I have a Trek 3900 Mountain bike that had a serious creaking problem whenever I would pedal. I found that the ring that holds the Shimano sealed bearing was really loose. I tightened it up and it helped somewhat. It loosened up again and I put loktite on the threads and really tightened it up but it is still creaking a little. The bearing cartridge seems fine. Any ideas?

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    Presumably you've tightened the crank bolts. Probably you need to remove the cartridge, clean away any dirt or corrosion on the cups and cartridge ends, then reinstall it with Loctite on the cups. Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 23:31
  • There are many related queries about bottom bracket creaks and squeaks jumbled around in this forum-take a look! There is some great information around here.
    – WTHarper
    Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 3:50

4 Answers 4


Creaks are notoriously difficult to diagnose. Because a bicycle is constructed from tubes, sounds often travel through the tube and sound like they are coming from a completely different place than where they actually originated.

The following are, in more or less descending order, the most common causes of creaks that sound like they're coming from the bottom bracket. As you run through the list, take each bolt and/or part off; clean it, re-grease it, and tighten it back up.

Bottom bracket tightness. Check both sides. If you have access to a torque wrench, use it.

Crank bolts. You probably had to take the crank off to get to the bottom bracket.

Chainring bolts.

Pedals. Make sure that they're bolted on tight. Make sure that there's no play on the pedal axles.

The bolt that clamps your front derailleur on. The derailleur can creak when the frame flexes if it's not tight.

Seatpost and clamp. The seatpost moving inside the seat tube can cause a creak that sounds like it's coming from the BB. Take it out, clean it, grease it, put it back. The seatpost rails can also creak where they attach to the seatpost or where the go into the seat. That sound won't usually travel to the bottom bracket, but anything's possible.

If none of that does the trick, work your way outward from the bottom bracket checking every single bolt on the bike. It could really be just about anything. Creaks can be very frustrating.

The ever helpful Sheldon Brown has a good article on diagnosing and fixing creaks.


  • Tightening up pedals and either side of bottom bracket has solved crank creaks for me (for a few bikes) in the past. Check is there any play (wriggle side to side) in your pedals or bottom bracket. The creak came back quickly on one bike. Replacing the bottom bracket solved the problem. You need a pedal(crank) removal tool and big wrench to take off both sides of bottom bracket. That can be VERY tight so it is the most challenging part of the job. Anti-clockwise as normal on left side, need to turn clockwise to loosen on the right side! utahmountainbiking.com/fix/bracket.htm
    – gaoithe
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 14:44

Take the shell off of each side of that bottom bracket and grease each one up, along with the spindle. When you tighten that bottom bracket back on, don't over torque it or under torque it, if you over torque or under torque that bad boy is going to squeak. If you aren't sure of the torque or you don't have a torque wrench, visit your local shop.

Take the shell off of each side of that bottom bracket and grease each one up, along with the spindle.

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    I had this same problem - a little heavy grease and 40 ft/lbs of torque later the creaking went away. Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 13:11

I have had annoying creaks too. I found that the where the shifter cable housings where attached to the bike frame was the cause. I loosened the cable housing from the frame, and then applied a dab of grease to the housing and frame. The creaking went away.

If the creaking returns, I think I will try Teflon tape on the cable housing.


For the benefit of others, I had the same issue and it turned out to be a rear axle that wasn't tight enough. When it was greased and tightened properly the creak stopped.

  • Which bit had to be tightened - the quick release, the axle nuts, the bearings, the disc rotor bolts.... Please provide a better explanation of what the solution was.
    – Móż
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 21:37

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