How To Remove Bike Crank Without Puller: Detailed Tutorial

Your bike’s components require maintenance from time to time, and the crank is no exception. But removing this part can be daunting, though, especially if you don’t have a puller. Not everyone has access to specialized tools or wants to invest in a crank puller for occasional repairs. 

In this article, we will give you a complete guide on how to remove bike crank without puller. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast, a budget-conscious cyclist, or simply find yourself in a pinch without the right tool, we’ve got you covered! 

What Is The Bike Crank & Why It Requires Replacement? 

how to remove bike crank without puller

The bike crank is a crucial component of the drivetrain system that converts the energy from your pedaling motion into forward movement. 

It consists of one or more chainrings attached to a set of crank arms, which are connected to the bottom bracket spindle. The crank arms are the parts that you pedal with your feet.

Over time, bike cranks may require repair or replacement due to various reasons:

  • Wear and tear: Constant pedaling stresses the crank arms and chainrings, causing them to wear out over time. Signs of wear include visible damage, loosening, or warping of the crank arms, as well as worn-down or bent chainrings. In such cases, replacing the crank is necessary to maintain optimal performance and prevent further damage.
  • Upgrading components: Cyclists often replace their bike crank to upgrade their drivetrain system. This could involve installing a crankset with different chainring sizes, materials, or features, such as a power meter. Upgrading the crank can enhance performance, improve efficiency, or align with specific cycling goals.
  • Damage or breakage: In some instances, the bike crank may experience severe damage or even break due to accidents, impacts, or excessive force. Replacing the crank is essential to ensure rider safety and restore the bike’s functionality.

How To Remove Bike Crank Without Puller? A Comprehensive Guide 

To remove the bike crank without a puller, you can use common tools available in any household, such as a soft-faced hammer, an Allen wrench, and an adjustable wrench. Prepare the bike, loosen the crank bolts, tap the crank arm, and remove it carefully. 

In case you are still confused, let’s dive in each step: 

Step 1: Gather The Necessary Tools 

Even without a puller, you still need some tools to help you disassemble the bike crank. Below is a list of all the things you need, and unlike the puller, they can be found easily around the house: 

  • Rubber mallet or soft-faced hammer
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Allen wrench

Step 2: Prepare The Bike 

First, find a stable surface or use a bike repair stand to hold the bike securely in place during the removal process.

Then, shift the chain onto the smallest chainring. This will create slack in the chain and make it easier to remove the crank.

Preparing the bike ensures stability and facilitates access to the crank for removal.

Step 3: Remove The Dust Cap or Self-Extracting Bolt 

Before diving into the actual crank removal process, check if your bike crank has a dust cap or a self-extracting bolt on the non-drive side. 

If present, use the appropriate-sized Allen wrench (typically 5mm or 8mm) to unscrew and remove the dust cap or self-extracting bolt. Set aside the dust cap or self-extracting bolt in a safe place for reinstallation later.

Removing the dust cap or self-extracting bolt allows you to access the crank bolts underneath.

Step 4: Loosen The Crank Bolts 

After removing the dust cap or self-extracting bolt, you can now loosen the crank bolts. Use the 5mm or 8mm Allen wrench to loosen the crank bolts on both sides of the crank. Turn the wrench counterclockwise to loosen the bolts, but do not fully remove them at this stage.

Ensure you loosen both sides of the crank evenly to maintain balance and avoid putting unnecessary stress on one side.

remove crank arm without puller

Step 5: Tap the Crank Arm 

Now comes the critical step to remove crank arm without puller. Just tap the crank arm to loosen it from the bottom bracket spindle. 

With the crank bolts loose, lightly tap the crank arm with a rubber mallet or soft-faced hammer. The goal is to create enough force to loosen the crank arm from the bottom bracket spindle.

Start by tapping the crank arm on one side, then switch to the other side, alternating until the crank arm begins to move.

The tapping helps break the bond between the crank arm and the bottom bracket spindle, making it easier to remove the crank.

Step 6: Remove the Crank Arm 

Once the crank arm is loosened, you can proceed to remove it. Continue tapping the crank arm gently with the rubber mallet or soft-faced hammer. The aim is to provide enough force to slide the crank arm off the bottom bracket spindle.

You can use a large adjustable wrench if the crank arm doesn’t come off easily. Place the wrench on the crank arm and apply gradual pressure until the crank arm slides off.

Step 7: Final Step And Considerations 

Now that the crank arms are removed, you’ve successfully completed the process of removing the bike crank without a puller. Here are a few final steps and considerations to keep in mind:

  • Inspect the bottom bracket on the bike for any signs of damage, wear, or debris. Clean the area thoroughly and address any maintenance or repair needs.
  • If you’re replacing the crank or performing any other upgrades or repairs, follow the appropriate installation instructions and ensure everything is correctly aligned and tightened.
  • Remember to reinstall the dust cap or self-extracting bolt if your bike crank has one.
  • Periodically check the crank and bottom bracket area for any signs of loosening or issues during your rides.


Can I Use This Method On Any Type Of Bike Crank? 

Yes, this method can be used for most square taper or Octalink-style cranksets commonly found on bicycles.

Is There Any Risk Of Damaging The Bike While Removing The Crank Without A Puller?

If you follow the instructions carefully and use the rubber mallet to apply gradual force, the risk of damage is minimal. Be careful not to apply excessive force, as this could damage the bike frame or the crank arm itself. 

Can I Remove The Bike Crank Without Any Tools? 

Unfortunately, no. Even when you don’t have a puller, you still need tools such as an Allen wrench and an adjustable wrench to complete the process. 

The Bottom Line

Now you know how to remove bike crank without puller! The process may require some effort, but by using common tools found in most home toolkits, it will save you some time and money. 

Following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can safely remove the crank and proceed with any necessary maintenance or upgrades. With the right tools and a little know-how, you’ll be able to handle your bike crank removal like a pro. Happy riding!

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