I recently bought a Trek 4300 series MTB, but after only several weeks of use, I'm getting a clicking sound coming from both sides of the pedals.

It seems particularly pronounced when more torque is applied, e.g. going up a hill or when accelerating. It seems to come from the pedal/pedal spindle area but it could be coming from the crank arms.

How do I go about identifying what the problem is and rectifying it?

  • 1
    When new bikes are sold, often don't come with pedals. The LBS may be trying to "help out" by sending you off with a pair of cheap pedals just to get you riding down the street. Some of these pedals are, though, just "pedal-shaped objects" with low-quality bearings (or even sometimes no bearings at all). Definitely talk to the LBS about the problem.
    – DC_CARR
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 19:30
  • 1
    Hey, that's just like cars. When new cars are sold, they don't come with a steering wheel. The dealers are just nice enough to throw something on that they have lying around you can get going: a steering-wheel shaped object, with a faked up logo from Toyota or what have you.
    – Kaz
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 6:21
  • @jaffa Thanks! Self fixed my problem with your feedback!
    – user5425
    Commented Nov 3, 2012 at 21:21
  • I'm going to check mine tonight as I had a clicking start on the one side then the other.. I really hope it's as simple as a quick tighten up..
    – user5977
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 12:10
  • Just bought a Trek 29 Wahoo MTB Same click problem after 40 miles.The bike was ONLY 629.00 I guess its exspected. I should of spent a 1000.00 Lol
    – user6543
    Commented Apr 4, 2013 at 18:26

5 Answers 5


Papuass is correct - take it back to the shop as it is under warranty and they may have offered you a free service anyway.

Here is the complete checklist for future reference...

I believe that you have a Shimano Altus chainset - a pressed steel number with no chainring bolts to come undone.

As for diagnosis, you are not getting the click when you are freewheeling - that is normally a simple check to do first.

Next, try different chainring - does the click only happen in the outer ring? This can be due to the front mech touching the crank. Also check the mech clears the outer ring with the cage staying away from the teeth.

Now try the granny ring - this will not be using the same 'chainring bolts' and will identify if the problem is there - this I do not suspect in your case due to the construction of the chainset.

Now try and pedal out of the saddle - do you still get the click? Sometimes the seat post can creak as you pedal and you need to check that is not it.

Stiff link? If the click on each power stroke then it is unlikely to be the stiff link going through the chainset as this will be different each time.

Now for checking the pedals. There should be a smidgen of grease on the pedals and inside the crank arms. With a 15mm spanner you can take them off, check the grease and put them back in again. The pedals should be in really tight, you may want to wear a tough glove whilst putting your pedals in/taking them out. This is because you can mangle your hand on the chainset quite easily doing this. Remember that the left hand pedal has a left hand thread and the right hand pedal has a right hand thread - it is important you turn the right way.

Now for the bottom bracket. Get a socket set - 15mm and check the crank arms are on massively tight.

Check the pedals for wear/general condition and decide whether you need to tighten up the bolts holding the cages onto the bodies. There should be some play with affordable pedals - the bearings do not have to be great - but if there is too much play consider tightening them up with the socket set, or, better still, just get a new set of pedals, maybe upgrading yourself to Shimano SPD/Time ATAC.

If that has not cured it then check the bottom bracket is inserted properly. The chances are that you will need brand specific specialist tools for this, including a crank removal tool. Again you will have left hand thread on one side and right hand side on the other side. Make sure you are not doing up when you think you are trying to take off the bottom bracket.

With modern 'cartridge' bearing bottom bracket sets (you have one of these with octalink) it is unlikely to be penetrated with dirt/grime (giving rise to noise) but older square-peg bottom brackets can have problems with ball bearing cages falling to pieces and making quite a racket. Usually these can be repacked with new balls and grease, however, you might want to put in a new b/b - this will need to be the correct outer shell length and axle length - see your existing b/b for numbers.

There is an outside chance that there may be something up with the frame, older cr/mo frames sometimes have a really basic tube for a bottom bracket that can make itself ovaloid over time. This you can only determine with the b/b fully stripped out and when you try to put it in again.

With fairly accessible tools you can get most of the bolts tight, this may cure it and save you the 'trek' to the bike shop. Given your warranty situation you can return it to the shop and let them make a decision on how much they want to strip the bike down.

  • Great checklist. I would put "checking your seat/seatpost" at the top of it :)
    – Papuass
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 14:39
  • ...and the bolt that holds the seat on - the amount of bikes I see where the seat has slipped back to the end of the rails. Commented May 23, 2011 at 14:53
  • Hi, ok thanks for the tips. I know it is definitely the pedals/crank arms as I can exert pressure on the pedal with my hand whilst holding the bike stationery and I get the click if the crank arm is at a certain angle. I might take it back to the shop since it is only approx 1 month old.
    – jaffa
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 9:20
  • 1
    Just an update, a work colleague brought a spanner to work and re-tightened the pedal spindles and added some extra grease. Now the clicks have totally disappeared!
    – jaffa
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 17:26

I had a similar sounding problem but it was on a well-used bottom bracket. I thought the bottom bracket was shot, but when I took it out it was fine.

All I did was to reinstall it adding lots of grease to the inside of the lockring -- I think the clicking may have been some motion of the bracket inside the lockring.

  • I second this. I recently had the same kind of noise from my bike, and found that I hadn't torqued the bottom bracket enough. Add more torque, sound goes away.
    – pdw
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 14:41
  • I've had this happen with several bikes, both mountain and road, and often after a rain. Reinstalling the BB cartridge with some grease on the threads did the trick. You will need special tools for this.
    – BradS
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 23:59

In my experience the pedals are most likely the culprit. I've had brand-new, decent quality (well, a couple steps up from the cheapest) pedals begin clicking after only a week or two, with no rain exposure or whatever. Drives you crazy. And most pedals these days are nor really serviceable.

Of course, whenever there's the slightest hint of a problem with the crank it's wise to be sure that the crank bolts are tight -- a loose crank bolt can wreck the crank arm and spindle very quickly.


It might be as simple as tightening pedal spindle and in worst case you might need to replace a part (if you have ridden with loose parts).

I usually fix most of simple problems on my bikes, but on this one I would trust my LBS servicemen.


I have a similar clicking on my pivot, drives me crazy, the bike mechanic told me their was some issue with the bottom bracket rubbing. I am going to take it back and have it fixed..i just wont ride like this..it is annoying the hek out..

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    Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 21:50

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