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Ticking noise from bike during pedaling

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Ticking noise from bike during pedaling

Old 11-11-15, 04:51 PM
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Ticking noise from bike during pedaling

I'm hearing this ticking noise from my bike during pedaling when I'm shifting into higher gears. I can't really pinpoint where it is coming from specifically because I don't have a stand right now, but it sounds like the crank if I had to guess.

I thought it was the front derailleur and chain rubbing, but every time I look down I see a space between the chain and the derailleur. Plus, if I shift all the way to the highest gear on the 34T ring on the front, I hear the chain rubbing quite loudly.

I've got Ultegra front and rear components if that helps.

Side question: is it possible to remove chain rub on all gearings on a compact set up? I find that I am either cross chaining pretty hard on the small ring (high gear) or big ring (low gear). It's a standard 34/50T.
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Old 11-11-15, 06:04 PM
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I have the same problem. After a year of trial/error, and troubleshooting, I believe it's the crank bearings. If it starts, I can often stop it, or affect a change by coasting momentarily then start pedaling again.
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Old 11-11-15, 06:19 PM
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Need more info in order to assist.
  1. Is the noise in time with crank revs, wheel revs or some other rhythm?
  2. If crank revs does it occur on both side, and where in the rotation?
  3. Did it start after a repair procedure, accident, or equipment change?
  4. How old is the bike?
  5. Finally, what does "when I'm shifting into higher gears" mean? Which front/rear combo, and does the noise stop once you have completed the shift?

As for the side question, cross chaining is always problematic. Is it possible to remove chainrub? Maybe, but not likely, and even if so why bother? Large large is inevitably very noisy anyway, and small-small is a very high wear combo. Finally, there is overlap even in a compact setup, such that you would get a similar ratio as the small-small with the large chainring and a more middle cog. Same with the large-large vs. the small chainring. It's extremely unlikely that you would often need to use either combo. If you do use those ratios and the terrain or speed you encounter requires too much shifting between rings to use the alternate, then change the chainrings or cogs to fix the problem.
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Old 11-11-15, 06:57 PM
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Could be the bearings in the actual pedals you are hearing. I'd take a look at them to be sure.
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Old 11-11-15, 07:02 PM
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Make sure that your derailleur cable end or your shoelace is not ticking against the crank.
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Old 11-11-15, 08:26 PM
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Clicking is very seldom caused by the bearings themselves, whether it be the BB or the pedals.
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Old 11-11-15, 08:32 PM
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It's not the shoelaces because I am wearing shoes without laces.

The bikes is brand new (from bikes direct), but I was told that there was pretty much no point in checking the bearings so I never did it. It is possible the pedal bearings are messed up? All I did was lube the threads. It's only started happening recently after maybe 50-100 miles. I have been tinkering with front and rear derailleur adjustment quite a bit, but I think I set those.

I'm really wanting to pick up a stand so I can work on the bike properly, but it's a lot of money I just don't have right now.



Is the noise in time with crank revs, wheel revs or some other rhythm? crank revs I believe since it only happens during pedals. I haven't experimented with changing my cadence though. I'll try it out tomorrow.
If crank revs does it occur on both side, and where in the rotation? I'll check tomorrow.
Did it start after a repair procedure, accident, or equipment change? Nope.
How old is the bike? <1 month.
Finally, what does "when I'm shifting into higher gears" mean? Which front/rear combo, and does the noise stop once you have completed the shift? Small front, top 7 gears. Large front, top 5 gears (haven't tried lower gears).
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Old 11-11-15, 08:54 PM
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Start with the simple and free things first like the shoelace recommendation and work your way down to more and more complicated stuff, check after each adjustment to see if you cured it before going on the next step.

Make sure the pedals are tight;

try lubing the cleats on your shoes and where your cleats engage the pedals and the springs;

weird as this may seem but sound can travel weirdly so check you saddle for tightness;

make sure the chainring gear bolts (whats known as the stack bolts) that connect the ring gears to the spider are tight;

check your frame for cracks especially along the bottom bracket shell.

make sure the crank fixing bolts are tight and watch this video on how to do that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyC7t3cu11Q ;

check to make sure the bottom bracket is tight, see this video on how to that: Video: How to Loosen or Tighten a Bottom Bracket on Your Bicycle | eHow ;
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Old 11-11-15, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
Start with the simple and free things first like the shoelace recommendation and work your way down to more and more complicated stuff, check after each adjustment to see if you cured it before going on the next step.

