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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 03-07-11, 09:38 PM   #1
krapes
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Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaak

My cranks are creaking really badly. After deducing that it was not the crank bolts, chain, cog, lockring, etc; I took apart the crankset, cleaned it up a little bit but the problem persists. I'm going to try greasing the BB next.

Does that thought process seem right? Also, what are some preventative measures to prevent crank creak (this has happened before- I just bought new ones then).

Edit: FIXED. I can't believe it. I ordered some tools yesterday so that I could disassemble the BB and crankset and reinstall it with grease and proper torque and it worked beautifully. Absolutely no creak, as if it had never happened. Thanks for all your help guys.

Last edited by krapes; 03-09-11 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 03-07-11, 10:22 PM   #2
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what cranks, what bottom bracket?
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Old 03-07-11, 10:26 PM   #3
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me thinks chain needs lube.
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Old 03-07-11, 10:29 PM   #4
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The BB is stock. It came with my Trek Soho S. The cranks are Origin 8.
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Old 03-07-11, 10:32 PM   #5
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me thinks chain needs lube.
Like I said, it's not that. I lube my chain frequently. I even heard the noise while just putting pressure on the cranks, with the chain completely off.
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Old 03-07-11, 10:40 PM   #6
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Like I said, it's not that. I lube my chain frequently. I even heard the noise while just putting pressure on the cranks, with the chain completely off.
Just making sure. Yeah, grease up the BB bearings if you haven't yet. If it's a cartridge, might want to try overhauling the pedals first to see if they could be the factor.

Or seat rails have been a known creaker. Noises always seem to come from the BB. Not always the case, though.

You're on the right track. It's all about pinpointing and troubleshooting. Little bike love for the approaching spring time.
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Old 03-07-11, 10:49 PM   #7
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Okay thanks. Is removing the bottom bracket a relatively simple process? I need a special tool right?
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Old 03-07-11, 10:53 PM   #8
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I had that happen to my MTB and it turned out to be the BB. iirc, you need a special tool to get it out. I just took mine to the LBS to have them regrease it.
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Old 03-07-11, 11:44 PM   #9
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Before you take apart the BB, try putting some different pedals on. I thought my BB was going bad when it was really the janky old pedals I was using.

Since it's a cartridge BB you'll need a special tool (LBS) to remove it.
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Old 03-08-11, 05:57 AM   #10
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You should also check the BB cups are properly torqued.
Wouldn't be a bad idea to pull them, grease the threads and re-torque them.
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Old 03-08-11, 08:15 AM   #11
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My bike mechanic always tell me I should put a little bit of grease on my BB spindles, he says that causes creaks sometimes
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Old 03-08-11, 08:17 AM   #12
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Splined spindle, yes. Square taper, no.
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Old 03-08-11, 08:26 AM   #13
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Before you take apart the BB, try putting some different pedals on. I thought my BB was going bad when it was really the janky old pedals I was using.
This. I've experienced creaky crank sounds twice and both times it was the pedals. Small sample size I know, but since you've checked pretty much everything else...
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Old 03-08-11, 09:41 AM   #14
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You say it happens without the chain, so it's likely not this. But the absolute first thing to check with creaks is to ride out of the saddle and see if the noise stops. If it stops, then its your saddle rails and you need to grease them. Everything sounds like it is coming from the BB, but it often is not.

The next thing would probably be to pull the cranks and grease/retorque the BB threads. They require specialized tools, but they're not expensive or difficult to use, so if you plan on maintaining any bikes in the future they are worth the investment.
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Old 03-08-11, 09:53 AM   #15
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Bicylcle shoes, with their layers of laminates, will sometimes creak, too, and sound like metal creaking.

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Working on your own bike sounds intimidating because you don't know how to do it.

Fear of the unknown.

Visit Parks Tools Repair Help:

http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help

This will take some of the unknown out of the equation.

Start buying tools.

If you buy them all at once, they cost a fortune.

If you buy a tool a month, in a year you have twelve tools and it didn't cost that much.

Maintain a good relationship with your bike shop.

They will pull your fat out of the fire if you do something wrong...and you will.

Buy your tools and parts from your local bike shop.

If your local bike shop treats you well, make sure to let other riders know.

I actually spent more money at my local bike shop after I started working on my bike, and I had a better bike as a result.

As a first tool, I recommend a bike work stand.

Park's economy model costs around $107; a lot of money but it sure makes working on your bike easier and more fun.

http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...air+Stand.aspx

Buy it from your bike shop.

