Something is creaking on my Cannondale while pedaling with force. It is easier to hear in low gears, when climbing. An audio clip tells it better than any literal description, so here is a recording of me climbing a steep slope: Recording You can hear it starting from second 7. I held my phone over the crankset.

If it matters, I run Shimano 2×11, FSA MegaExo BB, DT Swiss 350 rear hub. Drivetrain elements such as chain,chainrings,cogs, pulleys are thoroughly cleaned to look and work as new. Some months ago I cleaned and lubed the BB, chainring bolts and pedal threads. The creaking is also happening while standing, so it’s not seatpost related. Yesterday I also lubricated the rear wheel nipples(WD40) and also placed a drop of lube on the contact points between the spokes, with no results. Any ideas ?

  • The chain is clear of the front derailleur, correct?
    – JakeD
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 20:38
  • Yes, definitely.
    – cpper
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 20:44
  • vocaroo.com is off-line. Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 21:30
  • It kind of sounds like the chain rubbing on something or maybe being caught between two cogs on the cassette (like, the shifting isn't indexed right). What was your cadence like in the recording, and what gear ratio were you in (front and back)? Are you sure the chain is threaded through the rear derailleur cage correctly (there are often little tabs on the cage plate that the chain must be on the correct side of)? This diagram shows what the cage plate is: bikesonrobson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/…
    – JakeD
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 23:08
  • I can't listen to the sound, but from personal experience I can say that one cause of hard-to-diagnose creaking is a cracked tube. If you get a bit of a crack in your down tube (my case) the lateral pressure on the bottom bracket caused by pushing hard on the cranks can make it grow.
    – DavidW
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 0:25

2 Answers 2


I found the culprit(most likely): it was the cogs digging into the freehub body, as seen in the post here. I imagine the cassette lockring wasn't tight enough. The recommended torque is 50Nm but since I don't have a torque wrench that big, I've tightened it how tight I believed was enough, last time I removed the cassette. At the time of removing the cassette, I've also greased the derailleur hanger bolt and contact surface, and the skewer, but I believe the noise came from the cassette. Sorry for wasting your time !

  • 2
    It's not a waste of time if you're problem got sorted. Cassette is a rarely mentioned possibility, good to have it written down. Shame you couldn't isolate those things one by one to report back, all those things could also give noise I should think
    – Swifty
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 19:24

The creaking sound can come from many things.

Starting from the top down it can come from the seat shell contacting the rails. The rails contacting the clamping mechanism. The seatpost contacting the frame. The bottom bracket. The crank arms contacting the bottom bracket. The pedals. The spokes in the rear wheel.

Most of the reasons mentioned occur due to bolts not being tightened enough causing assemblies to move until the contacting surfaces are polished enough to cause an audible vibration.

Start from somewhere and by process of elimination hunt down the source.

Firstly eliminate the seat and seatpost by standing up when you pedal. Then eliminate the rear wheel by standing up and not pedaling while shifting your weight around. Then proceed to tighten stuff one ride at a time and see if/when the sound disappears.

  • 2
    "The creaking is also happening while standing, so it’s not seatpost related."
    – JakeD
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 23:08

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