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Cracking sound when I pedal

Old 12-02-13, 10:53 AM
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Cracking sound when I pedal

I have a Giant FCR-2, 2008 model IIRC. I've been chasing this noise for quite some time. The noise does go in time with my pedaling and shows up for a while then goes away from time to time briefly before returning.

Initially I thought it was the BB for sure. The existing one felt smooth like butter but I replaced it anyway and no luck. So far I've replaced the BB, new pedals, new chain, new cassette. I've inspected the frame for any signs of cracking or a bad weld and am coming up blank. The only other thing I can think of is the crank arms/chain rings. I wanted to ask for any advice on this, maybe someone has an idea of something else to look at before a go through the expense of getting new crank arms.

Thanks,
Ryan
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Old 12-02-13, 11:16 AM
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Guessing is pretty much futile - there are innumerable causes for any one symptom, and you have put a lot of money into shotgunning what should be a logical approach. That being said, it is possible that something like your chainring bolts could cause such a problem, cranks are unlikely as they would have been removed and hopefully the flats (if square taper) were cleaned and arms tightened, as well as pedals tightened when they were replaced.

In over 20 years of wrenching I had not one instance where I could not resolve a problem, whether it be noise or something else, with a reasonable amount of time and expense. You need a better mechanic.
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Old 12-02-13, 11:21 AM
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I wonder if everything (anything?) was torqued properly. Bottom bracket cups, if the threads are not greased thoroughly and torqued to spec (~350 inch-pounds), are a frequent source of creaks. Crank arms not tightened to spec, chainring bolts not tight enough, pedal threads not lubed and snug, an ungreased seatpost, saddle rails, stem and handlebar interfaces, all can be the source. Changing parts is an expensive and often futile way to diagnose the problem.
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Old 12-02-13, 02:56 PM
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One of the most common and easiest to fix sources of intermittent creaking or clicking like you describe is a pedal not threaded in tightly enough. With time and temp changes,plus a bit of weather pedals get just a hair loose and click synchronous to crank rotation.

This is why experienced mechanics begin every BB noise diagnosis by removing and replacing the pedals (best with a spare pair known not to click) to see if it solves the problem. When putting back the original pedals, clean the and grease the threads, and face where the spindle meets the crank, and install tight (you cannot strip a 9/16"x20 thread, so tight means tight).

It isn't always the pedals, but since these are the easiest thing to confirm and cure or eliminate, that's where you start.
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Old 12-02-13, 06:55 PM
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I doubt that your cranks are the source of the noise, but you may want to check them closely for cracks under a good light. I spent months trying to figure out an intermittent crack-tick noise until I discovered that the crank arm had a hairline crack. This became obvious when I was rudely introduced to Mr. Pavement.
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Old 12-03-13, 12:20 AM
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Crunchy sounds on my bikes have been crank arms. Removal, cleaning and reassembly with lubricant let the arm actually slide onto the BB for a good tight fit.

-SP
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Old 12-03-13, 12:26 AM
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seatpost or saddle, may also flex when pedalling , check em. also stem/ handlebars
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Old 12-03-13, 10:58 AM
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I remember that being common with the FCR 2 from 2008. Didn't affect the 1 or 3. If memory serves correctly, the chain was the culprit, but since you have already replaced it (SRAM or Shimano, I hope) that is not the source.
Next step is to pull that new BB out, clean the BB shell, grease threads, and Teflon tape the cups on the BB. Two wraps should do it.
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Old 12-04-13, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Ryan_M View Post
I wanted to ask for any advice on this, maybe someone has an idea of something else to look at before a go through the expense of getting new crank arms.
Quick Release!

That was my cracking sound. I still have it sometimes when I apply too much torque. I re-screw it every now and then but it comes back eventually.

To test the crank arms, put your pedals in 3-9 o'clock position and try to give all your body weight on the pedals while stationary (hold on to a wall or do a wicked track stand). Do it for the other way around (left foot front / right foot front). If you hear it it's the crank.
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Old 12-04-13, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
I remember that being common with the FCR 2 from 2008. Didn't affect the 1 or 3. If memory serves correctly, the chain was the culprit, but since you have already replaced it (SRAM or Shimano, I hope) that is not the source.
Next step is to pull that new BB out, clean the BB shell, grease threads, and Teflon tape the cups on the BB. Two wraps should do it.
You mean the tape goes between the bearing and cup mating surface? Interesting.... If that's what you mean I'll give that a try.

FWIW everything been cleaned, greased and torqued, except I've never seen a torque as low as 350 in*lbs quoted before. Shimano didn't have the torqu spec in the tech docs for my BB (UN-55) but all the specs I saw for similar parts were 460 to 600 in*lbs IIRC. Haven't been able to find a torque for the bolts that hold the crank arms on the BB axle. They seem like fairly small bolts so I'm not hammering on them but no way they are loose. I'll also try greasing the crank arm to chain ring to crank arm mating surfaces while I'm there. Also I'll closely inspect the crank arms for hairlines - haven't done that yet - and that Mr. Pavement guy is a real a**hole!!

