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Let me prefix this by saying that I don't know much about bikes. Especially from the terminology perspective.

When riding, I can hear a relatively quiet click when I push down on the pedals. It happens when either of the pedals are in the upwards position, even when I try to put on continuous pressure during the whole rotation. I also feel a slight vibration when it clicks.

It seems to me that the sound is coming either from the pedals or from the part where they're attached but since I can't reproduce the issue when I turn the bike upside down, I can't pinpoint the source.

This started happening a couple of weeks ago. In the mean time I took the bike in for regular maintenance and it seemed to fix the issue but it came back the next day, or the day after.

What can I do to diagnose this issue? Should I just take it back to the repair shop, or is this something I can fix myself?

The bike is Ghost Kato 2.9 if that matters.

  • It could be a dozen different things. Most critical would be a loose crank arm. Grab the arm and try to wiggle it relative to the crank shaft -- if there's motion between the two (even a little) then the crank arm is loose and needs to be tightened. This is an "emergency", as riding with a crank arm loose can cause damage. Otherwise, could be loose pedals, bad pedal bearings, loose bottom bracket, even a cracked frame. – Daniel R Hicks Oct 28 '18 at 12:39
  • I had a click from my bottom bracket a few months ago, tried my best to clean it up but it persisted. I ended up taking it apart cleaning it very well, tightening everything back to spec and it went away. This included the pedals and chain ring bolts. – Gary Bak Oct 30 '18 at 11:18
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While everyone here suggesting the bottom bracket is the likely culprit (and they're probably right), I wanted to comment nonetheless and point out that this could easily be the less common issue of worn bearings in one of the pedals.

Try rotating the pedals with your hand. If they don't spin smoothly, that's a good indication that you've got a bad bearing. You can try taking the pedal apart and repacking the bearings/grease, but odds are the track is pitted. The pedal will continue to fail. Unless it's a clipless or expensive pedal, just buy another pair. They're cheap.

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If the noise/vibration occurs on the downwards stroke of each pedal, then the problem is very likely in the bottom bracket. You bike has a square taper crank with a cartridge bottom bracket. That might be loose. You can check for this easily by holding the crank arms and trying to wobble the axle. There should be no movement or play.

If you can get the bike fixed under warrantee you should do that. It helps to be able to point out a specific problem that needs to be fixed though.

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I have a feeling that this could be an issue with the bottom bracket - often I find that if it has been installed without enough assembly grease (i.e. copper grease on a threaded bottom bracket), then it will click under load.

Another possibility is that, under load, a part is making contact with another part (e.g. the front derailleur may be striking the chain - try it in a different gear and see if it makes a difference, or even your foot hitting the end of a gear cable).

Final possibility is that a part is worn or damaged but needs to be under load for it to make a noise (pedal bearings/bottom bracket bearings/crank arms).

If I can't isolate the click I tend to take the whole crank and bottom bracket apart, clean, inspect and reassemble with as much grease as I dare - but if you don't have those skills I would probably live with the click rather than pay a bike shop to rebuild the bottom end of the bike - these are the kind of noises that can take a long time to solve!

  • Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately I don't really have the tools to do the disassembly, but the bike is pretty new so maybe I can get this fixed under warranty. And the click isn't too bad, I'm just afraid it might get worse. Hopefully the whole thing doesn't fall apart heh – Darwin Oct 27 '18 at 12:49
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It could really be anything. Loose pedals (unlikely), loose cranks (i put my money here), loose chainrings, bottom bracket issues. It could be a lot of things and it doesn't sound like you know how to take it apart so I think the answer here is to take it to the shop.

If it is something that has gone loose, it's going to keep getting looser and looser until it falls off.

I will say though, I've never had a bottom bracket go bad on me, and I ride thousands of miles each season, and beat the crap out of my cranks on rocks. Especially on a new bike, I highly doubt you've worn out your BB bearings. But the BB itself could be coming loose. But my gut says loose cranks for some reason.

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And the clicking might not even be coming from the pedals, crankset, or bottom bracket.

I had the same issue of clicking when I pedaled, getting clicks on the downstroke on one side. I never could find the problem - even going as far as removing the pedals, crankset, and bottom bracket and checking everything, only to find nothing wrong. The clicking continued.

Then, about six months ago, my front wheel - an old Neuvation R28 with a lot of miles on it that I used as a training wheel - suddenly went significantly out-of-true. A quick look showed that one of the spoke nipples had pulled right through the rim. The rim around the spoke hole had cracked. The wheel was probably close to 10 years old, and had literally tens of thousands of miles on it as it was the front wheel I normally used.

I changed the wheel, and the clicking was gone. And it's never returned.

What I think was happening was the pressure of pedaling was putting just enough side pressure on the front wheel to cause the cracked rim to make a clicking noise. It drove me crazy for quite a few months.

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I had a similar problem a few weeks ago, although only on the left pedal. Both of them were brand new, as was the bike. Pedals were well tighten on the crank arms.

The solution was pretty simple, and actually documented in the notice. I did not put grease on the pedal thread as instructed. The clicking occurred after 5 or 6 weeks of riding (500-600 km). Greasing the pedal thread was enough to get rid of the sound.

It is a very simple thing to do, I would try it before performing further investigation.

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