My Oracle 36" (bought first hand, around two months old and has been completely quiet when riding until now) has started to make a very loud creaking noise. So far I haven’t really done any extreme riding with it which might point to a possible cause: just basic road riding (loads of steep uphill/downhill), a bit of ‘mild cross country’ paths and a bit of small hops here and there.
It is usually silent and very quiet the first 20 minutes and afterwards the noise slowly starts and it gets louder and louder. It appears to be coming from the left crank (the side where the disc rotor is) and it specifically happens when the crank is on a horizontal position and you are either pedalling down or resting your back foot on the crank/pedal ( the right crank doesn’t make any noise at all).
I have already checked the pedals (new set), the cranks (cleaned them, reduced the spacer from 8mm to 6mm, and also try a different set of cranks - also the cranks I tried are fairly new and they fit tightly into the hub). I trued the wheel a little as it had a bit of a wobble in one section but still hasn’t got rid of the noise (I’m a novice on this and I only did tiny adjustments in the nipples in one section). Also I dismounted the wheel from the frame but still makes the noise when you push down the left crank with your hand ( again when is horizontal/parallel to the ground) - it also makes the noise when you pull it outwards. I guess this discards the frame and the bearing holders as the possible source of noise.
I’m guessing is not the bearing as the noise happens only when applying pressure without having to spin the wheel too much but I might be wrong about this (again I have no experience with noisy/faulty bearings). The noise doesn’t happen if you just roll the unicycle without yourself riding it…
My questions is: could it be the hub itself (a noisy hub?) or could it be the spokes?.
Not sure if there is a way to tell if it could be the spokes (I can’t find any spoke that is much looser or tighter than any of the other ones : they all feel fairly similar but again I haven’t got any real experience in truing or building wheels etc…). I wonder why it only happens after riding for 20 minutes and why it goes away when it has 'cooled down ’ for a bit (an hour or two?)…
I hoping someone might be able to help me to work out what is happening. From reading other threads about creaking noises I gather it can be pretty difficult to find out the source of it so I’m resigned to the fact that I might just have to live with it until something breaks down…
Thanks everyone for listening an sorry about the lengthy email…
I guess when you say you “talked to the unicycle people” you are referring to Unicycle.com (UDC).
It probably is the hub from the way you describe it, but it may also be uneven, or low spoke tension. You can check this by putting a drop of tri-flow on each point where the spokes touch, and where the spoke head rests in the hub flange. If this eliminates it then it is spokes moving causing the noise. If you aren’t confident in wheel work I would recommend bringing it to a reputable shop with a good wheel mechanic.
Likely to be spokes chaffing slightly. The size of the wheel amplifies the noise and of course you’re sitting right above it and very conscious of it.
My 36 does it if I don’t ride it for a few weeks. It creaks like a good 'un for the first few miles then I suddenly notice it hasn’t been creaking for a while. My 700c also sometimes does it.
Changes in temperature will change the length and therefore the tension of the spokes. It only needs to be a slight change to introduce a small amount of friction. You may also notice changes in humidity affect it.
A few fast laps of the mountain course should cure it.
Like others have said, I’d bet it’s your spokes, especially if you haven’t done anything with the wheel since you bought it. Factory built wheels can be a bit questionable sometimes, and may require some touching up after the first bit.
If it is indeed your hub, that’s a real headache and possibly even dangerous, but the symptoms you describe are not consistent with other Kreaky Hub stories that I’ve read or experienced. I’ve also never heard of a Nimbus hub that creaked.
If you don’t have any Tri-flow, you can try rubbing a bit of candle wax where the spokes cross over each other.
I had an awful creaky nose that turned out to be a bad crank. The local bike shop helped me diagnose it. The joint between the is is spline and the crank arm was just loose enough to cause the noise. Different sized spacers or tightening the bolts did not help. New cranks did. Luckily they were in warranty.
Many thanks for all the helpfull replies! I have been away for a while and I already assumed it was a creaking hub (yes, I talked to the UDC) so I haven’t checked for replies until now.
As you all say I think it could also be the spoke tension etc… A while ago I tried rubbing lithium grease where the spokes cross each other but with no luck.
On the positive hand at least I’m getting used to the noise quite quickly. Fortunately in different rides the noise varies a lot in frequency/volume so sometimes I forget about it. Would be interesting to see if the noise goes quieter/disappear in winter.
