How To Remove Bike Crank Without Puller – Step By Step Guideline

Even if you are not a professional mechanic, you have to be familiar with the basic bike repair and maintenance tips. You just never know when and where disaster might strike. Further, you also want to spend the least amount of money to repair your bike in the event of a disaster.

For you to be able to do so, you have to be guided appropriately. This is where we have come in. Our team of top-notch researchers has done a good job of identifying those issues you need to take care of. Read through our explanations below to find out just what you may need to know. In this article, you will learn how to remove a bike crank without a puller.

What Is Crank Puller Tool?

For your general repairs and maintenance, you need a crank puller tool. This is basically a special tool that you will use to dismantle and assemble the crankset of a bicycle. You may also use it for quite a number of general repairs and maintenance.

Typically, this tool comprises bolts and nuts. It pulls the crank off the axle when engaged. In most cases, this tool is made of aluminum which is lighter and more stable. You need some special skills and expertise to handle this tool. That is because it is potentially injurious and may cause some permanent damages to your bike also.

how to remove bike chank without puller

How To Remove Bike Crank Without Puller

It is indeed possible to remove the bike crank without necessarily using the puller. This is under extreme emergency circumstances and in areas where there is no one to assist. You have to know and adhere to some of the strictest operational procedures. The following are the steps you must follow:

Step I: Protect your hands

It is not uncommon to sustain some hand injuries in the process of removing the bike crank. The main sources of such injuries are the teeth that constitute the bike’s chain-ring. You want to protect your hands effectively from such common causes of injuries.

To do this, you are to shift the chain to the largest chain-ring. You may use the bike’s gearing mechanism to do this. Alternatively, you should use some piece of stick. Place the stick on the chains and gently lift it. Then, place the chain on the largest chain-ring gently and securely.

Step II: Remove the crank nut or bolt

Next, remove the crank nut or bolt. This is to loosen the crankset and let you eliminate it thereafter with relative ease. To do this, turn these nuts or bolts in counterclockwise directions. Do so slowly and steadily to spare you from any possible injuries that do arise in the course of this.

In case the bolt is invisible, eliminate the dust caps which exist thereon. The exact method you use depends largely on the makeup of the caps themselves. Some require that you pry them out whereas others need you to thread them out. Be sure to use the right approach for the avoidance of any issues.

Step III: Get rid of any washers

Now go ahead to get rid of any washers which might exist on the crankset. Washers are metal discs that have holes in their centers. These are typically found in areas underneath the nuts and bolts. Though varying in structure and scope, these parts serve more or less similar tasks and purposes.

They generally aid the movements of the wheels in one direction only. This they do courtesy of their pointed curves or levers. You will need to make do with a spanner or a bolt to get rid of them from where they are affixed.

Step IV: Inspect the crank bolt and select the correct tool

Proceed now to inspect the crank bolt. This step aims to find the most suitable tool for their subsequent removal. To do this, you will have to adhere to some strict ethos and operational procedures. This ethos, in turn, depends largely on the sizes of the cranksets.

For cranks that contain the M8 crank bolts, you are advised to use the CCP-22 or CWP-7 that has a small tip. For those that have M12 or M14 or larger bolts, be advised to make do with the CCP-44 or CWP-7 both of which contain larger tips.

Step V: Turn the threaded coupler of the puller

Go ahead to turn the threaded coupler of the puller. Do so until such a time that it recesses in the hex fitting of the tool. While at it, be sure not to cross the thread. The aim of all of this is to engage the 22 mm thread into the arm completely. You may have to use a spanner or a screwdriver to do this job.

Step VI: Thread the spindle driver of the puller into the arms

After you are through turning the threaded coupler of the puller, move on to thread the spindle driver of the puller into the arms. Use your bear arms to do this role. Simply insert the spindle driver into the slot that is apportioned to it.

Thereafter, turn the driver in an anti-clockwise direction. Do so slowly and meticulously until the outcome is completely taut. Test for tautness after you are through with the task. Any loose driver may often give rise to damages when riding the bike thereafter. You want neither of these to happen to you later.

Step VII: Turn the spindle in the clockwise direction

With the spindle driver completely tightened, you now have to turn it in the clockwise direction. That is why you have to keep threading it into the puller until such a time that the crank completely disengages.

Yet again, you are to undertake this process slowly and meticulously. Hurrying may not only injure you but also pose some damages to the crankset itself. Place the crank on some old newspaper and right next to you for easy references.

Step VIII: Unthread the crank puller tool from the crank

With the crankset now removed, you have to unthread the crank puller tool from the crank. While at it, take great care that you do not skin your knuckles while removing the tools. This process is potentially harmful to your body and skin. The last thing you would want is to worsen the situation altogether.

