How to Diagnose These Common Bike Noises—and Fix Them
How to Diagnose These Common Bike Noises—and Fix Them
Don’t just clean, lubricate and tighten everything; it is better to find the culprit.
When a new sound bike noise reaches your ears, you are riding along your favorite route, and you realize-it comes from your bike. Great, you think, what does this mean?
Bicycles will wear out. When they do, they will express their pain through squeaks, squeaks, and various other strange sounds. If your bike has been particularly talkative lately, it may be time for some TLC. We know better than anyone, and sometimes figuring out the exact source of the sound can be a challenge—especially if it is difficult to reproduce when not riding a bike—so first you need to know how to diagnose it.
We talked with resident mechanics and former professional team mechanics to learn how to learn the language of bicycles and get them back to work. Here are the components that cause the most common culprits of annoying bicycle noise, which can help you narrow it down to its source.
Noise: creaking, creaking
The creaking sound you hear when pedaling may mean that [your bicycle] has a dry chain or bearing. Cleaning and lubricating your chain is usually a good place to start dealing with any strange noises, but if it doesn’t solve the squeaking noise, you may need to maintain or replace some bearings (see below).
If you hear a click, it may mean that the chain is loose or not moving properly, and your chain should also be the first thing you check. This will cause it to rattle on your frame. The chain will stretch over time, you can adjust the tension with the derailleur-but if it does stretch, you may need to replace it completely.
Components: Bearings (bottom bracket, earphone, hub, etc.)
The squeak can be frustrating and mysterious, but the most common cause is the bearing. There are several places on your bike that use bearings to spin smoothly, including your earphones, bottom bracket, and some suspension links on your mountain bike.
To isolate your bottom bracket, stand next to the bicycle, grab the two brakes, and place your feet on the pedals closest to you. If the bike creaks when you put the weight on the pedals, the problem is most likely from your bottom bracket. If you don’t hear any sound, the problem may be the bearing in the headset, hub, or connecting rod. Bearings may wear out in a season or so, especially if you live in a humid or sandy place. Your local bike shop can help you order and install new bikes.
Another common squeak is your seatpost, especially if it only makes a noise when you are sitting down. To fix it, remove the seat tube by loosening the quick release device (if present) or loosening the hex bolts that enter the frame at the seat tube base, and then wipe off anything on the seat tube and in the seat tube with a clean cloth Gravel, then apply. If you have a carbon fiber frame, apply a new thin layer of grease or fiber grip compound. Reinstall it and see if it solves the problem.
Sprockets may also often produce noise, but this is a simple repair method-just tighten the bolts on the sprocket. If you have a torque wrench, it is best to tighten to the correct torque specification (this is how to use it). To help prevent the sprocket bolt from loosening again, you can apply some thread locker compound to it.
Loose earphones may rattle, which can make your bicycle handling poorly or even dangerously. To tighten the headset, first loosen the side bolts on the stem, and then tighten the top bolts. It should be tight enough to pull the fork, earphones, stem and any spacers tightly together, but not so tight that the lever cannot rotate freely. Once you have tightened the center bolt to the point that it feels good, you can tighten the side bolts again. To tighten all parts correctly, use a torque wrench and the manufacturer’s recommended Newton meter specifications (sometimes even printed near the headset). If the click still doesn’t go away, take your bike to the store to ensure safety-you don’t want to lose any loose parts on the way.
Component: shifting cable
Noise: Keep clicking
If you hear a constant clicking sound (especially in some gears), it may mean that your shifting cable has been pulled enough to pull the derailleur out of alignment, causing your chain to slip between the gears or move between the gears. Rubbing on the derailleur frame. First, make sure your derailleur is aligned and the hanger is not bent. Then, if adjusting the tension of the derailleur does not resolve the click, you need to use a new shifting cable-please see how to do it here.
Components: bottom bracket
If the click doesn’t seem to come from your drive train or pedals (see below), check that your bottom bracket is tightened. If you have a press-in bottom bracket, please take your bike to the store because you may not have the right tools to handle it.
Components: barrel shaft or quick release
It may only be necessary to tighten the noisy shaft or quick release device. But if this does not solve it, it may be one of two problems. A squeak or squeak is a sign of a dry or dirty barrel or quick release. Remove the components, clean them, and relubricate. At the same time, a click may indicate that it is cracked or damaged and needs to be replaced.
Component: Transmission rack
Noise: clicks, squeaks
Bent derailleur hooks or misaligned derailleur hooks will produce a constant clicking sound when pedaling. If it is bad enough, the derailleur hanger may bend or fall off noticeably. Otherwise, you need a hanger alignment gauge to be sure. Normally, for a 12-speed system, even a hanger that is not visually bent may be bent enough to throw off the gear shift.
Sometimes, the derailleur hanger makes a crunching noise when rubbing against the frame on which it is installed. Remove the derailleur hanger, clean the frame and hanger vigorously, and apply some anti-seize agent on the surfaces that will come into contact with each other. It is also good to check the hanger for stress breaks when the hanger is closed, and replace it if necessary.
Components: pedals and shoes
Noise: squeaking when pedal stroke
Even the pedals will start to make noise after a while. You may notice that every pedal stroke makes noise. It is recommended to remove your pedals, oil them, and ensure that the gasket between the pedal and the crank arm is intact.
Likewise, the squeaking sound every time you spin is likely to come from your shoe clips. If they are noisy during the ride, sometimes they can drink some sugary drinks like Gatorade to calm them down. The sticky sugary mucus left behind can act as a temporary lubricant. But using wax-based lubricants to clean and lubricate it is a feasible way. Sometimes the noise means it’s time for a new one, and even brand new cleats sound squeaky.
Finally, although it is much less common than the problems listed above, from past experience, a broken or defective frame may also be the cause of the constant, mysterious noise. For a long time, I only made a ticking/clicking sound when riding a mountain bike uphill, and it eventually became a seatpost adhesive (wedge-shaped variety). In fact, I must get a new frame. To make a long story short, the part of the frame into which the wedge slides is a bit out of specification.
Frame defects are also difficult to diagnose. This has happened to others more than once. There was a bicycle a few years ago whose chainstays were not welded to the bottom bracket shell completely. Whenever the weather is cold, the bicycle sounds like it will explode at any time. We guess they are two slightly different alloys, which expand or contract at different speeds. Once everything is warm, the fit is tight and the noise disappears.
Damage to the frame can also be the culprit, such as cracks. The fine-grain cracks on the carbon fiber frame are especially hard to find. One customer has been complaining about the creaking earphones on carbon fiber bicycles. We finally took the whole bicycle apart, cleaned and lubricated everything, and then inspected the frame with a magnifying glass to look for cracks in fine lines. No errors were found. The noise has become smaller, but it still exists. After we returned the bike to him, the guy rode once, and after he rode the speed bump, the head tube was separated from the top tube. (Fortunately, he is fine.)
It is difficult to find cracks with the naked eye. After that incident, for every squeak that the bike shop could not determine, they would take the frame to the local veterinarian for X-ray inspection to ensure safety. Of course, not every store has this capability, but some companies that repair carbon fiber frames also provide frame inspections.
Still not sure?
Diagnosing the source of the sound can be tricky, and capturing annoying noise can be very annoying. Sometimes, just thorough cleaning and lubrication can bring everything back to normal. However, if you are unable to solve the problem, or are unsure of how to solve the problem when solving the problem, then it is best to take your bike to a local bike shop-they will speak a fluent bike.
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