If you’re going to use your bike often—and it’s a safe bet to say that you intend to given that this article caught your attention—then it will be a good idea to learn a few skills that will help you do basic repair and maintenance on your bike. You never know when disaster will strike. And you’ll especially be vulnerable if it does strike in the middle of a trail, where there might be no one around to help. Also, knowing how to repair your own bike, at least as far as the basics are concerned, will help you save money in the long run because then you wouldn’t need to take it to a bike shop to have them do basic things you can do yourself.
In this article, we’ll teach you how to remove your bicycle crankset—the sprockets, chainrings, or chain wheels attached to the cranks. There can be many reasons why you’ll want to do this. For instance, you might want to clean or replace a broken chainring, or you might want to have your bracket bearing repaired. There will also be times when you simply want to clean the crankset or remove whatever gunk and rust that’s built up over the years. Whatever your reasons might be for wanting to remove the crankset, learning how to remove them will be a good skill to learn so you can save money or be prepared for when the unexpected happens.
First and foremost, you need the proper tools. What those tools are will depend on your bike, and every bike is different, but generally, you will need a crank puller tool, allen wrench, and a flathead screwdriver.
A crank puller tool, which is a tool used to pull a crank off the axle, will be a handy tool for avid bikers who want to do regular maintenance and repairs on their bike because it will make the job of removing or replacing a crankset much easier. Crank puller tools are typically standard in size because most cranks have a thread size of 22×1, so it’s safe to say that any generic puller can do the job. However, there are old, vintage bikes that might use a different thread size. If you intend to remove the crankset of an old, vintage bike, then you will need to ensure that the type of puller tool you have can do the job.
But if your bike is like the majority of bikes out there for which a generic crank puller tool will suffice, then here’s what you’ll need to do to get those cranksets off:
1. First, you want to get the bike onto a bike stand or in a position where you can easily access the crankset.
2. The next step would be to get the chain out of the way, so you don’t injure your hand. To do this, simply turn the pedals slowly while lifting the chain from the chainring.
3. Once the chain is out of the way, grab your open-end wrench and remove both pedals of the bike while taking note of what pedal belongs to which side. Typically, a bike pedal will have a marking on it stating which side of the bike it belongs to.
4. If your bike has a dust cover where the crank arm meets the outer chainring, you can use a flat head screwdriver to remove it.
5. Now get your allen wrench (or allen socket) to remove the crank bolt. Naturally, your allen wrench will need to be the proper size.
6. The next tool to use will be the crank puller tool, and you will first need to prepare it by extending the bolt. Just take the crank puller tool and twist the bolt that is attached to it until it extends sufficiently. Once it is extended, thread the crank puller tool thoroughly into the hub of the crankset where you removed the crank bolt for step 5. You’ll need to make sure the crank puller tool is thoroughly snug, and you can do this by further turning it clockwise with a wrench. We advise that you keep turning it clockwise until you can’t turn it anymore—this will be the signal that it’s maximally snug.
7. Once you have your crank puller tool snugly fitted into the hub of the crankset, the nest step would be to thread in the bolt of the crank puller tool—the one that you previously extended in step 6—until it’s tight. Again, simply turn the bolt clockwise until it extends inward as far as it possibly can into the hub of the crank.
8. With your allen wrench, continue turning the bolt clockwise inward into the hub, driving it further inside until the crankset becomes loose and can be pulled out.
9. The next thing to do is to repeat steps 5 to 8 for the other side.