CREAK! Click! CREAK! Spoke problem?

So I thought one of my spokes was broke on my KH20, but I took it in to a bike mechanic. He said it was just extremely loose. I tightened the spoke and it definitely improved. However, there is still a click/creak. I don’t want to overtighten the spokes.

Is it likely the spokes that is causing the noise? I understand that you need to tighten both sides of the rim equally, but how do I know when the spokes are tight enough?

Thank you for your help!

It happens when I jump btw.


Any help?

Just went for a ride and the creaking seems to have gotten slightly worse again. I think I need to tighten the spokes more, but I just don’t know how much.

Check that your pedals and bearing caps are still tight and that the cranks haven’t worked their way loose - after that I’d be starting to check the spokes.


Spokes can definitely creak, and they’re almost certainly too loose unless you’ve tightened them yourself.

It is virtually impossible to put too much tension into a spoke on a beefy rim, as long as you keep the spoke tension balanced around the wheel. The nipples will round off before the tension is too high.

I would go around and tighten any significantly loose spokes, and then give another two to four quarter turns to every spoke to attempt to raise the overall tension in the wheel. It will make it quieter, and stronger too.

It takes 5 minutes to check everything on a uni. That should reveal the source.

Go around the wheel squeezing spoke pairs and see if they are clicking/creaking.

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I’ve been having that for the past 3 years on my 20" KH. Never broke a spoke though, and I use it for high drops. Might want to look at your spoke tension.

Mine did this a few weeks after it was new. Took it to the shop and they said its just normal wheel break in and UDC confirmed that. I had them tru it up and it has been silent ever since.

Check for:
Loose bearing cups
Loose cranks
Friction between spokes
Loose spokes

Noise could also come from the seat actually I guess, if the bolts aren’t tight enough or it’s just a shoddy seat getting old.

I’d check that the spokes aren’t too tightly held against one another, my KH24 was making a strange noise a while ago so I was iffy about riding it, eventually I squeezed the spokes together and they went ‘ping’ when I let go. After applying grease to all the tight intersections it’s smooth as new again :stuck_out_tongue:

Is it really creaking, or just clicking? Please explain the creaking noise you hear. Are you hearing these things while wearing jeans, shorts, or some other apparel?

I agree that it is most likely a problem with the unicycle itself, I experience very similar things when I wear loosely fit jeans while riding. The flaps down by my calves tend to whack the spokes and/or tire - causes an annoying clicking noise, and sometimes a dull creak as well. Nothing happens with shorts on.

Thanks tholub! I followed your recommendation and tightened each spoke up to 2 full turns (a quarter to a half turn at a time) making sure that the tension was balanced. The problem is fixed! (Except for the most minute sound when I come down hard).

The spoke tension is very high to the point where there is no flexibility. Is this okay? It rides fine and is much less noisy.


That is what I did to mine originally and it fuzes the sound issue. Then I had a very slight wobble. That is why I ended up just taking it in to be trued.

It might be your cranks, my cranks on my uni make an aweful noise when they are slightly loose. Also, your spokes might do a little bit of noise even though they are tight. Mine used to do it too.

Yes, with high spoke tension the wheel should be stronger, more likely to stay in true, and less likely to break spokes.

You should also stress-relieve the wheel:

Just got off the phone with udc. Details forthcoming and the news is a bit troubling for those having “creaking” issues, if you own a newer kh uni of any size.

:thinking: :astonished:

I also noticed that my original KH24 wheelset seemed to creak more than my rebuilt wheelset. The original had the stock black painted spokes while my newer edition had the normal chrome. Is it possible that the painted spokes could creak more because of the friction between the painted surfaces? FWIW, both wheelsets were tightened up to similiar spoke tensions and used on the same unicycle frame, seat, cranks and pedals…

Yep, my Qu-ax 29" creaks but my Nimbus muni doesn’t.

I was told by udc that the early batches of the new KH “splined” hubs (that come standard on all 2010 kh unis) were press-fit dry, and without lubing. I’m told that this can cause creaks that most people would assume was coming from either improperly tensioned spokes, loose cranks and/or saddles and so forth.

So if your kh uni has creaks that you have failed to identify after checking everything else, this is likely the cause. The “fix” which I was told should work, is to remove the wheel from the frame, remove the cranks, bearings and spacers. Take some chain lube like “triflow” and apply it directly to the the axle where it interfaces with the hub.

You’ll see little “teeth” which are the interlocking splines. This is were you want to apply the lube. You might follow this up with a lithium type grease and brush it in. Reassemble and try it. I am about to put my 36er back together as it was having creaks that were still present after trying everything else.

On another note, I had to send my 29er hub back to udc because it was actually LOOSE at the splines. I could literally pull the axle back and forth, which apparently was the reason for the god-awful noise I was hearing while riding the trail yesterday! They are going to replace it under warranty, including a new wheel build.

After ruling out spokes, cranks, bearings, and saddle as the cause of all the creaks and squeaks, it turned out that ALL the noise was coming from…my HUB(s)! I was having terrible sounds coming from my kh 29er, which is the latest model, with the new kh moment hub. My 36er was also creaking, but only when I would mount or apply extra torque to the cranks, and it was LOUD!

Anyway, these new moment hubs are “press fitted” with a splined system, rather than a traditional weld at the flanges. The problem, according to Josh at udc, was that the first batches of the hubs were apparently “dry-fitted”, without lubrication, (as I stated in the previous post) causing the creaking, which some unsuspecting riders might mistakenly attribute to the spokes or cranks! I was one of them!

So, being the awesome company that they are, udc rebuilt my 29er wheel with a new kh hub, and also sent me a replacement hub for my 36er. Both are now back in perfect working order and they are both as quiet as a mouse…without the squeak! :smiley: Thanks again UDC! :slight_smile: