A creaky bike draws all the wrong types of attention. You’ll spend your rides looking down trying to identify the source of the creak. Your friends will make comments about how annoying your bike sounds and everyone you pass will wonder what’s wrong with your bike. Sure, you can keep riding it, but you may be doing unseen damage and the annoying creak isn’t going to go away on its own. While a bottom bracket is easy to blame, there are plenty of parts of your bike that may be the cause of the problem. So here are some of the culprits of annoying creaks, squeaks and clicks on bikes:
A poorly lubed chain will make all sorts of atrocious noises. Metal rubbing directly on metal without chain lube is not a good look and will wear out your chain far quicker than a properly maintained chain. While it may seem obvious, if you are hearing annoying sounds from your bike, clean the chain and apply some fresh lube.
The bolts that attach your cleats to your cycling shoes should be cleaned and lubed semi-regularly. If the bolts are corroding or the threads are dirty when you pedal, you may be hearing some unseemingly noises. Make sure the bolts are properly tightened as well, if the cleats are a little loose they may be moving around causing creaking when you pedal.
Your pedals could also be the culprit of some undesirable noises. You should remove your pedals, clean the threads and re-lube them to ensure the best performance. Make sure they are tightened onto the crank so they don’t move around and cause any annoying noises.
Water bottle cages
If your water bottle cages are rattling around on rough roads you may be hearing some strange noises from your bike. This is an easy fix and can be solved by tightening the bolts.
If your noticing a creak when you are in the saddle, remove, clean and lube your seatpost. Make sure you use a carbon grease if either your frame or seatpost are carbon. If this isn’t done regularly enough, not only could your seatpost become seized in place but it could also click and creak.
Like your seatpost, this could be the culprit of an annoying noise you only hear when you are in the saddle. Grease the clamp bolts and make sure the binder is well tightened on the rails which you can also add a bit of grease too.
Thru axles and skewers
If your bike has thru axles, regularly remove them and re-apply grease. Make sure they are always well tightened for safety and to minimize the chance things are moving around just enough to creak. On rim brake bikes, the axles and the springs on the skewer can seize up if not greased. If your skewers aren’t tightened down they could also be the culprit of some annoying creaking.
A loose headset can be detected by applying on your brakes while stopped and seeing if the fork moves around. If this happens, tighten it up and it may fix your problems. Making sure the tension in the headset is correct and everything is well greased can also eliminate your annoying noises your bike is making. If it’s your headset creaking, it’ll be likely more audible when you are out of the saddle.
Handlebar and stem
Grease or apply carbon paste to the spot your stem and handlebars meet to eliminate any chances of creaking here. Ensure the bolts are greased and well tightened on the stem as well.
Your chainrings could be the source of annoying creak if they aren’t properly tightened. It may become more obvious when you are putting a lot of power through the pedals and there is increased torque on the chainrings. By tightening them you may be able to eliminate the annoying noise.
If all else fails, it could be your bottom bracket responsible for the creaking, squeaking or clicking. The ball bearings or cartridge in the bottom bracket could be worn out or have come loose causing the annoying noises. Likewise, the bottom bracket could be threaded poorly and just need to be cleaned and re-greased.