Make sure the pedals are tight;

try lubing the cleats on your shoes and where your cleats engage the pedals and the springs;

weird as this may seem but sound can travel weirdly so check you saddle for tightness;

make sure the chainring gear bolts (whats known as the stack bolts) that connect the ring gears to the spider are tight;

check your frame for cracks especially along the bottom bracket shell.

make sure the crank fixing bolts are tight and watch this video on how to do that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyC7t3cu11Q ;

check to make sure the bottom bracket is tight, see this video on how to that: Video: How to Loosen or Tighten a Bottom Bracket on Your Bicycle | eHow ;
Thanks for the videos.

I'll try the last four since I know for sure it's not the first 3.
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Old 11-11-15, 09:21 PM
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Understand that you will be checking a lot of irrelevant things until you can give us more info. It's important to know if the noise occurs per crank rev, and whether it happens on both sides (which would be twice per full crank rev). Also, it would be very helpful to know what type of BB you have - the video may not apply to your BB, and I don't think much of any video that talks of tightening/loosening rather than adjusting a bearing. Please give us a clear pic of the right side of the BB or tell us exact model and year of your bike.

You are finding out why a Bikes Direct bike is "less expensive" than those ripoff prices the shops charge.
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Old 11-11-15, 09:42 PM
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I had an annoying tick sound coming from a crank on a 12 speed Raleigh Technium a couple years ago. Tightened the crank bearing & sound continued. Pedals were OK. Finally stopped after I replaced all the ring bolts.
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Old 11-11-15, 11:38 PM
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It's a FSA MegaExo External Bearing BB-6200 with an FSA Gossamer Compact crank. Bike is a Motobecane Super Strada.

Normally I would give you a lot more details, but I'm new to bikes, and I don't even know what half of this stuff is called unfortunately.

If there was a site that had like a breakout diagram of bike components, I would totally read it.
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Old 11-12-15, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by SlvrDragon50 View Post
If there was a site that had like a breakout diagram of bike components, I would totally read it.
Repair Help Articles - Park Tool -- specifically, the "Where's the problem?" link.

Also check out: Creaks, Clicks & Clunks...
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Old 11-12-15, 05:20 AM
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Do the simple, cheap things first. Remove the pedals, clean male and female threads and the faying (mounting) surfaces, grease threads and reinstall, torquing firmly. Try a different, known quiet set if available, preferably platform type to eliminate cleat and shoe noise. Clean, lube and reinstall the chainring bolts. Check saddle, seatpost and handlebars for tightness.
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Old 11-12-15, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by SlvrDragon50 View Post
.

If there (were) a site that had like a breakout diagram of bike components, I would totally read it.
Google your own words. As for not knowing much, that's OK. All we need right now is some simple observation and description. Now that we know you have an external BB some of the previous suggestions don't apply. The suggestions above from dsbrantjr eliminate parts in the BB/crank other than the BB assembly itself. You might try a search for external BB click for more targeted suggestions.

An additional note on your side question - If you enter your drivetrain info into Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Gear Calculator you will be able to determine which gears are close in ratio to the cross chain ones. Unfortunately nothing comes with only benefits, and the disadvantage of a compact crank is that going to that equivalent gear instead of the cross chain one requires a good bit of double shifting. That is why it is helpful to look at your gearing habits and needs and then design the drivetrain so that you avoid doing that too often.
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There's no such thing as a routine repair.

Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

Please respect others by taking the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 11-12-15 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 11-12-15, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by SlvrDragon50 View Post

Side question: is it possible to remove chain rub on all gearings on a compact set up? I find that I am either cross chaining pretty hard on the small ring (high gear) or big ring (low gear). It's a standard 34/50T.
I call this "The Beauty of the 34/50 Compact" !
To get into your most ridable gears, everyday gears, you need to crosschain while on the big cog in front as well as the small cog. Wears components faster, good for selling more chains and cassettes.
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Old 11-12-15, 07:58 AM
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The nature of bicycle tubes is such that sound is carried throughout the frame which may give a false impression as to where the clicking is actually coming from.

