How to Get Grease Into the Crank of a Schwinn Bicycle


With millions of bikes sold since its founding in 1895, Schwinn provides all kinds of cranks and bottom brackets on its models. One thing’s for certain, you’ll either have a one-piece, or a cup and cone bottom bracket, rather than sealed cartridge bearings if you need to grease the crank. You’ll have to get access to the innards of the bracket by removing and replacing the cranks, which connect the pedals to the bottom bracket.

Things You'll Need

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pin spanner
  • Socket wrench and 14 mm socket
  • Crank-pulling tool
  • Solvent
  • Rag
  • Grease
  • Grease gun
  • Remove the crank arm on a vintage one-piece crank by loosening the locknut clockwise on the non-drive side of the crank with a regular wrench and removing the adjusting cone with a pin spanner. The entire crank will come free of the bottom bracket shell. For a square-taper crank, found on contemporary midrange bikes, remove each crank by loosening the outer bolt with an appropriately sized socket, typically 14 mm, and the inner bolt with a crank-pulling tool. Set the cranks aside.

  • Remove the bearing cups with a punch and hammer for a one-piece crank or a pin spanner or bottom bracket wrench for a cup and cone arrangement. Wipe off the cups with a rag and soak them in a solvent to clean them. Clean the spindle and the bearing races with a rag.

  • Repack the bearings by thoroughly applying grease with a grease gun to the cups, including the spaces between the bearings, advises Alex Ramon of Push the bearing cups back in the bottom bracket and reverse your steps to replace the cranks properly.

Tips & Warnings

  • “Have patience” with this repair, advises Rob Pirtle of Broadway Bikes in Baltimore, Maryland. You have to methodically remove the crank arms, degrease the bearings, clean and repack them and replace the cranks, regardless of which Schwinn model you are restoring.

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