Some things I've tried to recreate the sound are:
- pedaling with one foot (either foot) doesn't make any clicking/cracking sounds
- makes the same sound on either the 42t or 52t chain ring
- won't make any noise putting my weight on the pedals while off the bike in a bunch of different directions
- won't make the sound pedaling slower while I'm coasting, does it only 'under load'
- tried using a set of platform pedals as well and same cracking sound
- tried tried flexing seat post, frame, and handle bars both on and off the bike makes no sound either.

Thanks for the input everyone! I'll give it yet another thorough 'once over' on the weekend.

Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
You need a better mechanic.
And thanks for the encouragement!!
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Old 12-04-13, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Ryan_M View Post
I have a Giant FCR-2, 2008 model IIRC. I've been chasing this noise for quite some time. The noise does go in time with my pedaling and shows up for a while then goes away from time to time briefly before returning.

Initially I thought it was the BB for sure. The existing one felt smooth like butter but I replaced it anyway and no luck. So far I've replaced the BB, new pedals, new chain, new cassette. I've inspected the frame for any signs of cracking or a bad weld and am coming up blank. The only other thing I can think of is the crank arms/chain rings. I wanted to ask for any advice on this, maybe someone has an idea of something else to look at before a go through the expense of getting new crank arms.

Thanks,
Ryan
Mine was in the crankset...had to replace it.
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Old 12-04-13, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Ryan_M View Post
You mean the tape goes between the bearing and cup mating surface? Interesting.... If that's what you mean I'll give that a try.
I think that he means the teflon tape goes on the cup threads and between the threads and the frame's bottom bracket shell. this is to keep the cup from wiggling.
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Old 12-04-13, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclist2000 View Post
I think that he means the teflon tape goes on the cup threads and between the threads and the frame's bottom bracket shell. this is to keep the cup from wiggling.
Agreed this makes sense though he also mentioned greasing the threads and I don't see the advantage in doing both. To my mistake though, quickly reading it BB was interpreted as ball bearing not bottom bracket - my bad.
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Old 12-05-13, 11:49 AM
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following closely as i am experiencing the exact same issue. You beet me to the punch, Ryan_M for the moment, I'm suspecting the saddle, but haven't actually checked it yet.
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Old 12-05-13, 03:55 PM
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funky pedals.
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Old 12-05-13, 04:10 PM
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Yes, grease and tape the cup threads. Have used this with many Specialized carbon frames. Seems the tape is enough to "tighten" up the threads. Reduces slop. I will see if my buddies remember that issue and post results.
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Old 12-05-13, 04:28 PM
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You may have already checked this but haven't said so: Does the sound occur when pedalling in the standing position? This is a good way to prove or eliminate the saddle and seat post as the cause.
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Old 12-05-13, 06:03 PM
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I have had this because I over-tightened the cranks.
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Old 12-09-13, 03:49 PM
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Talked with a few mechanic friends of mine and they all agreed that model year had defective chains that caused a cracking sound while pedaling. Seems that is not your issue.
Time for a process of elimination to take place.
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Old 12-10-13, 12:07 PM
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maybe you have what my commuting bike had...


but odds are, you don't. I'd assumed my issue was a creaky pedal or something that would be difficult to figure out.
For the record, a cheap 30+ year old steel frame isn't worth repairing if this happens.
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Old 12-11-13, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Ryan_M View Post
I have a Giant FCR-2, 2008 model IIRC. I've been chasing this noise for quite some time. The noise does go in time with my pedaling and shows up for a while then goes away from time to time briefly before returning.
On my vintage poo-weather ride, it's the springs in the seat that creaks every time my right leg goes down. I figure you would've noticed if the sound came from that high up, but just in case...
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Old 12-11-13, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Matariki View Post
I doubt that your cranks are the source of the noise, but you may want to check them closely for cracks under a good light. I spent months trying to figure out an intermittent crack-tick noise until I discovered that the crank arm had a hairline crack. This became obvious when I was rudely introduced to Mr. Pavement.
Mine was The Crankset. Swapped it with another bike.No more noise. The swapped bike then had the noise.
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Old 12-17-13, 08:27 PM
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SOLVED! When the air turns cooler and drier, I put away the sandals and wear tennis shoes for riding. Turns out the heel of my left shoe often strikes the pannier just enough to move it out away from the rack stay, and then lets it go. The little steel button strikes the rack stay, causing the clicking sound I here every time my right foot approaches the bottom of its stroke.
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Old 12-17-13, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by seedsbelize View Post
SOLVED! ...... Turns out the heel of my left shoe often strikes the pannier just enough to move it out away from the rack stay, and then lets it go. .....
You might want to see a neurologist for a consult regarding the lack of feeling in your feet.
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Old 12-17-13, 09:20 PM
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sounds like age
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