Why Bike Pedals won’t Move Forward [Reasons & Fix]

A bicycle is run by the energy of your legs that transfer through the pedal. So, when the bike pedal won’t move forward, the bike won’t run.

As the bearings are associated with the mechanism, you can assume that the bearings are the culprit.

Most of the time, pedals won’t move forward because of bad bearings. But there are a few other things that can cause the pedal stuck.

So, today I am gonna talk about the reasons why the bike pedal won’t move forward.

Also, I will suggest the probable solution for pedal stuck. So, stay with me if you want to get rid of stuck problems.

Why bike pedals won’t move forward

When the pedal bearings are too rusty and worn out, bike pedals won’t move forward. Besides, incorrect chain alignment or a short braking cable can cause a fake pedal stuck.

Let’s dig in.

  1. Rusty bearings: Sometimes, it happens that you are not riding for a long time, and the bike is left without maintenance. Thus, the bearings get too rusty that they prevent the pedals from spinning. In a single-speed fixie, the same thing occurs on the rear cog. As the cog doesn’t turn, the pedal gets stuck for being connected with the chain.
  1. Dirty rear cog: An artificial pedal stuck also appears for the dirty rear cog. Especially when you are riding through bush or dirt, the cog gets heavily contaminated. Moreover, foreign matters like straw or grass rolled around the cassettes and jammed the freewheel. Thus, the cassettes stop turning and don’t let the pedal move forward.
  1. Chain stuck: The breaking and gearing components like derailleurs or rotors get heavily misaligned after a crash. As a result, the chain is stuck in many positions like the chainring cage. As the chain gets stuck, the pedal can’t move forward. Besides, the disc brake can get bent severely and stop the entire wheel from spinning. Thus, an artificial pedal stuck can appear.

How to avoid pedal stuck

bike pedal

Pedal stuck is caused by the stoppage of rotating components of the bike. So you have to keep these components clean and lubricated.

This is essential for the smooth functioning of the pedal and wheel, which is a must to avoid pedal stuck.

Anyways, clean the rear cog first and lubricate the freewheel first. The cleaning process is discussed in detail in my Chain Cleaning Guide Check it out.

Get a suitable Lubricant, and you are ready to go.

What to do if the bike pedals won’t move forward

Firstly you have to identify where the problem is. Try to rotate the wheel counter-clockwise.

If it is spinning, chances are that the wheel has no problem, and the pedal itself is the culprit. However, if the wheel is okay, try to move the pedals back and forth.

If they are not moving and freeze in a position, then the BB bearings are bad. Lastly, check the brakes and the chain.

If they are not aligned right and severely bent, they are maybe responsible for the stuck.

Anyways, after identifying the problems, get the solution from bellow tips.

Tip-1: Fixing the bottom bracket

Bike Crank Bearings are Bad

If the pedals have a problem, you must inspect them first. The pedal or crank rotates through the bottom bracket.

So, you must remove the bottom bracket and check its bearing and spindle. However, the BB removal and installation process is described in BB Removal and Installation Guide.

So I am not gonna repeat it. Instead, let’s discuss what to do after BB removal.

  1. Firstly, check the spindle and the bearings. If the spindle is bent or too rusty, you have to get a new bottom bracket. Otherwise, you can just fix or swap the bearings. However, check the bearing next. Is it restorable? If it is, clean it, apply grease and reinstall.
  1. Most of the time, you have to change the bearing. So, get a suitable BB Bearing. Then, lubricate and reinstall it.

Tip-2: Swapping the freewheel or cassettes


If the freewheel or cassettes is damaged inside and can’t be restored, swap it up. Before you start, you have to identify whether your bike has a freewheel or a cassette system.

Basically, a cassette system is consists of 5 to 10 spare cogs and a freehub. Where freewheel has cogs built-in permanently.

So, you can’t replace them with each other. Moreover, the mechanism and removal process is quite different from one another. 

Anyways, let’s know how to change the freewheel or cassettes.

  1. Firstly, you have to observe the rear cog-set and identify whether it is a cassette system or a freewheel. For that, loosen the quick release and take the rear wheel off the bike. Now, check the center of the cog-set. If there is a lockring, it’s a cassette system. Otherwise, it’s a freewheel. Now, get a new Freewheel or a Freehub accordingly.
  1. Secondly, remove the cassettes or the freewheel. For freewheel, you will need a suitable Freewheel Removal Tool. You can simply remove the cassettes with a Hex Key. just to loosen the lockring. Now, remove the freehub with an Adjustable Wrench and take out the axle. Then, remove the freehub body with a large hex wrench.
  1. Lastly, clean the hub and install the new components as you have removed the old ones. But, make sure no component is cross-threaded. Finally, reinstall the wheel and fine-tune the bike.

Tip-3: Fine-tuning the brakes and chain

Whether your bike crashed or not, you must fine-tune the bike. Before that, check if there is any bend in the derailleur cage or hanger.

Also, diagnose the rotor and brake levers. If they are bent, fix them first. Then go to the following steps.

  1. Firstly, check if the brake is working or not. If there is a problem, perform Bike Brake Adjustment.
  1. Secondly, fix the bent hanger. Then, check the chain alignment. Is it not aligned parallel to the cogs? Then you will need the Rear Derailleur Adjustment.
  1. Lastly, if the chain cage is damaged or displaced, get a new one or Adjust the Front Derailleur.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you grease bike bearings?

If you asked me specifically about the bottom bracket bearing, I would say, whenever you install a new one.

Besides, applying grease twice a year is enough. Make a maintenance routine and do it whenever you maintain the whole bike.

Can I use WD40 on my bike pedals?

There are debates on is WD40 suitable for bikes or not. Well, I would say it’s better to avoid it.

Basically, W40 is a degreaser, not a lubricant. But, the solvent it is made of is not suitable for metal. So, it’s better not to use it neither as a degreaser nor as a lubricant.

Should I use thread lockers on bike pedals?

I have talked about it many times previously. Thread locker is not suitable for bike components. If you use it to the pedal instead of grease, it can jam the pedal bearings.

Thus, pedal removal gets more tricky. Moreover, it is harsh toward metal. So, corrosion can occur if you overuse thread lockers.


Bike stuck is one of the most common problems that every rider faces. Especially when the pedals are stuck and don’t move forward, it’s impossible to ride the bike.

But now you know why bike pedals won’t move forward and learned how to fix it.

However, I think regular maintenance of the bike is necessary to avoid pedal stuck. Also, you will need a fix when it literally appears.

This post can help to get a fix. So, read to know which steps you need to eliminate pedal stuck. I hope nothing will stop you from riding.


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