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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 09-13-05, 03:29 PM   #1
lookinUp 
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Tick, Tick disapears when removing hand from handlebar

Here's another BB noise problem - but with a twist. Everytime the pedal revolves with the right pedal about 2 o'clock there is a ticking noise. I'm a masher and it is much less noticible when spinning.

BUT... if I take my right hand off the handlebars, the ticking stops entirely. Comes back the minute I grab the bars. Doesn't matter if I'm in the drops or up top.

Had the bike at the LBS and the mechanic worked on it for over two hours - tightened everything, seat/seat post, checked the headset, removed the BB and checked it, tried a different set of pedals, checked the spokes, cables, etc. Re-greased/oiled everthing. The ticking came back on the first ride after all that work. In fairness to the mechanic, I just discovered today that taking my hand off the bar stopped the noise.

Anyone have any ideas of where to look based upon the above? It's about an 80 mile drive to the LBS and I really don't want to have to go back down there if it is something I can fix.

Thanks!
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Old 09-13-05, 03:39 PM   #2
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Don't you love phantom noises like that. Trying to think what it could be that you haven't tried to cover already - but in my novice experience - I'm little help. Does it stop when you take your right hand off, but your left hand remains? If so, I would try to think over which forces on the bike change when you remove the right hand but not the right. From there - good luck!
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Old 09-13-05, 03:46 PM   #3
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Okay, this may sound a little naive, but I had the same situation after I had raised my stem a bit. I was SURE the noise was in the BB, because of the way you can kind of "feel" that tick more than "hear" it. After about a week, it occurred to me that the noise stopped when I took a hand off the bar. D'oh! I had raised the stem too much, and it wasn't getting enough purchase to hold itself in there. I put it back; the ticking went away. For what it's worth.
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Old 09-13-05, 03:50 PM   #4
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Also check that your headset is not too loose. Hop off the saddle, apply front brake and rock the bike back and forth to check for play in the forks/headset.
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Old 09-13-05, 10:39 PM   #5
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I had a noise recently that ended up being somewhere near the bars.

I took the front end completely apart (except for the head-set cups) and re-greased everything: all the headset bits, the stem attachments, and even between the spacers! It's been good since then, which was a few months ago.


The most mysterious 'click' I had ended up being the frame pump moving across the bottle-cage screws on the seat tube!!
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Old 09-14-05, 08:56 PM   #6
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Could you just be creating rhythmic pressure coinciding with your pedaling to create that tick in the stem?
Quit blaming that poor BB
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Old 09-14-05, 08:58 PM   #7
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HA that's nothing!

during one ride, every time I went over a bump, I heard a strange crackley rattle. I thought my new bike was busted. I was a bit tired, and forgot that I put an empty Coke can in my pocket witch was rattling against my 5mm Alen key and $2 coins
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Old 09-15-05, 03:37 AM   #8
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Give your frame a good clean and check everywhere for a crack, that bit of dirt you can't get out of the weld bead might be the problem.

I just found my latest mystery tick after 6 months when I was cleaning the machine and found a crack in the back of a fork blade. the last time I had a mystery tick was the mid nineties and it turned out to be a down tube that had seperated from the head tube and took nearly a year to crack its way through the lug, the one before that was the late eighties and I didn't find it was a cracked fork blade until the bike veered left under brakes, close call!

Everytime I've had a tick or creak I've ended up with the tightest most well adjusted bike around and it didn't help a bit.
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Old 09-15-05, 06:33 AM   #9
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Make sure to grease the handlebar bolts that connect the bar to the stem. When you have the bar off inspect it for hairline cracks, bars have snapped before. Also look at the stem to bar clamp and check for dirt, grit etc.

If you are a masher, the reason you probably don't hear the tick when you take your hand off the bar is that you can't put as much force on the cranks as you could if you had both hands on the bar.

