Creak Troubleshooting Tips
Having a quiet bike is something I’m obsessed with. The only thing I want to hear is the sound of the tires, suspension and, depending on its presence, the sound of the mechanics in my rear hub.
But there are many sounds that can ruin my after-work ride. A few weeks ago, I managed to start my ride five times, because some little noise bothered me too much and I kept coming back. Tightening the BB cup on the drive-side turned out to be the solution.
I hope not everyone is as obsessed with having a quiet bike, but I do think a world with quiet bikes is a better world. There are many details on the Madonna that help in achieving this. One being the cable routing that bypasses the internal mysteries. Others being the design of the pivots, the threaded BB and the shape of the chain stays. But the reality is that there remains plenty of sources for unwanted little creaky noises.
First of all, it is good to understand that noises will always come from two surfaces that are in contact. With specific forces on the two surfaces it will start rubbing and generate noise. So, the general solution is to grease contact surfaces and tighten the connection. Now that is very theoretical. The more practical solution is to follow the list down below if you happen to have a creaky noise on your bike. These are the most common sources from my experience.
Rear Wheel Axle
The axle through the rear wheel can loosen up sometimes. Take it out, grease it and tighten it up to at least 15 Nm, but not red-face-tight.
This one won’t be loud, but if one of the cups isn’t tightened properly it’s a common source for little noises. The best solution is to disassemble, clean, grease and re-assemble it. But I would recommend to first try and tighten the cups up and see if that is the cause of your unwanted noise.
This one is tricky, as there can be many sources of noises from the front-end of your bike. But there is one trick that helped me already a few times.
The Acros headset has a plastic ring that sits on top of the top headset bearing. This plastic ring can be a source of noises (mainly while pedaling, which can be confusing!). Simply clean the plastic ring, grease it a little and assemble it all properly. Now, like I said, there can be many reasons for noises from the front of the bike, but this specific solution helped me out a few times already.
Main Pivot & Rocker Pivot
From all the experience gathered in the past two years there can be two sources of noise from the frame itself. Other than the rider screaming with joy.
The main pivot and rocker pivot have large contact surfaces that can get noisy if they are dry and not tightened properly. Getting both out is very straight forward, as well as re-assembling them. Give it all a good clean, grease all contact surfaces properly and tighten them to the correct torque setting. 12 Nm for the rocker pivot and 50 Nm for the main pivot. After this, they’ll be quiet for a very long time.
Those are the five most common sources of creaky noises. But of course, there can be other reasons. In the end it can literally be anything on the bike. I’d recommend to always make one change at a time, this way you’ll know what the reason was. And if you need help, feel free to send me a message.