#LearningProject – Finding the Creak is Harder Than Fixing the Creak

There’s nothing worse than a noisy bike. It’s sign of a lazy rider; someone who doesn’t take good care of the very steed that he rides to glory. It’s symbolic of the wear and tear that the committed cyclist puts on their rig and the inevitable hefty bill from the shop mechanic. And it gets in your head; any noise is equated with inefficiency. A smoothly operating bike is a fast bike. A noisy bike is wasting watts. And wasting watts means you’re working harder than your competition. Not good.

So whenever I hear something on my bike begin to make noise I know I need to take care of it and take care of it quick. The longer you leave your bike making sounds the more likely it is to cause more serious damage.

And last week when I was riding home at the end of a workout and my bike began to creak I took notice. Although this time there was a bit of an “Oh cool! I can use this for my learning project!” kinda feeling.

I’ve learned over the years that bikes make distinct noises and if you can recognize the “type” of noise then you can almost diagnose the issue. A squealing noise tends to be in the disc brakes and you need to realign your wheels or brake pads. A gritty noise tends to be in the fenders and you need take off your wheels and give the inside of the fenders a good clean. And a creaking noise, well, a creaking noise can mean a bunch of things.

Tighten your seat clamps.

Tighten your pedals.

Tighten your headset.

Lube some pivot points.

Check your quick release.

Check your bottom bracket.

So I went hunting for some help online so I could determine what my particular creak meant and I came across an awesome resource in the Global Cycling Network’s Youtube channel. Here you can view all things cycling related including amazing “How To” videos. Sure enough I located what I was after:

Have a watch and you’ll see what I’m referring to. The narrator suggests a myriad of solutions to my creaking issue. I was able to narrow it down a bit by carefully locating the origins of the noise and when it occurs. In order to fix the issue I needed to remove the pedals and crankset, lube up the interior of the crank spindle, and reinstall.

No more wasted watts.

No hefty mechanic bill.

No bad reputation in the peloton.

Thank you Global Cycling Network. Thank you.

I thought this lob would be a good opportunity to play with another web tool and get some added experience in hopes of using it in my practice. I decided to use Explain Everything. It is one of my favorite apps and I use it often. Essentially it’s keynote on steroids. Users are able to annotate, narrate, and publish their own screencasts through a highly intuitive interface using an awesome variety of tools.

A colleague of mine recently tweeted out a tutorial by Greg Kulowiec on how to embed video and incorporate images and video on top of your original recording. Sound confusing? Have a look at my below vlog of the work I did for this #LearningProject activity.


6 thoughts on “#LearningProject – Finding the Creak is Harder Than Fixing the Creak

  1. Hey Trevor, cool use of the Explain Everything app. I hope you fixed your creak. I found that if you take out the BB cups (external shimano I am guessing from what I could see?) and grease the threads and reinstall the creak goes away. Most cup/frame interfaces creak super badly in the winter and this almost always fixes them! See you on Thursday night in class. Jason F.

  2. Hi there Jason. Thanks so much. It appears my repair was a success! If it wasn’t I was prepared to remove and grease or replace the bb. But the ride home was quiet and smooth.
    I’d like to upgrade the bib at some point but I think I’ll just ride this one in to the ground first.
    Do you take care of your bike repairs?
    I’m excited to wrap my head around some jobs that I usually take it in to the shop for.
    Cheers and see you Thursday!

    • Trevor, I worked in bike shops all through high school, university and beyond. I would have more bikes, but my garage is full! I love working on bikes and tend to do repairs for students as well as friends and myself.

  3. Totally agree with your ‘need’ to fix the noises that inevitably develop when you ride in our typical BC weather. I also appreciated the time-lapse video. If only it was that quick in real life!

    I’m also an avid biker. Bikes are like shoes. Everyone needs five bikes. A hard-tail mountain bike, soft-tail mountain bike, commuter, road bike, and touring bike should be standard issues in most households.

    Do you find that when you start to take your bike apart to solve a problem that other issues, you didn’t realise you had, raise their ugly head?

    For example, I was fixing a friends bike before Chroistmas because the chain and the chain-ring were out of synch. I assumed the front mech needed to be adjusted, but later found out that the old-style axle bottom bracket had actually bent causing the chain-ring to move in an uneven fashion.

    The best tool I have purchased for working on my bike is a Park bike stand. I use it all the time. As much as I like to shop locate for my bike parts, I often use http://www.jensonusa.com simply because of the savings. Where do you buy your parts?

    Great post and good luck with the journey…

    • Awesome stuff Chris! I’m excited someone in the class won’t get turned off by my constant use of cycling jargon!
      Yes, I have a few bikes in the garage. A soft tail mtb, my road race bike, my road winter bike, my CX bike, and a commuter to ride with the kidlets. I’ve been on and off the fence about a hardtail but recently went with a carbon dual suspension instead. So far so good.
      Working on bikes, I’ve discovered, is like taking on a home reno. You never know what you’re going to find once you get at it and it’s usually always more pricey than your expectations. I am pretty fortunate to be on new bikes each season so really I’m focused on maintainence and small repairs. I have ridden with the same shop and club for a long time and reap a nice discount so all of my purchases are through them. Norco, Easton, and Stages all have been incredibley generous as well. It makes it easier get on nice product that’s for sure!
      The bike stand is key. I rigged up a bit of a hanging system from our garage ceiling. There’s enough room for 2 bikes. It works really well until I need to really get some torque on the bike. I appreciate the free floor space it creates when the bikes aren’t hanging.
      Thanks for the comment and I’ll keep you posted as things unfold.

  4. Pingback: #LearningProject Final Reflection | esqedtech

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