Do you hear squeaks and creaks, clanks and clatters, or rattles and clicks coming from your bike? Are you in fear that your bike is haunted? That perhaps a competitor has put a curse on you? Or quite possibly your bike is possessed? It is Halloween after all! And frightful things can happen! Take it from our bike mechanics here at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, a frightful terror we have seen is the use of WD-40 as chain lubrication! The horror!
Given our bike maintenance experience, we can help you expel the frightful sounds originating from your bike. Granted, our tips and tricks won’t cover a full exorcism but you’ll be well on your way to fixing those annoying noises and back to peaceful pedaling.
Squeaks and Creeks – These super common sounds are usually due to dirty or dry bearings. You’ll often find that after riding your bike for a while or in harsh conditions these noises start to creep in. Areas to check if you’re hearing these noises would be:
Crankset/ Bottom Bracket
Derailleur jockey wheels or chain guide pulleys
Derailleur “clutch” or lockout area
Saddle rail clamp bolt
Clunks and Clatters – Another common noise that sounds a bit scarier is a clunk or clatter. This noise should scare you because it generally means something on your bike is loose! Here are some important bolts to check if you hear this noise:
Front/Rear wheel axles
Water bottle cage (ok, this one’s not that scary… but super common!)
Rattles and Clicks – While there are countless recommendations on keeping your road bike or mountain bike in good, working order, try these tips to help with rattles, clicks, and the like.
Pay Attention to Your Chain. If you’ve been training regularly then no doubt your chain is showing some wear and tear. Take time to actually clean your chain. For an easy-clean, scrub your drivetrain parts with a brush and eco-friendly degreaser and re-lubricate the chain when you are done. For something more thorough, you could buy a chain cleaner like Park Tool’s Cyclone Chain Scrubber, fill it with a non-aerosol degreaser like Pedros Oranj Peelz, turn your crank 15-20 revolutions and let your scrubber do the job for you. As for the best chain lube, check out our post, Dry Pavement, Sloppy Slush, and A Muddy Trail: Which Chain Lube Works Best? for options.
Check your Wheels and Tires. Both your wheels and tires are essential for bike safety. Accompanying the snow and wet riding conditions are salt, debris, and miscellaneous items found in the cycling lanes and roads. Have you checked your tires lately? They may actually need replacing. Begin by cleaning the wheels with rubbing alcohol and dry with a cloth. Check the rims for damage and examine for loose spokes. Your wheel should run smoothly without any side-to-side wobble. Next, replace your tires. If you aren’t up for doing this yourself, let us help you.
Inspect Your Brakes. Nothing is more frightening than shredding down a long, winding road and not having brakes! Bike brakes use brake pads to stop your wheels from turning. Brake pads wear down over time and especially so under wet and grimy conditions. Be mindful to examine your brake pads for any uneven or extensive wear. If you do find uneven abrasions, you probably need to get your brakes adjusted and/or replaced.
Replace old bike parts! Don’t wait until you hear odd little noises or you notice that your bike is taking too long for the brakes to engage before investigating. Some parts of a bike have a set “wear life”. As you put in the miles, they gradually wear out and need to be replaced. Typically, this includes chains, cassettes, chainrings, brake pads, and cleats.
Finally, if you can’t find the cause of the annoying noises, bring your bike into Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado. We’ll be able to zero in on the source and type of noise fast and efficiently and get you back to riding in peace and quiet in no time. See you soon and Happy Halloween Friends!