One common thing many people who own a vehicle can relate to is the challenge of maintenance.
As much as you try to maintain your vehicle, it’ll develop some issues over time which sometimes become overwhelming.
This occurrence can lead to the replacement of some parts or the entire vehicle.
For bike owners, hearing grinding sounds from your bike could result in some issues; this article has addressed some possible causes and solutions.
The common cause of a bike making grinding noise is usually associated with wearing some components on the bike like the chainrings or skewers. And this could be due to rust or having foreign particles in the chainrings, which is the primary control of movement on the bike.
Reasons For Grinding Noise When Pedaling
The main reason your bike is making a grinding noise when pedaling is because of worn parts or rust on either the chainrings or the skewers.
The bicycle is mainly made of metal which means, for the motion to take place, one metal moves over the other with the help of bolts.
Which, in this case, involves three major components to work together for the bicycle to function: the chain, the skewers, and the pedals.
The chain rotates over the skewers with the help of small metallic bolts, which are embedded in-between the chainrings and over the gears holding the pedals.
When pedaling, the chain is pulled over the skewers causing it to rotate the bicycle wheels, which sets it in motion. In all of this, it is all metal moving against metal.
When rust is in any of the three major components responsible for rotating the bicycle wheels, you’re likely to hear it grinding.
Not just for rust alone, but hearing some noise when pedaling could indicate faults in different parts of the bicycle.
For a bicycle making a grinding noise, rust is the first guess, but the noise is not only limited to rust alone.
For example, the bicycle will also make a grinding noise if sand particles get stuck in the chainrings.
Since grinding means crushing, having sand particles stuck in the chainrings can also cause noise when pedaling.
The stone particles would be crushed by the movement of the chainrings round of skewers.
Apart from your bike making a grinding noise, other types of noise when pedaling could spring up from different components of the bike.
And are due to different causes which can be rectified if taken to any local bike shop for servicing.
Some of the types of noise when pedaling and their common causes are listed below;
#1. Bottom Bracket Noise
The creaking noise from a bike is often, more than not, associated with the bottom bracket. It could be due to loose bottom bracket bearings or a broken bottom bracket.
Other times, creaky noise when pedaling does not necessarily indicate a broken bottom bracket or loose bottom bracket bearings.
It has nothing to do with the bottom bracket, making it difficult to guess precisely just by inspection.
Other parts that make a creaking sound when faulty are;
- Chainring bolts
- Crank bolts
Dealing with such noise when pedaling doesn’t only indicate that the bike has been used for a long time nor lack of proper maintenance.
But like every other vehicle, regular servicing of vehicles can help prevent some faults from happening.
The best way to figure out where exactly a creaking noise may be coming from is to take it to a local bike shop.
#2. Chainring Bolts
The primary cause of the creaking sound associated with chainring bolts is when the crank is loose on the spindle.
Although the cranks are tightened to the spindle with specific torque from the point of manufacture, when it becomes loose, it loses balance.
The recommended torque is usually indicated on the user manual bought with the bike. So to fix the noise, you have to tighten it to the proper torque spec written on the manual.
And if you bought it from a local bike shop without an original user manual, consult a Mike mechanic.
There are two common causes of the creaking noise from the headset: a loose headset or having dirt in the bearings.
When the headset is loosely fitted, it moves freely, and without any friction to oppose it, it’ll make the creaking sound.
In other cases having dirt in the bearings can also cause noise when pedaling. A perfectly tightened headset will take care of the noise coming from the headset.
If, after ensuring that it is tightened and the sound persists, it isn’t from the headset.
Caking noise from the pedals could mean dry chainrings, bearings, or a loose chain.
On the other hand, this part may not necessarily need the attention of a mechanic since all that needs to be done is lubrication.
The relationship between the pedals and the chain is a mutual benefit relationship, meaning they depend on each other.
The motion of the pedals drives the chain, and the movement of the chain keeps the pedals in motion.
Therefore, once the pedals develop a noise, you can deduce that it is related to the chain.
A creak in the Seatpost is an indication that it needs to be lubricated. The noise from a Seatpost may not affect the entire function of the bike but, if left unchecked, may compound over time.
Lubricating the Seatpost from time to time will take care of the creaky noise it produces.
And it also helps you to be confident that the creaking noise is coming from the Seatpost and not a broken bottom bracket.
#6. The crankset
A creaky noise in a bike’s crankset indicates loose bolts, which makes it loosely fitted on the spindle.
Check for play in the cranks, loosen the bolts, lubricate the threads wound around the bolt heads, and reinstall.
When a fault requires tightening up loose bolts, ensure to stay within the proper torque spec recommended by the manufacturers.
These are the significant parts that are likely to make noise when pedaling if there is a fault. Other parts include;
- The frame
- Fork, stem, and handlebars
- Bolts and other broken components
Possible Solutions to Grinding Noise on The Bike
Since most of the noise when pedaling is due to the wear of bicycle parts or rust, the best way to fix it is to lubricate the parts regularly.
To identify the parts making noise, the first attempt is peddling the bike and then lubricating the parts needing lube.
If you still hear noise when pedaling after lubrication, get the help of a bike mechanic.
Also, tightening loose bearings on the bike takes care of some noise coming from parts like the pedals, headset, and chainring bolts.
Some parts are worn beyond repair and can only be replaced, which is the only way to stop the noise.
Many of these parts can be gotten from any local bike shop, while others may require some expertise to work on them.
However, preventive maintenance can help prevent some common faults in the bike.
Hearing a grinding noise when pedaling is one of the many signs of a fault in your bike.
As a bike owner, you’ll experience unusual noises from several parts of your bike at some point.
While this may not always mean complex issues, it is advisable to service the bike occasionally to be on the safe side.
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