/ Why is my bike creaking?

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Hooo - on 20 May 2013
My bike makes a creaking noise as I pedal, and I can't work out what it is. If I turn it upside down and try and flex the cranks side to side, there is no play in the bearing, but there is a distinct tick noise from the frame. It's the sort of sound you hear from a hot engine as it's cooling down - like expanding / contracting metal.
Any ideas what it could be? It's an ally frame BTW.
In reply to Hooo: Your knees...
Hooo - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Submit to Gravity:
That's a different sound, more like a popping. I know it well :-)
Mikkel - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:

When mine did that, it was a crack in the frame.

but find its usualy the pedals or the seatpost that creaks.
Stash - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo: sounds like your bottom bracket has gone
a lakeland climber on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:

Need a bit more info:

Is the creaking sound always at a certain point in the rotation of the pedal?
Does the noise occur just when you are sat down and pedalling or also when you are out of the saddle?
Does the sound occur when you use a different set of pedals?

ALC
lost1977 - on 20 May 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:

exactly the questions i was going to ask as it will pretty much give a diagnoses know the answers to those questions
muttley_109 on 20 May 2013
In reply to lost1977:

Mine has been creaking when I pedal hard. Turns out it is a loose chain ring nut causing the chain rings to flex. Get the allen keys out and go around the entire bike checking everthing is tight
In reply to Hooo: If it stops when you're not pedaling, sounds like the early stages of the BB going. Happening on mine at the mo', rather annoyed as it's done only around 1000 kms.
Hooo - on 20 May 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:
> (In reply to Hooo)
>
> Need a bit more info:
>
> Is the creaking sound always at a certain point in the rotation of the pedal?
> Does the noise occur just when you are sat down and pedalling or also when you are out of the saddle?
> Does the sound occur when you use a different set of pedals?
>
> ALC
I can get it to creak without pedalling. Turn the bike upside down, grab the cranks and try and flex side to side without rotating. There is no play, but I get the 'ticking' sound from the frame.
It doesn't matter what position the cranks are in, it's always the same.
I'm holding the cranks, not the pedals, so I doubt it's them. I don't have any others to try.
Hooo - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Mikkel:
That's what I thought at first, but I can't see any sign of a crack. Would it be visible?
It started off only happening when pedalling hard, but it seems to be getting worse, now light pedalling causes it too.
Toby_W on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:

Quick release on wheels creaking
Loose spoke
Pedal bearings
Headset bearings
Bb bearings.
Chainring bolts
Handle bar clamp.

Could be seat post / seat but you can tell by getting out of the saddle.

Good luck

Toby
a lakeland climber on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:

Does sound (sic) like it's the bottom bracket is on its way out. Depending on the type of BB it can vary from easy to slightly less so to replace.

Sadly a lot of bike componentry these days seems to have a built in obsolescence of shockingly short timescales. I suspect the industry's following the lead of the electronics firms where it's easier and cheaper to replace than repair. A shimano hollowtech BB is as little as 13 and takes maybe ten minutes to replace. A set of bearings won't be much cheaper and may take twice as long to refit.

ALC
nniff - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:

Seat post is a favourite - a smear of grease stops that (and it's a good thing anyway). After that, it gets more expensive (as above)
Hooo - on 20 May 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:
> (In reply to Hooo)
>
> Does sound (sic) like it's the bottom bracket is on its way out.
It does look like it has to be the BB or a cracked frame, as I can reproduce the creak even when I've eliminated everything else. I thought there'd be some play in the cranks if the bearing was going though?
JohnnyW - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:

My money's on the BB. Just replaced mine on my training bike. Only cost 10 off Ebay. Bit bloody tight to get 'em off like, so you need the tools and a long bar, but no real challenge.
Hooo - on 20 May 2013
In reply to TobyA:
My bikes done about 1000 miles from new. I didn't think it would fail this soon with just light road use. I suppose that was a bit optimistic.
Hooo - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:
You've all convinced me it's the bottom bracket, so I'll give that a go. It's only a tenner (plus another tenner for the tool... Why does everything on a bicycle require a special tool?).
Thanks for your help.
lost1977 - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:

worth a try if you have the tools remove the cranks and bb and refit. my track bike developed a nasty creak caused by a very slightly loose bb (no movement at bb but a creak when peddling)
woolsack - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:
> but there is a distinct tick noise from the frame. It's the sort of sound you hear from a hot engine as it's cooling down - like expanding / contracting metal.


