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Noises Making Me Batty

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Noises Making Me Batty

Old 07-16-22, 03:24 PM
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OldBike876
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Noises Making Me Batty

The bike: a 5 or 6 year old Norco Indie commuter. It's an aluminum bike I bought as an ex-rental, it's an XL. It has an ostensibly bomb-proof wheel on the back, but it's a mostly entry level bike, and I do most maintenance and repair myself.

The rider: 6 ft tall, heavier than almost anyone you'll meet. Not that experienced, but I have ridden almost every day for 4 years and taken a 4-day bike trip.

So... the bike started making noises over a year ago, several noises all at once. I replaced, lubed, and tightened my way out of almost all of them. Two intermittent noises remain, both occur only while pedalling (but not when on the stand). One is a snapping noise. I can really feel it in my feet. It happes on either downstroke, and not necessarily at the same "degree" of rotation each time. It will also happen when you press on the pedal to adjust position. The second is a creak like an old gate. It only happens when pedaling on the right foot downstroke. You can replicate it from off the bike by applying both brakes and pushing the right pedal forward or sideways. I replaced or swapped the seat, seatpost, cranks/chain rings, pedals, chain, cassette. Because they are intermittent, I've had some false victories.

One such false victory is that I oiled the rear spokes where they cross and the creaking noises stopped. Another was when it was silent for a few days after the new cranks.

I got the hub rebuilt, and the creaking noise stopped for two weeks. After a follow-up hub service, the noise returned. Sick and tired of horsing around, I took it back to the shop, and they replaced the cranks, chain rings, chain, and cassette. I took it back the next morning because the noise was still there. I wanted them to just tell me if they heard the noises.

They then announced yesterday that the noises were gone. They adjusted the rear fender. Another false-ish victory: the snapping seemed muted but is back today like normal, although the creak is lessened. It being the fender seemed like a stretch to me.

Anyway, now I am trying to devise a new strategy to track this down. I suspect that the shop thinks it's fixed because they are lighter than I am. That is, maybe it only makes the noise when my weight is on it. I hope not. Any brainstorming suggestions most welcome.
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Old 07-16-22, 03:53 PM
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Perhaps demonstrating the noises while you are riding, while they ride/walk/listen nearby might help them locate the noises.
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Old 07-16-22, 07:21 PM
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The first thing I think of is a BB issue. Either a loose unit i the shell or worn bearings. But what do I know, I've never placed hands or ears on this bike. Andy
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Old 07-16-22, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by OldBike876 View Post
I replaced or swapped the seat, seatpost, cranks/chain rings, pedals, chain, cassette.
I oiled the rear spokes
I got the hub rebuilt
Sounds like you've addressed almost everything except the bottom bracket. I'd have checked that early on.
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Old 07-16-22, 09:52 PM
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Ah yes, the bottom bracket. It is smooth like silk (snapping feeling aside), and there's no play side to side. It's cheap enough to replace, though, maybe it's worth a shot.
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Old 07-17-22, 06:26 AM
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If it's a cartridge BB, there may be a loose fit in the non-drive side cup. Those are often plastic, sometimes imperfect tolerance, and can make exactly the noise you're talking about. Align a crank arm with the seat tube, squeeze and pull the two as hard as you can, see if you can reproduce the noise. But the shop should have done this.
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Old 07-17-22, 07:28 AM
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When you say you serviced your seatpost - did you grease it when you reinserted it? Is it a good fit? Any issues where the saddle rails get clamped by the seatpost?
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Old 07-17-22, 07:48 AM
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What style of BB and how are the cranks secured? Iíve had the crank bolts make noises, especially those hex key kind.

Otto
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Old 07-17-22, 08:53 AM
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Live with it long enough and you'll find out exactly what it is. Probably will spend more money fixing or replacing wrong suspected causes.
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Old 07-17-22, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by OldBike876 View Post
Ah yes, the bottom bracket. It is smooth like silk (snapping feeling aside), and there's no play side to side. It's cheap enough to replace, though, maybe it's worth a shot.
You won't find a BB problem by simply trying to manipulate it with your hand.

A BB problem doesn't usually manifest until you're laying down power on the pedals with your feet while riding, way beyond you can do with your hands.

Also, a BB problem very often doesn't require replacing right away. Very often the problem is just a bit loose and the solution is simply tightening.
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Old 07-17-22, 09:36 AM
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OldBike876
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Those are good points about the bottom bracket. It's a cartridge, I'll have a look.
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Old 07-26-22, 06:33 PM
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I think I sorted this out. The new bottom bracket is in as of a few hours ago, and all is quiet.
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