Ticking/creaking noise - advice for tourers and commuters

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EndlessWandering
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Ticking/creaking noise - advice for tourers and commuters

Postby EndlessWandering » 24 Jun 2011, 9:17pm

Back in the beginning of May I bought myself a lovely new 2011 Ultra Galaxy, which, in my opinion, is an absolute beast of a tourer. All was going swimmingly until about two weeks into taking possession of the bike; I started noticing an intermittent, metallic "clicking" sound - like a car engine cooling - whenever I applied even the slightest pressure on the cranks. Like a lot of poor souls who start down the long road of, "hunt the noise on the bike", it has taken me up until today to find the culprit.

Before I nailed it, I had:

- Readjusted and fine-tuned the rear mech
- Removed, degreased, cleaned and tightened the cassette
- Removed and greased pedal threads before tightening them very securely to the cranks
- Removed chainrings and greased and tightened bolts
- Greased and tightened seat stem
- Greased the rails on my Brooks saddle
- Lubed spoke nipples, all crossover points and checked spoke tension
- Greased both front and rear dropouts
- Greased and properly tightened skewers
- Checked both hubs
- Tightened and greased mudguard bridge and bolts
- Removed, degreased, re-greased and re-installed bottom bracket
- Checked the entire frame for any cracks

And in the end, what was it?

The bloody pannier rack mounting bolts! Arrrgh!!

So any odd ticks/clicks coming from those of you who use a pannier rack - make sure you remove it and check it isn't coming from there first. Unlike me, it might save you almost stripping down the entire bike (although at least everything is nicely greased, tightened and clean now!)
Two wheels good...

zerobuttons
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Re: Ticking/creaking noise - advice for tourers and commuter

Postby zerobuttons » 28 Jun 2011, 3:40pm

EndlessWandering wrote:.....
I started noticing an intermittent, metallic "clicking" sound - like a car engine cooling - whenever I applied even the slightest pressure on the cranks. Like a lot of poor souls who start down the long road of, "hunt the noise on the bike", it has taken me up until today to find the culprit.
.....

You are not the first bicyclist who has been plagued by the famous "clicking" from where a screw or bolt has been mounted with an incorrect amount of torque. Very often the problem occurs with aluminium parts. Brass can also behave this way. I once had to help a friend disassemble and reassemble his bed made of brass, because of a problem like this. :wink:

aek
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Location: Warwickshire

Re: Ticking/creaking noise - advice for tourers and commuter

Postby aek » 28 Jun 2011, 4:28pm

I am currently on the hunt for clicking on my 2 and a half months old Surly LHT.
I haven't actually spent much time diagnosing it, but i believe my clicking comes from the seatpost/Brooks B17 saddle, but now i will definitely check the rack too :)

Clicking is always annoying!!!

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CREPELLO
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Re: Ticking/creaking noise - advice for tourers and commuter

Postby CREPELLO » 28 Jun 2011, 9:46pm

I've mentioned this before, but it's worth repeating and that is to use teflon based spray lube (TF2) as a diagnostic aid and temporary cure. This is based on my observation that sometimes a click goes away when the bike is wet - that's the water acting as a lube on the part exhibiting friction, for that's what the click is. Teflon is a very good aid to reducing friction - much better than oil alone.

So with my TF2 in hand, I would go round every component, bolt and interface in turn, easing the bolt etc out a few turns, apply the lube and retighten. Doing this one at a time, I take the bike out round the block to induce the click. When the click stops, I know I've found my gremlin.

Once found, I may just continue the spray lube at this point periodically, or dissemble and apply copper based grease.

There are some other points that may click or creak, including corroded spoke eye-lets/wells, riv-nuts on alu frames and the handle bar/stem interface.

I have a Dawes aluminium MTB frame that clicked a lot. I probably took everything off it to diagnose this noise. Somewhere along the line (near the end of my tether IIRC) I decided to use this lube, aiming it through a bottle cage mount towards the bottom bracket. I never found out what it was exactly, but a couple of applications of TF2 and it has never creaked or clicked again. (I'd previously applied copper slip, Loctite and PTFE tape on the BB threads to no avail)

EDIT to add: Bearings click as well. Even new bearings, if faulty. I had some new Shimano pedals that clicked - I dismantled to find that some of the balls had rusted.
Also bear in mind that new bikes are often assembled 'dry', so grease is often lacking where it really should be used.
Last edited by CREPELLO on 28 Jun 2011, 10:11pm, edited 1 time in total.

