Crank Ticking

Ok, so I have a 29er with ISIS cranks, and it has been whisper quiet since I bought it this spring. However within the past few days, I heard a faint “tick” sound every once in a while.

Today I realized it was coming from the right crank. I realized this because it went away when I put my weight on the seat, but came back when I put my weight on my feet. Not only did it come back, but it was perfectly consistent with each revolution.

So, I thought the crank must be dirty or loose, or something and I took it off (for the first time ever). I then cleaned it really well, re-greased it librally, and put it back on. I tightened it as well as I could without using a pipe for leverage, but the ticking got worse. Now it ticks twice per revolution, and it is more sensitive to ticking. What did I do wrong?

Hmm i can’t tell you what the problem is because i have a similar problem,my crank creaks every revolution and ive tried tightening everything up.The crank also moves side to side the tiniest amount.Maybe spacers have worn down??

Was the crank easy to remove, or did you need a crank extractor?

If you didn’t need a crank extractor then the cranks spline interface has stretched/is too big for the spindle.

If that is the case, remove the crank again, take off the spacer then re-install the crank with no spacer. The crank will go further on the spindle and tighten properly.

Keep the spacer for if you want to use if with new cranks down the road.

I could not get it off without a crank extractor, and there was no play in it at all (aside from the creaking).

I thought about getting a smaller spacer… Mine measures about 7-8mm, I think. (I just held it up to a ruler and didn’t look extremely close at it).

maybe it’s your pedal?

I’m 99% sure it’s not my pedal, because after I took my crank off to re-lube it, and reattached it again it got worse. Also, it only clicks when I put all my weight on it, and I feel no binding. The pedals are also brand new.

I do have other pedals, however, and tomorrow I will try switching them out to see if it helps just to make sure, but I don’t think that’s the problem.

Maybe you’re right, and my cranks are just worn. I do live in a harsh environment, and I ride my uni constantly. Also, I noticed marks where the end of the hub would seat inside of the crank. They were not grooves, just blemishes. If I got smaller spacers it would move the edge of the hub past that mark, and maybe the cranks would seat better, but I’m not sure if it would eliminate the ticking.

Have you tried tightening or loosening the bearing caps? I once went for a couple weeks thinking there was something wrong with my cranks when it was really just a loose bearing cap.

I had that happen with my seat post, just a tiny bit of creaking, took forever to track it down, finally figured it out when I adjusted the seat post down and it went away :o

Try pulling the bearing caps and putting a thin layer of grease on the outsides of the bearing where they contact the caps. For my seat post I use a silica grease which has “sand” in the grease to both lubricate and increase grip.

Are you sure it’s only on one side? If so, and you already worked on the cranks, I’d bet it’s the pedal. Try moving your post up and down before doing anything else and tighten your seat bolts.

What hub do you own?

ISIS design is designed to be greased, try taking the crank off cleaning it with some light bike degrease fluid (I use Isopropyl Alcohol not as good but much cheaper) then put on some high quality bike grease on the spline crank interface and tighten until it stops. ~15-20 ft-lbs. Creaking is very common on bicycles and it usually is a result of a dirty greased interface.

It could also be your handle, I put a lot of weight on my handle when I stand up but not when I am sitting down.

Finally you could have a bad bearing, if you have a nick in any of the balls or races it could cause ticking every time it passes the nick. I had this happen, but it would be more constant than standing versus sitting.

I hope this helps.

In my experience, pedal pressure usually makes a bad pedal quiet down and a bad hub get louder.

I’d check your seat and/or seat post. This is what got me, it was too hard to seperate out seat/post noises from wheel noises because you can’t really take all pressure from your seat or you have nothing to hold onto

However, it could be the same problem my wife has:

She was complaining of a rubbing noise on her bike, worse when she pedaled, so I adjusted the brakes, still made the same sound, so I checked her hubs, still made the same sound, so then she says to me:

“Ohhhh, it was my shoe rubbing on the frame” :o


And just to add to your list of things to look for, after riding along a sandy path last week. I kept hearing tinging sort of noises, finaly found the perfect sized piece of small gravel rolling around between the two rim skins :roll_eyes:

I am certain that this noise is not coming from the seat or seat post because I can actually feel the “tick” in my right leg only.

I am certain it is not a rock in my tire as well, because it is too consistent, and only occurs when under pressure.

I tried doing this by cleaning the old grease and dirt of with toilet paper and then re-greasing it, but the grease I used probably isn’t high quality bike grease… Where can I get grease that may be better. (I have to order everything online because of my remote location).

Also, I am pretty sure the bearing is not to blame, because the tick gets louder when I take my weight off the seat, and it gets even louder if I pull up on the seat to apply more pressure than my own body weight to the pedal.

I’d suggest (if nothing else just to rule it out) removing pedal and cleaning threads, regrease lightly and put back on, could be some grit in there causing the sound. Have had it happen many times on bikes.

Would this be a good oil to try using? It says that this is what UDC uses in their shop, so I assume it is the oil that came stock on my ISIS cranks and hub. It worked well for a long time…

It could be your spokes

I had a sound coming from down below that also seemed in synch with my pedaling. I checked the cranks, changed the pedals, to no avail.

Since it was a relatively new uni that doesn’t get much abuse, other than UPDs, simply because big drops are not my reality, I was surprised to see how out of true my wheel was becoming. I had several spokes that had loosened up. I tightened them up, used my uni frame as a trueing stand, and the problem clicks have gone away.

I fixed the creaking on my crank by changing the spacer,the one before must have worn down slightly.

No! You want grease not oil!

I thought I’d resurrect this post to say that I fixed the problem. It’s actually been fixed for a while now, I just never got around to replying. As mentioned earlier in the post, I ordered smaller spacers, regreassed the splines, and reassembled the cranks. At first, it didn’t help, but after a week or two of the cranks settling into their new place on the splines, the creak stopped completely.

It looks like in this case, the creak was a result from wear on the crank, and when I moved them in with the spacers, it let them seat in a new spot, and solved my problem. I hope this helps any others solve their creaking problems as well.