A few days ago I began hearing a clicking noise coming from the crankset and I can also sense a slight hitch when the right crank is at its upmost position just when it's about to go down.

The interesting thing is that it only happens when pedaling. When i have the bike on the stand I cannot reproduce this no matter how hard I pull and bend the cranks in whatever direction.

I have already taken the cranks off and on again and re-tightened them but without any change. I am afraid that it could be the bottom bracket itself. Unfortunately I don't have the tools to tighten it or take it off.

I have already checked this page, but could only so far to get the cranks checked: http://sheldonbrown.com/creaks.html#bottom

The bottom bracket is a Truvativ model.

The chainring is a Thimano model and has only one chainring (nexus hub shift in the back).

Is there anything else I could do or check for?

edit: I think I've tracked it down to be the bottom bracket. If I have the cranks at a certain position and bend them inwards, the clicking is quite noticeable even when not pedaling.

  • 1
    Water, guys at my local shop have been running into a lot of these repairs. Avoid getting water around your bottom bracket itself, instead use other cleaning methods. They also recommended soaking the bearing in diesel for a night, spin it and it might fix it
    – user25643
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 20:47
  • You said it was a single chainring with an internally geared hub. Is it a belt drive? Have you checked the chainring bolts?
    – zenbike
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 6:01
  • Is that a Shimano model chainring ?
    – usernumber
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 8:53
  • Here's a specific clicking example I had which was solved by replacing the bottom bracket: youtube.com/watch?v=rXBdPg1LhQU on a Shimano BB-UN55 Bottom Bracket. Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 14:21

8 Answers 8


I've had a similar clicking experience. Not really varying under different load, nor at a certain position of crank arms. Everyone I asked said to me it was the ball bearings in the bottom bracket. I pulled the BB out, spinned it in my hands, heard all sort of creaking sounds coming out of it - as if it was full of sand. Bought the new one, installed it: et voilà, no clicking.

Bottom bracket was two years old with about 4000 km on it (FSA if I'm not mistaken).


There are multiple components that can contribute to a clicking or grinding sound in your drive train in addition to the bottom bracket, including the chain, the pedals, the derailleur and the rear hub. That said, the symptoms you describe seem to indicate a problem with the pedal bearings or the bottom bracket.

Here are my steps for troubleshooting the bottom bracket:

  1. Pull your cranks laterally. Do they move?
  2. Remove the chain from the chainrings and give your cranks a good spin; listen for any unusual grinding noise or little clicks.
  3. Hold the down tube or seat tube while spinning the crank and see if you can feel grinding or vibration through the frame.

Any of those indicate that you need to service or replace your bottom bracket. That is not a particularly hard task, and if you have been removing or tightening the cranks you likely only need one or two special tools that you may not have. Replacing or repairing bottom brackets is a common task, so it may be worth it to you to pick those tools up. Here are some bottom bracket service instructions:

Cartridge Type Bottom Bracket Service

Cup and Cone Bottom Bracket Service


The clicking, only under load and always at the same point of the stroke, can be due to:

  1. A bad pedal. I've had this a couple of times.
  2. The crank arm slipping on the crank. Generally if you've been riding it this way for more than 100 miles or so the crank arm (and possibly the crank) will have been permanently damaged, but tightening the fixing bolt may work, and I've always wondered if one couldn't use a shim (cut from a pop can) to "save" a worn arm in this situation.
  3. The BB cartridge is shifting inside the housing, because the cups are not tight enough. This problem is annoying but probably not a structural issue, though eventually the cups could wear to the point that it gets worse.
  4. A loose chainring.
  5. Something somewhere else on the bike that simply clicks as the frame flexes.

The clicking could be coming from where the pedal joins the crank-arm (with the noise sounding as pressure is placed on the pedal at the top of the stroke). I've had this before, tightened the pedal slightly and no more clicking.

