The Mysterious Creaking Bike



Dansky

New Member
Jan 25, 2010
101
2
18
My aluminum road bike has been creaking strangely for the past several rides. The problem was there even before I recently replaced both wheels (cones and cups were shot-- small cracks in the rear wheel race) and saddle. Note that I use this as my "rain bike," which means it has been out in inclement weather rather often. The bike is a 2005 Specialized Allez, that was bought unused in 2008.

I can often hear the bike creaking even when I'm not pedaling, --- just coasting along, but sometimes when I am pedaling. The sound is usually not rhythmic, which has me baffled. At first , I thought perhaps the cranks were loose, and using Sheldon Brown's website advice, I attempted to isolate the problem, but I cannot thus far.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
Try cleaning and lubing your bottom bracket and head set. Try standing on the pedals when the creak develops while out riding. Saddles and seat post can cause creaking sounds on your bike. If standing on the pedals eliminates the noise remove your seat post wipe it clean and apply a light film of grease when reinserting. You can check your saddle by holding the nose and back of the saddle in opposite hands and apply a rocking force front to back. You may find that a little squeaking could be coming from you saddle rails and or seat post clamp. Apply a little oil to where the rails enter your saddle.

No one likes a creaking bike I hope you resolve your problem soon.
 
Davereo:
Thanks for the advice. I do believe I can rule out the saddle rails because I just replaced the saddle (with rails) a few days ago with a brand new one, and the creaking has been going on both before and since this swap. I'll check the seat post clamp.

Are cleaning and lubing the BB and head set difficult procedures? I have the Parks Tool Repair Guide (and a repair stand), but admit that I'm a complete novice with cycling repairs.
 
I had the exact problem you describe. Sometimes you think it coincides with your pedaling, sometimes you don't, right? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif And sometimes it seems like it happens when you go over a bump? It kind of sounds like somebody is tapping a penny on one of your tubes? I fixed it completely by lubing the seatpost clamp bolts. Definitely try that.
 
If it is "non-rhythmic" or not in time with peadling I think you can eliminate the BB from the list of possible culprits (though it is usualy the first and one of the easisets ports of call). Instead the list should include everything which bears weight or where flex/movement can occur across a joint:

  • Headset (grease around cartriges may be needed)
  • Pedal threads (must be tight and greased)
  • Stem/bar (tight)
  • Stem/steerer (tight)
  • Seatpost/frame (tight - maybe also some grease: use silicon based grease for carbon posts or frames)
  • Seatpost/saddle (tight - maybe some grease on the rails and on the mating parts of the clamp)
  • Dropout/hub (QRs must be tight)

Chasing creaks can be frustrating, but a careful, methodical approach always wins out in the end.
 
Spokes! Where they cross can become worn and dry. Some guys actually solder these intersections together. If ya ride in the rain it will bring this on. Try putting a little silicone on every crossing.
 
Originally Posted by doiturself .

Spokes! Where they cross can become worn and dry. Some guys actually solder these intersections together. If ya ride in the rain it will bring this on. Try putting a little silicone on every crossing.

I'll keep that in mind for the future. However, I do have two new wheels and the creaking has been occurring both before them (new wheels) and after. I recently checked the seat post, cleaned it, and lubed the holding screw prior to returning it; without over-tightening of course.

The creaking noise persists. I guess it's time to look at the headset, stem/bar, stem/steerer next.
 
FWIW. I suppose this would be the worst-case-scenario, but check your frame for cracks ...

  • If you see an area where the PAINT is cracked, then wipe it clean & place some masking tape ACROSS the supect area ...
  • If the tape breaks away from the frame when you are riding, then there is probably a crack which needs to be assessed ... and, either the frame needs to be repaired-or-trashed.
 
Originally Posted by alfeng .

FWIW. I suppose this would be the worst-case-scenario, but check your frame for cracks ...

  • If you see an area where the PAINT is cracked, then wipe it clean & place some masking tape ACROSS the supect area ...
  • If the tape breaks away from the frame when you are riding, then there is probably a crack which needs to be assessed ... and, either the frame needs to be repaired-or-trashed.
Slick trick. Hopefully I never have to use.
 
Just to give a (rather late) follow-up to the problem. It was the headset, which needed replacement.
Thanks again for all the valuable input and advice. :)
 
Originally Posted by Dansky .

My aluminum road bike has been creaking strangely for the past several rides. The problem was there even before I recently replaced both wheels (cones and cups were shot-- small cracks in the rear wheel race) and saddle. Note that I use this as my "rain bike," which means it has been out in inclement weather rather often. The bike is a 2005 Specialized Allez, that was bought unused in 2008.

I can often hear the bike creaking even when I'm not pedaling, --- just coasting along, but sometimes when I am pedaling. The sound is usually not rhythmic, which has me baffled. At first , I thought perhaps the cranks were loose, and using Sheldon Brown's website advice, I attempted to isolate the problem, but I cannot thus far.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Dansky, perhaps the chainring nuts need lubing and tightening or pedals need greasing/oiling :)
 
Hi Dansky

I had a creak in my Litespeed frame that was driving me crazy. I had checked everything that I could think of that might be the cause. I finally isolated it to the seat tube insert. I don't know if your frame has one, but take a look. Pull the seat post out, and see if there is an insert that's probably 3-4 inches long. On my frame, it was pressed in, but after years of use, it started to move just enough to creak.

To fix, I bought a bottle of cylindrical retaining compound (wicking variety), and dripped it into the seat tube, and then hung the frame upside down for a little while. I cleaned out the excess, and let it sit overnight to cure. I worked like a champ.

Tom
 
Thanks, Tom. The noise was actually the headset; my LBS had to replace it for me. :)
 

Similar threads

R
Replies
1
Views
504
P