I don't know much about bikes at all. I have this bike which I was ideally going to use tomorrow for an journey but I think that I may have to use other transport now. I haven't used it in a while, and I know it had issues in the past with the chain slipping when trying to change gears.

I read online about how to fix this and then I noticed that the front tyre looked flat, so I inflated it, but when I rode on it to test it, the tyre makes this loud rubbery sound, I have no idea why. Its a mountain bike and I read that it was supposed to have about 1cm give when squeezing and it feels right. But this sound makes me think that something is really wrong. I have recorded how it sounds in this video. Please help. Is the tire broken? I have a photo attached too. Thank you.

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  • 1
    What happens if you turn the bike upside down and spin the wheel with your hand? There's a chance the brake pads are rubbing with the tire or the rim and making such noise.
    – Lementor
    Jun 21, 2018 at 12:03
  • @IvánGarcía. : I just tried but the tyre seems to run completely freely not rubbing against anything. It seems to be the weight/pressure from sitting on the bike that does it.
    – Droopy
    Jun 21, 2018 at 12:50
  • Then I suggest you dismount the tire from the rim and check for something unusual inside. Once I found a previous owner put some dual-tube setup which made the tire fold under hard braking. It wasn't until I dismounted the tire that I could find what was happening.
    – Lementor
    Jun 21, 2018 at 12:55
  • Ok, thanks @Lementor . I actually got the bike for free about one or two years ago and I had the trouble with the chain too so I'm starting to think it would be easiest giving up on it and looking for another cheap or free bike since I'm not very good at working on bikes at all.
    – Droopy
    Jun 21, 2018 at 13:07
  • Did you ever find the answer to this problem? I just had new tires and tubes put on, and the rear is making the exact same rubbery noise. No noise spinning freely, or without weight on the bike. I read in some places to put talcum powder in the tires.
    – Debokor
    Sep 13, 2019 at 18:46

2 Answers 2


It sounds like a combination of two things: your tyre is under-inflated (1cm give seems like a lot) and it's also pretty knobbly.

To solve the first problem, pump them up a bit more! There's normally a range shown on the side of the tyres (often it's hard to find, but it's nearly always there), so somewhere in that range would be a good start. If you'll be mostly riding on roads or paths like that shown in the video, towards the upper end of that range is best; if you're doing off-road, try a little lower. Don't be afraid to experiment. You will need a pump with a pressure gauge to get the best results (it's a good investment for the future anyway), but otherwise put some more air in both tyres, and see how that feels; normally you'd ride with about the same pressure in front and rear tyres. I ride a road bike with smooth tyres, and if there's any give at all, I know they're drastically under-inflated! One advantage of higher pressure is that it makes you less vulnerable to the type of puncture known as the "pinch flat".

The tyre itself has quite deep tread (ie, it's "knobbly"), so it will be noisier (and less efficient) than a smoother tyre. Whether it's a good idea to swap your tyres for something a bit (or a lot) slicker again depends on the kind of riding you'll be doing. Generally, the smoother the surface you'll be riding on, and the longer the distance, the smoother the tyre you'll prefer. For tomorrow's journey, you'll probably be fine with these tyres.

  • Hi, thank you very much for the comment I appreciate it. I just inflated it more so its a lot stiffer now than the back tyre, but it still makes this sound, the back tyre makes no sound at all! I would have been using it for a journey to go to a client's house to dogsit, so I'm starting to think its too risky to chance it and use this. Another person I asked said "Maybe the axle is broken and the wheel rubs on the frame?" - do you think this could be possible?
    – Droopy
    Jun 21, 2018 at 11:40
  • @Droopy If you can wiggle the rim sideways perceptibly, then yes the axle/hub could have a problem. While not impossible, its not as likely as plain old tyre noise on the road. Spin the wheel with the bike off the ground and see if it makes the same sounds.
    – Criggie
    Jun 21, 2018 at 12:52
  • Ok thanks @Criggie . I just went and checked but the rim seems stiff/normal like the back tire. If I spin the wheel with the bike off the ground it seems to spin normally/smoothly without making noise or rubbing against anything. It seems to be like the weight of sitting on the bike causing the noise, like its a really flat tyre, but its not.
    – Droopy
    Jun 21, 2018 at 13:08

I had the same issue. I had flat tire and I inflated the tire back to normal. I rode the bike and notice this rubbery sound. I resolved this issue by deflating the tire and applying WD-40 to edge of the tire where it meets the metal rim all around and both side of the tire. The noise went away.

  • 7
    This is not something I recommend anyone else doing, especially if you have rim brakes.
    – Paul H
    Mar 22, 2023 at 4:48

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