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Pulley (farthest one) noise...
hello all,
i hope somebody can assist me here with the noise problem. it has been a problem much before, there was noise but not loud enough so i'd notice. so when i'm pedaling the pulley , not the guide pulley... the other pulley makes a propelling noise, like a fan spinning noise... i took it out and greased it and the guide one too when it didn't work the first time. everything is lubed/greased but the noise is really distracting... when riding outside people often turn to look... its embarrassing too... any suggestions on how to fix this? thank you in advance!
Maybe recheck the gear settings? A slightly off setup can make quite a racket.

everything is aligned. the hanger isn't bent either. everything is centered on each sprocket as i shift. i looked closely to the pulleys but cant tell why its so loud. is it because of the chain?

Are you sure it's the pulley? If you cleaned and greased them and nothing changed, I'd be suspicious the noise is coming from somewhere else. The noise you describe sounds like a loose wheel reflector. But that would happen while you are coasting as well. Does the sound only occur when you are pedaling?

hello dave,
yes i'm pretty sure its the pulley. i don't have a reflector on the wheel either. yes sound is only when i start pedaling.
there is not rubbing on cassette or anything. shifting is good too. i narrowed it down to the 2 pulleys on the derailleur. what i thought would fix it was to take pulleys off and grease them up. i installed them and spun them without chain on, no noise at all and spin smooth. now when i put the chain on it makes a "propelling" noise like a small fan...i think its the chain tapping in each grove of the pulley...its been louder than usual too. i'm wondering if i need to get a new chain?

ok i just measured the chain, it isn't "stretched" so i guess its not the chain...

Yeah, worn chain would have been my next suggestion.
If the pulley is well lubed and the bolt holding it isn't loose...maybe it is worn inside and wobbles when the chain is on it making the sound. Try getting some new pulleys. You can get anything from cheap replacements to fancy sealed bearing ones for most derailleurs. Or just get a new rear derailleur, it might not cost too much more than the pulleys.
Do you have a spoke protector behind the rear cog? You might check if that is vibrating also. Mystery noises can be tough to diagnose.

hello dave,

i actually measured the chain, everything is lined up exactly on the dot. the pulleys do not wobble. they spin clean and quiet too...i looked at the cassette last night and after viewing alex's tutorial on cassette wear...it seems that is 'worn' down, because it has a few cogs with "shark teeth" shapes now...but i asked on a forum and posted a picture and apparently some say even new cassettes have weirdly shaped teeth... please see the picture ...

I'm wondering if i need to replace that instead.. I'm trying to diagnose every part before i jump to conclusions now...maybe its not my pulley after all?? its so frustrating...

The "shark teeth" are normal, they are there to improve shifting. It could be worn, but hard to tell just from photo. How old is it?
I really doubt you'd get that kind of noise from a worn cassette though. However, a loose cassette might. Check that there isn't a lot of side to side play and that the lockring is tight. Another thought is you might check your spoke tension. I've seen wheels with very loose spokes do odd things and it could produce weird noises. Could even be affected by if your pedaling since that stresses the wheel differently. If the drive side spokes on your rear wheel are a lot looser than on your front wheel, could be an issue. (Note that the left side rear spokes will be looser than the right). tension is tough to gauge unless you've trued a lot of wheels, but might be worth checking out.
Is the sound only when you are pedaling? Is it affected by how hard you are pedaling, your speed, both?

hi dave, thanks for replying... the cassette is probably 2 yrs old... i'm thinking its not a cassette or chain problem now... as for the lockring, everything is pretty snug and tight. the spokes are at the correct tension too.
after installing the wheel back on the bike, i noticed another noise from pedals..i tightened it and noise is gone..but not the back pulley as i suspect... i posted a video on youtube for the bikeforums to help but i haven't been able to resolve the issue yet...
as i pedal harder it noise increases... the higher cadence i have, the louder it is... so i feel its the pulley some how...
i pedaled slowly and notice some vertical play... very slight up and down motions (w/o skip or slip noise) the chain does not ride perfectly in center of cogs... is this normal? i noticed this with the tension pulley as well...

I see what you mean. It does sound like it is coming from the pulleys. You say, "the chain does not ride perfectly in center of cogs". If by that you mean that the chain doesn't drop completely down into the cup of each tooth on the cog/chainrings, that probably means your chain is stretched. When stretched, the chain will ride up on the side of each tooth on the chainrings instead of sitting properly at the bottom.
If you've been riding fairly regularly for two years on your current chain and cassette, it's probably time to replace anyway, so maybe try that next. Generally best to replace both at the same time. Maybe get some replacement pulleys for good measure, though they typically last much longer than other drive train parts.

i measured my chain... and it doesn't indicate that its "stretched"... and yes the chain doesn't seem to drop down in each of the groves of cog... do you think this is the problem of the noise? i still find it strange that when i measure the chain it lines up exactly from just eyeballing it...
i've been biking with this for just about 2 yrs... but i only have about 1500 miles on it... i heard that the chain will be replaced 2x per cassette... but 1500miles seems a little for that? or is it not measured upon distance for chain/cassette wear?
so according to the cassette picture you said it doesn't seem to be worn but its hard to tell... so its better to get new cassette, pulleys, and chain?
thank you!

