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I have a creak that takes 10 miles of riding to start

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I have a creak that takes 10 miles of riding to start

Old 07-27-22, 10:17 AM
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JWK
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I have a creak that takes 10 miles of riding to start

Just taking a shot that someone might have thought of something I haven't yet. This creak is driving me nuts.

I bought a used Trek 920 back in May for a good price. The creaks showed up right away, but only after riding 10 to 15 miles. It starts off rather quiet, then gets worse (to a point) as I ride. I haven't gone more than 35 miles on this bike because I'm worried something might be going bad. I can start off the next day and it will be dead quiet again until I have ridden another 10 to 15 miles.

It creaks with the pedaling cadence.
It does not creak while coasting.
It starts with going uphill on the lowest gears (I have a 42/28 crank with a 11-36 10 speed cassette), then will creak in both chainrings as it gets worse and will not need any significant torque to do so after it gets going, but will still be worse going uphill slowly in low gear with more torque.

Anyone know of any kind of creak that only shows up after riding at least 10 miles? Totally and completely without fail. It *always* gets worse as I ride more. Yesterday I took a 25 mile ride. Sure enough, it started creaking almost so that you didn't notice at the 12 mile point. In the last 7 miles, it was creaking much louder half the time I was pedaling, going up any hill at all, no matter how easy. I'm stumped.
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Old 07-27-22, 10:24 AM
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My first guess is corrosion or a loose fitting seatpost. Have you ridden in the rain lately? When is the last time you pulled the seatpost to check that there is no moisture or corrosion and then re-greased it?
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Old 07-27-22, 10:29 AM
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I would guess seatpost or saddle rails. Does it creak when standing or only when seated?
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Old 07-27-22, 10:40 AM
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68.7% of bike creaks are seat post related.

89.4% of statistics posted online are made up by the poster.
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Old 07-27-22, 10:40 AM
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For creaking that starts after a little riding look at the rider contact points that could absorb moisture from sweating.

Does the creaking stop if you pedal out of the saddle? If it does check the seat post, saddle clamp, and where the saddle rails attach to the cover. I have a Sella Italia saddle that starts creaking after about 5 miles, and it goes away after about 30 miles. Shots of silicone spray where the saddle rails attach to the cover will stop it for a while.

If it still creaks out of the saddle check your shoes. Once you get some moisture in the shoe they can start creaking.

Does the creaking go away if you take your hands off the bars? If it does check if your brake hoods are clean, the brake attachments to the bars are clean and tight.
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Old 07-27-22, 11:06 AM
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You mention it ties to pedal cadence... which leg is on the downstroke?
Does it creak with one leg pedaling (other leg unclipped)?

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Old 07-27-22, 11:29 AM
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I once had a saddle that would start squeaking after riding a while. Turned out to be my bike shorts rubbing on the saddle covering after I got them sweaty.

Try putting some wax, paraffin or some type of conditioner like armorAll on your saddle nose.
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Old 07-27-22, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
My first guess is corrosion or a loose fitting seatpost. Have you ridden in the rain lately? When is the last time you pulled the seatpost to check that there is no moisture or corrosion and then re-greased it?
Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
I would guess seatpost or saddle rails. Does it creak when standing or only when seated?
I have checked the seatpost and saddle numerous times. This bike was never ridden when I bought it, but interesting that you bring up rain. One ride while out with my daughter, we got caught in a torrential thunderstorm that lasted about 10 minutes, then we rode out of it into blue sky and puffy white clouds. We were soaked, of course, but my bike that had been creaking at the point we got caught in the storm (about 13 miles in) stopped creaking entirely and didn't creak for the rest of the ride (that was the same 25 mile I did yesterday). I reappeared on the next ride, which did not have any rain. Something got wet and stopped the creak. I had almost forgotten that incident.

I will put the saddle and seat post from my Surly trucker on my 920 and see if that does anything, just to cover that base.

Originally Posted by RGMN View Post
For creaking that starts after a little riding look at the rider contact points that could absorb moisture from sweating.

Does the creaking stop if you pedal out of the saddle? If it does check the seat post, saddle clamp, and where the saddle rails attach to the cover. I have a Sella Italia saddle that starts creaking after about 5 miles, and it goes away after about 30 miles. Shots of silicone spray where the saddle rails attach to the cover will stop it for a while.

If it still creaks out of the saddle check your shoes. Once you get some moisture in the shoe they can start creaking.

Does the creaking go away if you take your hands off the bars? If it does check if your brake hoods are clean, the brake attachments to the bars are clean and tight.
Platform pedals. I can't take my hands off the bars climbing a steep hill. I'll try standing up as soon as it creaks, but if it's the seat I'll pretty much know when I do the switch. I really don't think it has anything to do with the seat, but I bet plenty of people have said that before and then...

Originally Posted by Barry2 View Post
You mention it ties to pedal cadence... which leg is on the downstroke?
Does it creak with one leg pedaling (other leg unclipped)?

