Strange clicking

Jan 14, 2008
Nerima, Tokyo, Japan
Hope someone here can help.

I went for a ride along the Arakawa river today. This was the first time out on my bike for about six months. I made sure that the bike (Giant, Defy 3) was in good condition before I left - there were no visable problems and I made sure that the chain was oiled etc....

However, I noticed that there was a strange sort of clicking from the chain wheel or the derailler as I pedalled. When I was cruising there was no sound and when I changed gears it either got louder or quieter.

When I got home I checked the chain and derailler for any dirt or anything that could be causing the sound but there was nothing that I could see.

Does anyone have any ideas? It would be much appreciated.
Nov 10, 2009
I only just dealt with the same issue today! Is it coming from the chainring/bottom bracket or from the rear derailleur/hub?

If from the front, check for stiff or bent links on your chain. Also make sure your front derailleur is not making contact with your crank.

If from the rear of the bike and only while pedalling, it could be your spokes rubbing/seating (especially if they are bladed) - check for loose ones (or so said Sheldon Brown); but more than likely, it is your rear hub.

If it gets louder as you go up and down the gears, your problem may have to do with the pawls in the hub. Remove the cassette, and find out (google) how to pull off the freewheel hub - it is usually pretty easy. I have Token hubs, and they are exceptionally easy to pull apart with a couple of 5mm allen keys. Other hubs may need a special tool.

Lube (the hub, not yourself) and make sure the pawls aren't sticking or broken. Put it back together and t-i-g-h-t-e-n. If that doesn't work, it goes beyond my rather limited knowledge!

I'd include a link to the Park Tools website, which has a how-to on removing hubs, but it seems to be down right now. Try Bike Tutors as well.

In the case of my hub, I hadn't touched it since purchase. There wasn't a hint of grease on any of the threads and they were under-tightened. A little TLC seems to have done the trick for me.
Jan 14, 2007
What killer-bot said.

I suspected my BB was making funny screechy noises when I pedalled hard on the down stroke... took it to my mechanic at SEO and told him what I thought it was...

He repacked the BB for me and checked out everything else...

The noise disappeared.

Sometimes what appears to be a major noise problem can turn out to be a loose bolt on your bottle cage...


Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
I've kind of given up on "showing them where the sound is coming from" when stopping in at my LBS. I've pointed and explained what I've been pretty sure of the source enough times, only to have it turn out to be completely something else, that now I just go in and tell them what I hear, and while offering a suggestion, I don't at all try to tell them what the problem is.

Maybe the modern designs/materials are more sensitive or something, and I thought I had a lot of it down once. No more.

It sometimes seems that there are ghosts swirling around everywhere.
Sep 2, 2009
My clicking story, while we are sharing;

I had a click start at the same point on every cycle of the cranks. It was happening at the power peak of the left hand side, when I was putting the most power on the left crank.

I assumed it was a problem with the left crank, took it apart, lubed it, put it back together, fiddled with the left side BB, changed pedals, etc etc.

Still there.

Had a word with James, and he listed a load of things which I had already done. He finally asked me if I had taken the drive side apart, degreased and lubed all surfaces, then put it back together.

I hadn't.

I then did.

Clicking gone.

Like mentioned above, the clicking you think is coming from one part may be coming from somewhere totally different.

If you can be very very specific about what is happening, that will definitely help with diagnosis, however.
Dec 31, 2009
My click

Ive had a chainring bolt loose causing a click, just lubed and locktyte and it was ok, also my rear Fulcrum drive side spokes click after riding in the rain or after washing with a hose and require me to remove the cassette and drop lube between spoke / hub interface. Clicking can be seatpost bolt, stem bolt, stiff link in chain, bent cog tip ( no so often ) , pedals, cracked frame, bottom bracket, bent derailleur hanger.... can you post a video on youtube and share the link here?, cause I could go on 4 EVER. Sounds like you need a new mechanic, though.


Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
Easy things to check that sometimes get missed:

  • SPDL Cleats (Bolt loose or worn down)
  • Cables at headset (Flicking off each other)
  • Energy drink Goo (Sticking and unstick under bottle cage)
  • Overtighted bottle cages
  • Worn headset bearings
  • Worn BB bearings
  • Mis-adjusted rear derailleur
  • Water in frame
  • Water in rims
  • Spoke tension out (To resolve this lay wheel flat on the floor and push down on rims to release tension where spokes cross over, do both sides)
  • Over tightened front derailleur
  • Over tightened seatpost clamp
  • Over tightened Saddle Clamp
  • Gunk in saddle clamp
  • Undertightened saddle clamp
  • Dried grease in seat post tube
  • Worn pedal bearings
  • Overtightend handlebar clamp
  • Overtightend shifter/brake hoods
  • Wheel bearings
  • Saddle bag
  • Race number mount
  • Cabble ends (especailly the breaks where they enter the calipers)
  • BAR TAPE! (Old bar tape that has glue tape that is loosing its stickiness)

There are many, many more


Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
I was riding with fresh wheels and since I was concerned about over tensioning the fragile 20mm carbons, I left them a bit on the soft side. Definitely getting some 'spoke set' clicks and pops. BB is always a culprit for clicks - and the myriad things you list above. imagine even on a fixed gear with a fraction of the moving parts, we still fight off these nasty noises.


Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
That drives me crazy, too. I just replaced all of them with Ti bolts - much better now. The steel ones always rusted and the Alloy ones just start clicking away and breaking. Ti has the high corrosion resistance plus better holding power than Alloy. If weight and esoteric materials aren't required, than steel is still the best bet - if you can find some of the stainless versions.

Had that today on my SS ride. Culprit was a chainring bolt. Drove me nuts trying to find it as I had tightened them all up just last week.


Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
Thanks for all the input:).

Sounds like my Friday afternoon is going to be spent searching for the mystery noise...
Before you go trhough all this am I reading it right that the noise only occurs when pedalling? If so it is probably the crank brushing the front derailleur. If on the small ring and no noise then that's it for sure....
Jan 14, 2008
Nerima, Tokyo, Japan
Before you go trhough all this am I reading it right that the noise only occurs when pedalling? If so it is probably the crank brushing the front derailleur. If on the small ring and no noise then that's it for sure....
Yes, that's right. The noise only happens when I am actually pedalling. When I'm applying no pressure to the pedals there is no noise. I'll check the crank and front derailleur first then as probably the easiest to fix if that is indeed the problem.

Many thanks!