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  1. #1
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    Help with a noisy drivetrain

    I've done some searching, but can't seem to find a solution to my problem - My drivetrain is noisy. I can hear a bumblebee type rattle for about a 1/4 - 1/2 turn while my drive side crank arm is in front. The noise is louder when I pedal harder.

    I'm running -

    Truvativ Touro crankset (3/32 48 tooth ring)
    Whatever ISIS BB comes w/ a Bianchi Pista
    Phil hub w/ 1/8" 17 tooth Phil cog
    1/8th" KMC HX chain

    - My chainline should be perfectly straight.
    - I tightened the chainring bolts
    - The chain is properly lubed
    - I've adjusted the chain tension as much as possible. With it too tight the noise is more pronounced, but it does not go away completely when loose.

    - I do not have a crank puller, so removing the cranks is not an option
    - I checked to be sure that the chainring was centered properly, but I have no idea how to actually check it. I can see where it dips slightly during the rotation, but I loosened all the chainring bolts and there is no room for adjustment.


    I ran the chain using paraffin wax as a lube for a few days and the noise almost completely went away. Unfortunately, I get about 25 miles with the wax before it wears off and about 5 more before it sounds like it's going to bind with the chainring.

    I haven't got the money to visit the LBS right now and this noise is ****ing killing me. I've heard people say that their drivetrain is noisy, but I'd be expecting something more consisent.

    Is it the crappy crankset? BB? Normal?

  2. #2
    Senior Member sers's Avatar
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    i suspect that the stock chainring isn't perfectly round - this can lead to the clicking. sheldon has instructions on how to better center it. the method takes a little time to get down, but well worth it. in the mean time, using a lot of wet or wax type lube can dull the noise.

    when you get some scratch, you might want to invest in a Salsa track chainring - about $40 and nicely round.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sers
    i suspect that the stock chainring isn't perfectly round - this can lead to the clicking. sheldon has instructions on how to better center it. the method takes a little time to get down, but well worth it. in the mean time, using a lot of wet or wax type lube can dull the noise.

    when you get some scratch, you might want to invest in a Salsa track chainring - about $40 and nicely round.
    I tried to center it better (I read Sheldon's instructions), but I can't seem to make any adjustments. There is little room for movement.

  4. #4
    san francisco nucka!
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    man, yo chain is straight sellin' wolf tickets cuz yo' gotsta man up on yo' thizzle, straight up skeet on the chain fool. thats whats up.
    im a ****ing idiot. well, im happy to admit it.

  5. #5
    don't pedal backwards... MacG's Avatar
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    How exactly are you lubricating the chain? I've found that the vast majority of chain noise is due to lubrication problems. Wet lubes (oils, etc.) tend to make for quieter drivetrains than waxes and teflons and other dry lubes I've found. The downside is that road grit and dust sticks to the chain a lot more and turns into slimy black goo that gives you chainring tattoos and gets on your pants.

    Also, your chain and chainring may not match on terms of wear. Are they both nearly new, or is one older than the other? My slightly worn chainring makes a zooot zooot zoooot sound when I pedal hard no matter what the lubrication situation, just because the rollers are hitting it not quite perfectly, but otherwise my drivetrain is pretty darn quiet, I use pro link chain lube and re-apply it every hundred miles or so or after riding in the rain. Generally I just wait for the chain to start getting noisy again.
    from Minneapolis, with bike love

  6. #6
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    My chain is new and my chainring is old(er). I haven't used it much at all, but my bike has had at least one other owner. I suppose that could be part of the problem. I'm not sure what lube I'm using (I forget the name now), but it's something new as well. The noise got worse after a 20 mile ride tonight and I'm think the new lube might be part of the issue. It's very thin, unlike the stuff I've used in the past.

    Does it sound logical that the new chain with old chainring is the cause of the noise and thicker lubes help reduce it?

  7. #7
    Coblstones=Balls o' steel bigtrees's Avatar
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    check your chainring bolts. It always causing my drivetrain to squeak. they are usually fine at the beginning of the ride but seem to loosen slightly after 30 km or so. annoying ish.

