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Drivetrain Creak/Knock .... driving me demented!

  • 11-09-2021 2:07pm
    Registered Users Posts: 3,589 ✭✭✭ C3PO

    So I recently had a new commuter/winter training bike built. New Dolan aluminium frame, newly rebuilt wheels, 10 speed Dura-Ace shifters and derailleurs from the bike I was retiring. New bottom bracket, chain and cassette. I used a 10-speed Ultegra compact crank that had been in a box for years but had only been lightly used previously. Everything was perfect for a couple of weeks (200-250kms) and then a really annoying creak/knock started to develop. It's always there but seems to increase/decrease in volume at different times - seems to be worse when in the inner rather than the outer ring! It is not a regular click like I have experienced previously. Definitely drive train related (I think) as it disappears when I freewheel. Louder when I'm out of the saddle or stamping on the pedals. I know it is very hard to determine exactly where these noises originate from but I'm pretty sure it's coming from the crank/bottom bracket area.

    So far I have removed the crank and bottom bracket - regreased all surfaces (inc. pinch bolts) and refitted torquing bolts correctly. No real difference! Removed the crank again and then the chainring bolts - greased and refitted. Still there! Pedals are brand new SPDs (greased). No obvious cracks or movement in any parts.

    Should I have any spacers on bottom bracket or cranks?

    Could I have a dodgy bottom bracket?

    Anything I've missed?



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,418 ✭✭✭ fat bloke

    Maddening. Could be a front wheel, headset, fork. Anything.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,929 ✭✭✭ nilhg

    Had something very similar recently, turned out to be the freewheel bearings, would have sworn it was the BB.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,589 ✭✭✭ C3PO

    Cheers - I’ll check with the lbs but I would have hoped that the bearings would have been replaced when the wheels were rebuilt.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,503 ✭✭✭ secman

    I was convinced my creaking was BB but turned out it was headset 😃

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 42,377 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

    i had something vaguely similar - mainly appeared when i was putting down power or cornering, and what fixed it was a tiny drop of oil on the spoke nipples on the back wheel. obviously was more apparent when i was 'flexing' the bike or wheel more, in hindsight.

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  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 32,820 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Seth Brundle

    I've had a creaking over recent months from the BB area.

    I am now of the opinion that it is my shoes doing it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 612 ✭✭✭ cyclocross!

    Seat post or seat post clamp. Take them both off and grease them. Same with saddle rails.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,262 ✭✭✭ hesker

    I’ve had annoying creaks several times. BB has never been the source.

    Wheel skewers too tight

    Loose dropout bolt

    wheel bearings worn

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,414 ✭✭✭ harringtonp

    Cleats. If you have a second set of shoes try them

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,589 ✭✭✭ C3PO

    Unfortunately still there when I rode the bike up and down the road in ordinary shoes after trying various fixes!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,414 ✭✭✭ harringtonp

    Presume there is no play in the headset and you have eliminated this. Its extremely difficult to tell where these sounds come from but the headset probably would click more when you're out of the saddle and wouldn't when you're freewheeling

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,414 ✭✭✭ harringtonp

    Just remembered. Another time I had a click and after hours of frustration and elimination I discovered it was the front derailleur cable end cap. I just bent it in and the problem went away.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,751 ✭✭✭✭ crosstownk

    You may be missing a thin washer that sits on the non drive side crank between the crank and the BB (item G below). You may also have tightened the plastic preload (item 7 below) too much - moderately hand tight is loads as too tight brings it in contact with the BB and causes noise similar to what you've described.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,589 ✭✭✭ C3PO

    Tried this last night - haven’t ridden the bike yet! Thanks

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,589 ✭✭✭ C3PO

    Great thanks - there is definitely no washer! I’ll try and locate one and install it.

    Don’t think I’ve overtightened the preload but is the point not to bring the crank in contact with the BB bearing?

