The dreaded Creaks, Clicks,Cracks and Clunks
Finding the problem
I’m sure it’s a scenario most road cyclists have encountered. You’ve been cycling with no problem for what seems a life time and then out of the blue as the pedals turn comes a noise. Not always consistent but it’s there in the background ready to spoil any self respecting spin.
The thing about these cracks and clunks are that 99% of the time they won’t go away on their own, yourself or the local mechanic have a job on your hands!
In the last 12 months I’ve found myself in this unfortuanate position twice and managed to cure the problem on both occasions, but it doesn’t come easy. It’s very much a case of trial and error.
The first thing to decide when this happens is can I sort it myself or do I give it to the bike shop? The thing to remember is that the bike shop mechanic is probably more in the dark than you are, and for him it’s very much trial and error. In fact I’ve heard many a person return from the mechanic unsatisfied as he or she has failed to find the fault or thought it was something you were imagining. You see, these noises don’t always show themselves upon request.
For myself it’s a case of going through what might be and ticking it off a list:
- Frame (check for cracks especially in areas were there might be a weld).
- Bottom bracket (always one of the first places to look, but difficult to fix).
- Headset (another favourite, but like the bottom bracket a somewhat technical fix).
- Saddle and saddle post
- Bottle cages (bolts)
- Front and back wheel skewers
A trait I often find myself doing with these sort dilemma’s is to assume that the issue is the most difficult problem to cure. (Not always the right course of action)!
Hence I’d normally move straight for the bottom bracket and or the headset, which are both tricky jobs that require the correct tools and a little bit of knowledge as to what you are doing.
As ever there is disappointment and a agitation when despite spending time and money the problem still isn’t fixed. Really from then on it’s a case of working down the list one job at a time until the creak disappears.
From my own experience the first of my two problems were two slightly loose bolts that hold the rear derailleur to the frame. (This was a hard one to find)!
Secondly after exhausting almost every option I stopped on a spin and decided to try the saddle stem. Just by unscrewing the two bolts that hold the clip to the frame, pulling up the saddle stem (mark it first) giving it a wipe and clean and tightening it up, this did the job. 5 minutes work on the side of the road!
So sometimes these noises can be cured by doing the simple tasks first. Am I a bit peeved at doing the difficult jobs first and spending time and money on potentially needless tasks? Well no not really. I can at least cycle in the knowledge that virtually all the bike has been thoroughly greased and checked and is hopefully good for another twelve months noise free.
Until the next time!