• jules

    2 more:
    – loose rear skewer. I got this from an interview CT published with a pro-tour mechanic and it’s gold – the squeaking under load in time with pedal strokes is almost always the rear skewer – it’s gotta be real tight.
    – loose wheel (cup and cone) bearings. these can wear loose after a while and can clunk over bumps in the road. easily diagnosed by shaking the wheel left/right and feeling for any slack.

    • JBS

      add a loose/dirty front skewer to that list: squeaking when out of the saddle that matches the swing of the bike under you is a good sign.

    • Jon Thornton

      I agree. Skewers have got to be clean, greased and tight. Otherwise they make noise.

  • Faz

    I was convinced once that my bottom bracket was creaking. I took it to the shop, had them service it only to find the noise was still somewhere. It was driving me crazy, I had this noise but couldn’t find where it was. Turned out to be the small bolts from the bidon cage had worked themselves loose are were rattling. Check all bolts to see if they are loose!

    • Dave

      Another common cause for creaking coming from the rough direction of the bottom bracket is when the chainring bolts and/or crank bolts are not properly tightened.

      These are much easier to check than the BB is, so should be checked first to either fix them or rule them out as the cause of the problem before getting into the BB.

    • Arfy

      I had a squeak coming from the BB area just the other week, and as it squeaked every pedal stroke it seemed the logical conclusion. But on closer inspection the BB seemed fine, it took a while until I realised it was my new winter shoe covers rubbing against the crank arm – a slight adjustment to the cleat position was the fix!

    • Christophe

      I once had my BB serviced to find out that the creaking noise actually originated from a dry seatpost (alloy on alloy). Drove me nuts for months on end.

  • Jaybo

    i’ve had plenty of creaking noises out of the little brackets that hold the brake & gear cables on the frame at the front of the bike. when i turn the handlebars left & right, the cables move around in the brackets and make a horrible creaking noise. was very confused :D

    • Jon Thornton

      That happened to me recently. Initially, I thought it was the headset. Like you, I was very confused.

    • mark

      Keep them lubed with a teflon spray or apply some grease.

  • Chris Gillespie

    Another sneaky one is the front mech cable slightly sticking out and hitting the crank arm as it rotates. Make sure your cables are sufficiently bent inwards.

  • five a.m. rides

    It’s a good day when I hear my bike squeaking over the noise of my knees creaking

  • Derek Maher

    I used to race on an alm Vitus back in the 80s,It developed a creak which nearly drove riders around me insane going up the climbs as they kept checking their own bikes.Seat pillar and the frame tube having fun was the cause.The Vitus met its end on a fast descent in Co Kerry.

    • Karl

      That’s going to give me nightmares

    • jules

      I had a go on one of those Vitus’. When people talk about compliant frames these days, they are kidding themselves.

  • kasual

    Bottom bracket creaking is a big one I hear about. Hardly a day goes by where I don’t see someone riding by with a creaking and popping BB.

    – Bottom bracket cups not sufficiently torqued (sealed unit).
    – Bracket needs to repacking and adjustment (cup and cone unit)
    – Bracket needs to be replaced (worn out sealed unit)

  • David Sweeney

    Many will tell you that the Presta valve nut is not necessary on a road bike. Weight-weenies will gladly ditch that useless nut! However, if your wheels make a strange rub/ rattle noise when sprinting or swinging the bike, it can be the valve stem swinging left/ right within the rim hole. A quick fix, which is a bit budget, but also looks ‘Pro mechanic’ at the same time, is to cut a short piece of electrical insulation tape, position it over the Presta valve stem, then pull it down to pierce through the tape, and stick it against the rim. Fixed… at a fraction of the weight of the OEM Presta valve nut.

    • Cameron Harris

      I wrap a short length (not too thick!) around the stem of the valve before installing the tube.

    • mark

      You can also do it the way I do which looks much cleaner. Before installing the tube, or tubular for us race guys, is to wrap some electrical tape around the valve until it is a snug fit in the rim. Not too much tape as it will not fit through the rim.

  • Simon

    Had an annoying click for a week or so, checked everything but failed to trace it. Then I looked down one day and it was my jersey zip toggle hitting the zip teeth as I rode!

  • Kieran Degan

    Good article. Another tip is to check your speed magnet. I had a constant tapping every time I was out of my saddle. After a huge investigation, it turned out to be that my speed magnet was very close to the sensor, and as the wheels flexed it would touch.

  • Ron C

    Hopefully you guys are still here.

    I have a 29 inch bike. Whenever I hit the rear brakes hard I hear a rattling sound from the wheel. I can’t find any loose spokes and all gears seem tight.


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