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,751 ✭✭✭✭ crosstownk

    I had noise from the BB area because I unknowingly lost the washer when I removed the crankset to clean the bike after some sh1t weather. LBS hadn't got a replacement so I removed the crank and reinstalled it with minimal preload and it sorted the problem. That was sometime in spring and it's been fine since.

    The washer will prevent contact. Without the washer, excessive preload will cause contact that will creak and grind as the crank arm rotates and flexes slightly under load.

  • Registered Users Posts: 516 ✭✭✭ chuck eastwood

    Had exactly the same issue for months. Pulled out all the bearing and still there. Drive me nuts because it sounded like a failed bearing but the bike was in mint condition. I then spotted a tiny bit of corrosion on one spoke nipple. I had been doing a lot during the winter on the Wicklow hills and hadn't always washed down the bike, salty roads.

    Anyway a drop of 3 in 1 oil on each nipple and let it soak in. Problem gone the next day after 3 months of frustration

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,323 ✭✭✭ Macy0161

    My anecdote about a knock I was convinced was the BB, albeit on a carbon frame... it was the seat post. LBS re-pasted (or whatever) and re-fitted. Knock gone.

  • Registered Users Posts: 992 ✭✭✭ Large bottle small glass

    I've no idea what's causing noise but the only way Hollowtech bb last is if you are really gentle with preload; like as tight as a small child might tighten it and then back it off a little.

    Very small mileage will ruin bearings if to tight; the goal is prevent crank movement not squeeze the bearings

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,953 ✭✭✭ 07Lapierre

    It could be:

    1: wheel QR’s slightly loose.

    remove the wheels and put some grease on the dropouts. Refit wheels and ensure they are tight.

    2: wheel or BB bearings - need to be replaced. Pedal with your left foot only. Then pedal with your right foot only.

    test ride with a spare set of wheels

    3: pedal bearings or pedals are not tight enough. Same as no.2 pedal with one foot and see if the noise disappears.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,262 ✭✭✭ hesker

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,589 ✭✭✭ C3PO

    So after trying everything else suggested I took 07’s advice and tried another wheeleset … noise disappeared completely when I replaced the back wheel!

    Took off the cassette. I noticed that the hub body wasn’t in great shape with plenty of small chunks out of the aluminium . I regreased and put the cassette back on. Much quieter at first but then returned!

    Took the wheel back off and dropped it into the lbs who had rebuilt them recently. I asked him to check everything including the Hope hub and spoke tension. We’ll see …

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,414 ✭✭✭ harringtonp

    If you have the spares sounds like the best way of solving these type of problems is a divide and conquer mechanism. Try a different wheelset, a different crankset, different pedals and shoes, different saddle post and saddle.

  • Registered Users Posts: 850 ✭✭✭ monkeyslayer

    +1000 on the spoke contact points, nearly threw out a 2000 euro frame because it's creaking was driving me so crazy, it ruined my cycling, I literally checked and regressed everything. Even the lbs was stumped. One day in the wet I realised no creaking... Ever so light spray of Teflon, leave for a minute and wipe up, worked a miracle

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 42,377 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

    Yep, it has been mentioned several times and is a stupidly quick thing to do so I hope he has tried it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,589 ✭✭✭ C3PO

    Yep - tried that too … and in my usual over enthusiastic fashion managed to get some on the braking surface!!

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 42,377 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

    You're just putting out too much power.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,589 ✭✭✭ C3PO

  • Registered Users Posts: 187 ✭✭ Jonesy101

    try tightening your spokes! this happened to me before on a brand new bike, brought it to the shop the mechanic rode it but didnt hear anything. because he was lighter than me.

    its the easiest fix ever and since you said replacing the wheels worked it sounds like that could be it.

    after you tighten your wheels evenly so that you keep the wheels true, youll hear some satisfying sharp pinging noise as they settle in and wont hear any creaking ever again!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,953 ✭✭✭ 07Lapierre

    its the freewheel bearings…usually the outermost one. Bearings are cheap so just replace the hub and freehub bearings.