Take the 2-minute tour ×
Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Last Sunday I noticed that my bike makes creaking noises (similar the hull of a ship, but on bicycle scale - imagine a rat making the sound "creak"). It seems to me that this is related to stressing the bike frame, but I can't generate the creaking in a ready manner, and sometimes it goes away. It also isn't connected to pedaling or bike movement. I can't pin-point a source(like a screw or bolt, or shaft). It sometimes creaks when I just get on it, then I can ride 10 minutes without a sound. Still, this is a new sound to me, and I've and I wouldn't want something in my frame to crack when I'm doing 50 down hill and going into a curve. I've gained 6kg since I bought the bike, might the extra weight be a problem?

Should I worry, or has someone experienced something similar before?

share|improve this question
    
Is it possible that it's associated with pulling on the handlebars? Is it possible it's in the saddle area (goes away when you're pedaling harder)? –  freiheit May 3 '13 at 20:38
    
I really don't think that a 6kg weight increase could make any real difference. –  freiheit May 3 '13 at 20:38
    
Also: what is your frame material? –  freiheit May 3 '13 at 20:44
    
Also an old and over struggled chain does some noise... –  chanio May 8 '13 at 15:18
add comment

migrated from sports.stackexchange.com May 3 '13 at 20:58

This question came from our site for participants in team and individual sport activities.

5 Answers

I'm not gonna ding you with a "duplicate question", but see, eg, Creaking from cranks/spindle. How to fix? . And there are several others.

Creaking is a fairly common problem and can be due to a number of causes:

  1. The crank arms shifting on the crank axle. (This is by far the most serious of the conditions, since, left untreated, it can result in expensive damage.)

  2. The pedal threads creaking in the crank arms.

  3. The bottom bracket cartridge shifting between the cups. (Though this is more apt to make ticking or "ping!" noises than creaks.)

  4. The handlebar. With lightweight bars there is a short tube-like stiffener glued over the center portion of the bar, to create a more robust mounting point for the stem clamp. The bar proper can shift in the tube and creak.

  5. Wheels/spokes. Very often "crossed" spokes will creak or go "ting" where they cross.

  6. Seat/saddle. Springs may creak, or any of several parts may move relative to each other.

  7. Frame. This is rare for a steel or aluminum frame, but may be more common with carbon. Generally creaking from a steel frame would suggest imminent failure, but it's harder to say about the others.

  8. The rider. I know I creak more and more as I get older. (And I actually do have a trick ankle that will audibly "tick" at times when I walk (loud enough for others to hear), though generally not when I'm riding.)

  9. Stem in the headset. If there is some play/looseness in the stem's insertion in a threaded headset, then the shifting weight/pull/push on the handlebars can cause vibrations that make it creak.

Other than the frame and the crank arms, creaking is generally not a serious concern. But it can drive you crazy.

share|improve this answer
    
And I forgot to mention pedals themselves. It's not at all uncommon for them to creak or "tick". This is likely due to contamination, but there's not much you can do about it given that most modern pedals are essentially sealed. –  Daniel R Hicks May 4 '13 at 2:09
    
The saddle rails often creak at the interface with the seat post...to add to your list :) –  Byron Ross May 8 '13 at 0:50
    
Today I had the cyclometer pickup clicking against the wheel. Didn't look like it was touching, but when I moved it back the noise stopped. –  Daniel R Hicks May 8 '13 at 2:43
add comment

My guess: Dirt between the rim and the spoke nipple.

My story: My road bike began to crack last winter when I rode slower than usual because of the ice sheet on the streets. I could locate to cracking to come from the rear of the bike and determined it to originate from the rear wheel, because it appeared with almost constant frequency while coasting, too. I got my bike to the do-it-yourself bike repair shop of my university and stated my cause.

My theory: One fellow road bike owner gave me the tip that because of the low temperatures and differing thermal expansion of the rim and the spoke, some play may appear at the spoke nipple. With this small scale motion, dirt may get in between the rim and the spoke nipple, causing loud cracking under the high tension and torsion. This explains, why the dirt got in there in the cold season (temperature induced play), why it appeared at low speeds (more load on the individual spoke) and especially when cornering sharply (high torsion especially on the rear wheel).

My solution: Some lubricant capable of creep (like WD40) applied to the spoke nipple and into the rim will allow the dirt to be pushed aside from the spoke nipple and into the rim where it does not bother anymore.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I had a similar issue and spend 2 months trying to pinpoint the issue. The main places I would suggest checking are your cleats (assuming you are using them since you mentioned it was a race bike), Bolts on all connection points (handlebars, seat, etc) and then finally if none of those are out of place check the rear hub to see if it needs rebuilding.

share|improve this answer
add comment

When I had this problem, I pulled the cranks and bottom bracket off, cleaned them, then greased them liberally while putting it all back together. This fixed my problem.

share|improve this answer
add comment
up vote 0 down vote accepted

All answers above were interesting - in the end I couldn't pinpoint the source of the creaking, but I gave my bike to a shop for a check-up, and they re-calibrated the spokes on both wheels, after which the creaking went away. No dirt or damage was be found.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.