I would definitely do a thorough inspection of the frame for cracks even if you suspect and change the bottom bracket
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Scomuir on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:
Definitely check the frame. I've had to replace the bottom bracket before following the tell-tale creaking. When the creaking appeared to start again only a few months later I was a bit annoyed that the bb had gone so quickly, but it hadn't. The downtube was broken - not just cracked, but completely detatched, and was just resting in place. No idea what caused it, and i'd cycled the bike for a couple of weeks like that!
a lakeland climber on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:

Get some grease as well. I'd try simply refitting the existing BB first as it may have some dirt in amongst the threads. Don't assume that it was built correctly in the first place. One of my bikes had a clicking sound from day one. I removed the BB and there was flake of metal in there about the size of a squashed grain of rice! Also dirt does tend to get in so they do need a bit of TLC.

ALC
In reply to a lakeland climber:
> A shimano hollowtech BB is as little as 13 and takes maybe ten minutes to replace.

Although annoyingly not if you don't have the right tools. My bike has some FSA chainset and BB with some sort of splined system for the holding the cranks to the BB. Of course I invested in a bb tool and crank extractor a couple of years ago but for square taper bbs! I haven't even worked out if I can take the cranks of safely yet with my extractor, so don't know if the BB tool will fit, although I suspect not of course!
a lakeland climber on 20 May 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Sounds like the Octolink system. All our bikes are hollowtech except for my wife's road bike which uses the latest press-fit system for which I don't have the tool :-(

ALC
Rigid Raider - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:

Before spending money on a new BB, tighten the saddle clamp and the chainring bolts.
Hooo - on 20 May 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:
> (In reply to Hooo)
>
> Get some grease as well. I'd try simply refitting the existing BB first as it may have some dirt in amongst the threads. Don't assume that it was built correctly in the first place.
That's a good point. It's a Careera, so it was assembled by Halfords after all... I'll get the tool first and get some copaslip on the threads before I buy a new BB.
Hooo - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Rigid Raider:
I'll do that anyway, but it creaks even when I've isolated those bits.
andrew549 on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo: I've got a similar issue it creaks at around the 3 o'clock position, when standing up and sitting when putting effort in, chainring bolts are all tight and bottom bracket has only done about 350 miles. Anyone got any ideas what it may be.

Thanks
Andy
alan ashmore - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo: had an annoying creak on my MTB and after a long time traced it to the saddle clamp, took it to bits cleaned it and creak was gone.

Hope that helps
Lord of Starkness - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:

My old bike creaked when I stood on the pedals. I tightened up the chainset bolts, replaced BB, checked pedals were properly tightened all to no avail. Turned out that is was a pedal problem.

The first clipless pedals I bought were Shimano PD-R535 pedals that had a chromed top plate held in place by 3 philips screws.

I finally cured the creaking when I found that the chrome plates were working loose, and all that was needed was to tighten the screws.

I never liked the pedals anyway - they were a bit of a faff to locate the cleats, so I eventually ditched them for Look Keos.
Frank4short - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo: Needs some oil, oil's what'll fix it for ya!
adstapleton - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:

Try giving it a bloody good wash with plenty of muck off and GT 85/55??

I had some clicking that went away with said wash.

