“Transplanting” a BMX Pedal On a Hardtail

from Rookie’s keyboard

Hello, friends

Today, I went to work with my hardtail. I’ve had BMX Odyssey pedals on it since…forever. A fellow cyclist asked me about them while we were waiting at a light. He was shocked that I was running BMX pedals on a mountain bike setup. 

I told him how I’d installed them, but I also decided to make a blog post about the whole process as I think other people might be interested too. 

The mystery is that there is no mystery.

Standard BMX pedals can be“transplanted” on a hardtail(or any other bike) right away as long as the pedals and the cranks have a 9/16″ thread. 

There is one situation, however, when the approach changes. A small percentage of BMX pedals (usually those designed for 1-piece cranks) have a 1/2″ thread. 

In that case, you will have to replace the axles or use an adapter. Otherwise, you won’t be able to thread the pedals into the cranks. The threads of the cranks will certainly be damaged if you keep trying because the arms are made of aluminum (or carbon) whereas the axles are steel. And since steel is harder, it always wins.

I know that the numbers above may mean nothing to you, so let’s dissect them:

9/16″(14.3mm) and 1/2″(12.70 mm) show the diameter of the axle’s threaded section.

In some cases, the number comes with a 20 TPI (Threads Per Inch) indication.

The TPI indicates the number of threads per 1 inch/2.54cm. In this case, both 9/16″ and 1/2″ pedal axles have a 20 TPI (20 threads per inch).

Installing 1/2″ BMX Pedals On a Hardtail(or really any adult bike)

When I bought my first BMX pedals, I thought that all pedals had the same threads and axle diameter. So accidentally, I got 1/2″ Odyssey pedals. And when I tried to install them on my bike….the disappointment was huge. 

Luckily, it’s fixable. 

The first and easiest fix is to return the pedals for the right ones. If you bought them from a retail store, this should be ez pz. If, however, you can’t return them for whatever reason, some tinkering is in order.

The second easiest option is to get 1/2″ to 9/16″ pedal adapters. Those screw onto the existing axles and have 9/16″ threads on the other end. The downside is that they push the pedals further apart. 

When I was doing my “transplantation”, I didn’t have adapters so I decided to simply replace the axles with a set taken from generic pedals I had. 

Here’s how to do that: 

Tools Needed: 

1. A knife or a flat hat screwdriver

2. 9/16″ (14mm) socket

3. 1/2″ (13mm) socket

4. 15mm (pedal wrench)

5. Grease

  1. A magnet (optional but helpful)

Phase 1: Disassembly of the pedals

  • To disassemble a pedal, you first have to take off the so-called dust cap. In the photo below, I use a knife, but a small screwdriver will work just as well if not better.
  • After removing the dust cap, it’s time to unscrew the external nut holding the axle.

You do that with a 13mm socket and a 15mm wrench. Keep the axle immobile with the pedal wrench while untightening the nut with the socket.

  • Now it’s time to remove the washer and the internal nut. Slide a 14mm socket onto the washer and inner nut and start untightening the nut while holding the axle with your hand.
  • After removing the nut and the washer, slowly take out the axle. Unsurprisingly, some bearings will fall out. I recommend having a magnet nearby and using it to “collect and store” all the bearings.

After removing the axle, clean the entire pedal with a degreaser.

Phase 2: Re-assembly

Put a light coat of grease on the axle’s body and more on the bearings’ beds. Install the ball bearings into their beds with a small pair of tweezers.

Slide the new axle into the pedal until its thicker part touches the pedal’s body. Do it slowly to avoid misplacing the ball bearings.

The order of the parts above is: big nut – washer – small/lock nut

Slide on the internal nut and tighten it via a 14mm socket. Don’t make it too tight so that the pedal can spin freely. Finding the right setting is tricky because you also have to ensure that the pedal has no play in it. It will take a few tries, but it’s doable.

Slide the washer on the axle, and tighten the locknut. Test the pedal. If it’s spinning freely, put on the dust cap and reinstall the pedal.

I know that the procedure above seems complicated and it is for someone who doesn’t have tools and has never worked on a bike before, but it’s also very realistic and possible to perform it yourself. Set aside more time than you think you’ll and be patient. 

Now, another logical question is why use BMX pedals at all. 

While there aren’t some insane benefits, the following advantages are worth noting:

  • BMX pedals are affordable and yet super tough. Manufacturers produce them out of very tough composites as the pedal is subject to a lot of stress and even impact. Most BMX pedals can survive at least 12 months of hard riding and pretty much an eternity of calm pedaling.
  • The platform of BMX pedals is very large and makes it easier to perform tricks such as bunny hops. (This was among my incentives for the switch as I was learning tricks at the time.
  • BMX pedals are among the “grippiest” out there. Once again – the goal is to make the lifting of the rear wheel easier.
  • BMX pedals give you that street/skateboarder look that many people like.

The downsides? 

I don’t think there are any besides maybe the lack of removable pins. Most MTB pedals offer that feature whereas the pins of BMX pedals are plastic and can’t be replaced. But the truth is that some people may consider the plastic pins of BMX pedals an advantage as they are less aggressive and don’t tear the soles of your shoes as fast. Also, if you get hit in the shin, the damage is less likely to be severe.

And that’s the end of the story, friends. 

The bottom line is this – don’t be afraid to put BMX pedals on your bike…just make sure they are of the right size – 9/16″ in 99% of the cases. 

Have a great weekend. 

Until next time,

– Rookie






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