Clicking/creaking noise

Okay, so I had a clicking noise and when I took the cranks off I found that on the one side the spacer between the crank and the bearings had something a bit like saw teeth on part of the inside of the spacer (caused by abrasion from the splines), and the spacer would occasionally rotate causing a click as the ‘teeth’ went over a spline.
I sanded it smooth and took the opportunity to strip down the uni and clean everything. I then put the uni back together. Sorted…or so I’d hoped :frowning:
(I wonder if anyone else has come across this and how its caused?)

I now have a clicking/creaking noise as I pedal almost constantly. Sounds as if every single spoke is creaking as it is loaded, although I very much doubt this is the case as I had no problem before I took the uni apart.
The only thing I can think of that might be a problem is when I was putting it back together I gave the cranks as bash with a rubber mallet to help them back on. This pushed the spindle through the hub a bit, so there was more on one side than the other. I just gave it a tap back the other way and assumed its meant to be able to come out of the hub in the way??

When I had both cranks on but not tightened there was movement/play in the hub. ie I could wiggle on crank slightly and the other would also move. Should this happen when its loose?? I tightened it all up and can detect no movement at all.

I am riding an Onza trials btw. Sorry for the long post, but I have tried to describe the problem as accurately as possible as I know how hard it is to troubleshoot something without having access to it!

Hopefully someone can help and tell me if they think the hub might be the problem? or if its something else?


the clicking of a spacer over a spline shouldn’t matter, because if everything is right, the hub, the spacer, the part of the bearing that the spacer butts against, and the cranks are supposed to be moving all together, and not clicking past each other. So that’s likely not the source of your creak.

maybe the hub is the problem, the spindle may not move when the spacers are tightened between the cranks and the hub flanges, but when there is no pressure there, are you actually seeing the spindle move in the hub an move the opposite crank arm?

when you used a mallot, was one crank pushed farther on than the other, or did the spindle shift in the hub? (that’s bad.) find penetrating oil like marvel mystery oil or PB Blast and spray on the axle into the hub and see if the noise lessens or goes away after a day… if it does, then the hub shell is loose on the spindle and that’s the source of the creak.

by disassembling the whole thing, cleaning, and reassembling, you have likely eliminated creaking from looseness, grit, or lack of grease. good move.

What kind of hub is it?

You shouldn’t be able to hit the spindle and move it in the hub. I would second that that’s the root of the problem. Some of the early KH/Onza hubs had clicking problems with the keyways loosening up. I seem to recall that some loctite on the keyway fixed it for a while, but it would eventually come back.

For this application I would suggest green (wick in) loctite. You will want to pull the bearings off the spindle, and make sure that no moving parts get loctite on them. The green loctite is runny like water, and sets up like iron. If you have applied penetrating oil on the spindle you may need to take the hub apart to clean the oil off before the loctite will work, but it might be alright even with a bit of oil in there. I’ve seen green loctite that got into pedals, with plenty of grease, and made them all but seize. The high pitch squeal coming from the pedals was terrible.

I placed the one end of the spindle on a piece of wood on the ground and tapped the crank onto the other end. Then looking at the spindle the side which was against the floor was shorter than the other side with the crank on. So the wheel/hub was sliding down the spindle when I hit it.

Just above ‘How do i cut down my seatpost’ on this link it says about ‘Refurbishing Hubs’
So it looks to me like the spindle can be tapped side to side in the hub with no problem?

Ill try the oil into the hub If I have time later today or on monday.

The hub is the ‘onza hub’ on this page (as far as I can tell)


Ah hadnt read your post before replying…
hmm seems like that is the problem then :confused:
Where exactly should I be applying the loctite? On the keyway or just everywhere between the spindle and hub?

You have two keyways on that hub, and I would put the loctite on both, and from both sides. If you can get the hub apart you will be able to get the spindle clean, and get more complete penetration of the loctite. If not you might want to place the wheel horizontally and let gravity work for you to get more of the loctite into the joint. So you will have to do it in two stages, but hopefully that will take up the space, and eliiminate the clicking. Once you are done make sure that you use a paper towel to remove the extra loctite from the spindle before reassembly. Loctite is anaerobic, and so it will remain liquid until it doesn’t have access to air. If any gets on those tiny splines you may never get the crank of again.

Good Luck,


What he said… and good luck!

Thanks for the input guys =)
Ill give it a go later this week (I have a couple of exams).

