Having a noisy bike is another of my pet peeves. As soon as I hear a pop, squeak, crackle, thump, chirp, or jingle, I am all over it. I can’t even concentrate on my ride. All of my attention is concentrated on the noise. I do admit that I have even began talking to my bike at a certain point of the aggravation: “I take good care of you, and this is how you respond?” As long as I don’t hear a verbal response, I believe that I’m okay; albeit, the responding squeak is a sort of reply of “yes.” I have become somewhat of a master at locating the noise and stopping it. Here is a quick list of my noise detection:
This can generally be found in two areas: Most of the time the valve stem is vibrating against the wheel and can be resolved with tiny rubber o-rings or electrical tape. The other, especially when sprinting or climbing hard, is when two spokes are rubbing together and can be fixed with a cleaning and a spot of lube between them.
The squeak of pedal can be one of the top aggravators. Just lube the bolt going into the crank and re-tighten. The other sneaky way that a pedal squeaks is the build up of road debris and plastic (yes, plastic) that has become trapped between your cleat and the pedal. Take a hard look at the pedal and dig out the grime and build up. Clean and wipe thoroughly with a light lube. Do the same with your cleats.
Grinding and moaning of the crank
Because you slide up on two wheels late to your group rides and haven’t had time to properly lube your chain, the bike is telling you something. Not only should you always give your chain some love, but do it properly. I’ve seen so many people actually spray some lube from a can straight at the crank and hit the road. Take your time and place a drop or two of lube on each link of your chain and work it around the entire chain. It doesn’t take as long as you think. Once it is done, give the pedals a quick backspin and that’s it.
Being closer to your face, this can be extremely irritating. A quick fix is to tighten the binder bolts. Sometimes you have to loosen the binder bolts and lube between the stem and handlebar and re-tighten. Be sure that you tighten according the specifications of your stem bolts.
Pain in the chain
With wet weather or grimy conditions, a chain link can get stuck in a position and not flex. Just back the chain up, watching the rear derailleur pulleys until you see a link that struggles through the turns. Once you locate it, just bend it with your hands to unbind it and lube the link.
Many times I have asked fellow riders to tell me the source of a noise. Being on top of the bike and listening down can be tricky. For example, the other day as I sprinted and climbed on certain sections of my route, I could not get away from a noise that sounded like my frame was clicking near the bottom bracket. Trying to remain calm. I asked a friend his opinion, when I couldn’t take it anymore. He said that it sounded like my seat. After further investigation, the noise was from the disk under the seat with the Cervelo é on it (I still haven’t figured out why that is there). The disk was loose. Tightened. Done.
Always be conscience of noises. Ignoring a noise could lead to worse problems, later. Silence is golden.