Possible Creaking Hub Solution

Past posts discuss various uni creaking problems, generally with Profile setups, so I’d hoped I might be immune with my relatively new Onza. Nope. After 3 weeks, it developed a nasty sounding creaking/gritching noise that sounded kinda like spokes rubbing (but not quite – too gritchy) and kinda like spoke nipples twisting tightly and maybe kinda like dry, worn out pedal bearings (which I doubted after only 3 weeks).

So I searched the forum and tried a few things – readjusting the pedal bearings to take out a bit of play and WD-40’ing the nipples, but the creak was louder than ever and now I could feel it a bit thru my left foot.

Next, I called Unicycle.com to see if they’d had any feedback on the Onza’s for this kind of thing. Nope. But Russell did have an idea to try: take off the cranks, bearings, and spacers and thoroughly lube the hub/axle keyway with penetrating oil. You can see the key slot at the end of the hub when all that stuff is removed (which is pretty easy). He said his experience with Profiles was that slight movement between the key and slot made the noise. He thought it might work for the Onza as well.

So I tried it, and guess what? A totally quiet uni! Now here’s the caveat – I only did this this afternoon, so I don’t have any idea how long this will hold. But since I’m leaving town for six weeks and won’t be riding this uni until January (bummer – the Onza is SO much fun), I wanted to pass the idea along in case it can help someone else.

Good luck!


My onza started creaking as well. I solved it by jumping up and down on it repeatedly in cold weather (I have no idea how or why this worked, I did it with the intention of ignoring the creaking). If it starts up again I will try your method.

  • Sal

That may be the trick to treat the creaking Profiles and other splined hubs with the keyway.

I’ve been fortunate with my Profile hubs that I have not had any creaking. When I first got my hubs I took them apart and put oil in the keyway area and put generous amounts of anti-seize everywhere else. My concern at the time was making sure they would not rust because it was the wet season and I was going to be riding in the rain. I’ve kept them well lubed since. Maybe the regular lube jobs have been the trick to keep them quiet.

The way I figure it there are three areas where the Profile hub can creak: crank splines, under the bearing, and the keyway.

The splines can be lubed up with anti-seize.

The keyway area seems to do OK with some oil.

The area under the bearing is a bit tricky. On the Profile (not sure about the Onza) the bearing fits very loosely on the axle. It’s loose enough that you can rock the bearing back and forth on the hub. I don’t consider that to be a good thing. The looseness also means that the axle (spindle) can actually grind and rub on the inner bearing race instead of the bearing spinning with the axle. For an experiment you can try over-tightening the bearing caps so that the bearing binds. Now spin the wheel. It will still spin freely even though the bearing is not spinning. The axle (spindle) is grinding inside the inner bearing race.

I didn’t like the idea of the bearing fitting so loosely on the axle so I decided that a little (surprise!) Loctite would fix that up. A couple weeks before the Santa Cruz muni weekend I put Loctite sleeve retainer under the bearing on the Profile hub on my muni. That snugged things up. If I over-tighten the bearing caps now and then try to spin the wheel, the wheel will not spin. That is good. The axle is not grinding inside of the inner bearing race. No chance of that now nonexistent grinding to cause any noise. I’ve also noticed that the muni feels a little more solid. I used to get a little “lump” every once and a while where I could feel something slip when standing on the pedals. At first I thought it was the keyway slipping, but it seems that it may have been the axle rocking inside of the bearing. In any event, I no longer feel any occasional “lumps”.

But I’ve only been riding with the Loctite treatment for about three months. It may get a little interesting when it is time to remove the bearings. The Loctite may have oozed out a little and a few of the spacers may be “stuck”. That could be interesting. Hopefully things will be OK and I won’t have to pry off the spacers. So far I’m happy. If anyone else tries this Loctite treatment, just be aware that the spacers might get a little attached to the hub.

I hope I did a good thing.