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I'm stumped! Clickety Clack!

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I'm stumped! Clickety Clack!

Old 01-11-14, 09:10 AM
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d2create
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I'm stumped! Clickety Clack!

While pedaling my bike I've got a pretty constant clickety clack noise which I thought is the chain rubbing the front derailleur.
It only happens when i'm actually riding and pedaling, applying just a little bit of pressure. I can not replicate the noise with the bike up on my repair stand which is what is making a diagnosis impossible! And as far as i can tell there is plenty of clearance between the chain and the derailleur.
Being that pressure/flex is involved, i figure it must be something with the drive train?

The bike is a Rivendell frame with 2 rings up front and a 9 spd in back.
I have friction shifters and no matter the position of the shifter or the gear I'm in (front or back) changes the noise. This is what really makes me question my initial thought of it being chain rub. Doesn't make sense.
Any suggestions?
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Old 01-11-14, 09:52 AM
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Is this a new noise? Has it happened since the bike was new? If not, were there any changes you made before the noise appeared? Are you maintaining it regularly?
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Old 01-11-14, 10:00 AM
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It seems that the frequency of the noise is that which matches the chain links passing through the drive train. is this so?

When on the stand you can apply a bit of resistance by holding the rear brake lever so that the pads graze against the rim. This might help reveal the noise's cause.

Things to look for. Rear der hanger alignment. Rear der being well centered under the cog chosen (index adjustment). Pulley wheel condition. Cog or ring wear. Chain wear. Loose cassette/cogs so they move around on the rear hub when under power. Loose rear hub bearing/axle. Spokes that are loose and rubbing against each other. Valve stem wiggling within thee rim or loose base nut. Loose chainring bolts. Loose crank arm retaining bolts. Loose BB. Could even be seat related.

You've got to try to reduce the condition and situations where the noise happens to narrow down the possibilities. Or take the bike to your LBS and ask for an estimate for repairs. Andy.
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Old 01-11-14, 10:13 AM
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NICE BIKE!!

Always check the simplists stuff first before going into more complicated and expensive things.

For giggles make sure your quick releases are secured with resistance first being felt when the lever is the halfway position, ie pointing outward from the bike at a 90 degree angle, then secure the lever, if you overtighten the lever it can cause the hub bearings to click, to loose and the hub will click in the dropout.

Make sure the headset is tight (I know you said when pedalling, humor me).

Tighten the crankarm to spec (don't over tighten or you may damage the arm), if this temp solves the issue then it may need to be relubed if the sound comes back. If the clicking only occurs when pushing on the right pedal then it may be the chain rings rubbing a bit so try tightening the ring bolts.

Lube your shoes cleats and the pedals interface and make sure the pedals are tight, if there is a slight improvement remove the pedals and lube the threads and reinstall.

There could be dirt in the pedal bearing so maybe it needs to be cleaned and relubed.

Make sure the front derailleur clamp is secured, and check the cable to make sure it isn't hitting the crankarm at each revolution!

Are you by some chance using a cadence computer? if so make sure the sensor isn't hitting the magnet.

Remove the seat post and put a thin film of grease on the post and inside the seat tube, reinstall and wipe off excess grease that may ooze out.

Do only one thing at a time, don't do all at once, and test each time.

If you haven't rode it in a awhile it's more then likely a a lube problem.
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Old 01-11-14, 10:14 AM
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Jeff, it is definitely new.
Unfortunately my riding has nearly ceased over the last couple years and the bike has been delegated to rides with my toddler. Ahhh... life with kids.
So it's become very hard to pinpoint an exact time but I don't believe any changes were made to cause the noise.

Andrew, thanks... i will try to investigate again later today with your suggestions and report back.
It's so hard to pinpoint where a noise is coming from when riding. Hopefully i can reproduce it in my garage on the stand.

edit: Thanks, rekmeyata, i will add those ideas to the list.
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Old 01-11-14, 10:15 AM
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IME the number one cause of chain rub of the FD that can't be detected on a repair stand is crank/BB flex. (this assumes you correctly identified the sound as chain rub on the FD cage).

