks for stopping by.