Step IX: Repeat this process on the other side

After doing the above to one side of the bike, the go-ahead to do the same to the other side. Simply follow the procedures we have outlined above faithfully and to the letter. This way, you will avoid any unnecessary issues which have the potential to complicating your experiences.

As always, test the bike to see to it that all the parts are completely disengaged. In case of any issues, you might have to inspect the affected parts to know the subsequent way forward to take. You are now good to go!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How To Remove Mountain Bike Crank?

Answer: Follow these steps to do so:

Step I: Unlock the left-hand crank

Start by unlocking the left-hand crank. Do this by pinching the bolts that clamp the left-hand cracks to the wheel axle.

Step II: Undo the pre-load cap

Move on now to undo and remove the pre-load caps which exist at the end of the crankset. Use some spanner to do so yet again.

Step III: Lift the Safety Tab

Using a small screwdriver, lift the safety tab. This way, you will gain access to the interior of the crankset. Plastic, being delicate, gets damaged easily. Go slow and meticulous on this issue hence.

Step IV: Pull off the left-hand crank

Having lifted the safety tab, you now have to pull off the left-hand crank. Simply get hold of it and move slowly, steadily, and simply.

Step V: Tap out the Axle

You are now almost good to go. Tap out the axle to conclude the process. Take care that you injure not yourself.

Q2. How To Remove Road Bike Crank?

The cranks of road bikes differ not so significantly from their mountain bike counterparts. They are only more delicate given that roads are less strenuous to counter compared to mountains. Follow these procedures to achieve this end:

Step I: Remove the crank bolt

Use a 10mm hex wrench to remove the crank bolt. This is the one that attaches the crankset to the wheel axle. Be slow to prevent the possibility of damaging any part.

Step II: Spin the wrench counterclockwise

On most bikes, this bolt is fastened too tight in such a way as not to allow for grabbing when not in use. You hence have to spin the wrench counterclockwise until you can spin no more.

Step III: Take the foot pedal off the bike

You are now ready to get the foot pedal off the bike. Use a crank remover to do this. This one couple with the threaded parts of the wheel. In so doing, it offers the strength necessary to pluck the pedal off.

Step IV: Remove the Crank

Now, go ahead to remove the crank. Simply hold it firmly using bare hands. Then, applying minimal force, pluck it slowly and steadily from the bike.

Step V: Repeat the Procedure elsewhere

Repeat this same procedure to the other foot of the pedal. You have finally achieved the feat.

Q3. How To Remove Bike Crank Arm?

The bike crank arm is the one that attaches to the pedals and the chainring. It is sufficiently bulky and also potentially dangerous. Follow these steps to remove it:

Step I: Pop out the safety tab

Start by popping out the safety tab. Do this using the screwdriver. Most of them are made of plastic. Be sure hence to be kind and gentle in order not to damage it permanently.

Step II:  Remove and unscrew the bolt

Thereafter, remove and unscrew the bolt or nut. It is this that attaches the crank arm to the spindly. It is found at either end of the spindle. You will have to make do with a 14 mm socket to achieve this aim.

Step III: Loosen the crank arm

Proceed to loosen the crank arm. For this, you will make use of the crank arm puller tool. Slot it in and then tighten using a wrenched arm.

Step IV: Crew it counterclockwise

Having inserted and tightened the crank arm puller tool, go ahead to screw it counterclockwise. Do so until it makes contact with the spindle. Then rotate till it gets to the end.

Step V: Remove the crank arm remover

Now, the crank arm is loose enough. Go ahead to remove it. Simply pull it out safely. Then, go ahead to repeat the above steps on the other side.

Q4. How To Remove A Crank Without A Bike Crank Puller?

We have already seen that you need to use a crank puller to remove the crank puller arm off a bicycle. However, this may not always have to be the case. To do so, just follow the steps outlined in the segment above. Substitute the crank arm puller with a screwdriver and spanner.

Step I: Pop out the safety tab

Start by popping out the safety tab. Do this using the screwdriver. Most of them are made of plastic. Be sure hence to be kind and gentle in order not to damage it permanently.

Step II:  Remove and unscrew the bolt

Thereafter, remove and unscrew the bolt or nut. It is this that attaches the crank arm to the spindly. It is found at either end of the spindle. You will have to make do with a 14 mm socket to achieve this aim.

Step III: Loosen the crank arm

Proceed to loosen the crank arm. Make use of a screwdriver in combination with a spanner. Use the screwdriver to turn the crank counterclockwise and the spanner to strengthen the turns.

