Bottom Bracket Creak, or Not

So a few weeks ago, after the Saint Tropez Gran Fondo, I caught a mild case of bottom bracket creak from Erik (highly contagious; you’ve been warned). Following are the steps I took to fix the matter:

1. Took apart cranks, re-greased everything.

2. After finding the problem even worse after that, tightened chainrings, greased pedals.

3. Creaking my way through Holland, I finally broke down and brought it to the shop. They took apart cranks, re-greased everything, pronouncing all to be silent and perfect.

4. Problem continuing, put call out on Facebook and got the following advice:

  • Check for cracks on the frame
  • Could be your handlebars
  • Might be the bearings?
  • It’s the saddle x 2
  • Quick release, and I’ll bet a cappuccino on it
  • Clean your cleats
  • Tighten cranks

5. Having checked or done most of those helpful suggestions already, I did the one I would never, ever have thought of – changed out my skewer on the back wheel (quick release). I had forgotten that I still had the one in from the indoor trainer.

6. Problem fixed (after one ride at least)!

It’s amazing how a noise you are sure is coming from one place actually originates from somewhere totally different. Proof again that our perception of the world is usually entirely screwed up. That is, except for Carsten’s, since he was the one who had the right answer. Cappuccino’s in the mail!


15 thoughts on “Bottom Bracket Creak, or Not

  1. :o) In lIege the Mavic Guysf ound three noise making items in less than two minutes. On a friends bike one part of the Rotor Crank set. the quick release and the look plates (is plate the right word?)

  2. I had the same thing a few years back, but it was the front skewer. Took me nearly half a season to figure it out. I almost bought myself a new bike just to fix the problem. I bought the bike anyway….just in case the noise came back. Problem solved.

    • A good way to put mechanics out of work, but make the rest of the shop happy.

      BB Creak: buy a new bike
      Broken spoke: buy a new bike
      Flat tire: buy a new bike

      There’s beauty in simple solutions.

  3. I hate those mystery creaks, I thought I had a bung bottom bracket once but turned out it was the plastic rubbing from my shoe to my cleat hahaha

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