Chuffed.
howifeel - on 21 May 2013
In reply to Hooo: Was it BB then!
I agree that lots of quality parts seem obsolesent fairly rapidly these days. After BB I next took ages to identify my rear hub has worn several cassettes from the inside out. Similarly it creaks and groans and clicks as a compatible cassette is inexplicably dismantled around it.
webbo - on 21 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:
If your headset is marginally loose i.e. you can turn the spacers it will creak when out of the saddle.
Toby_W on 21 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:

Seriously we're now all dying to know what it was.

Cheers

Toby
In reply to a lakeland climber: I emailed Wiggle as the bike was under a year old and has only done 1000 kms and asked if the BB would be a warranty issue. Just got a polite but relatively unhelpful "no". Supposedly BBs are "consumable components" and are only covered for 90 days after purchase. Considering on quite a few other bikes I haven't changed BBs until years and many thousands of kms of use, I'm trying not to get annoyed at this!
Martin Brown on 21 May 2013
In reply to TobyA:

I would suspect pedals first. Try swapping them for a pair you know is OK

In reply to Martin Brown: Thanks Martin, I will give that a go, and all the options as well. It would be nice if it isn't the BB but I suspect that it is from past experience.
Hooo - on 21 May 2013
In reply to Toby_W:
> (In reply to Hooo)
>
> Seriously we're now all dying to know what it was.
I'm afraid I'm going to have to keep you in suspense a little longer. I haven't got hold of the BB tool yet.
Rest assured, as soon as I have any news I'll post an update :-)
cragtyke - on 21 May 2013
In reply to Hooo: I had a similar problem last year, creaking on every pedal stroke, I was convinced it was the BB, took it to a local bike shop in france (I was on holiday) and the mechanic spent 2 hours checking everything, BB, pedals, headset, etc turned out it was the rear derailleur mounting bolt that needed tightening.
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saz_b - on 22 May 2013
In reply to Hooo: exact same problem jthat annoyed me for ages! Heres how i ust sorted it out. got a click sound every time my right pedal passed 3 o'clock on sora crank.

Wasn't pedals (swapped pedals and noise still there)
Wasn't bottom bracket (tried to replace but couldn't undo!) - noise still there after refit at same position when cranking. On inspection the BB was still solid.
Dismantled crank rings and found corrosion on bolts and between big ring and small ring. Cleaned corrosion and reassembled with grease on all mating faces and threads.

Problem gone!

Now I have heard creak in headset, suspected grit. Grrrr...but at least no special tools required!

Good luck!
malk - on 22 May 2013
In reply: has anyone mentioned the BB-crank connection yet? that's been the source of nearly all my clicking/creaking in that area..
Hooo - on 22 May 2013
In reply to malk:
I don't think so. Definitely something I should check before removing the BB.
Does anyone know if it's possible to remove the cranks without an extractor? I still don't have the tools. Seeing as the cranks are ally and the shaft is steel, I thought a go with a blowlamp on the crank and a tap with a hammer might shift it?
Timmd on 22 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:

I wouldn't risk it, you 'could' change the properties of the metal cranks/weaken them if you heat them too much.
andrew549 on 22 May 2013
In reply to Hooo: You could but a crank puller is only about 6 if you damage the cranks its going to be a lot more than that to get a new set, most of the methods I've seen for removing cranks seem to involve damaging the crank in the process of getting it off.
Darren Jackson - on 22 May 2013
In reply to saz_b:

I had the same problem, on my bike, and arrived at the same solution as you did.
JSA - on 22 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:

Try taking the crank off the BB and cleaning the taper on the BB as well as the hole in the crank. Mine creaked years back and it turned out to be a bit of grit between the BB and the crank.
andymac - on 22 May 2013
In reply to saz_b:
The headset is an area that I had very little knowledge of .

Until.

Riding along a forest track (on CX bike) ,was hearing a rattling noise.

initially thought the noise was the Cateye computer mount.Not that

Noise continued ,so assumed it was coming from the Ritchey forks.

Wasn`t till I got home and noticed the complete headset assembly was gone.

I`ll admit to not having any knowledge of a headset ,or its purpose.

