Dan’s Tips #2: What’s all the noise about?

We’re almost through 2 weeks of the Bike2PSU Challenge now and it almost happened. I was tempted by the Portland weather gods! I almost gave in and took the Max home last night. My credit card got within inches of the ticket machine. At the last second, I pulled back and came to my senses. I thought about all of you having to deal with the exact same thing and I’m sure you didn’t give in! Right?? Keep it up everyone!

This week’s tip is about listening to your bike. You can tell a lot about what’s wrong or what’s right with your bike by keeping your ears open. “My bike is making a funny noise” is one of the most common issues we deal with at the shop. Finding the noise and fixing the problem can sometimes be a long and frustrating process. I’ll go through some of the most common creaks, scrapes, pops, and squeals and hopefully you’ll be able to diagnose and fix the the problem yourself. At the very least, you’ll be able to better describe what you’re hearing when you bring it into a shop for service.

Noise #1: “My bike is just really loud”

  • Make sure your chain is lubricated. If your chain looks shiney or makes a metallic noise while you pedal, it’s time to lube it. While you’re at it, go ahead and lubricate the pulleys in your derailleur (the little wheels that your chain go through). Doing those two things will solve most of your noise related issues!
  • Feel free to stop by the Bike Hub and use our lube. We’ll even show you how to do it!


Noise #2: “My bike makes a creaking sound”

  • If it happens when you put a lot of force on the pedals, like when you’re going uphill, it’s most likely an issue with your drivetrain (pedals, cranks, and bottom bracket). Start with the easiest first. Pull your pedals off, grease the threads, and tighten them back down. If that doesn’t fix it, we’ll have to take crank and bottom bracket out and do the same.
  • We’re happy to go through all these steps with you. Just be prepared to hang out with us for a while!


Noise #3: “My bike makes a scraping noise when I pedal”

  • Look for anything that might be getting in the way while you pedal. Is your derailleur cable hitting your crank arm? Is your kickstand in the way? These things are easy to adjust and you should always look for the easiest solution first!
  • Does it only happen in certain gears? Your shifting probably isn’t adjusted quite right, and the derailleur might be scraping against the chain. Sometimes it’s as easy as tightening the cable.

Hopefully this helps you diagnose your bike noises a little better. Look for the most obvious/easiest things first. Pay attention to any big changes. If the noise gets louder and scarier sounding, don’t hesitate to bring it in and have us check it out. Usually it’s no big deal, but it’s always reassuring to have someone with experience tell you that. Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a dry and creak free week!

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