How To Remove Bicycle Crank Without Puller

So, you’ve found yourself with a bicycle crank that needs to be removed, but you don’t have a puller tool on hand. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll show you an easy and practical method to remove your bicycle crank without a puller. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just starting out, knowing how to remove a bicycle crank without a specialized tool can come in handy when you least expect it. So, grab your bike and let’s get started on this DIY adventure!

Preparing for Crank Removal

Gather the necessary tools and materials

Before attempting to remove the bicycle crank, it’s important to gather all the necessary tools and materials. You will need a wrench, preferably a crank bolt wrench or an adjustable wrench that fits the crank bolt size. Additionally, you’ll need a rubber mallet, a wooden dowel, a wooden block, and some grease or lubricant. By having everything at hand, you’ll be well-prepared and ready to tackle the task ahead.

Ensure the bike is secure and stable

Ensuring that your bike is properly secured and stable is crucial for your safety and the success of the crank removal process. Start by finding a level surface and placing your bike on a bicycle repair stand or similar setup. If you don’t have a stand, you can also flip your bike upside down and securely prop it up using a stable surface or some blocks. Remember, stability is key to avoid accidents or damaging the bike.

Shift the chain to outer chainring position

Before delving into the crank removal process, it’s important to shift the chain to the outer chainring position. This will provide better access to the crank arm and make the removal process smoother. Simply shift gears until the chain is on the outermost chainring. This step will ensure that the chain doesn’t obstruct your progress when removing the crank arm.

Removing the Crank Bolt

Locate the crank bolt

The crank bolt is typically located at the center of the crankset, connecting the crank arm to the spindle. Look for a bolt that holds the crank arm in place. The bolt may have a dust cap covering it, so you may need to remove the cap before proceeding. Locating the crank bolt is an important first step before attempting to remove the crank arm.

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Choose the correct wrench size

Once you have located the crank bolt, it’s time to choose the correct wrench size for removal. Most crank bolts require either a 14mm or 15mm wrench, but it’s always a good idea to double-check to ensure that you have the right size. Using the wrong size wrench may damage the bolt or make it difficult to loosen. Take your time to find the proper wrench size before proceeding further.

Apply force counter-clockwise to loosen the bolt

With the correct wrench size in hand, it’s time to apply force to loosen the crank bolt. Remember that the bolt is threaded, so you will need to turn it counter-clockwise to loosen it. Apply steady pressure to loosen the bolt, being careful not to slip and potentially injure yourself. If the bolt is particularly tight, you can use a breaker bar or a longer wrench to provide more leverage. Take your time and use controlled force to avoid any mishaps.

Removing the Crank Arm

Position the crank arm for removal

To remove the crank arm, you need to position it properly. Stand on the non-drive side of the bike and place your feet securely on the ground. Ensure that you have a stable stance and a good grip on the bike. This position will allow you to apply force to the crank arm while keeping the bike balanced and preventing it from tipping over.

Use a rubber mallet to tap the crank arm

Once you are in the correct position, it’s time to use a rubber mallet to tap the crank arm and loosen it from the spindle. Start by gently tapping the backside of the crank arm. The purpose of this tapping is to create some vibration and loosen any tight connections. Be careful not to hit too hard, as excessive force may damage the crank arm or your bike. Gradually increase the intensity if needed, but always strike with control and precision.

Gently slide the crank arm off the spindle

After loosening the crank arm with the rubber mallet, it should be easier to slide it off the spindle. Gently pull the crank arm away from the bike, keeping a firm grip on it. If the crank arm doesn’t come off easily, you can wiggle it back and forth while applying slight pressure. With patience and persistence, the crank arm will eventually come loose and can be fully removed from the spindle.

Alternative Method: Using a Hammer

Loosen the crank bolt as before

If the previous method didn’t yield the desired results, fear not! There is an alternative method that involves using a hammer. Just like in the previous method, start by loosening the crank bolt using the correct wrench size. Apply counter-clockwise force to loosen the bolt, preparing it for the next steps.

Use a hammer and a wooden dowel

With the crank bolt loosened, it’s time to bring out the hammer and wooden dowel. The wooden dowel should have a diameter roughly the same size as the spindle hole in the crank arm. Place the dowel against the backside of the crank arm, aligned with the spindle hole.

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Tapping the backside of the crank arm

Using the hammer, give the wooden dowel a series of gentle taps to push the crank arm away from the spindle. These taps should be moderate in force and evenly distributed. The purpose of the wooden dowel is to protect the crank arm from direct contact with the hammer, reducing the risk of damage. Patience is key, as it may take a few taps to fully separate the crank arm from the spindle.

Alternative Method: Using a Wooden Block

Remove the crank bolt and washer

Similar to the previous methods, start by removing the crank bolt and washer. Use the appropriate wrench size and turn the bolt counter-clockwise until it is fully loosened. Remove the bolt and set it aside along with the washer.

Place a wooden block against the crank arm

Once the crank bolt and washer are removed, position a wooden block against the crank arm for the next part of the process. The wooden block should be wide enough to provide sturdy support and protect the crank arm during the removal process.

Strike the block with a mallet to push out the arm

With the wooden block in place, use a mallet to strike the block. The strikes should be firm, but not overly forceful. The goal is to create enough impact to push the crank arm away from the spindle. Keep striking the block evenly until the crank arm starts to move. Once it begins to slide, you can gently pull it off the spindle. The wooden block acts as a buffer, preventing any damage to the crank arm.