Similarly, I was never able to generate the correct forces to make it click unless I was on the bike riding

  • thanks, ill try that, though it feels like the hitch is rather coming from the area of the bottom bracket rather than the pedal.
    – clamp
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 13:06
  • I thought the same the first time something like this happened to me... Before I started doing my own servicing I even paid to have the BB replaced to try to fix my noise! Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 13:08
  • It may not be right for you, but if someone searches it will be one potential solution, let me know how you get on! Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 13:09
  • @clamp Because metal transfers energy really well, it wouldn't be surprising that it felt like it was coming from one place but was actually coming from another. In my experience, a rhythmic click that you can feel is usually from the pedals. It could also be the pedal spindle itself rather than the bolt that attaches to the crank arm. Check to see if the pedal wiggles at all. If it does, the spindle is your culprit.
    – jimchristie
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 13:10
  • ok, i checked the pedals, but they are tight! but i could infact isolate it to the bottom bracket. see my edit.
    – clamp
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 9:32

I recently spent a week trying to figure out where my creaking noise was coming from. I could feel as well as hear it and I was convinced it was coming from the drive train (same rhythm as pedal stroke). After tightening crank bolts, removing cranks, cleaning and greasing and doing the same with the pedals, oiling the chain adjusting both derailleurs. I finally realised that the noise was quieter when I stood up. Checked the seat post clamp only to find that it wasn't very tight. Nipped it up and went out to test it.....silent, only the noise of the tyres can be heard now. Mint.

  • Fair point, and good finding, but OP says he's already isolated it to the BB. Do consider taking the tour and we look forward to your future contributions.
    – Criggie
    Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 21:10

I had a similar noise coming from what I thought was the cranks or the chainset. After taking it all apart, re-greasing it all and also replacing the bottom bracket the noise persisted to my frustration. It turns out that although tight enough to hold the wheel in place, the rear quick release was not tight enough. Hey presto, once I tightened the QR the noise was gone! It's amazing how hard it is to identify where the noise/clicking is coming from when you're in motion. Good luck to anyone else who has a similar problem!

  • Welcome to Bicycles @James, nice to see you here. I see you have not taken the tour yet, so I recommend it to you. Also read the help center, so that your efforts here can be well-directed. In this case, you've answered an oldish question with several fairly thorough answers, and one has been accepted by the OP as solving the problem. Also the tone is a little too chatty for this site, as you'll understand from reading the suggested links. Keep at it! Cheers
    – andy256
    Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 3:29
  • This worked out for me, thank you! No more frustrating clicking. I was sure that the noise was coming from the bottom bracket, but it was QR from the rear wheel in the end like you mentioned. Tightened firmly QR and the noise was gone
    – nexayq
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 9:57

If the bb is similar to the hollowtech 2 from Shimano (I know you said it is truvativ but perhaps they have a similar design), these do tend to develop a squeak / click after a while, and they are cartridge so you need to replace them.

There is a certain torque required on bottom bracket itself into the frame and also on the crank bolt (if it is solid axel type).

Other things that can make a deceptively similar noise:

  • chainring bolts
  • saddle rails
  • seatpost clamp

potentially also from

  • pedal bearings

make sure you check regularly that everything is tightened (but not overtight) and support your local bike shop by taking your bike there for a service if you don't have the tools / time to do it yourself.


I have had the same noise and discovered the problem and here is the solution. The left crank arm does NOT fit perfectly in the axle and the axle does not on the bearing. To have a perfect fit I put same plastic pieces between the bearing and the axle. 5 pieces to be precise. 3mm pieces of zipp tie. Push them once the the left arm is in place before the washer whit the star hole. The axle has 10 holes. put 5 of those plastic pieces. This puts pressure between every cracking part and the sound has disappeared.

  • Given the extreme forces present in a crank assembly, it's probable that the plastic will quickly deform and you'll be back where you started. Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 12:24
  • This sounds like an extraordinarily temporary solution, and like it might cause some more problems ... And what are these 10 axle holes you speak of?
    – Kris
    Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 5:42

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