  8. #8
    jack of one or two trades Aeroplane's Avatar
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    3/32" chainring + 1/8" chain can cause minor noise like that, especially if the chainline isn't dead ****ing on. Either a new chainring or cog and chain will solve the problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Irwin Goldstein
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    the most irrational form of exercise I could ever bring to discussion.

  9. #9
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    Chainring bolts are tight.

    I'll probably purchase a thicker lube and just deal with the noise until I can get a new crankset. I've been planning on upgrading it for a while and this is just another excuse.

  10. #10
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    Can anyone suggest a thick lube for use on my chain? Would I be crazy to use Tenacious oil? I haven't got anything else at the moment and I don't feel like spending more money...

  11. #11
    i am sure that i hate you spud's Avatar
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    does your chain have enough slack? is the chain clean, any stiff links when you take the chain off/run it completely loose?
    putting the pi back in pirate!
    Itís an upstanding member of the solar system
    Apply the laws of earth and make it a victim
    Of Proposition 187

  12. #12
    Electrical Hazard
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    I occasionally use Tenacious oil on my chain, but I find finish line to be quieter.

    .. oh, and regarding chainring adjustment, have you tried rotating it on the spider?

  13. #13
    Senior Member gluckster2's Avatar
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    I was having the same problem. About 2 o'clock on my right side and only when I was really mashing it.

    I took it to the shop and they had to replace the BB. Afterwords, they showed me the old one... one of the bearings was cracked and had lodged itself so that it didn't move in it's casing.

    Now the marbles/creaking/grinding sound is gone...

    Sounds to me like that's the problem you're having.
    You'd better sit down before you fall down.

  14. #14
    san francisco nucka!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sin-A-Matic
    Can anyone suggest a thick lube for use on my chain? Would I be crazy to use Tenacious oil? I haven't got anything else at the moment and I don't feel like spending more money...

    ay yo son...thick lube? straight up skeet on the chain son! get the gummy on the jawn yo!
    im a ****ing idiot. well, im happy to admit it.

  15. #15
    crotchety young dude el twe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kludge
    skeet on the chain
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
    IRO Angus Casati Gold Line

  16. #16
    san francisco nucka!
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    Quote Originally Posted by el twe
    ...

    what? i have a ninja bike thank you very much. essss sooo quiet!
    im a ****ing idiot. well, im happy to admit it.

  17. #17
    ogre
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sin-A-Matic
    Can anyone suggest a thick lube for use on my chain? Would I be crazy to use Tenacious oil? I haven't got anything else at the moment and I don't feel like spending more money...
    finish line cross country. tenacious oil works too. i hope you don't mind grime.

  18. #18
    san francisco nucka!
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    im a ****ing idiot. well, im happy to admit it.

  19. #19
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    I tried a different chainring today. No luck. Just as noisy.

    I put Tenacious Oil on it and it's almost perfectly quiet. Could someone please explain to me what the problem is that a thick oil can correct it?

  20. #20
    Senior Member sers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drolldurham
    finish line cross country. tenacious oil works too. i hope you don't mind grime.
    no doubt.

    finish line xc is an awesome winter lube - the best i've used - but that **** gets sludgy right quick and stains clothes.

    tenacious oil isn't actually a chain lube. while it may look like prolink and rock 'n roll - it doesnt work nearly as well, nor does it last very long

  21. #21
    Senior Member ka12na's Avatar
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    My drivetrain sounded like a bee when I first got my bike and pedalled at a cadence around 60+. Mechanics didn't put any lube on the chain I guess...
    Had someone hold my bike up, and I spun the wheel and sprayed Triflow lightly on the chain for a full rotation. Been much quieter ever since, although not completely silent.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Renz's Avatar
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    Haven't been on my bike in a while due to injury and have upgraded the components in the meantime. Took my first ride today and the drivetrain whirrs like a small engine. It's not too unpleasant, but I kind of like it quieter. Could it be my chainring? I heard that the DA's aren't perfectly round, hence noisy.

    Components:
    DA chainring 1/8"
    ESH Izumi chain
    On One cog 3/32"

    I think a few people mentioned switching to Sugino Zen's quieted their drivetrain, or maybe I should just let the drivetrain settle a bit? Thanks.

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