How to Remove Bike Crank Without Puller

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Staying active is necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Most people dread the treadmill and want an easier and more fun form of cardio. Cycling is probably the most loved form of cardio, and it’s fun, doesn’t hurt your knees that much, and still get you to your weight loss goals. If you have an old bicycle and want to change the crank and wonder how to remove bike crank without puller? Then we have got just that for you.

Most of us aren’t professional cyclists or aren’t that into the sport; therefore, we don’t have all the tools required to maintain a bicycle. But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways you can remove the bike crank without professional tools. Most people don’t like to get their hands dirty over something that they can pay someone else to do. However, if you are a handyman and like to take care of things yourself, this article is for you.

Two Methods on How to Remove Bike Crank Without Puller?

A crank puller is a pretty costly tool. A good quality crank puller can cost up to $15-20. Yes, the crank puller is a convenient tool and makes the job much easier. However, most people don’t want to spend that much on a tool they rarely need.

There are several reasons why you might need to change or remove your crank. The most common one is wear and tear. If it’s an old road bike or even a gravity mountain bike and the paddling doesn’t feel that smooth anymore, then you should consider changing your crank. And we have got several methods for you on how to remove the bike crank without a puller.

Bike Crank

These aren’t destructive methods; they will remove the crank without damaging the crank or the bottom bracket. These methods are easy to follow and don’t require any experience. However, if you want to preserve your spare parts, make sure to read and understand each step before executing them.

Why Do You Need To Remove Cranks?

There are numerous reasons why you might need to remove the bike crank. We have listed each one and explained them in brief. Just look for the issue you are facing and then use the method appropriate for it.

  • Stripped Threads: The threads of the pedals get stripped due to prolonged and continued usage. The threads become so smooth that the pedals get undone while riding and can be dangerous.
  • Crack in Crank: This is a very rare occurrence as cranks are very sturdy and rugged. Unless you have been in an accident, you don’t have to worry about it. But if you have a crack in your crank, you will have to replace it with a new one.
  • Bends: If you have been in an accident, there are chances that you might have a bend in your crank. It is a serious issue, and you can’t repair it. As you have to replace the crank, you can be destructive in your approach.
  • Bottom Bracket: If you hear a creaking sound every time you paddle, then it’s because of the loose fit of the bike’s mating hole and the bottom bracket.
  • Cleaning: Cleaning the crank is much easier when it’s completely separated from the cycle. You can clean the crank much more thoroughly this way.

If you are facing any of these issues, you might be thinking about how to remove the bike crankset? We have provided a step-by-step guide on how to remove a bike crank without a puller. Just make sure to read all the steps before initiating anything.

Working Methods to Remove  Bike Crank Without a Puller

There are several ways to remove your crank without proper crank removal tools. The approach can differ depending on if you want to preserve the crank or not.

If you are looking to repair or preserve the crank, you must be extra careful with your approach. Removing bike cranks is not an easy task and requires extra precaution when you have to preserve the crank.

We have given you a step-by-step guide that will make removing that troublesome crank easy.

Tools Required

In order to remove the crank, you will need some essential tools. These are the most basic tools that most of us have in our household.

  • Rubber/Wood Mallet
  • Philip head and flathead screwdrivers
  • A Rag
  • Pair of gloves
  • Machine Oil
  • Hacksaw/Circular Saw

You must have seen people using the spindle method as an alternative for a crank puller. And rightfully so, it is an excellent alternative to a crank puller. However, if you don’t have a crank puller, the chances of you having a spindle are very thin.

So we came up with a method on how to remove the bike crank without a puller or any crank removal tool. Just be a bit careful.

Note: Before starting to work on the bike, ensure that the crank is cleaned and all the dirt is removed.

Method 1: Using a Rubber Mallet

Step 1: Remove the crank bolt on the crank that attaches the crank arm to the bottom bracket. Rotate Counterclockwise to remove the bolt. If the nut is rusty and isn’t coming off that easily, use some machine oil to loosen up the bolt.

Step 2: Take out all the washers once the nut is out.

Step 3: Remove the chain from the crank spikes. This is a safety measure as it will ensure that you don’t accidentally pinch your finger in between the chain and the spike.

Step 4: Put some machine oil around the mating hole. The bottom bracket and the mating hole are a snug fit and don’t come off that easily. The machine oil will act as a lubricant between the two.

Step 5: Turn the bike around and place a rug over the spider arm. This rag is to dampen the impact.

Step 6: Now, place a flat head screwdriver on the spider arm from over the rag. Now gently start to bang at the handle of the screwdriver with a rubber mallet. Make sure you use gentle taps instead of hitting hard.

Step 7: Rotate the crank by 180 after every two to three hits.

NOTE: Do not keep hitting the same spider arm repeatedly. Make sure you rotate the crank and evenly hit each arm. This will make sure that the mating hole is not destroyed in the process.

Step 8: Keep repeating step 7 until the crank falls off.

Check out How to Remove Bike Pedals

Method 2: Cutting the Crank off

Now, this method is recommended if you don’t have to preserve the crank. You will be using this method if you have a crack or bend in the crank, as it’s not recommended to use a crank after such severe damages.

Note: Make sure you maintain proper safety precautions while performing the below-mentioned steps. Use gloves and eye protection.

Step 1: Clean the crank and remove the chain from the crank spikes.

Step 2: Use a marker to mark the crankshaft where you want to make the cuts.

Step 3: Take a small circular saw and start cutting on your markings. Make sure you go slow and avoid cutting the bottom bracket.

Step 3: Once you have made the first cut start cutting over the second marking. Make sure you go slow like before.

Step 4: Once you have finished cutting, remove the piece, and the crank will come off with a gentle tap.

As you can see, this is a destructive method and will make the crank unusable, so we recommend you use this method only in worst-case scenarios. Do follow the recommended safety measures while executing the steps.

That’s it; you have successfully removed the faulty bike crank without any specific crank removal tool.

Check out Removing Rusty Bicycle Chain

Alternative Method: How to remove bike crank with a puller

Removing bike cranks is a nasty business if you don’t have the proper tools and experience. A crank puller is a convenient tool, and it makes the job feel like a cakewalk.

A crank puller is a useful tool if you cycle regularly. It isn’t very costly, with the cheapest one costing as low as $5. You can get a decent crank puller at around $8.

We highly recommend you buy a crank puller.

Tools Required:

  • CCP-22 for M8 crank bolt or CCP-44 for M14 and M12 bolts.
  • Rag
  • Lubricant

Steps to Follow:

  1. Remove the crank bolt.
  2. Make sure you remove the washer once the bolt is removed.
  3. Slowly screw in the threaded coupler, make sure the coupler is not cross-threaded.
  4. Tighten the coupler nicely so that there is no wiggle room left.
  5. Start screwing in the spindle arm with the help of a spanner.
  6. Keep screwing in the spindle arm, and slowly you will observe that the crank is coming off.

Congratulations, you have successfully removed a bike crank.


That’s all there is to it. If you were wondering how to remove a bike crankset without a puller, now you know that it can be done.

The mentioned methods don’t require much expertise, but a little knowledge about bike maintenance is a must. However, we tried to keep the guide as simple as possible.

I believe there is nothing left to cover about removing a bike crank. If you think we missed something feel free to share it in the comment section below.