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Creaking chain under high torque

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Creaking chain under high torque

Old 04-13-21, 08:37 AM
  #1  
sdimattia
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Creaking chain under high torque

I run 46x16t on my SS daily commuter. Current bottom bracket is the Shimano BB UN300 square taper. I threw a new KMC SS chain on about 100 miles ago. I clean and re-lube the chain and bike after ever wet ride. I've noticed that when I'm putting lots of torque on the pedals (SPD clipless if it matters), either from a standstill at a stoplight or when climbing up hills, the chain seems to creak. The tension is as it should be and accommodates the tight spots of the chainring which has ~2000miles on it.

I removed, re-greased, and reinstalled the bottom bracket which is relatively new (<500 miles) and did a deep clean of the chainring and cog. Upon measuring, the chain hasn't stretched yet, but I'm at a loss of what else I should look at. Any thoughts please?
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Old 04-13-21, 09:23 AM
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Relube chain, lube pedal threads with grease and torque to spec, torque crank arms to spec, lube pedal clip mechanism, and ride to recheck.
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Old 04-13-21, 09:36 AM
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Try slacking off chain tension a little; maybe you are twisting the frame and taking the slack out of the chain.
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Old 04-13-21, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Juan el Boricua View Post
Relube chain, lube pedal threads with grease and torque to spec, torque crank arms to spec, lube pedal clip mechanism, and ride to recheck.
Haven't tried regreasing the pedals yet, I'll do that. Thanks.

Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
Try slacking off chain tension a little; maybe you are twisting the frame and taking the slack out of the chain.
Are you referring to frame flex around the bottom bracket? I'd be surprised if I could put that much power through the cranks. I only weigh 120#, albeit in good physical shape but still shouldn't generate that many watts even at max effort. It's a 725 Reynolds steel frame so not the stiffest but not generic 4130 chromoly.

Chain has about 1/2" of movement up and down each way. If I made it looser, even to accommodate tight spots or frame flex, it'd be floppy. But I'll try and reseat the chain and back off the tension a bit more.
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Old 04-13-21, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
Haven't tried regreasing the pedals yet, I'll do that. Thanks.



Are you referring to frame flex around the bottom bracket? I'd be surprised if I could put that much power through the cranks. I only weigh 120#, albeit in good physical shape but still shouldn't generate that many watts even at max effort. It's a 725 Reynolds steel frame so not the stiffest but not generic 4130 chromoly.

Chain has about 1/2" of movement up and down each way. If I made it looser, even to accommodate tight spots or frame flex, it'd be floppy. But I'll try and reseat the chain and back off the tension a bit more.
Bolded- The grade of non stainless steel has no bearing on stiffness, only tube diameter, wall thickness and cross section (stay ovalization or clearance crimps) do.

Other- have you removed, cleaned, lubed and reinstalled the ring bolts? Andy
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Old 04-13-21, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Bolded- The grade of non stainless steel has no bearing on stiffness, only tube diameter, wall thickness and cross section (stay ovalization or clearance crimps) do.

Other- have you removed, cleaned, lubed and reinstalled the ring bolts? Andy
Double butted skinny road-type steel tubes then

I haven't done the chainring bolts, will add that to the list. Thanks.
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Old 04-13-21, 12:48 PM
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I have seen persistent and annoying creaking noises from inside SS freewheels because of excessive play in the ratchet mechanism. THe solution is either a higher quality (+$$) freewheel, or disassemble the existing one and see if you can't adjust bearings (usually by removing one ore more of the thin spacers). It's not super complicated to disassemble a freewheel, but they are not really designed to be user serviceable, so can be intimidating to less experienced techs.
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Old 04-17-21, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
I have seen persistent and annoying creaking noises from inside SS freewheels because of excessive play in the ratchet mechanism. THe solution is either a higher quality (+$$) freewheel, or disassemble the existing one and see if you can't adjust bearings (usually by removing one ore more of the thin spacers). It's not super complicated to disassemble a freewheel, but they are not really designed to be user serviceable, so can be intimidating to less experienced techs.
Update: took the entire bike apart and gave it a bath. Save for the cockpit, I cleaned every single bit from the bottom bracket back. I regreased and relubed the appropriate parts, chainring bolts and pedals included this time. Soaked the chain in degreaser and gave it a deep clean before reinstalling / relubing. I had a spare cog that was the same tooth count so I swapped them out. The original cog was ~$20 so I'm fine with binning it for now. Put everything back together.

Now, the chain only creaks every once in a while. It's entirely possible that while the teeth of the chainring are still usable, it's no longer perfectly round due to tight spots and this is when it's causing the creak. Everything else is moving beautifully. Thanks again everyone for your input and advice.
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Old 04-18-21, 08:59 AM
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Three things then: have someone ride behind you and tell the person to watch/see for frame torquing while going up or better yet, record you while doing so. Is your frame sound; in good condition; have you checked lugs/welds/bonding, particularly around the bottom bracket? Have another chain or someone who can lend you one to test?
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Old 04-18-21, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Juan el Boricua View Post
Three things then: have someone ride behind you and tell the person to watch/see for frame torquing while going up or better yet, record you while doing so. Is your frame sound; in good condition; have you checked lugs/welds/bonding, particularly around the bottom bracket? Have another chain or someone who can lend you one to test?
The bike got t-boned back in June. I checked it over and the bike shop checked it over, no issues. Iíve put another 2000 miles on the frame since.