Barry
As I said above, platform pedals. I have tried to determine which downstroke is associated with the creak, but I haven't been able to do that.
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Old 07-27-22, 12:13 PM
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Easy to check: seat post - remove and regrease or if carbon fiber, re-apply assembly paste. Saddle rails - remove saddle, put a little grease where the rails contact the saddle clamps. Pedals - sometimes a creak can come from the shoe and pedal. See if you can figure that out. Make sure the cleat bolts are greased and tightened.
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Old 07-27-22, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by JWK View Post
Platform pedals. I can't take my hands off the bars climbing a steep hill. I'll try standing up as soon as it creaks, but if it's the seat I'll pretty much know when I do the switch. I really don't think it has anything to do with the seat, but I bet plenty of people have said that before and then...
If you can't take your hands off the bars try changing hand positions and see if it changes.
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Old 07-27-22, 02:43 PM
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I had a creak with this pattern on tour--when loaded, under some torque, after about 10 miles, quietly at first. I did all the above. Plus a lot more, about everything except for checking the bottom bracket, because it seemed unlikely. And I'd examined it recently.
It was a bottom-bracket bearing.
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Old 07-27-22, 03:09 PM
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That's the saddle warming up, getting soft, and starting to move more.
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Old 07-27-22, 03:13 PM
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Have you checked the chain ring bolts?
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Old 07-27-22, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by RGMN View Post
If you can't take your hands off the bars try changing hand positions and see if it changes.
Yes, I've done that. No change.

Originally Posted by sapporoguy View Post
I had a creak with this pattern on tour--when loaded, under some torque, after about 10 miles, quietly at first. I did all the above. Plus a lot more, about everything except for checking the bottom bracket, because it seemed unlikely. And I'd examined it recently.
It was a bottom-bracket bearing.
Wow. OK, I've got a GXP outboard type BB. Less than 500 miles on it. Yes, even new it's possible. What type was yours?

Originally Posted by Yan View Post
That's the saddle warming up, getting soft, and starting to move more.
I'll switch saddle and post.

Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Have you checked the chain ring bolts?
No, I haven't. Will do.
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Old 07-27-22, 05:00 PM
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My nice Bianchi had a creaking rear quick release.

That took me a long time to find! I was so sure it was a creaking bottom bracket! I finally was standing next to the bike and put foot pressure on the pedal, enough to flex the frame. Oh--sounds like it's coming from the back...
I unscrewed the clamp from the skewer, cleaned it with a paper towel, then greased the skewer threads and put a light film of grease on the cam surface. Fixed! I have to redo this maybe once a year.

My older bike had the two-bolt FSA splined crank. The splines needed grease or they would "click" or "creak" at random.
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Old 07-29-22, 12:26 PM
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I went all out yesterday with the bike. Crank removed. BB checked - it was fine. Took the chainrings off and cleaned them really good, but the bolts were fine. I ended up spending a lot of time cleaning the chain. It only has a few hundred miles on it, and I figured as long as I'm dipping it in mineral spirits, I might as well strip it good and wax it. I've been putting that off for weeks even though I bought all the stuff I need to do it. Anyway, after taking everything off and stripping it of grease (yes, rear derailleur too), I waxed my chain and put everything back together.

Side note: If you are thinking of trying out waxing, DO NOT try to clean your existing chain. Just buy a new one and strip it. OMG, just not worth the trouble and time it takes. I'm glad I'm trying it, though. I live on a gravel road and going each way out of my driveway is one mile to pavement. I also ride as many gravel roads as I possibly can. My chain gets way more gunked up than when I used to ride only pavement. So we'll see.

Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
My nice Bianchi had a creaking rear quick release.

That took me a long time to find! I was so sure it was a creaking bottom bracket! I finally was standing next to the bike and put foot pressure on the pedal, enough to flex the frame. Oh--sounds like it's coming from the back...
I unscrewed the clamp from the skewer, cleaned it with a paper towel, then greased the skewer threads and put a light film of grease on the cam surface. Fixed! I have to redo this maybe once a year.
This was it! I knew it as soon as I took them to clean. Because I read this post, I worked the lever back and forth in my hand and heard that sound. It was much quieter of course, since it wasn't attached to the frame to really *ring* that creak out, but I could tell it was that pitch. So I did the same. Took everything apart, cleaned it and lightly coated all moving parts with grease. I went for a 35 mile, silent ride today.

I didn't switch the seats out because I tested that before I ripped into the bike. Stood up on a hill while it was creaking and there was no change at all. I had messed with the saddle and post an awful lot before anyway, because that is such a common cause.

Thanks to everyone for the helpful suggestions. Even though I did a lot of work that had nothing to do with the problem, I'm glad I did it. It's a new bike to me and I haven't done any real maintenance yet, so it was good to learn all the stuff that's different from what I'm familiar. Plus, I never feel right about a bike until I go in and check all that stuff anyway, so there's that. So, whoo hoo! Drive train checked, creak is gone, chain is waxed and not gunky. It's a good day.
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