8 Noises You Hear on a Ride (and What They Mean)
To keep your bike functioning properly and enjoy a silent, stress-free ride, learn how to diagnose and fix these eight common bike noises.
Sound #1: Squeaking1 of 9
Why: Squeaking will occur any time a component that should be oiled is not. Most commonly, squeaks will come from a dirty chain that needs oil, but a lack of grease to the derailleur pulleys, bearings or cables could also be the culprit.
The Fix: Keep your chain and other components clean and greased.
Sound #2: Scraping When You Pedal2 of 9
Why: If your front derailleur is not aligned correctly, the chain will rub on your derailleur when you shift to into high and low gears.
The Fix: Try resetting the tension of your front derailleur cable first. If you still hear the noise, re-adjusting the high or low limit screws should solve the problem.
Sound #3: Squeaking When You Pedal (Not from the Chain)3 of 9
Why: A shoe cleat or the pedal itself could cause a squeaking sound that only occurs when pedaling.
The Fix: If it's the pedals, apply grease to the threads. For the cleat, make sure all the bolts are tight and apply a small amount of grease if needed.
Sound #4: Rattling4 of 9
Why: Most often, a rattling sound is caused by either a loose bottle cage or a cable slapping against the frame.
The Fix: Either tighten the bolts on your cage or adjust the tension of your cables.
Sound #5: Creaking When You're Not Pedaling5 of 9
Why: If you hear a creaking sound even when you're coasting, it's more than likely coming from your saddle, seatpost or your brakes.
The Fix: Grease the spot where you insert the seatpost and the rails where it attaches to the saddle. If brake rub is causing the squeaking, make sure your wheel is properly aligned and tighten your skewers. If that doesn't work, you may need to true your wheel.
Sound #6: Loud Creaking When You Are Pedaling6 of 9
Why: The fixing bolt that attaches your crank to your bottom bracket can sometimes become loose, causing the crank to creak loudly.
The Fix: Lubricate and tighten the fixing bolts that hold the crank to the bottom bracket spindles.
Sound #7: Clicking When You Pedal7 of 9
Why: A misaligned rear derailleur will affect how the chain sits on the cogs, causing it to skip or click.
The Fix: Start with adjusting the rear derailleur's cable tension. If that doesn't work, you may have a bent derailleur hanger.
Sound #8: Crunching or Clunking8 of 9
Why: If the right bottom bracket cup becomes loose, you'll hear a clunk as the left crank goes over the 12 o'clock position on the pedal stroke. This usually means the cups weren't properly tightened when installed.
The Fix: Retighten your bottom bracket cups. Special tools may be required, so if you're not comfortable completing the job yourself, it may be best to visit your local bike shop.