2003ish Cannondale six13, all Ultegra.

Frequently, but not always, when I'm coasting at a fast pace, usually down a hill, the bike will start making this hideous screeching/grinding noise. It is silenced if I rotate the pedals a bit, but might start up again immediately. I'm reasonably certain it's coming from the bottom bracket.

My questions are:

If it is the bottom bracket, why would it be making this sound? Can the existing one be serviced to fix this?

If it can't be serviced, should I just get a new bottom bracket and install it, or could it be something else?

Since I cannot reproduce this off the bike, what should I look for if I take things apart?


  • 1
    It's not the bb, its almost certainly the freehub body. What's the make and model of the rear hub?
    – joelmdev
    Oct 23, 2011 at 2:12

2 Answers 2


I think it's impossible for it to be coming from the bottom bracket while the pedals are not turning. More likely it's coming from the rear hub.

I'd first check whether the spoke guard (if you have one) has come loose and is rubbing against the cluster. And inspect the area behind the cluster for any piece of trash that has gotten in there. Failing that, you probably have a problem with your freehub.

  • 2
    Dirt in the freehub is the problem here. Either get the LBS to put a new freehub body on or, if you have the tools: parktool.com/blog/repair-help/freehub-service Oct 12, 2011 at 6:53
  • 1
    @mathew - Your comment would be better as an answer: the OP won't have been notified of your comment.
    – ChrisW
    Oct 18, 2011 at 2:52
  • I think mathew left his comment more as a clarification of this answer than anything else. Oct 22, 2011 at 22:29

I had the very same problem a while ago and it turned out that it was the free hub on the rear wheel, and when I checked it the whole cassette was loose. I replaced the free hub and hey presto the problem was solved.

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