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My commuter road bike (Pinnacle Arkose 3 - actually a disc-braked cross bike, fitted with mudguards) has an annoying and loud creak, associated with each turn of the pedals - there is a creak each time a pedal passes the 2-3 o'clock position, on either side.

It sounds like a bottom bracket creak, but I have replaced the bottom bracket and adequately tightened it, yet the creak continues.

If I unclip one foot and pedal one-legged the creak stops - this works for either foot. If I pedal very lightly at a very high cadence (e.g. 120 RPM), the creak stops.

If I pedal hard or sprint out of the saddle, the creak is louder.

If I stop and tighten the rear wheel quick release (traditional QR, rather than through-axle), the creak stops, but inevitably returns, often within a few miles.

So far I have tried/checked:

  • swapping in the QR skewer from my turbo trainer and this makes no difference - the creak only goes away temporarily
  • checking the chain for wear - currently showing as 0.5% worn
  • checking the rear wheel is properly seated in the dropouts
  • tightening the bolts on the rear derailleur hanger, which the QR skewer tightens to

What else can I try to resolve this annoying creak? It's driving me crazy! I'm also concerned it could be a sign something is under fatigue or close to breaking.

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    Are you sure you're getting the QR tight? – Daniel R Hicks Jun 15 '18 at 12:10
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    Everybody immediately looks to the much maligned bottom bracket (me included) but it makes sense to start with easier parts. I usually look in this order: seatpost, quick releases, linkage (for suspension bikes), seat (at rails), pedals (including cleats), cranks, bottom bracket. Anything designed to move should be greased appropriately (ex: seatpost insert) – markd Jul 12 '18 at 17:35
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In my experience, when tightening the quick release only temporarily solves the problem, try putting a little grease between the rear derailleur hanger and the dropout. Often it is the seat post but ruled that out since you said it gets louder when sprinting out of the saddle. Good luck!

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I doubt this is the answer to your specific creak but I think it's worth posting anyway, as it may be helpful to others in the future.

I've found that a bit of grit on the surface of the dropout can cause this kind of creaking. As the frame flexes the grit gets ground between the drop-out and axle or QR and the frame tubes can amplify the sound a surprising amount. I think it's worth cleaning your drop-outs and the contact points on the axle and QR, but I'm not sure why tightening the QR would temporarily solve the problem in your case if it was grit.

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Annoying creaks occur in hard to put your finger on places. My father in law calls this "drivers ear".

Check that the BB is tight in the shell, probably worth removing, cleaning and greasing the threads:

Next, check and lube your freehub body, use disk brake mineral oil for the lubing. A syringe with a fine needle can get the oil behind the seals:

Last place to check is the headset, again remove, clean and regrease:

Failing all that put your iPod on maximum volume and ignore it until the creaking part fails completely.

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