Clicking noise and what it is not

I am no mechanic so disassembly of just about anything on my Impulse 36er is pretty much out of the question. First month of ownership everything was tight as nails. Solid as a rock even after several nasty UPDs up the learning curve. Now, not so much. I have a clicking noise coming from what I could have sworn was the reflectors in my right pedal but just installed a new set of SpeedPlay Drillium pedals and the noise remains the same. I can replicate the noise by tightening and loosening pedals. I think it’s the same sound as when I make tight turns or slow down really fast. Might be coming from my cranks (KH Moments 125/150) but I ain’t about to pull those from this fragile hub. I used a tuning fork to test my spokes and all seems tight. Removed the bearing holder on the right side and replaced it with plenty of grease then blue threadlocker on the screws. The noise is not that big a deal (I can crank the iHome Mini Speakers in my Big Sur) I just don’t want to break anything that is gonna cost me a bunch of money at the LBS.

It is normal for cranks to seat over time, and to need a bit of tightening after an initial break in period. You may want to tighten the crank bolt. It sounds like the one on the right side may be a little loose.

Especially with an aluminum spindle I would make sure that you have it as tight as necessary to get it to seat. Maybe call UDC to find out what torque they recommend for that bolt, and use a torque wrench to ensure the best fit.

How do you tighten KH Moments?

Thanks for the reply. I appreciate the advice and I concur. It’s got to be the crank. I have emailed Josh at UDC to see what torque he recommends for that bolt. I will reply here when I find out. Now I am going to have to go out and buy a torque wrench. My pitiful little toolbox (once comprised of duct tape, a crescent wrench, and a couple screwdrivers) is growing. This may be a stupid (newbie) question but my KH Moments cranks have a black (rubber?) ring protecting that bolt. How do I get that off or more importantly, back on? I am eager to become more proficient with the upkeep and routine maintenance so I don’t have to run to the LBS for every little thing.

The plastic ring around the bolt is a dust cap to protect the threads used for removing the cranks. Don’t worry about it. The bolt turns inside the dustcap, and it is irrelevant to tightening the bolt. If you are in with your local bike shop they may have a torque wrench with an 8mm allen head that you could use. It could be an expensive thing to buy if you don’t plan on switching your cranks very often.

At the very least you may have to buy an 8mm allen wrench that goes onto a standard 3/8" ratchet handle. With that part you can use any 3/8" drive torque wrench.


Just going out on a lim here and saying it’s your spokes. Tighten them, stop worrying. I don’t even care about my spokes creaking, i see it as character.

same with whatever someone else said, just ride it and let it wear in, unless you start seeing metal shavings and the balls are falling out of the bearings or theres blood coming out of the seat or something like that.

got the dual hole 125/150 KH Moments not wanting to switch out cranks

I selected the dual hole 125/150 KH Moments because I knew that I would not want to switch out cranks very often (like never). I printed out your instructions to take into Home Depot or Lowes when I buy my tools. Thank you

reluctant to tighten spokes for fear of getting wheel out of true

Knowing how talented Josh is at building a wheel, I am very reluctant to tighten any spokes. I wouldn’t know which one was loose or at what torque to tighten it to. The wheel is very true when I stand it on the seat (need a better work bench or stand) and spin it. I took a light tuning fork to each spoke. They sound the same and feel equally bendable. I do appreciate your input. I have read others saying a hard to diagnose noise is often a loose spoke.

I don’t mean to be a noise nazi but when you drop $1000 on a new kit you want to work out all the kinks (pardon the pun) while it is still covered by warranty. I would like to think it would “wear in” but I have been riding 10 miles per day for 3 weeks now and it is getting progressively worse not better. It’s a small clicking sensation when I turn of slow down for hills. Hope it’s not the dreaded “keyway slop” in the hub that I have been reading about on the Unicyclopedia Wiki but it sounds/feels like exactly what he describes only more pronounced on the right side.

Yeah, idk, whenever my wheel creaks or clicks it’s typically the spokes. Nothin wrong with going around the wheel and tightening each spoke 1/4 turn and then riding it and checking a diff. Idk, maybe i just don’t care enough about my unicycle, after all i built a lot of the parts on it and i ride trials.

Because it’s a new uni, I still think it’s the crank bolts. Especially since the sound only happens on the right side. Either way, the cranks should be tightened at this point just because of the break in period.

It’s probably not a bad idea to check the spoke tension, but that is a bit more tricky than you are making it out to be. Before adjusting the tension you can test to see if that’s the culprit by putting a drop of lube, or even wd40, at each intersection between spokes. If that eliminates the sound then it’s the spokes moving.

