The only sound I hate worse than a baby crying
and someone dragging their fingernails down a black board is noise from my
bike. Sometimes I think I've heard it all out of my bike, a creak here, a
groan there - but finally I believe I've been thru it all with my carbon
frame, fork and swingarm. Here's a brief list of what I've come up with
and some simple solutions. If any of you guys have any others - feel
1. Stem - tighten, that's easy enough
2. Shock - sometimes those pesky little nr-2's, 4's, smarts will make a
noise like a small, molested woodland creature. try keeping the shock
shaft extremely clean via windexing the shaft and seal area with a q-tip
or go the other route with a light grease or oil. I've found that keeping
it extremely clean and enduring the noise for a few rides, the seals will
wear in and the noise will go away. (forever I hope)
3. Shoes - sometimes my cleats work loose a bit and make enough noise to
annoy me. I'll tighten them down, oil them and now have a setup where I've
put a piece of a well used baggie between the internal plate and the shoe.
that pretty much solved the problem.
4. Pedals - a little light oil took care of that - best if you use a moly
oil or something that leaves a Teflon coating.
5. Chainrings - tighten, rare but this can happen
6. Bottom Bracket - I once had a creak that I just couldn't find but
happened every time I pushed on my right crank/pedal. the grease had gone
out of the fixed side of the bottom bracket where the spindle comes thru.
once liberally regreased, all was well with the world.
7. Cable Stop for Rear Derailleur - the cable housing from the swing arm
that runs the cable to the rear derailleur, attaches to a cable stop on
the lower part of the carbon down tube. this needs to be cleaned
periodically especially in dusty conditions or simply greased. when the
housing moves slightly in the stop, the whole frame makes a loud creaking
sound. the carbon frames being made as they are, are great amplifiers of
8. Swingarm Pivot - although the most important pivot on the bike, it has
been the least of my problems. However, it is the most overlooked pivot
and I know of many other riders who've trashed the bearings by ignoring
the noise that comes with dry on dry components. each axle/cup needs to be
regreased on a regular basis to prevent major problems and there are great
ways to do it without having to remove the swingarm. in addition, I've got
some spiffy ways to reinstall the swingarm without rolling the quad rings.
I'll mention that in a future post.
9. Rear Derailleur Hanger - yeah, I've had it here too. after trying every
other conceivable place I put my hand on the rear derailleur, twisted and
torqued it a bit and the swingarm started singing like Pavarotti. I cut
apart a large leaf plastic trash bag and put a small piece of the ultra
thin plastic between the hanger and the dropout. trim the excess - noise
went away - I guess I just couldn't get and keep the two hanger bolts
tight enough - I hate to loctite things and my clear fingernail polish
trick to keep the bolts tight wasn't working like it used to.
10. Last for me - I had a creaking noise from the swingarm that I just
couldn't find. I rebuilt the whole bike - twice. it was still there - this
was after I installed the disc brakes on the bike, both on the carbon
swingarm and the carbon crosslink. I found that by applying the rear brake
and moving the rear wheel forward and backward the noise amplified
greatly. but still couldn't find it. I eliminate the disc wheel and rotor
possibility. one day while out and about, I tightened down by a quarter
turn, the skewer nut. presto - the noise went away but only for a short
while so I did it again and that pretty much cured the problem. I lightly
greased the skewer and axle contact areas on the rear wheel and haven't
heard a complaint since.
My friend who rides a GT has regular,
horrible noise but really doesn't care - I do. I rode his bike once and
realized that he had a lot of noise from the saddle rails touching the
saddle. a body should check that as well I guess. it's surprising how many
of these sounds are nearly identical and all seem to come from down below
and behind you. when the carbon starts to vibrate, it transfers to the
whole swingarm or frame and can be hard to pin down. I've even broken out
my stethoscope and did the old 'cut 4' piece of rubber hose' with one end
in my ear and the other moving about to various parts of the bike.
I bought a good used pro carbon s fork and every time
I turned it to the left, it clicked. I went thru the WTB headset twice and
kept hitting the grease ports on the headset and fork. turns out when I
reconditioned the fork up arrival to my garage, I neglected to grease up
the lower right rear pivot. it was run dry by it's previous owner and for
some reason (probably old age) I missed it upon rebuilding the fork - it
was bone dry and scored but a little of the slick 50 grease solved the
problem. for some reason the joint had been sticking when the fork was
turning - could never figure how that was working but a little squirt form
the gun solved the clicking and it's been strong since. - be sure to
grease all moving joints - anyway - just some thoughts - the only sound I
like to hear when riding the bike is my wheels rolling over the dirt, the
gently humming of my well pro lubed chain on the cogs and rings, my own
heavy breathing and my heart pounding in my ears.