Again thanks all for the quick replies. I can say that, youtube’s videos aside, most of what I’ve learnt about unicycles is from reading your replies to different subjects in this forum. I feel I already know most of you
You’re quite right there Mikefule. About the mountain course: do you think one lap of the while TT course would be feasible on a 36 unicycle?
The hill climbs in different areas are steep as hell so that would kill you pretty quickly and I think the total mileage is around 37.73-miles. I ask because when I recently bought my 36" I saw that there is a cycling event on the TT course once a year, and I thought: in the near future, if I get better unicycling long distances, could I manage to do one lap? or would it be too hard for an average unicyclist? I’ve got the impression you would have to be quite a hardcore unicyclist to complete one lap.
My 36 oracle did the same thing so I took it to a local bike shop for advise. The guy said tighten the hub bolts as tight as you can with an eight mm Alan wrench you can over tighten by hand. I did this when the noise got bad and it would help for a few days and then come back. One day I slipped and buggered up the outside of the bolt so I ordered new Isis hub bolts $6 on unicycle.com. When I got them they were shorter than what came on the Oracle but I tried them anyway an the noise is GONE! I have been ridding in silence for a couple of months.
I have just started having the occasional creak from my Nimbus II 20", which was silent until now.
I think it may be the warmer weather expanding the spokes and rim, as I also have this creak on my trike in summer but not in cooler weather.
I guess tightening the spoke tension during the warmer weather might eliminate it.
I have just recently started having the exact same problem with my 36 Oracle. Didn’t bother me too much but I rode with another unicyclist over the weekend who said it sounded like I was shifting gears on a b*ke.
I’ve tried some lubricant between the crank and the hub, tightening the crank bolt, changing cranks without much luck. The spokes feel to be under reasonable tension. The creak is reproduced when I am tightening the crank bolt, making me think a new one might fix the problem (might try one from another of my unis and see). I’ll be interested to read what fixes the problem in the OP’s case.
Hi to all you out there who are having similar issues
The noise is still happening. I haven’t tried using a different crank bolt yet (tried different cranks but, now thinking of it, I probably used the same bolts that came with the uni to tighten them). When I read the post by ‘41on1’, I don’t know why, I thought he was referring to a set of bolts/nuts/screws that was somewhere else in the hub (specifically I was thinking about the screws holding the disc brake, as the sounds seems to come from that side).
In my case the crank bolts that came with the Oracle where the standard short ones (not the long ones). So probably replacing them with another short ones from a different unicycle probably won’t do anything (I did try cleaning and greasing the original ones). In each ride I do try to have the bolts themselves nicely tightened all the time and doesn’t seem to make any difference in the noise.
Still I will give it a try next (swapping the crank bolts from another unicycle). Fingers crossed. Sometimes simple changes make a big difference.
I haven’t read all the other posts, a bit too much of a read so I’ll add a short random reply.
My oracle was squeaking when I first got it and I found out it was due to the screws holding the reinforcement plate and handle bars to the seat. Little grease/lubrication to that area and all is well.
It’s probably not it, but just in case. Good luck.
OK. I am not alone! This just started happening to my Nimbus 29" Oracle. An extremely annoying creaking sounds. Kind of like noisy gears on a mountain bike. What the f…!
I am happy to report that I have just isolated the sound to the disc rotor. How do I know for sure? Well, it was just driving me mad, so I started taking everything apart. It was easy to “generate” the creaks by putting pressure on the left spindle. i.e. without crank arm and ball bearings. I applied pressure with a giant wrench. I decided to bathed the whole hub in Triflow. Did not want disc to get greasy, so removed it. What do you know? I can no longer generate the creaks (no Triflow necessary). The creaks come from the disc!!!
Next step is to figure out how to re-attach the disc in such a way it no longer creaks. I am thinking a layer of plastic, washers or some lock tight might do the job. Maybe a tiny bit of lubricant would work for a few months. Will experiment. The hard part is over. Finding a way to consistently reproduce the sound and isolating it.
The two piece hubs can creak, it’s the reason that UDC went to one pice hubs. It woudl take a while before the “slipping” would be noticeable by feel, but the creaking is pretty much a sign of slipping.