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john426 03-05-14 03:19 PM

Botton Bracket "click"
My commuter (on old Huffy) has an annoying click that happens with every revolution of my crank arms. It always happens when the right pedal is at the top of it's arc. It seems to be getting worse. What can I do to fix this? I want to do long distance bicycle touring so I would prefer to fix the problem myself rather than go to a LBS.

Please excuse me if this quuestion has already been asked and answered before. John

Wilfred Laurier 03-05-14 03:31 PM

just about any moving part in your crank and bottom bracket area could be causing this

the most common cause
in my experience is
rough pedal bearings

get a set of replacement pedalsand see if that doesnt immediately fix the problem

huffy bikes usually have one peice
or ashtabula
which means you will probably need 1/2" spindle pedals
instead of the more common 9/16" spindle style

fietsbob 03-05-14 03:43 PM


What can I do to fix this? I want to do long distance bicycle touring so I would prefer to fix the problem myself ..
tear it all down and buy a new BB assembly and replace it .

given you are hoping to get a reliable bike to take some long tours

an overhaul to know everything is in good shape at the start will help a Lot.

gruppo 03-05-14 03:51 PM

Agree with fietsbob (Wait I didn't say that did I?) and as the first reply said, swap your pedals too. Also, just in case, be sure you don't have any stiff links in your chain. I've had cyclists visit my shop after others have given up on a click and it turns out it was a stiff link. Good luck!

Turtle Speed 03-05-14 07:58 PM

Noises that occur with each revolution can be the most difficult to diagnose. Here are some of the things I'd try, in order, from easiest (fast, no tools) to more involved. Don't know which you're equipped for testing, both in terms of tools and knowledge, but here ya go:


Seat - remove your weight from it. While riding, pedal while standing up. If getting off the seat while continuing to spin the cranks immediately silences the noise, it usually means the noise is somewhere in the seat area - either seatpost/saddle, saddle rails/saddle clamp, saddle bolt needing grease, etc.

Shoes - if you ride clipless, try riding with regular shoes for a minute. If this silences the noise, the origin is in the cleat/shoe or shoe/pedal interface.

Pedals tight? - use pedal wrench to quickly confirm that they're very tight. Proper torque is much higher than most people think, and it's virtually impossible to strip pedal threads, so heave on it.

Pedal bearings bad? - swap out the pedals for a different pair that you know are silent. Ride.

....The following assumes your bike has higher-level equipment like a 3-piece crank - not sure if yours does, given that it's a Huffy...

Chainring bolts tight?

Cranks tight? - usually a loose crank will begin to creak like a mofo. A loose crank can quickly ruin the crank arm. You need ~30 ft-lbs of torque on the crank bolt/nut - that's a lot.

Bottom bracket lockring loose?

Bottom bracket fixed cup tight? This is normally the tightest fastener on the entire bike.

john426 03-06-14 06:31 AM

Well I greased my chain and changed my right pedal and the "click" is still there. I also noticed that my bottom bracket has a lot of "play" in it. Going on line I see that I have an open bearing BB and I need a few tools to fix this: C spanner, crankset socket wrench and crankarm extractor. Will see if I can borrow the tools and fix it this weekend. Thanks for everyone's help! John

cny-bikeman 03-06-14 09:57 AM

I hate to say it but I disagree with just about everything noted above.

Pedal bearings very seldom are the cause of a once per rev click. New pedals may "fix" the problem because they are properly tightened, as the most common cause is a pedal loose on the crank arm or crank arm loose on the spindle (may not feel loose).

Stiff chain links never are a once per rev of crank problem because the chain takes multiple crank spins to go around once.

Turtle's list is the best, but the order is not very accurate.

Pedals tight? Cranks tight? As I noted, the two most common causes, but rust and other contamination where they meet can also cause clicking

Chainring bolts tight? Next in frequency

Seat - remove your weight from it. Yes - easy to isolate

- This is fairly common if you ride cleated shoes.

Bottom bracket lockring loose? Bottom bracket fixed cup tight? These almost always cause a clunk sound, not a click.

In addition some of the more modern bottom brackets can cause clicking or creaking if not properly grease on insertion - not applicable here.

TO JOHN - Sound travels on a bike, and so does the stress of pedaling, so it's not necessarily the pedal you replaced that was the problem. The bottom bracket being loose does not mean you have to overhaul it, and you need to do so carefully. It can often just be adjusted. Tightening the crankset parts most often fixes clicking. See if there's a bike co-op nearby so you can learn and get help at the same time.

If you use online resources you need to choose a better one than you found if that's the terminology they used. There's no such thing as an "open bearing BB," The first tool is called a lockring spanner, the second is usually called a crank wrench or crank bolt wrench.

If your bike has crank arms that curve through the frame you have a "one-piece" or Ashtabula crank, but if you need a crank arm extractor that is a 3 piece. Depending on what you have Google overhaul (3 piece or Ashtabula) bottom bracket and go first to the or results. Study and understand the written instructions before you go to videos to see the process. There are a lot of videos that leave out important info for simplicity sake or because the person just does not have the requisite experience.

born2pdl 03-07-14 05:51 PM

You're going to be touring? Usually by the time a Huffy is making this click, the bearing races are worn out. It's often justified to put a bit of money into your bike because you put miles on it. On you could buy a new Isis bottom bracket, new crankset and new pedals for under $100. Or get a better bike off of craigslist for $300. You're going to be touring.

cny-bikeman 03-07-14 06:17 PM


Originally Posted by born2pdl (Post 16558610)
Usually by the time a Huffy is making this click, the bearing races are worn out.