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gaz
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Re: Ticking/creaking noise - advice for tourers and commuter

Postby gaz » 28 Jun 2011, 10:04pm

EndlessWandering wrote:So any odd ticks/clicks coming from those of you who use a pannier rack - make sure you remove it and check it isn't coming from there first. Unlike me, it might save you almost stripping down the entire bike (although at least everything is nicely greased, tightened and clean now!)


Been there, done that, 2007.

Of course, if you'd searched on here first..... :wink:
Hand wash only. Do not iron.

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EndlessWandering
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Location: Devon, UK

Re: Ticking/creaking noise - advice for tourers and commuter

Postby EndlessWandering » 28 Jun 2011, 10:58pm

Good point Crep. I was a bit worried at the lack of grease when I took out my bottom bracket and inspected the cup threads, as well as other parts I thought would (should) have had a decent amount of grease applied; maybe it's a money saving exercise on the factory floor?

aek, my B17 creaks too, but it's weird how psychologically it doesn't really bother me, as I know where the sound is coming from!

Agreed, gaz. But then hindsight is a b*tch, isn't it? :wink:
Two wheels good...

LANDSURFER74

Re: Ticking/creaking noise - advice for tourers and commuter

Postby LANDSURFER74 » 28 Jun 2011, 11:15pm

So applying power to a mechanical device that converts kinetic and applied rotational energy into forward motion makes a noise ...??? is'nt that whats supposed to happen ... :)

aek
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Re: Ticking/creaking noise - advice for tourers and commuter

Postby aek » 29 Jun 2011, 4:56pm

EndlessWandering wrote:aek, my B17 creaks too, but it's weird how psychologically it doesn't really bother me, as I know where the sound is coming from!


I removed my seatpost last night and then put it back, checked and retightened everything from seatpost bolt, rack bolts and even the stem bolts.
The clicking is gone now, i'm only left with the saddle creaking which i don't mind as i always had it and i knew where it comes from.

I can easily get rid of the Brooks creaking, but it happens very rarely and i like it.

LollyKat
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Re: Ticking/creaking noise - advice for tourers and commuter

Postby LollyKat » 29 Jun 2011, 5:26pm

aek wrote:I can easily get rid of the Brooks creaking, but it happens very rarely and i like it.

How? I don't!

snibgo
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Re: Ticking/creaking noise - advice for tourers and commuter

Postby snibgo » 29 Jun 2011, 9:07pm

On unknown noises: I've been mucking around with the stem and struggling to refit the front mudguard so it doesn't rub on the tyre. Today I couldn't figure out a clicking from somewhere at the back. I had been too lazy to fasten the underseat bag properly so the toggle was bouncing on the rack.

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CREPELLO
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Re: Ticking/creaking noise - advice for tourers and commuter

Postby CREPELLO » 29 Jun 2011, 11:00pm

LollyKat wrote:
aek wrote:I can easily get rid of the Brooks creaking, but it happens very rarely and i like it.

How? I don't!
If it's not the saddle rails/clamp, the nose bolt assembly is the next thing to check. Daub a bit of proofide around the nose and tension bolt section, also between the leather and frame, then melt it in with a hair dryer.

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EndlessWandering
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Location: Devon, UK

Re: Ticking/creaking noise - advice for tourers and commuter

Postby EndlessWandering » 30 Jun 2011, 1:14pm

I greased the saddle rails and squirted some teflon lube into the tensioning bolt under the nose of my B17, but it still creaks now and then. I'll follow your advice Crep and see if that remedies the situation, but like I said, I don't really mind; it's the random metallic clicking that was driving me up the wall.

The sound of creaking leather is quite nice to hear - it's there to remind me of the quality saddle under my bum! :D
Two wheels good...

aek
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Re: Ticking/creaking noise - advice for tourers and commuter

Postby aek » 1 Jul 2011, 10:33pm

CREPELLO wrote:
LollyKat wrote:
aek wrote:I can easily get rid of the Brooks creaking, but it happens very rarely and i like it.

How? I don't!
If it's not the saddle rails/clamp, the nose bolt assembly is the next thing to check. Daub a bit of proofide around the nose and tension bolt section, also between the leather and frame, then melt it in with a hair dryer.


CREP's advice is what i did to my black Brooks that i've got on my Hybrid. I found that a lot of the creaking comes from the rails and the nose bolt. Using some grease on the rails where the seatpost clamp meets the rails can get rid of that.
The other source of creaking comes from the round part of the saddle frame that's at the rear of the saddle. For this, you need to apply some proofide on the points where the bolts connect to the leather and some grease where they connect to the saddle frame.
My Honey Brooks only creaks when i go over multiple bumps that make me feel like i'm riding a suspension bike.