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Old 09-04-06, 11:02 AM   #1
ThatWhichRolls
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mystery click when rotating cranks

I was out for a ride yesterday and noticed a "click" sound every three to four seconds, the source of which I have been unable to identify thus far. It's only noticeable when the cranks are in roation, and only when I'm actually riding - just rotating the cranks without a proper weightload on each doesn't replicate the sound.

This morning, I tightened down the screws which hold my toeclips to the pedals. I also removed both crank arms, the bottom bracket spindle and bearing retainers and gave everything a good cleaning and re-greasing. Just put everything back on and went for a quick test ride, and that didn't seem to take care of the problem.

This sound doesn't seem to associate with any particularly noticeable negative effect, it's just that the sound is extremely annoying and, more importantly, it wasn't present until yesterday. I'd rather play it safe and fix it before any really serious problem develops. Any ideas?
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Old 09-04-06, 11:12 AM   #2
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I've had a similar annoying click and eventually cured it by tightening one of the pedals to the crank arm.

Good luck!
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Old 09-04-06, 11:22 AM   #3
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My best guess: One or more chain links are close to breaking? See if you can find a place where you rotate the crank back and forth causing the click over and over and over. See if you can do it with the bike upside down.
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Old 09-04-06, 11:28 AM   #4
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the clicking could be anything -- well almost anything .

just start checking screws and greasing stuff. if you turn a screw and it creaks you may have found a problem.

your problem appears to be drivetrain related but that's not necessarily so.

ed rader
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Old 09-04-06, 11:30 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by geo8rge
My best guess: One or more chain links are close to breaking? See if you can find a place where you rotate the crank back and forth causing the click over and over and over. See if you can do it with the bike upside down.
i'd hate to see your wildest guess because what you describe, imo, has a very very low probabilty of being the problem

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Old 09-04-06, 11:31 AM   #6
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Tightening up the left pedal seems to have done the trick. Can't believe I didn't think of that...only been working on bikes for about a year, but that seems obvious in hindsight.

But hey, problem solved! Thanks!
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Old 09-04-06, 11:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ThatWhichRolls
Tightening up the left pedal seems to have done the trick. Can't believe I didn't think of that...only been working on bikes for about a year, but that seems obvious in hindsight.

But hey, problem solved! Thanks!
Good deal! I noticed your original list of tasks did not include the pedal check, so I was hoping the problem would be that simple. Remember, experience is the teacher that gives the final exam first.
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Old 09-04-06, 12:02 PM   #8
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Take out your seatpost and regrease. There's a laundry list of things to check i'm sure someone will write up

Worse case scenario is that there's a hairline crack somewhere on your frame (happened to me).
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Old 09-04-06, 12:58 PM   #9
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Not necessary. As noted above, the problem has since been solved. Thanks for the input though.
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Old 09-04-06, 01:33 PM   #10
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i wouldn't unfurl the mission accomplished banner just yet -- espcially if the creak is intermittant. i've thought many times that i'd found the problem only to be later proven wrong.

the seat post and the seatpost clamp are pretty common culprits and can make you think that the noise is emanating from the drivetrain.

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Old 09-04-06, 03:42 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by erader
i wouldn't unfurl the mission accomplished banner just yet -- espcially if the creak is intermittant. i've thought many times that i'd found the problem only to be later proven wrong.

the seat post and the seatpost clamp are pretty common culprits and can make you think that the noise is emanating from the drivetrain.

ed rader


Thanks for the advice, but the click (not a creak! very different sort of sound: think short and percussive in nature, as opposed to the near-groan typically associated with the notion of a creak). I rode half a mile after tightening down the pedals, flipped through different gears to allow greater variation in force exerted upon the pdeals just to be sure, and yes, it's 100% gone. I will certainly add your suggestion to my mental checklist, however.
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