My road bike is making very noisy popping/flexing sounds when pedaling. There are multiple sounds in a semi-regular pattern with each pedal stroke, and I can feel extra movement through the pedals as I hear the sounds.

The sounds are most pronounced at moderate intensity and still present at light intensity, but when I do a hard sprint or threshold effort (i.e. when the drive-train is under constant pressure) the sounds disappear.

Also, if I grab a pedal with my hand and press my weight down on the crank, I can feel some give and hear a sound as I do this.

  • 5
    Something's loose. Could be worn bearings, could be bottom bracket cups have worked loose, but worst to all (and most common) is that a crank arm has come loose on the crank shaft. If you tend to this IMMEDIATELY you may avoid having the crank arm damaged beyond repair. Commented May 13, 2018 at 14:26

3 Answers 3


I would suspect a problem in the bottom bracket, but would also check pedal spindles and bearings.

Check for any movement or play between: - The pedals and crank arms - Crank arms and crank axle - Crank axle and the bottom bracket shell

If there is movement between the crank arms and crank axle don't ride the bike. Alloy cranks moving on steel axles will be irreparably destroyed.

Check that the pedals turn smoothly, and the crank turns smoothly in the bottom bracket. It helps a great deal if you get the chain off the rings when you make the latter check.

If there is play, 'hitches', 'notchiness' or a grinding feeling when turning the pedal or crank, the bearings are wearing out / worn out.

You have not said what material frame you have or what bottom bracket type you have but some press fit bearings tend to be creaky.


The problem was found and resolved successfully.

The bottom bracket was worn out and needed replacing.

  • Vote to leave - this is OP's answer as to what worked for him. @iangibson you could mark this as the accepted answer too, because its what worked for you.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 17, 2018 at 4:18
  • 1
    @Criggie The problem with this answer is, that it starts with the big red flag "Thanks for the replies". This signals "not an answer" to most active stackexchange users, some of which may not even read the rest before hitting the "flag" button. I'd suggest to just remove that. Commented May 19, 2018 at 8:46

When threaded connections become loose or dry, they creak. If you haven't given your rig some greasy lovin' in a while, this is probably your issue. To fix it:

  1. Disassemble

  2. Lubricate

  3. Reassemble

The creaking may be coming out of your drivetrain, but it could also be connections in your cockpit.

If you're still having this issue after the above three steps, it may be time to start inspecting your highest mileage components.

As for the "movement through the pedals," can you please explain what this means?

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