I did realize that for some unknown reason, I bought a 1/8Ē chain even though the whole drive train is 3/32Ē. Iím beginning to think thatís why and where the noise is coming from. Since 3/32Ē SS KMC chains are 2x more expensive than 1/8Ē, Iím not going to bother changing it over. Other than the occasional noise, at least the widths arenít swapped around.
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Old 04-18-21, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
I bought a 1/8Ē chain even though the whole drive train is 3/32Ē. Iím beginning to think thatís why and where the noise is coming from. Since 3/32Ē SS KMC chains are 2x more expensive than 1/8Ē, Iím not going to bother changing it over.
So splurge the extra 75 cents and get a 3/32" 7-speed chain.


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Old 04-18-21, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
So splurge the extra 75 cents and get a 3/32" 7-speed chain.


Huh, I thought multi-speed chains were different than SS/fixed for some reason (the mm measurement?). I currently have a KMC K710 1/8" for $18. Comparatively, the 3/32" is $34. If it is the same, then that works.
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Old 04-18-21, 09:53 PM
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cut down on your wattage,

have you seen that Pro Peloton helmet cam where the race starts and you hear a chain snap?
talk about torque, you can hear one of the riders go "what that a chain?" and the other guy goes "yeah, and the dreailleur too"

maybe switch to a track chain,
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Old 04-18-21, 10:01 PM
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How do you "clean and relube" after every wet ride? Water? Solvent? Wipe with a dry cloth? Chains don't need to be cleaned all the time unless they are caked with dirt. It is possible to clean a chain with some chemicals that will actually over time remove much of the factory oil/grease from the chain links.
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Old 04-18-21, 10:45 PM
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yes, Tri-Chlorethelyne, unfortunately if yo se it enuff your liver will rot out,
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Old 04-18-21, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
Huh, I thought multi-speed chains were different than SS/fixed for some reason
As long as your chainring and rear cog are 3/32", you can use any 6,7, 8, or 9-speed chain, as they all have the same internal width of 3/32". They work fine on singlespeeds.


Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
It's entirely possible that while the teeth of the chainring are still usable, it's no longer perfectly round due to tight spots and this is when it's causing the creak.
Chainrings don't go out of round due to tight spots; chains have tight spots because the chainring is out of round to begin with. Sheldon Brown says that if you loosen the chainring bolts, you can tap the chain with a wrench to re-seat the chainring more evenly on the bolts to reduce tight spots. See "Centering Chainrings" in this article. The whole page is actually worth a read.

Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
and this is when it's causing the creak.
How's the chainline?

Last edited by Rolla; 04-18-21 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 04-19-21, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
As long as your chainring and rear cog are 3/32", you can use any 6,7, 8, or 9-speed chain, as they all have the same internal width of 3/32". They work fine on singlespeeds.




Chainrings don't go out of round due to tight spots; chains have tight spots because the chainring is out of round to begin with. Sheldon Brown says that if you loosen the chainring bolts, you can tap the chain with a wrench to re-seat the chainring more evenly on the bolts to reduce tight spots. See "Centering Chainrings" in this article. The whole page is actually worth a read.



How's the chainline?
Good read, thank you. Always looking to expand my cycling database. Iíll do as suggested and give my chain a tap.

Chainline is 42mm, nice and straight.

Originally Posted by drlogik View Post
How do you "clean and relube" after every wet ride? Water? Solvent? Wipe with a dry cloth? Chains don't need to be cleaned all the time unless they are caked with dirt. It is possible to clean a chain with some chemicals that will actually over time remove much of the factory oil/grease from the chain links.
I clean it with a park tool chain cleaner and generic bike degreaser whenever it gets super gritty. Otherwise I just relube it with Finish Line dry lube. Probably not great for wet conditions but dry to wet is about 75/25.
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Old 04-19-21, 08:13 AM
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Maybe just think of the noise as telling you not to try putting any more power into the pedals. Does everything have to be quiet?
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Old 04-19-21, 08:16 AM
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Freehub body?
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Old 04-19-21, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Maybe just think of the noise as telling you not to try putting any more power into the pedals. Does everything have to be quiet?
It doesn't necessarily need to be quiet but when things that were previously smooth start to creak and grind, I figure something isn't right. Also, I can't not put more power into the pedals when I need it as I also can't gear down.

I tapped the chain to try to get it to seat. All the building and rebuilding seems to have worked out most of the kinks. I'm ordering a 3/32" chain tonight and should have it in a couple of days.
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Old 04-21-21, 01:02 PM
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I had a creaking problem from the BB area that troubled me for awhile that was caused by the chain ring mounting surfaces. I cleaned thoroughly all the mounting surfaces, lightly grease them, and used loctite 202 on the chain ring bolt threads. Occasionally, I disassemble the chain rings for cleaning without problems. No loosing of bolts either.
Occasionally, It's difficult to pin point the exact area of the source of the creaking sound.
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