Why Does My Bike Make a Clicking Sound When I Pedal?

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The last thing you need when you hit the trail ready and excited to enjoy your long ride is to hear annoying clicking sounds coming from your bike.

It’s no surprise why one of the most common questions on most cycling forums is why does my bike make a clicking sound when I pedal?

The creaking noise usually comes from an unknown place on your bicycle. You may choose to ignore it and hope it goes away. But unfortunately the annoying sound persists as you pedal on forcing you to stop and find out what’s really wrong with your bike.

If you often find yourself asking why my bicycle makes a clicking sound when I pedal, read on to learn more about typical causes of the annoying noise and how you can fix the problem.

What Causes Bike Noises?

Bicycle noises while you’re riding such as clicking sounds, squeaks, and creaks aren’t only annoying. They could be a strong indicator that something isn’t working properly and needs to be fixed.

The noises could be a sign of a small problem which if left unchecked may result in more expensive damage to your bike or even an accident and injury to you as well.

So, when you hear constant noises coming from your bicycle don’t just ask yourself why is the bike making a clicking sound when I pedal but stop and find out the cause of the persistent noise.

There are many possible reasons why your bike could be making clicking noises while pedaling. Keep in mind that the clicking sounds are probably reaching you through the bicycle frame, which holds many of the bike parts together making it difficult to know the precise source of the noise.

You may need to go through an elimination process to determine the source of the sound. This is in case the problem isn’t too obvious.

For instance, the problem could be your chain hitting the derailleur cage or a more complicated issue in the drivetrain. Find out where the clicking sounds are coming from then fix the problem as soon as possible to avoid a future disaster.

Common Causes and Fixes of Clicking Sounds When You Pedal

The question why does my bike make clicking sounds when I pedal is fairly common in most cycling forums.

For most people, the clicking sounds happen when the rider is pedaling fast. In this case, stop pedaling and just coast along and listen if you can still hear the sound. This will give you a clue as to what part of the bike is causing the annoying noise or where the problem actually lies.

To help you locate the source of the problem faster, here are some of the most common causes of clicking sounds when you pedal and how you can quickly fix the problem:

1. Bike Chain Clicking When Pedaling

The clicking sounds you hear from your bike when pedaling could be caused by a poorly lubricated chain.

In this case simply apply, spray, or lube the rollers. For good maintenance, lube your bicycle’s chain every two weeks if you ride it regularly.

2. Check the Derailleur Pulleys

If the bike makes a clicking noise when pedaling hard, the problem could be in your derailleur pulleys.

To fix the problem apply a few drops of oil between the side plates and the derailleur pulleys. If the issue persists, take out the pulleys, grease them individually, and reassemble them.

3. Inspect the Presta Valve Nuts

Your Presta valves could be loose and making clicking sounds.

The solution is to snug them without tightening them too much. This is to avoid more trouble when you need to remove them in case you have a flat tire. 

You can also silence the valves by placing an O-ring on or below the valve nuts.

4. Check the Cassette Cogs

The clicking noise you hear could be caused by loose cassette cogs.

Use a cassette locking tool and an adjustable wrench to tighten the cogs and eliminate the clicking sounds.

5. Check the Pedals and Bottom Bracket

The pedal or bottom bracket could be loose and possibly causing the clicking sounds when you pedal faster.

Tighten both pedals with the right pedal wrench. If you have clipless pedals, make sure that there’s no loose fit between the pedal and cleat. Tighten the cleat tension screw properly to eliminate the noise.

Check the bottom bracket and adjust it by first removing the crank arms and ensuring that it’s firmly held in place in the frame then tightening the cups and making sure that the bearings are properly adjusted.

6. Pump Brushing the Crank Arm

Another possible cause for creaking noises could be the pump brushing the crank arm as you ride.

To solve the problem just reposition the pump making sure to leave more clearance from the crank arm.

7. Vibrating Brake Pads

You’ll hear clicking sounds when brake pads vibrate against the rims as you pedal.

To eliminate the sounds, make sure that the brake pads are in perfect condition and properly “toed in.” This way the front part of the pads contacts the rim before the rear part.

Replace old or worn brake pads and if they strike the rim flat, adjust them accordingly to ensure the front part touches the rim before the back part does.

The problem could also be caused by a build-up of residue along the rim. Use a good solvent to clean the rim.

Conclusion

There are many other causes of clicking sounds when you pedal. If the sound is repeating every time you make a full turn off the wheel, check the hub.

Ensure that the wheel is correctly and securely tightened. It’s also important to determine the kind of noise you hear when you pedal.

Is it a squeaking, grinding, or scrapping type of noise? Does it come from the front or back or middle of your bike? The answers to these questions will help you locate the problem quickly and take appropriate measures.

James is a passionate bicyclist who has done about every kind of biking there is. He loves the wind in his hair, the sun over his shoulder and maybe even the bugs in his teeth. No, just kidding about that last item. He isn’t crazy about road burns, either, but acknowledges that to have the good there is the occasional tumble. James feels that his bike is the place where he can unwind, leave troubles alongside the road, meet new people, go new places, and live the life of adventure that he loves. He is ready to share the ride with you.

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