First check that the BB has no play by flexing a crank and seeing if if the opposite one moves also. If that checks out stand the bike up with the front brake on and the cranks horizontal, and press the right crank with as much of your weight a manageable, while watching for movement of the chaining and chain inside the FD cage. There's always some flex, but you only care if it's enough to cause rub. If so you can usually resolve by adjusting the trim accordingly,
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Old 01-11-14, 10:19 AM
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Oh one more thing!
I swear I could feel the noise in my feet ever so slightly. A rough vibration is being transferred. I'm using regular shoes with old-school clip style pedals.
And I don't believe it was just one side that was making the noise when pedaling. The downstroke on both sides caused it. I was able to reduce the noise if I tried to rotate the crank with as little pressure as possible on the pedals.
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Old 01-11-14, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
IME the number one cause of chain rub of the FD that can't be detected on a repair stand is crank/BB flex. (this assumes you correctly identified the sound as chain rub on the FD cage).

First check that the BB has no play by flexing a crank and seeing if if the opposite one moves also. If that checks out stand the bike up with the front brake on and the cranks horizontal, and press the right crank with as much of your weight a manageable, while watching for movement of the chaining and chain inside the FD cage. There's always some flex, but you only care if it's enough to cause rub. If so you can usually resolve by adjusting the trim accordingly,
Yup I agree. I'm familiar with there being some flex. When off the bike, there seems to be plenty of space to allow for some flex. I had already tried adjusting for this and it didn't seem to help. So i was really scratching my head yesterday.
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Old 01-11-14, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by d2create View Post
Yup I agree. I'm familiar with there being some flex. When off the bike, there seems to be plenty of space to allow for some flex. I had already tried adjusting for this and it didn't seem to help. So i was really scratching my head yesterday.
Don't guess whether you have enough room. Check for play, and do the flex test as I described.
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Old 01-11-14, 10:35 AM
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Rivendell? That's easy, the crank is hitting the kickstand...
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Old 01-11-14, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by wheelreason View Post
Rivendell? That's easy, the crank is hitting the kickstand...
LOL, yeah... and now that I have a Britax toddler seat mounted on the back, I had to switch to a double kickstand!
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Old 01-11-14, 12:27 PM
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Have you lubricated your chain lately? I didn't see any mention of that in your post nor the comments/suggestions. Also check your chain for tight or binding links.
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Old 01-11-14, 12:38 PM
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Ok, i think i got it!
Thanks to suggestions above on duplicating force on the bike stand, it was rubbing my front derailleur after all.

But i found another problem. I'm having trouble with the shift cable not sliding well when tension is loosened, so it's not applying reverse force on the derailleur to shift to the smaller chain ring.
One, the shift cable housing is slightly bent in a couple places just south of the handle bars. Not hard kinked, just a few light bends, but probably enough to create friction.
Second, I bet the cable itself is no longer lubed well enough.
So it looks like I need to replace the cable and housing. That's not a big deal. The big deal is I have to redo my nice bar wrap!
But maybe that's just a change to chance it up, maybe try another handlebar setup... yet again.
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Old 01-11-14, 12:48 PM
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Get yourself some good die-drawn stainless cables and lined housings. The slick wires and housings need little or no lubrication; lube can stiffen in cold weather and it attracts dirt and grit. Route the housings, prep the ends properly and install appropriate ferrules and the difference in shifting performance may amaze you.
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Old 01-11-14, 12:56 PM
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Where do you get those? Any LBS or my local Performance Bike? Or online only?

Listen to this... the good news is i won't have to replace the bar wrap (unless the cables are thicker) since I'm using mustache bars and only the last couple inches of bar wrap wraps around the cables.
The bad/intersting news is that when i removed the old cable it looks like the housing shrunk! There was a good 1/4" of raw cables sticking out both ends when i removed the ferrules.
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Old 01-11-14, 01:08 PM
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The plastic covering on gear cable casings often tend to shrink bace a bit. No big deal. Seems to be more common with 5mm casing. Andy.
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Old 01-11-14, 03:19 PM
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OMG.

So I ran out to bike barn and grabbed some new housing and cable, replaced it, adjusted and it shifts like a boss!
But the noise was still there!

Then i realized the speed of the sound didn't seem to be associated with the speed of the chain. It was a crickety flexing noise almost. And definitely was flex related. I got off the bike and started applying inward and outward pressure on the crank arms and that was it! Know what? The dang bolts on the crank arms were a little loose! Cranked them tight and its quiet as a mouse. :not amused:

Thanks for the help! Sometimes just talking through something with others helps you work through it and find the solution.
Looks like rekmeyata and andrew nailed it in the beginning.
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