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Not to sound like my wife, but there's this noise..
#1
The other day, while riding on my road bike, I was going at a 17-19 mph pace and started noticing a noise that sounds like a ratchet clicking on each down stroke of the right pedal. Since sound can be deceiving, I am wondering if any of you have had this issue and can tell me what your resolve was before I take it to the bike shop. I don't have the tools or a place to do this myself, so the shop is going to have to do until then.

Anyway, I checked the front dérailleur and there is nothing rubbing or hitting it any time. I am thinking that it could be pedal bearings, the right side BB bearings or the freewheel. Also, the faster I go, the more pronounced the clicking sound. Anyone with any ideas as to what this could be?
HCFR Cycling Team
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#2
once per pedal revolution most likely rules out the freewheel - unless you have a front freewheel - pretty rare, Shimano made then in the mid '80's.

typically: pedals, BB bearing, crank

is it the same in every gear?
is related to pedaling force or pedaling speed?
Nigel
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#3
Well, this is on a new bike that is only 8 months old and had the BB and crankset already changed two or three months after I got it. The noise is on the down stroke of the right leg and does it mostly in the higher gears where the pedaling requires more force. It does it regularly on the middle and outer chainring (I haven't tried it on the inner ring). The faster I go, the louder it seems to be, but that may be because the time between downstrokes is shorter.

I'm hoping that it is something as simple as my pedals as they are the cheapest and easiest to fix. Plus if it is the pedals and I have to get a new pair, I end up with a spare set of cleats. My pedals are the Shimano M520 for MTB and I have read in some forums that the bearings in those pedals don't last very long. I have around 1,500 miles on these pedals and hope that this is not the average life for this model. However, rotating the pedal by hand is very smooth and tight with no grinding or clicking noise.

If it's the BB, that is only $20.00 but I don't have the tools to remove it and install a new one. I would have to pay the LBS the labor fee to change it for me. I do have a strap wrench and if anyone has removed a BB with a strap wrench then I can replace the BB myself. My worry is putting it back on as I don't know if I can torque it very tight with a strap wrench.
HCFR Cycling Team
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#4
I would guess pedals at this point. Do you have a buddy willing to pull theirs off to try on your bike perhaps? Before that, make sure the pedal is attached to the crank in a tight and proper way.


AndrewB
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#5
Mystery noises can be difficult... it might be the saddle (Fizik saddles are creaking, I actually have that problem),
the chain hitting the front dérailleur cage on the downstroke of the right leg (frame stiffness? might be hard / impossible to see when bike is on a stand) but you probably know the noise that this makes.
Of course the pedal bearings could be the culprit, too, as you suggested.
Or the bottom bracket (remove, clean threads, grease lightly, reinstall).
I've even had headset problems manifest that way (you pull hard on the bars -> noise)
Or a loose / missing valve nut -> valve might rattle in the rims.
Good luck, try the pedals first. Then do out of saddle sprints with high cadence, hands-free riding, anything to narrow down the noise source.
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#6
Thanks for all the suggestions. I am taking the bike out tomorrow after work and will start paying more attention to where and when the sound starts to appear.
HCFR Cycling Team
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#7
First checks are that crank arm and pedals are are tight enough. Not unusual for a crank arm to need a little re-tightening a few months after being installed. If that doesn't fix it, then start pulling the whole BB assembly apart. But don't ignore it, could be something that will cause damage if ignored too long.
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#8
(06-13-2011, 12:58 PM)JohnV Wrote:  The other day, while riding on my road bike, I was going at a 17-19 mph pace and started noticing a noise that sounds like a ratchet clicking on each down stroke of the right pedal. Since sound can be deceiving, I am wondering if any of you have had this issue and can tell me what your resolve was before I take it to the bike shop. I don't have the tools or a place to do this myself, so the shop is going to have to do until then.

Anyway, I checked the front dérailleur and there is nothing rubbing or hitting it any time. I am thinking that it could be pedal bearings, the right side BB bearings or the freewheel. Also, the faster I go, the more pronounced the clicking sound. Anyone with any ideas as to what this could be?

I'd say try greasing the pedal threads. You may want to check out the Bicycle Tutor's vid for How to Replace Your Pedals if the problems persists. http://bikeride.com/replace-pedals/
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#9
The pedals were greased when they were put on the new crankset and are nice and tight. I have already checked that. I didn't get a chance to ride today as I had hoped, but I will tomorrow and will try and get a better idea where the sound is coming from.
HCFR Cycling Team
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#10
(06-14-2011, 07:31 PM)JohnV Wrote:  The pedals were greased when they were put on the new crankset and are nice and tight. I have already checked that. I didn't get a chance to ride today as I had hoped, but I will tomorrow and will try and get a better idea where the sound is coming from.

For sure, let me know how it turns out. Now I'm really curious to what it may be. Help Bicycle Tutor! haha
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#11
Hmmm, got an idea here.. Maybe a slightly bent chain ring? Check both of them!
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#12
Thanks Bill. The idea of a bent chainring never crossed my mind. I will do that this afternoon when I do my ride.
HCFR Cycling Team
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#13
Had a similiar problem with a 90's road bike once and had to straiten out (true) the chain ring. Wink
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#14
Well, I went riding yesterday and tried to pin down the noise. I also checked the chainrings and all three are straight. The ratcheting sound wasn't as noticeable yesterday as it has been. I'll be going out again today after work and will try again. This is driving me crazy because I have tried all the suggestions and they all come up negative. I put a chainring guard on the crankset last month and I thought it could also be coming from a loose retainer screw, but no such luck. I guess its going to be a trip to the shop on Saturday.
HCFR Cycling Team
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#15
Now, I'm sounding like my wife. Went out this afternoon after work, did 20 miles and darn it if it wasn't there. No clue what is going on but I will continue to keep an ear open for it and see if it comes back again.
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Daily
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#16
maybe you should get a stethoscope from Harbor Freight (intended for automotive applications) and wear it all the time so that when the noise starts you can probe around to find it. Smile :lol
Nigel
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#17
I'm puzzled! I haven't heard the noise since my last post. Every once in a while I do one-legged pedaling to see if I can get the noise to return on the right side and nothing. The bad part about this is now when my wife tells me the car is making a funny noise, I can't ignore her anymore when I don't hear it.
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Daily
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