Simply not true. Although the OP's bike is old, a Huffy or any other bike can make a once per rev click when quite new, and it is almost never caused by a bearing problem. A pitted bearing may catch enough to be felt, but any sound made typically will be a lower pitch than a click, due to the size and composition of the parts that are engaged.

john426 03-08-14 12:20 PM

Hey Everybody:

Thanks for the good advice. I plan on going to a bike co-op this afternoon to fix the bottom bracket. Just yesterday it started to make a more concerning squeal.

As for touring please do not worry about taking my Huffy, this is my beater commuter. I like the Huffy becuase it has such a comfortable rider geometry. Even better than my Diamondback! However since I have to commute to some scary parts of Philly I use my ugly green and purple Huffy and nobody is interested in stealing it.

Thanks so much for all the mechanical help! John

PS I got the term "open bearing bottom bracket" from a European book of mine about bicycle repair. Perhaps this term is only used there?

zvez 03-08-14 02:01 PM

Ok, not to derail the thread but a question here. This is on my Cervelo R5. It's new and I've got around 1k miles on it. (It's under warranty so I'll take it into the shop an dlet them sort it).

I have a very loud click/knock sound, it only occurs under load. I initially thought it might be the rear cassette as I'd heard the spider plates in the middle can click (ultegra, with DA9000 derailleur and such, crank is a NO Q ring.

This only happens under load like climbing and it's cyclical ie seems to happen every revolution. Once I take the load off and pedal like on flats the sound goes away. I'm wondering if maybe the bb was installed with insufficient lube? It's definately not the pedals, seat or chain. as I've checked those.

I know it's a tough thing to diagnose over the internet and the shop will sort it, but I'd like to know the nuts and bolts of it.

bikeman715 03-08-14 03:00 PM

zvez , your problem might be just a lose BB and need to be tighten , have the shop do it since it under warranty anyway.

cny-bikeman 03-08-14 03:24 PM

I agree with bikeman715, especially as you refer to a knock sound. It is likely that the BB drive side is just loose enough to move under hard pedaling pressure but not enough for you to detect when checking by hand. Do take it into the shop, but one way to check is to put the pedals level, left crank forward, apply the brakes, and step down with all your weight on the pedal. Rotate 180 degrees and repeat on the right pedal. Generally that will cause the fixed cup to shift if it is loose.

cny-bikeman 03-08-14 03:32 PM


Originally Posted by john426 (Post 16560175)
I plan on going to a bike co-op this afternoon to fix the bottom bracket. Just yesterday it started to make a more concerning squeal.
PS I got the term "open bearing bottom bracket" from a European book of mine about bicycle repair. Perhaps this term is only used there?

Well the squeal could indeed be the bottom bracket bearing. A commuting bike is often subject to rain and dirty streets, so the BB is likely due for overhaul. You still need to attend to the cranks and pedals, though to avoid other problems. Make sure both pedals are removed and the flat area on both the crank arm and pedal where they meet is cleaned, then grease the pedal threads and tighten properly. Also clean the area where crank arm and spindle meet but don't grease the spindle flats on reassembly. Rust or contamination in those areas can cause clicking, and removal is easier as well if the mating surfaces are clean. I usually use a fine steel wool.

Apparently the term is more common there, is the same as a loose bearing bottom bracket, which is still not very helpful. You have a 3- piece square taper bottom bracket, which was the most common type on new bikes from the 80's up until recently. It's still the most common by far.

zvez 03-08-14 04:24 PM

thanks for the tips CNY and Bikeman!

Latif 03-09-14 11:00 AM

Thanks to the advice in this thread I was able to solve my click on every rotation problem yesterday. I was thinking the worse, perhaps bottom bracket, loose crank arms, chain, but it did turn out to be a not tight enough pedal. I was sure it was the right side by unclipping one side at a time and doing one legged pedaling which revealed no click when the right foot unclipped.I pulled the right pedal which came off way too easily, cleaned and greased the contact points and voila problem solved.

john426 03-11-14 02:17 PM

Pregress report of repair:

It turned out I had a loose lockring on the bottom bracket. I took off the whole assembly, and regreased. The bearings were also dry with no grease. After this my Huffy is running smooth as silk. John

Turtle Speed 03-11-14 09:13 PM


Originally Posted by Latif (Post 16562375)
Thanks to the advice in this thread I was able to solve my click on every rotation problem yesterday... I was thinking the worse, perhaps... chain,

Congrats on fixing your problem!

BTW, remember that the chain is almost never the cause of a once-per-revolution noise. As explained in this thread, one of the most common mechanical issues with a chain is a stiff chain link, which causes a hitch as it's forced through the twisty parts of the drivetrain. But this only happens once every few rotations of the pedals, not every stroke.


Originally Posted by john426 (Post 16568735)
my Huffy is running smooth as silk.

That's good! You've taken you first step into a larger world.

If you feel inclined, I suggest you eventually learn how to overhaul a wheel hub. No doubt your Huffy's wheel bearings could use some love at some point.

john426 03-12-14 03:41 PM

Thanks for you kind remarks "turtle speed", I will take a look at my hubs this month. Since this is my commuter and there was lots of salt on the roads I am sure that lots of things need help on my bike! I got cone wrenches for a Christmas gift, perhaps this is a time to use them! thanks for all your advice. John

aubiecat 03-12-14 04:24 PM

I had the same problem with my Diamondback hybrid. My bottom bracket was loose and it would rock ever so slightly to one side then back to other on each revolution of the crank.
I solved it by replacing the stock open bearing BB with a Shimano UN-55. That was a nice addition to that bike.

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