Inspecting and Cleaning the Crank

Check for any damage or wear

Before reinstalling the crank arm, it’s wise to inspect it for any signs of damage or wear. Look for cracks, chips, or any other visible issues that could compromise the crank arm’s integrity. Additionally, check the spindle for any signs of wear or damage. Identifying any potential problems now will save you headaches down the line.

Clean the crank and spindle thoroughly

To ensure optimal performance, it’s essential to clean the crank and spindle thoroughly. Use a degreaser or a mild soap solution to remove any dirt, grime, or leftover grease. Scrub gently with a brush or cloth, paying special attention to hard-to-reach areas. Once clean, rinse with water and thoroughly dry both the crank and spindle before proceeding.

Apply grease or lubricant if necessary

After cleaning, it may be necessary to apply a small amount of grease or lubricant to the spindle. This will help reduce friction and ensure smooth operation when reinstalling the crank arm. Be sure to use a suitable grease or lubricant for bicycle components and apply it sparingly. Excess grease can attract dirt and cause more harm than good.

Reinstalling the Crank Arm

Align the splines on the spindle with the crank arm

To reinstall the crank arm, align the splines on the spindle with the corresponding splines inside the crank arm. Take your time to ensure a proper fit, as aligned splines are essential for a secure and functional connection. Wiggle the crank arm gently to make sure it is properly seated on the spindle.

Slide the crank arm onto the spindle

With the splines properly aligned, slowly slide the crank arm onto the spindle. Apply even pressure as you push the crank arm inwards towards the bike frame. It should slide smoothly and snugly into place. If you encounter any resistance, double-check the alignment of the splines before proceeding further.

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Tighten the crank bolt securely

Once the crank arm is in position, it’s time to secure it in place by tightening the crank bolt. Use the chosen wrench size to tighten the bolt in a clockwise direction. Apply enough force to ensure a secure fit, but be careful not to overtighten and potentially damage the components. Remember to refer to your bike’s specifications for the recommended torque value if available.

Safety Precautions

Wear protective gloves and eyewear

When performing any bicycle maintenance tasks, including crank removal, it’s important to prioritize safety. Protect yourself by wearing protective gloves to prevent any potential injuries while handling tools or components. Additionally, wearing eyewear will shield your eyes from any debris or particles that may become dislodged during the process. Safety should always be a top consideration.

Be cautious when using tools

While removing the crank arm, you’ll be using various tools such as wrenches, rubber mallets, and hammers. It’s crucial to exercise caution and use these tools responsibly. Avoid rushing or applying excessive force, as this can lead to accidents or damage to your bike. Take your time, follow the instructions carefully, and maintain control over your tools at all times.

Double-check the crank arm is securely installed

After reinstalling the crank arm, it’s critical to double-check that it is securely installed before riding your bike. Give the crank arm a firm tug to ensure that it doesn’t move or feel loose. If you detect any wobbling or movement, stop and recheck the installation. A secure crank arm is vital for safe and efficient cycling, so it’s worth taking the extra time to ensure its stability.

Common Troubleshooting Issues

Crank arm is stuck on the spindle

If you encounter difficulties removing the crank arm, it may be stuck on the spindle. This can happen due to factors such as rust, corrosion, or improper installation. If this occurs, try using penetrating oil to loosen the bond between the crank arm and the spindle. Allow the oil to penetrate for a few hours or overnight before attempting to remove the crank arm again. Applying gentle heat with a hairdryer can also help expand the metal and loosen the connection.

Bolt is stripped or difficult to remove

Sometimes, the crank bolt may become stripped or difficult to remove. This can be frustrating, but there are a couple of solutions to tackle this issue. First, try using a larger wrench or an adjustable wrench with a firm grip to generate more torque. If that doesn’t work, you can use a bolt extractor tool specifically designed to remove stripped bolts. These tools have a reverse thread that engages with the bolt and lets you remove it with increased leverage.

Crank arm is damaged during removal

In rare cases, the crank arm may sustain damage during the removal process. This can happen due to excessive force or improper technique. If you notice any cracks, chips, or other damage, it’s crucial to address it before continuing. Using a damaged crank arm can compromise your safety and lead to further problems. In such cases, consider seeking professional assistance or replacing the crank arm altogether to ensure the integrity of your bike.


Removing a bicycle crank without a puller is possible with the right tools, technique, and a bit of patience. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully remove and reinstall your bike’s crank arm. Remember to gather the necessary tools, ensure your bike is secure and stable, and shift the chain to the outer chainring position. Take your time to locate the crank bolt, choose the correct wrench size, and apply force counter-clockwise to loosen the bolt. If you encounter difficulties, alternative methods such as using a hammer or a wooden block can be effective. Once the crank arm is removed, inspect and clean it thoroughly before reinstallation. Prioritize safety by wearing gloves and eyewear, being cautious when using tools, and double-checking the crank arm is securely installed. By troubleshooting common issues and following these guidelines, you’ll be able to enjoy the satisfaction of successfully removing and reinstalling your bicycle crank without a puller. Happy biking!

Kelly Adams

Kelly Adams

In order to be safe on our bikes we have to keep them maintained and in good working order. Also bike accessories are a must if you want to enjoy the full experience. If something is broken or worn out replace it before you get injured. -Thank you-

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