Was your seat post lubed prior to installation? Start with the easy stuff.
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Old 11-12-15, 08:52 AM
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For seatpost and saddle all OP has to do is check to see if problem occurs out of the saddle. No sense in randomly trying things. The "it happened to me once" posts are well-meaning but mostly a waste of time.
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There's no such thing as a routine repair.

Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

Please respect others by taking the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!
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Old 11-12-15, 06:26 PM
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So I wasn't able to do a full diagnosis today because it was windy, and I had trouble really hearing what was going on.

I did discover that the noise seems to only occur when I am riding at higher cadences, and it seems to be synced to the crank (not 100% sure). When I slowed my cadence down, I didn't hear the noise. The noise was most prominent when I was using the large ring (front) and smaller rings (back).
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Old 11-12-15, 09:20 PM
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Last time I had a tick like that it turned out to be the zipper on my jacket. I was sure it was something on the bike. It only happened when I was pedaling fast and it was in time with my cadence.

I realize this isn't very helpful, but I mention it as an example of how sounds can trick you.
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Old 11-12-15, 09:47 PM
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Could be the BB, depending on type. If the spindle race is not lubed enough, it can bind up on the bearings then quickly slip, resulting in a click sound.
It may just need some lubrication.
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Old 11-13-15, 05:48 AM
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What is a "spindle race," and what type of BB are you talking about?
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There's no such thing as a routine repair.

Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

Please respect others by taking the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!
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Old 11-13-15, 08:19 AM
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Easy things to try:

Stand up and see if the noise goes away. If so, look at the seatpost or the saddle clamps.

Do this:
Mega Exo crank? My old bike would "click" when pedaling. It didn't click all the time, sometimes it would be quiet temporarily. The bike store unscrewed the tension plug, undid the two pinch bolts, pulled the left crank, cleaned off the splines, and greased them. Look at Park Tools repair help for how to adjust the tension plug correctly before re-tightening the two bolts. The plug is only tightened enough to take the play out of the bearings.

After that, I did it myself. I had to re-do the splines about once a year or so. It's easy. I put a light film of grease on the spindle where the bearings sit, too.

Then do this if the noise is still there:
Mega Exo bottom bracket I would get noise from this, too. I ended up using plumber teflon tape on the threads. That quieted it down.

I don't think it's the bearings. When you have the crank arm off to grease the splines, you can pull out the crank and spindle from the bike. Then use your finger to turn the bottom bracket bearings. You can feel if they are rough or smooth. I've never had bad bearings make a clicking noise, they just made it harder to pedal, and had maybe a quiet "grinding" type of noise.

~~~~
more:

Chainring bolts. I've had these click or creak before. Make sure your bolts are tight. You might need a tool to hold the back of the bolt while you use a hex wrench on the front. You could remove each one, clean it and lube the threads and the chainring hole, and retighten.

I was "sure" my bottom bracket was creaking. But it was the rear quick release. I lubed the release lever pivot, and tightened it just a little more. Fixed!

Cross chained 34 chainring: My current bike's chain hits the pickup pins on the big chainring when I'm in the 34 and smallest cog. It makes a ticking noise. Just on the smallest cog.

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Old 11-13-15, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by SlvrDragon50 View Post

Side question: is it possible to remove chain rub on all gearings on a compact set up? I find that I am either cross chaining pretty hard on the small ring (high gear) or big ring (low gear). It's a standard 34/50T.
It's called "trimming" the front chainring, moving it a little to stop rubbing the chain. Most front shifters have a way to do this. Try googling your shifter model and "trimming".

I'll cross chain if necessary, like on a short, steeper climb. Then I'll shift either the front or back to get out of the cross chain when it's easier, after the steep bit.

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Old 11-13-15, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
For seatpost and saddle all OP has to do is check to see if problem occurs out of the saddle. No sense in randomly trying things. The "it happened to me once" posts are well-meaning but mostly a waste of time.
That doesn't really work. Last spring, I had a clicking, and it went away when I was out of the saddle. It was not my saddle, or seatpost - it was one of the pedal bearings. Riding out of the saddle put a little extra pressure on it and made the noise go away.
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