When you buy a tool for one job, like removing bottom bracket cups, it seems like a lot of money; but, then, you have the tool and you will have it the next ten or a hundred times you remove your bottom bracket cups.

And, until you compeletely understand bottom brackets (and who does?), use the exact bottom bracket specified by the crank manufacturer.

Experienced bike shops can mix and match bottom brackets because they understand all the variables.

Until you completely understand tapers, splines, spindles, cups, and etc, either use a bottom bracket selected by your local bike shop or use the exact bottom bracket specified by the crank manufacturer.
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Old 03-08-11, 10:51 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
Before you take apart the BB, try putting some different pedals on. I thought my BB was going bad when it was really the janky old pedals I was using.
i had the exact same problem and went through pretty much the exact same process as OP and it turned out it was just the pedals. i just removed and regreased the threads and everything was smooth and silent.
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Old 03-08-11, 10:57 AM   #17
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Dumb question, does it creak when your are pedalling out of the saddle?
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Old 03-08-11, 11:03 AM   #18
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^This is not a dumb question. This is how you can tell if its the BB or the saddle.
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Old 03-08-11, 11:28 AM   #19
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OP, have you checked whether your BB is the correct length for your cranks? If there's any wiggle room at all your cranks will creak regardless of how solidly the crank bolts are tightened.

Also, make sure your chainring bolts are clean and greased when attaching the chainring to the crank. If they're loose or you let dirt get in between the chainring and the cranks, you can get creakage (usually resulting in a busted chainring or stripped bolts). But usually I find that creaky cranks mean there's a problem where the cranks meet the bottom bracket...either too much length or not enough, or you greased something that shouldn't have been greased.

Overhauling the bottom bracket is always a great idea, and you might find it solves the squeak. Just remember --

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuhtowel View Post
My bike mechanic always tell me I should put a little bit of grease on my BB spindles, he says that causes creaks sometimes
What Scrod said. Never grease square-taper spindles when attaching cranks.
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Old 03-08-11, 02:40 PM   #20
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Thanks for all your responses guys.

Here is an update on the situation: it is absolutely where the cranks attach to the BB. No matter how hard I tighten the cranks onto the BB, they start creaking and actually move side to side in the spindle if I put some weight onto the crank arm. When I take off the crank again, it comes off way too easily considering the amount I tightened.

So new questions- is this the fault of the BB or the cranks? Should I replace both? These current cranks worked fine for a couple of months of hard riding, so I don't THINK my current problems were a fault of the installation or anything like that.

Thanks again for your help!
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Old 03-08-11, 03:39 PM   #21
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Well, you can damage cranks by over-tightening if you went nuts on them trying to remove the creak. Are you taking them off with a crank puller? They should not come off by hand.

Are they moving around on the spindle, or is the whole spindle moving inside the bottom bracket?

Either you seriously damaged the square hole on the cranks, or your BB is loose (or shot).
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Old 03-08-11, 03:45 PM   #22
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My guess? You mashed the square interface on the crank by either overtightening or riding when they weren't tight enough. People have been known to overcome this by using aluminum foil but it's obviously not a permanent solution.
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Old 03-08-11, 04:09 PM   #23
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The cranks weren't shot, I finally thought of using a different pair (dur) that I stopped using a couple of months ago and the problem continued.

I think it's the bottom bracket. I was just messing with it again just now, and I noticed that when I was just putting side pressure on the BB it was creaking without the cranks. I hope it's a simple matter of taking the BB off and greasing the threads.

Whatever it may be, I sure have learned a lot through diagnosing this problem! After this experience, I've decided that I'm going to buy a cheap park tools torque wrench (the tw-2) and a set of sockets and bits (the park tools sbs-1). I bought a BB remover but I don't have an appropriate socket to use it (my open-ended wrench is too small). Thanks for everyone's help.

Last edited by krapes; 03-08-11 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 03-09-11, 03:06 PM   #24
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Quote:
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Okay thanks. Is removing the bottom bracket a relatively simple process? I need a special tool right?
It may be your bb assembly shifting slightly in the frame threads. Put some anti-seize in the threads as you re-install your bb assembly. That's what it turned out to be for me when I eliminated all of the usual suspects.
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Old 03-09-11, 03:52 PM   #25
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FIXED. I can't believe it. I ordered some tools yesterday so that I could disassemble the BB and crankset and reinstall it with grease and proper torque and it worked beautifully. Absolutely no creak, as if it had never happened. Thanks for all your help guys.
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