Step IV: Crew it counterclockwise

Rotate the crank arm counterclockwise until you can rotate it no more.

Step V: Remove the crank arm remover

Now, the crank arm is loose enough. Go ahead to remove it. Simply pull it out safely. Then, go ahead to repeat the above steps on the other side.

Q5. How Do I Know What Size Crankset To Buy?

Answer: To find the correct crankset, you have to take care of several factors. The following are the key issues you need to consider:

Axle Diameter

These cranksets attach to the axles. They hence have to be compatible with the axle diameters. Be sure hence that the one you have in mind is similarly compatible with your axle.

Crank Length

The length of the crank itself also matters. Needless to say, you have to choose the crank arms which are compatible with the inside leg measurements. This is necessary for ideal controls and comforts.


You also have to be sure that the crankset you lay your hands on is sturdy and reliable for long-term use. This can only happen if they are made of strong and sturdy materials like Aluminum and carbon fiber.

Compatibility with your Chainrings

Other than being compatible with your axles, a good crankset has also to be compatible with the chainrings you have in mind. It is only in this way that you will enjoy some smooth rides.

Bottom Bracket (BB) Type

Lastly, you also have to figure out the bottom bracket types. Be sure that the crankset you intend to lay your hands on is compatible with them with regards to shape, size, and configuration.

Q6. Are Shorter Crank Arms Better?

Answer: YES, they are! The following are the main reasons which inform this fact:

Enhance Speed

Shorter cranks have been noted to greatly enhance your speed of travel. The main reason underlying this is reduced wastage of energy as you move along.

Improves Fit

It has also been noted that shorter cranks improve fit. This is about matters of aerodynamics, power, and comfort.

Enhances Comfort

Such a length minimizes the range of motion at your knee level. These include issues to do with flexion, extension, lower back, and hips.

Adds Power

With reduced crank length comes enhanced power output. It does so primarily by reducing the restrictions through the pedal strokes by opening up the hip angle and reducing the flexion of the knees.

Bolster Aerodynamics

By settling on a shorter crank, you will get to ride on an angle that is lower than your seat. This, of course, minimizes the frontal surface area thus improving your aerodynamics.

Q7. What Is The Best Crankset For A Road Bike?

Answer: The field of cranksets is flooded with many players and products. This notwithstanding, some brands and products stand out from the pack. As of the year 2019, the following have been noted to be the best cranksets for road bikes:

  • Shimano 6800 Ultegra
  • Sram Red22 GXP
  • Shimano Dura-Ace FC-9000
  • Sugino XD600
  • FSA K-Force Light 386
  • Shimano 105 Triple
  • Origin8 XLT Road
  • Sram S300 Courier

Needless to say, in your search for the right cranksets, you have to prioritize them. They are more likely to give you better satisfaction and long-lasting outcomes.

Q8: Does Crank Length Affect Saddle Height?

Answer: Definitely! The crank lengths indirectly affect the lengths of the pedals. Shorter cranks can only work with smaller pedals and vice versa. With smaller pedals, the saddle height has to be lowered to let the rider engage the said pedals easily and effectively.

The opposite applies to the larger cranksets. They require that you raise the pedals to let the rider engage the pedals with ease. If this is not done, then the riding experience will be full of sorrows and strains. You should be mindful of both parameters before you set out.

Q9. What Is The Standard Crank Arm Length?

Answer: 175 mm has for a long time been hailed as the standard crank arm length. In recent times though, several lengths have been accepted as standard or probable. Examples of these are 170 mm and 172.5 mm.

The ball is hence squarely on your court now. It is up to you to determine the length that is more convenient and useful for your course. Simply assess your height, feet size, and desired levels of comfort to arrive at the most probable standard size.

Q10. Does Crank Length Affect Gearing?

Answer: YES, they do! Longer cranks tend to affect the gearing mechanisms of your bike. A longer crank length generally increases the ratio significantly. The shorter cranks, on the other hand, reduce this ratio. If you have such a set on your bike, you have to apply excessive force to generate the same output.

Some studies imply that a 5 mm increase in the crank length yields a 2% increase in the gearing levels. Consider hence what is likely to happen if the increase in length may be significant (like 10 mm)? You hence want to factor this as well in your search for the right cranksets and riding conditions.

Final Verdict

We have truly labored to showcase to you all that pertains to this topic of bike cranks. It is now perfect for you to move on to implement the insight you have received. This can only mean acquiring a suitable crankset, or sharing this information with others, or using the insight as a guide to repairing your bike.

Still unsure of how to proceed? We are always happy to give further information. Simply let us know about your plight and we shall do so. All the best as you even contemplate taking the much-needed first step!

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Last Updated: May 21, 2022

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