If you do decide to add a little more tension you could put uneven stress on your hub flanges if you just go around the wheel adding a quarter turn to each spoke. The better way to do it is to tighten the first spoke after the valve hole, count three spokes, and tighten that one. Keep doing this all of the way around the wheel until you get to the valve again, and start with the next spoke after the one you started with last time. You will have tightened all of the spokes after three revolutions of the wheel, and you won’t put undue stress on the hub. In truth a quarter turn isn’t much, and so it’s probably not that big of a deal, but I would do it right rather than cutting corners and hoping for the best.

Creaking and groaning wheel

I do a lot of high-torque backward/forward direction reversals and was finding that a new unicycle would be OK but the wheel would start to creak after a few months. The noise would increase and then I would start to notice a hesitancy in the wheel’s response to reversing direction. The play would become so bad that I would have to discard the wheel. I tried all of the usual suggestions, tighten spokes, solder spokes together, oil/grease everything. Nothing worked. I eventually realized that the problem was in the spline joint. I thought I might be able to press the axle out of the hub to work on this but on the wheel I tested, the hub cracked before the axle came out. Since that wheel was ruined anyway, I decided to experiment some more and welded the axle to the hub. I also welded the cracked hub. The wheel worked perfectly with no slippage and no noise. This was a wheel that I had previously discarded because its slippage had become so severe. On another wheel that had just started to slip, I brazed (brass) the axle to the hub. Hundreds of hard miles later, it is perfect. For videos see YouTube OneFreeBrain (my channel) “Unicycle Equipment Suggestions” and “Make a High-Torque Gear Puller Stabilizer”.

OK - I have a similar problem with my learner uni. It’s actually just fine when riding normally or hopping, but recently I’ve been learning how to idle. When idling it’s developed a “click” when going from one direction to the other - worse than that, there’s actually a jolt I can feel through the pedals so that the rotation is not smooth.

Have swapped the pedals over, removed the cranks (square taper) and replaced them 90 degrees out from where they were using a torque wrench to tighten the bolts, taken the dustcaps off the bearings and filled with grease, removed and replaced the wheel, trying the bearing cup bolts both as tight as I can with the wheel still turning decently, and as loose as I can without the wheel moving. None of these things made any difference. I’ve also tried rotating the cranks 180 degrees and hopping (I can hop either foot forwards, so can do this whilst riding), which does not result in the noise/jolt, which I think rules out the crank to axle joint. Initially I couldn’t get it to start happening if I unweighted the saddle (though once started it would continue if I then unweighted), however now it will start even with an unweighted saddle - though only if the cranks themselves are weighted, I can’t get it to happen when I’m not on the uni at all.

So a problem I only get when reversing direction, and I have some weight on the uni, I’ve ruled out lots of stuff. I’m almost convinced it’s the bearings, but the last bit of evidence that it happens only when I have weight on the cranks (but not necessarily on the saddle) tends to contradict that, as weight on the cranks makes no difference to loading of the bearings. It can’t possibly be spokes can it, as it only happens when reversing, and spokes would make noise in normal riding?

Any suggestions? Bearings are cheap, but swapping them out isn’t likely to be hassle free, and irritating if it doesn’t solve the problem.

Or is it not worth spending all the effort on a £35 uni (which works just fine for everything but idling), and this is just the excuse I need for a trials uni (I’m not supposed to be getting another uni, but if I get one in black like this is and swap the saddle/pedals from the one I’ve got I might get away with just claiming I’ve put a new tyre on)?

See my YouTube OneFreeBrain “Unicycle Equipment Suggestions” and “Make a High-Torque Gear Puller Stabilizer” videos. From my experience, with one crank arm held in a vise, if you feel slippage when you apply back and forth rotational pressure to the rim, you have a loose spline joint. This is a widely reported problem and seems to affect many unicycles regardless of cost. Some people report being able to fix it by pressing the axle out of the hub and applying some kind of chemical remedy. However, I have not been able to get the axles out of my unicycles without cracking the hub. It is easy for me to just weld the axle to the hub and I know it works. If you don’t have access to welding equipment you should be able to find a welder who will do it for you if you have already dismantled the unicycle. Welding both left and right doesn’t take more than five minutes.

Well it’s probably a moot issue - I stripped the threads on the axle where the crank nuts attach (opposite way round to a quality one, and clearly the steel the spindle is made of isn’t as strong as that used in bicycle BBs, as I was using a torque wrench). I figure it might be possible to retap to M9, but that’s going to cost me £15 or so including the nuts, at which point I still have a clicking noise.

Anyway, I checked carefully and it appears I am allowed a new uni so long as I get rid of the old one - one in, one out rule - so I have a shiny new custom trials one ordered. All things considered I’ve probably got £35 of use out of it and it doesn’t owe me anything (though I’ll keep the saddle and seatpost at least).

I do hate the throwaway attitude, but I’d just be throwing good money after bad.