My bike is making a clicking sound on every downstroke of the left crank. Here's a recording I took while out on a ride: https://soundcloud.com/jugdish/20210309-1510-recording-2-edit/s-x5znI4sdTPu

It gets worse with more force, like when climbing.

I will admit I was the last one to put the cranks on and I didn't have a torque wrench, but I'm pretty certain I got them on securely. At least there is no lateral play in the cranks.

I'm thinking that leaves either the pedal bearings or the bottom bracket as the cause? Does anyone have any other ideas? Is there a good way to diagnose whether the pedals are the cause without having to buy new ones?

  • Crankset is a Shimano 105, two-piece compression slotted, non self extracting
  • Bottom bracket is Shimano SM-BBR60, about 5 years old.
  • Pedals were replaced due to pitted bearings about 3 years ago.
  • I had a click on a bike with an older sealed bottom bracket, and I finally figured out it was due to the BB cartridge moving in the BB housing, because the flanges were not tight against the cartridge. Mar 20, 2021 at 2:46
  • Did it just start recently?
    – MaplePanda
    Mar 20, 2021 at 2:53
  • @MaplePanda No, I've been putting up with it for probably 3 weeks now, and finally decided I needed to do something about it!
    – Jugdizh
    Mar 20, 2021 at 3:08
  • @Jugdizh Okay, that’s recently then. Threaded or press fit BB? I just fixed a buddy’s bike last night with a creak that ended up being a loose threaded BB.
    – MaplePanda
    Mar 20, 2021 at 22:58
  • It's a threaded BB. Am I ok to remove, wipe down, and re-install the BB? Or should I just tighten it in place?
    – Jugdizh
    Apr 17, 2021 at 2:00

1 Answer 1


Your noise is pretty loud and constant. It suggests something is worn out. It's possible there's some interface that needs cleaning and greasing, but with Shimano road BBs, that usually won't produce a noise so constant and obnoxious. This is what I would do:

  • Pull the cranks and wipe the grit off everything, and also wipe down the contact surfaces of the spindle.
  • Check that the BB isn't overtly worn/gritty feeling. 5 years of riding is an ample lifespan for Shimano external threaded BBs, and they're inexpensive to replace.
  • BB cups torqued.
  • Chainring bolts torqued (this isn't it if you're sure it's only from left side pressure).
  • Light grease cooating on the the black BB top hats in the spindle contact area. Shove the spindle through. Don't grease the spindle itself because it will squeegee into a big mess on the drive side. Grease the inside the of the splines on the left. Install the left side, adjust so the play is just gone, torque down both bolts to 14Nm in a row. (Or, sans torque wrench, make them both as tight as you would ever reasonably tighten something with a 5mm L-wrench.)
  • If that doesn't do it, test with different pedals. Alternately, sometimes you can get this right off the bat by applying pressure to the left crank at the end of the crank arm, getting no noise, and then applying similar force to the pedal and getting obvious noise.
  • I finally have a torque wrench and am ready to do what you've suggested. One question: when I'm wiping down & cleaning everything, can I use degreaser? On things like the crank spindle, pedal threads, and such. Or is that a bad idea?
    – Jugdizh
    Apr 17, 2021 at 1:20
  • @Jugdizh It's not really necessary unless things are abnormally filthy, but it won't hurt anything as long as you don't get it into the bearings. I usually just use a spray type detergent cleaner on a rag. Apr 17, 2021 at 5:20
  • Turns out this did the trick! I removed the pedals and cranks, regreased everything, and put everything back on at the right torque, and my bike is nice & quiet again :)
    – Jugdizh
    Apr 27, 2021 at 21:01

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