Squeaks & Creaks: Solutions for a Quieter Bike

Consistent squeaks and creaks coming from your bike can be awfully annoying. And, if you’re on a long enough ride, those common bike noises might just drive you crazy!

The good news? You don’t have to suffer. Although the causes of pesky bike noises can be varied and might take a while to diagnose, as you go through each of these fixes you’ll eventually find the cause of your aggravation and you’ll likely have a cleaner, better working bike because of it!

With few exceptions, below are the primary causes of common noises while you ride:

Squeaks and Creaks:

These super common sounds are usually due to DIRTY or DRY bearings. You’ll often find that after riding your bike for a while or in harsh conditions these noises start to creep in. Areas to check if you’re hearing these noises would be:

Clunks and Clatters:

Another common noise that sounds a bit scarier (with good reason) is a clunk or clatter. This noise should scare you because it generally means something on your bike is loose! Here are some important bolts to check if you hear this noise:

Scrapping and Popping:

Likely the most common of all the annoying bike noises, scraping and popping usually occurs when there is an issue with your derailleur or shifting. Before adjusting your limit screws and cable tension (Learn how with our guide on how to adjust your rear derailleur) check these issues first:

How to Employ Routine Maintenance Techniques to Limit Squeaks and Creaks

  1. Clean and Re-grease your Bottom Bracket Bearings. Here’s the deal: your cranks are under a ton of load and the bearing which help them spin easily to propel you forward on the road or trail are kind of a big deal. Being close to the road or trail surface, debris flings itself into the space between your chain ring and the frame and eventually, dirt and grime are going to find its way into the bearings and create all sorts of nasty noises while you ride. Periodically, and especially if you ride in wet or muddy conditions, removing your cranks, cleaning and re-greasing your bottom bracket bearings is necessary.

Pull Cranks

grease cranks

  1. Clean and Re-grease your Headset Bearings. Another common source for creaks, clanks, and rattles is the headset. If you are experiencing noise in the front of the bike as you go over obstacles in the trail or over rough road, it could be a sign that you need to either tighten your headset or clean and re-grease the bearings that often get contaminated with dirt.

tighten headset

check headset

  1. Keep your Chain Lubed and Clean and Re-grease Derailleur or Chain Guide Pulleys/Jockey Wheels. Consistent squeaking coming from your drivetrain could be a couple of different issues, but each involves making sure moving parts are well lubricated or greased.

remove pulley

Remove Seals

*Tightening bolts to proper torque specifications using a torque wrench is the best way to ensure bolts do not get stripped, components do not break from over-tightening, and everything stays tight while riding.

**There are so many different reasons your bike could be making squeaks, squeals, creaks, pops, and clunks. These are just a few of the common issues you could experience and how to fix them. Always take your bike to a local shop if you have any hesitations with working on your own bicycle.

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