If you ride a road bike, you might want to remove the left shifter brake lever combo and see if anything has worked its way between the clamp and bar, also grease the threads where the shifter/lever combo clamps on.
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Old 09-15-05, 06:42 AM   #10
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I had a similar problem. Try flexing the bars while stationary if this reproduces the noise it is likely to be due to microscopic motion between the handlebar & stem clamp or the stem join with the steerer. If you are dealing with all metal parts i.e. not carbon, it is safe to grease the bars where they are clamped and the stem where it interfaces with the steerer. This fixed the problem for me. Not to say you shouldn't check the condition of the frame periodically, but it is probably a simple "dry joint" between components.

Good luck

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Old 09-15-05, 01:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 531Aussie
...during one ride, every time I went over a bump, I heard a strange crackley rattle. I thought my new bike was busted. I was a bit tired, and forgot that I put an empty Coke can in my pocket witch was rattling against my 5mm Alen key and $2 coins
Just think, you would have junked the bike with a tour de france pro's disgust, got a brand new carbon colnago and started off one morning with a sense of accomplishment....until you finished that first can of coke
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Old 09-15-05, 08:08 PM   #12
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Most of my most annoying noises have come from the seat rails or post. I take the seat post out, clean and grease the post (assuming it's not carbon). If that doesn't do it, I take the saddle off, clean and lightly grease the rails and reassemble. I was at the point of buying a new saddle a couple of months ago and decided to repeat this drill. Noise gone. It's really hard to tell where sound originates in an aluminum frame. Now if I can just make my DA pedals/ cleats quit quacking!
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Old 09-17-05, 11:56 AM   #13
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I just discovered my tickin' noise after 2 weeks and 2 metric century rides later. After greasing, retightening, retightening, greasing, everything from stem bolts to QR's based on reading all of the posts I could find on "searches on squeeks, ticks, etc" and swearing at my new bike (under 1000mi), I just tried changing my Ritchey WCS seatpost to an older FUJI POS seatpost. Viola! No more ticks, creeks or squeeks.
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Old 09-17-05, 12:54 PM   #14
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Also never hurts to have a buddy ride alongside and behind you while you reproduce the sound...it's often easier to pinpoint a sound from several positions around the bike rather than up on it yourself. I would have sworn I had a noise coming from the BB because of the way I could 'feel' the sound, took the entire thing apart, cleaned out the threads, ran the facing tool over the shell, regreased and reassembled the whole mess to no avail...buddy rides alongside and in 3 seconds goes, "Oh, it's definitely coming from the front wheel."

Carbon frames seem to be the worst to diagnose...a lot of times if a faint tick or creak can sound like it's coming from everywhere and nowhere all at once. x_x
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Old 09-17-05, 01:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Holland
I had a similar problem. Try flexing the bars while stationary if this reproduces the noise it is likely to be due to microscopic motion between the handlebar & stem clamp or the stem join with the steerer. If you are dealing with all metal parts i.e. not carbon, it is safe to grease the bars where they are clamped and the stem where it interfaces with the steerer. This fixed the problem for me. Not to say you shouldn't check the condition of the frame periodically, but it is probably a simple "dry joint" between components.

Good luck

Ed
What I do is, lay the bike on the side, and drip a little penetrating lube (WD-40 is great for this ) in between the stem and the bar, on both sides. Also, make sure to get the surfaces between the stem and the clamp bolts. Voila! No more creaking bars!
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Old 09-17-05, 09:59 PM   #16
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Alright gang, here is my 2 cents. My first guess is that the noise is coming from the pedals. I know that the bike shop mechanic tried 2 different pairs, but try another kind, perhaps steel pedals instead of ally. I used to go nuts tearing bb's apart looking for weird noises when I finally wised up and just started replacing the pedals. I agree with other respondents that it could be a creak of the stem in the steerer tube, creak of the handlebar in the stem, or a creak of the seat post clamp on the seat. Or , it could be a lot worse of a frame /fork separation problem, but I really don't think so. Zero in on the pedals, stem and bars. Put a bit of grease ,not much on the handlebar center where it clamps in the stem. Bars creak a lot under pullling pressure. Good luck.
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