I do now.
Hooo - on 23 May 2013
In reply to andrew549:
Yeah, you're probably right. I just haven't got the tool yet and if I had another method I could take them off today and have a look. I suppose it's not worth the risk.
Hooo - on 23 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:
I don't think it's the BB at all now, I think it's the frame. I took the forks off and clamped the frame in a vice, then stared flexing it. It creaks near the headstock area, especially if I clamp the top tube or headstock and hold the frame near the BB to flex it. If I move the clamp to the downtube (near the headstock) and flex, it's much quieter. It can't be anything to do with the headstock bearings as these were off the bike, and it shouldn't be the cranks or BB as there was no movement or pressure on these.
I've had a good look and I can't see any cracks. Is it possible for the paint to stay intact over a crack?
It has been getting steadily worse. I think my only option is to keep riding it until something breaks. It's bloody irritating though.
Hephaestus - on 23 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:
> (In reply to Hooo)
> I think my only option is to keep riding it until something breaks. It's bloody irritating though.

How fast do you ride? There's massive ouch potential there, especially if you land on the sheared bit of metal.

I'd get it checked out or just get a new frame.
Hooo - on 23 May 2013
In reply to Hephaestus:
I'm strictly a bimbler. I think a catastrophic failure must be incredibly unlikely. Even if the downtube breaks clean off, it's unlikely that the whole frame will collapse. I've ridden a motorcycle with a broken downtube, and Scomuir in a post above says that he rode his bicycle for a few weeks like that.
How would I go about getting it checked out, without either stripping the paint or x-ray?
Scomuir on 23 May 2013
In reply to Hooo:
I didn't know it was the frame until i'd cleared the muck off. The fact that I had not done anything specific to the bike that I could recall causing the crack, I couldn't risk using it once I knew. If it developed the crack with no obvious incident, who's to say it won't completely fail due to some other innocuous cause.
In reply to Hooo: I managed to strip down everything and get the BB out tonight - meticulously cleaned and lubed everything and at least on my brief little ride round the block, I may have even solved my creaking! More than anything else, I'm just chuffed that I managed to get the bloody BB out without too much trauma. :)
plyometrics - on 23 May 2013
In reply to all:

I'm a bike technophobe, despite rather enjoying getting out on my MTB from time to time. Having seen this thread and suffering the same with my bike, allied to various rattles and creaks, I took the very lazy choice to take it to Halfords for a service today.

Please be honest and rate my stupidity and chance of being shafted with a crap job on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being "good choice" and 10 "you're an idiot."

Thank you.
JohnnyW - on 23 May 2013
In reply to plyometrics:

I hope I'm wrong, but unless you're quite lucky with the lad you get, at least 7.

With bikes, you just have to have a go. The parts are rarely so expensive that you can cost yourself dearly if you cock up. I bought a reasonable tool set from Wiggle and just dived in.

So far so good
plyometrics - on 23 May 2013
In reply to JohnnyW:

I too hope you're wrong! Unfortunately I don't like faff, hence being into running and bouldering; our Hoover frustrates me, so taking bikes apart may tip me over the edge.

That said, I reminded myself the other day how partial I am to a whiff of WD40....
Hooo - on 24 May 2013
In reply to plyometrics:
I've never taken a bike to Halfords, and based on their reputation I don't intend to. Hopefully you'll be lucky and get someone who knows and cares about what they are doing, and for some strange reason has ended up working there. It does happen, but I'd put money on them oiling it and tweaking the adjusters and calling that a full service. That's pretty much what my local independent shop did for me, so I won't be going back there either.
Please let us know if they improved it at all!
prog99 on 24 May 2013
In reply to TobyA:
Just had my BB replaced by a local shop. Glad I didn't have to do it myself as they had put it in the vice to remove. (This didn't creak when it was on the way out)

As for odd creaks in bikes. Mine had one that only occurred when I was pedalling sitting down and I eventually tracked it down to the pannier rack.

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