Not sure how you're measuring, but if the chain not sitting all the way down in the chainring teeth, it's normally a big indicator that it is 'stretched'. Hopefully we're describing the same thing. Usually what I see is if you put the chain in the big chainring up front, it will drop completely into the teeth at the forward most point on the chainring. But at the top and bottom, the chain will ride up the side of the teeth and not sit down in the bottom of the cup. If it's doing that, I think it is worn.
1500 miles isn't that much, but chain wear varies a lot depending on how clean it is kept, how well lubed, your riding style, etc.
It is hard to tell if a cassette is worn visually. But I've seen lots of cases where you start getting skipping when you replace the chain only. The chain and cassette wear into each other and when you only swap one, they don't line up well.
I really don't know if this is the source of the problem, but if it's time for a new chain/cassette anyway, might as well try that before you replace something else.
Pulley wheel prices seem to vary all over the place depending on what derailleur you have. If what you need is pricey, maybe wait and do the chain first to see what happens.
good luck

hi dave, thanks so much for all your help!

i actually checked again...its really weird but i put the chain on the largest chain ring...and pedaled w/ my hand and the chain naturally sits off line...please see the pictures i took...you can see the light gaps...

when i saw this, i knew you were exactly right...so i went ahead and measure the chain again. its in fact a little off...well from 1" its zero...but on 12" mark...it seems its either 1/16" or more off...is this the correct way to measure? anyways, the chain ring kinda says it all right? if so...i ought to be the chain no doubt...or do i have to be skeptical about the chain ring itself and cassette and pulleys as well? according to sheldon brown..."If the rivet is 1/16" past the mark, you should replace the chain, but the sprockets are probably undamaged. "

my bike is dawes lightning 1000 / year 2007...blue color...with shimano sora shifters / and DR...it is a bike from bikesdirect but i bought from chicabike off ebay.

please let me know so i can make my conclusions!

The chain is stretched and should definitely be replaced. I'd go for a high(er) quality chain (no, not Dura Ace, well, they are not even available in 7/8 speed). Some are treated to be more robust. I went through a cheap chain this winter (in less than 1000km), so money spent on a good chain is money well spent.

do you suggest any chain then? i'm sure my cassette has no brand name to it when i purchased it...it says taiwan on it when i last took it off. so, i was reading between Shimano and Sram...but cant decide which to pick in durability and quiet and smooth shifting (of course at a decent price) for Shimano, there is IG and HG, if i get either will that effect the type of cassette i have? or should i swap out the cassette with a IG/HG type cassette as well? thank you for your reply!

Yup, chain is worn. You can't measure accurately enough at the 1" mark, you have to look at the 12". Unlikely the front chainrings are damaged. Cassette could go either way. Unless you're real tight on cash, I'd say replace it as well. Using a new chain on a used cassette will actually wear out the new chain faster.
Either SRAM or shimano should be fine. I've been using SRAM chains and shimano cassettes for a long time with good luck. SRAM chains will work with either IG or HG. Look at your current cassette and front chainrings to see if there are any stickers indicating if you have IG or HG now. Might as well match on the cassette, but I don't think it matters too much as long as the chain is matched to the cassette.

does it really matter if i get a mtn or road bike cassette? what is the difference really?
i did a little more research... i'm thinking about getting the shimano hg50... but some say they are mtn 12-30? and road (sora) 11-21... i have a 3 ring chainset but never used the smallest one. what should i get?
and for the chain, there is a hg50 chain... does that have to match the cassette? or can i use a hg91 instead? when i looked at the chains, some had a 7.1 and 7.4 mm pin width, does this matter when considering a cassette choice?
thank you!

The chain in your photo says "narrow" so go for a narrow equivalent. Road cassettes go upto 28 teeth max' as that's the max that road derailleurs will accept. If you want to go larger than 28 then you will need an MTB mech'.
If you are happy with your current cassette then get something similar or bias it towards your own preferences.
You can use either Shimano or Sram if your Freehub accepts them?
I usually use HG/IG 70 chain but it's 2x the price of HG 50. My last chain though was a KMC and they come with special "Powerlinks" that allow easy attachment/removal. HG90 is Dura-Ace quality and may be 9/10 speed chain?

Ride hard or ride home alone!
hello cyclerUK,
thanks for replying. according to the seller i got this bike from, accepts both shimano and sram. i will check my cassette tonight and see how many teeth there are. i found a sram for a pretty good price<br />

but not sure about the reviews on it...
also if it says KMC narrow...even when i change the cassette, it wouldn't make a difference right? is narrow considered 7.1 mm then? it comes to my concern because i saw this website stating the chains pin widths bikeparts.com
please let me know before i make any decisions on purchases. thanks again!

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