How to Remove Bicycle Crank Without Puller: 5 Mins Guide

As cyclists, we know that keeping your bike in top shape is a must for a smooth ride and your safety. The crank is the heart of your bike’s power, turning your pedal pushes into speed. But what if that crucial crank needs to come off and you don’t have a crank puller? Fear not! We’re here to guide you through the ins and outs of removing a bike crank without the specialty tool.

The Tools You Will Need

There are some common household items and hardware tools that can come to the rescue:

  • Screwdrivers: A large flat-head screwdriver can be used as a wedge to help pry the crank arm away from the spindle.
  • Hammers: With careful use, a hammer can be utilized to tap the screwdriver or another wedge tool to ease the crank off the spindle.
  • Wedges: Small wedges, such as metal chisels or even sturdy pieces of wood, can be inserted and tapped into the gap between the crank arm and the bottom bracket to help separate them.

When using these tools, safety is paramount. We advise wearing protective gear such as safety glasses and gloves to shield yourself from any potential flying debris or sharp edges. Also, be cautious not to strike the bike’s frame or any delicate components. Cover sensitive areas with a cloth or pad to prevent scratches or dents. Precision and patience are key; rushing could result in damage to your bike or injury to yourself.

Preparing Your Bike for Crank Removal

Securing Your Bike

Before you start, make sure your bike won’t move. You can put it on a bike stand or just flip it over so it stands on the seat and handlebars. If you flip it, put something soft under to avoid scratches.

Taking Off the Chain and Pedals

Now, let’s clear up your workspace:

  • Move your gears so the chain is loose.
  • Unhook the chain from the front gears.
  • Unscrew the pedals with a wrench. Remember, the right pedal unscrews to the left, and the left pedal unscrews to the right.

Cleaning the Crankset

A clean crankset is easier to work on. Just wipe it down with a rag and some cleaner. Look closely for any cracks or rust, especially around the bolts.

With these steps, your bike is ready to get that crank off. We’ve made it safe and tidy, so you can see what you’re doing and not hurt yourself or the bike.

Read more: Why Does My Bike Tires Keep Deflating?

How Do You Remove A Bike Crank Without A Crank Puller?

Step 1: Loosening and Removing the Crank Bolt or Nut

First things first, to remove a bike crank without a crank puller, you’ll need to loosen the crank bolt or nut that holds the crank arm to the spindle. Use an adjustable wrench or a socket wrench that fits the bolt or nut size. If it’s too tight, you might need to apply more force. You can use a longer wrench for more leverage or try tapping the wrench gently with a mallet. Remember to turn counterclockwise to loosen.

Step 2: Applying Leverage to the Crank Arm

Once the bolt or nut is loose, you may find the crank arm still won’t budge. You can apply leverage to help it along. A rubber mallet can be used to gently tap the crank arm from the opposite side to help release it. Be careful not to use too much force, as this could damage the crank arm or the spindle. A piece of wood can be placed against the crank arm to distribute the force of the mallet’s blow and protect the arm.

Step 3: Unconventional Methods for Dislodging the Crank

If the crank arm is stubborn, several unconventional methods can help. Penetrating oil can be applied at the point where the crank arm meets the spindle. Let it sit for a while to loosen any corrosion or grime. Tapping around the crank arm with a mallet can also create vibrations to help free it. In extreme cases, applying heat with a hairdryer or heat gun can expand the metal slightly, making it easier to remove. However, be cautious with heat to avoid damaging the crank or the bike frame.

Step 4: Maintaining Crankset and Bottom Bracket Integrity

Throughout the removal process, it’s crucial to maintain the integrity of the crankset and bottom bracket. Avoid using excessive force that can strip threads or warp components. If you encounter resistance, take a step back and apply more penetrating oil or try a different method. Always keep the bike stable to prevent it from falling and causing injury or further damage.

Removing a bike crank without a crank puller can be a bit tricky, but with the right tools and techniques, it’s definitely doable. Just be patient, go slowly, and protect your bike’s components throughout the process.

What To Do After Bike Crank?

Check Your Crank and Spindle

Once you’ve taken off the crank, it’s time to check it and the spindle for damage. Look for areas where the metal is worn down or rusty. If you see threads that look smoothed out or spots of rust, you might need new parts. Riding your bike with these issues can lead to trouble, so better to swap them out if they look bad.

Clean and Grease Up

Now, let’s clean up. Grab a degreaser and scrub off the old grease and dirt from the crank and bottom bracket. Use a small brush to get into tight spots. Dry everything off when you’re done. Put on fresh bike grease where the crank and bolt meet. This keeps your bike running smooth and stops rust from forming.

Putting the Crank Back On

When you put the crank back on, make sure it fits right and you screw it in tight, but not too tight. If your crank or spindle looks really worn out, get a new one. It’s not worth the risk of your bike breaking while you’re riding. Always follow what your bike’s manual says when you’re putting parts back together. Taking care of your bike like this keeps it ready to ride any time.

Read more: How to Pump Up a Bike Tire with a Skinny Valve

5 Precautions and Tips

  • Easy Does It: When dealing with stuck caps, a gentle approach is key. Avoid using brute force, as it can cause more harm than good.
  • Right Tools for the Job: Use tools that are appropriate for the task. Pliers can be helpful, but make sure they’re the right size and you’re using them correctly.
  • Patience is a Virtue: If the cap doesn’t come off immediately, take a break and try again later. Sometimes, a little time is all it takes.
  • Know When to Stop: If you’ve tried everything and the cap is still stuck, it might be time to seek professional help. Better safe than sorry.
  • Regular Maintenance: To prevent caps from getting stuck in the future, make it a habit to check and clean them regularly.

The Bottom Line

The process of removing a bike crank without a crank puller is a valuable skill for any cycling enthusiast. It’s a testament to self-sufficiency and understanding the intricacies of your bicycle. This guide has provided you with the necessary steps and tips to tackle this task with confidence. Remember, the key is in the careful application of tools and techniques, ensuring that you maintain the integrity of your bike’s components while addressing the issue at hand.

As you master this skill, you not only save yourself a trip to the bike shop but also deepen your connection with your bicycle. It’s about taking ownership of your ride’s maintenance and enjoying the satisfaction that comes with a job well done. So, the next time your bike crank needs attention, you’ll be well-equipped to handle it, reinforcing your role as a capable and resourceful cyclist.