Bike Creaking When Pedaling Hard! (Reasons & Solutions)

Bike Creaking When Pedaling Hard

No sound goes by your ear as you enjoy your ride pedaling your bike with the energy within you.

Creaking sound as you pedal your bike can result from different reasons, which is the center of this article. 

As minute as the case may be, the repercussions, if not attended to, can become fatal to the bike.

Identifying the cause of the creaking sound as you pedal is the focus of this article. 

In most cases, the creaking sounds you hear as you pedal hard result from a dry chain or broken bearing. A bent or worn-out rear cassette can also be the cause of the creaking sound that you hear. So, whenever your bike starts creaking as you pedal hard, it only tries to communicate its distress.

Why Does My Bike Creak When Pedaling Hard?

Bike Creaking When Pedaling Hard

As you pedal your bike harder, a persistent creaking sound points to a worn-out component on the bike.

In most cases, it may be coming from the bike chain or probably the rear derailleur cassette of the bike.

Over time, it is common to hear such sounds as you pedal your bike because of the implication of friction.

On worn-out components, you can count the rear derailleur cassette as a good example of the components that suffer from friction.

A bent or bad sprocket counts alongside the rear derailleur cassette regarding worn-out components.

There is no way you will not hear the creaking sound on a worn-out cassette, as the teeth will not fit the chains.

Another major culprit to the creaking sound as you pedal your bike is a broken ball-bearing in the bottom bracket.

The bottom bracket and its components account for most of the creaking sound you hear while pedaling.

The harder you pedal with a broken ball-bearing, the louder the creaking sound coming from the bottom bracket.

There are many reasons behind the creaking sound that sometimes discovering the fault becomes head-aching.

And as minor as the issue may be, the repercussion can become fatal to the bike if unattended.

Amazingly, a simple adjustment here and there will do the trick, as annoying as the case may be. 

How Do You Stop Bike Cranks From Creaking?

As you pedal, the crankshaft suffers from the force of friction and hence requires lubrication as much as possible.

Applying lubricants when needed will go a long way in settling the creaking sound from the crankshaft.

Follow the steps below to loosen, clean, re-grease, and install the crankshaft to stop the creaking sounds.

  • Loosen the pedal end that doesn’t bear the chain. (usually the left pedal)
  • First, remove the chain off the bike.
  • Using a mallet, hammer the left end of the pedal to remove the crankshaft from its position completely.
  • Pull the crankshaft out, and use a rag first to clean off the dirt sitting there. Ensure to clean the bottom bracket as well.
  • Now, apply the grease or the lubricant available to use.
  • Fit the shaft and spin the pedal to confirm the creaking sound.
  • Tighten the left pedal properly, and you are good to go.

As simple as the above cause of the problem is, if not attended to, you will continue to hear the creaking sound.

However, in some worst-case scenarios, you will notice that the crankshaft has cracks hence the creaking sound.

In such a case, you must do a complete crankshaft replacement to stop the creaking sound. 

Why Does My Rear Bike Wheel Creak When Pedaling?

Every creaking sound from the rear wheel is largely due to worn-out components gliding on one another.

The pedal down to the rear wheel derailleur happens to be the transmission and drivetrain of your bike.

So, it may just be that the sound is coming from the worn-out bike’s chain or the rear wheel sprocket.

The rear wheel holds the drivetrain derailleur, and any sign of distress will result in creaking or squeaking sounds.

So, the creaking sounds coming from the rear wheel as you pedal have everything to do with the rear wheel derailleur.

The creaking sounds may sometimes come from a few loosened nuts and bolts due to vibration. 

Still, the rear derailleur cassette suffers greatly from friction on the rear wheel derailleur.

Also, whenever you notice a creaking sound at the change of gear, the issue is most likely the rear derailleur cassette.

It may just be that the creaking sound is coming from the worn-out derailleur cassette due to the chain not rotating well.

You must also note that the rear wheel has an axle and ball-bearing that enables smooth spinning.

It means that any distortion to the sitting position of the bearing will result in distress and hence sounds.

Therefore, you should inspect every moving component as the rear wheel if the sound comes from behind.

Why Does My Bike Make a Grinding Noise When Pedaling Uphill?

A grinding noise when pedaling uphill is certainly a case of dirt or friction in the crankshaft.

A dirty crank will make grinding noises on regular road rides, not to mention pedaling uphill.

In like manner, a crankshaft that lacks lubrication will also yield the same grinding noises due to the action of friction.

We cannot ignore the influence on the bottom bracket when talking about grinding noises. The bottom bracket is a tightly-fitted component along the bottom of the bike.

As a result, any increase in the form of dirt or material pieces inside the bottom bracket leads to grinding noises.

Still, on the subject of the bike bottom bracket, the influence of impurities inside the bottom bracket is a point to reckon with.

On rough, rugged terrains, chances are that some dirt debris enters into places that don’t require water, such as the bottom bracket.

And the more dirt sitting around the bottom bracket, the more the effect of friction allows grinding noise. 

The case of corrosion of the race of a bike will also yield the same grinding noise, especially as you pedal uphill.

Since the race where the ball-bearing sits has rust, the distress coming from that angle will be a grinding sound.

In a worst-case scenario, the grinding will result in “pits, ” eventually damaging the bottom bracket.

Finally, as you already know, water and all lubricants don’t come close to each other as they will dilute the lubricant.

So, whenever water enters the bottom bracket, the frictional force comes into play hence the grinding sound you hear.

Nevertheless, whatever the case may be, always ensure to loosen, re-grease, and then tighten the BB before riding again.

Creaking Noise From My Bike When Pedaling; How To Fix?

The first step to fixing the creaking noise from the bike when you pedal is to discover the reason behind the noise.

Too many reasons can cause creaking noises in bikes necessitates a proper diagnosis.

Sometimes, figuring out the exact is a burden, especially if you cannot reproduce the sound when you stop riding. 

It shouldn’t be surprising to hear creaking sounds from the bottom bracket after rain.

The same creaking or squeaking sound can heel from the rear wheel or other components in the same vein.

Therefore, you must first diagnose the issue to be certain to handle the noise at once properly. 

As stated earlier, the issue can come from different angles, requiring a specific approach. Every detail must be under the account to stop the bottom bracket from creaking.

The table below brings a possible reason for the creaking sound and a very befitting solution. 

ReasonsPossible Solutions
Worn-out components.Do replace every worn-out part of the bike.
Bad or broken ball-bearings.Service or replace the bearings.
Dirty Crankshaft. Loosen, re-grease, and tighten the BB.
The influence of rain.You can decide to drill drainage underneath the bottom bracket.
Sand, paints, and other pieces of materials.Do a thorough clean-up.
A broken crankshaft or bottom bracket.Replace with new sets.


It is practically impossible to avoid noise while riding your bike, especially in adverse conditions.

Many reasons account for these sounds, hence the need to know how to handle them.

However, the fault is most likely around the drivetrain and bike transmission region when you pedal and hear such sounds.

Josh Matthews

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