Bottom Bracket Clicking! (Read This First)

Bottom Bracket Clicking

Nothing annoys a rider more than hearing a creaking sound from the bottom bracket of bicycles whenever they pedal.

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

Does your bike’s bottom bracket suffer from this issue? This article will guide you on possible causes and how to resolve the issue. 

One major culprit for the clicking in the bike’s bottom bracket is the case of broken ball-bearing. The bottom bracket usually houses only a rod and bearings; hence every Bottom bracket clicking should revolve around it. When certain that the clicking sound is from the bottom bracket, it can only be because of a bad ball-bearing or the BB itself. 

Why does my Bottom Bracket Make a Clicking Sound when I Pedal?

Bottom Bracket Clicking

A persistent clicking sound from your bike’s bottom bracket as you pedal is a case of bad ball-bearing.

Although the ball-bearing hides in the bottom bracket, they still suffer damage from time to time.

Sometimes, a simple adjustment on the ball-bearing may do the trick, while other times, it may require a complete replacement. 

Still, on the matter of bearings, it shouldn’t be a surprise if the bearings are in good condition, but the clicking continues.

You must note that any distortion in the sitting position of the ball-bearing inside the bottom bracket will cause clicking.

The first thing to do is inspect to determine where the issue comes from before losing the ring lock.

Aside from the bearings, you will have to inspect the bike race where the ball bearings normally sit.

The case of corrosion happens during the bike’s race which also results in the clicking as you pedal the bike.

In a worst-case scenario, the corrosion will result in “pits,” which is the final case of the bottom bracket for any bike. 

In addition, we cannot ignore the fact that all the different bottom bracket types are tightly-fitted components on the bike.

The implication is that any additional increase to the width of the bottom bracket will serve as a gauge frame.

So, a little chipped paint or a slip of razor inside the bike bottom bracket will result in clicking sounds as you pedal.

Finally, if the case isn’t with the ball-bearing and the race, the last option is that the bottom bracket is bad.

A bad or broken bottom bracket from the cranks will also make the same clicking sound as you pedal. 

Bottom Bracket Creaking After Rain?

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

The bottom bracket easily suffers friction compared to every other bicycle component.

So, the next ride will not be complete whenever water enters your bike without a creaking sound from the bottom bracket.

Water and lubricants don’t come close to each as they will dilute the lubricant.

So, whenever water enters the bottom bracket, the force of friction comes into play hence the creaking sound you hear.

And if unattended, the repercussion is usually fatal to the bike, which sometimes can lead to accidents.

The case of corrosion is a common case of bottom bracket, especially after wet riding or rainfall.

Water is easy and often common to get into the bottom bracket after rainfall or wet riding.

In most cases, the entrance point is through the bottom bracket shell, which will require a serve waging.

It is worth noting at this point that the age of the bike doesn’t warrant the creaking sound or not.

Sometimes, even newly bought bikes from the factory surprisingly make the same clicking sound from the bottom bracket.

Even for new bikes, in the case of water entering the bottom bracket, the same creaking sound will result.

Therefore, as much as you can, to combat the annoying creaking sound from the BB, avoid water from gaining entrance.

However, we cannot always help it as it more or less can happen at any time. Nevertheless, always ensure to loosen, re-grease, and tighten the BB before riding again.

How do I Stop my Bottom Bracket from Creaking?

To stop the bottom bracket from creaking, you will first and foremost figure out the reason behind the noise.

Yes, the bad bearing is a common culprit regarding bottom bracket creaking, but you can never be too sure.

Although the focus is on bad/broken bearing, there are other reasons to account for the bottom bracket creaking sound.

Also, the type of bottom bracket on the bike has a lot to do with the approach with which you can solve the problem.

Some bikes use a cartridge and an external roller-bearing, while others use the press-fit bottom bracket.

So, in more random cases, the cause of the bottom bracket creaking sound is more complicated than you’d expect.

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. 

Causes Of Bottom Bracket Creaking SoundPossible Solutions
Bad or broken ball bearings.Service or replace the bearings.
Rain Loosen, re-grease, and tighten the BB. You can decide to install a drain at the bottom of 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.

How do I Tell if my Bottom Bracket Needs Replacing?

Normally, the BB needs replacement whenever there is a feeling of grittiness or side-to-side wobble.

You can remove the chainring from the pedal, spin the cranks, and notice the sounds and vibrations.

You can tell that the bottom bracket needs replacing from the side-ways movement, rough pedal, and loud noise. 

If the bottom bracket is still good, it should easily spin smoothly, but if otherwise, it calls for a replacement. Usually, a bad bottom bracket will grind for every spin.

However, Note that the creaking sound from the bottom bracket points to the bearing and others, whereas other sounds suggest a bad BB.

Again, every pitting sign indicates that the bottom bracket isn’t in good condition and needs replacing.

Usually, it will begin with rusting, and the condition will become a pit if unattended.

A pit condition is the worst state of a rusted bottom bracket, so riding the bike is even more difficult.

In addition, lateral movement or play in the crank points to a bad bottom bracket for other bikes.

Routine maintenance will help you diagnose a fault early with the bottom bracket before things go haywire.

However, even without a regular check-up, the wobbling, creaking noise will sell the ideal to you for bottom bracket replacement.

Finally, the age of the bike matters as it is most likely that the BB is due to its lifespan.

No matter the maintenance level, it is normal to start thinking of replacing some components after a long while.

All the above little signs are strong pointers to be cautious of as you continue to enjoy your ride. 


It is common to hear different usual sounds from a bike from different angles. The bottom bracket happens to be one spot where you can track creaking.

Whichever the case may be, be sure to find a remedy to the problem as they can translate to bigger issues.

Josh Matthews

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