What stopped the ticking?

You may select up to 11 options.

Author Topic: Peace and quiet


Peace and quiet
« on: September 23, 2021 »
Tick or click [take your pick] once, occasionally twice per crank revolution, but only when out of the saddle and usually when going uphill.

Here's the drill:

1) Sigh repeatedly, which is its own noise issue. No matter how much I wish I could ignore unauthorised sounds, it's impossible. My brain's not wired that way.

2) Google. Sorry Duck Duck Go, despite being my homepage you're still not my first port of call. The address bar is the most intuitive search field; I got around my good intentions by retaining the evil one as my default search engine.

2b) I'm clearly not alone. Lots of our brains are wired this way. Plenty aren't, judging by the racket I've heard coming from bikes on the road (and I'm not just talking about Campagnolo freehubs). Strangely, it's not bothersome when it's someone else's.

3) Get an early start. I have a history of commencing work on a bike about an hour before a natural deadline like dinner or dusk (some of us work in the operating theatre of the great outdoors). An hour may be enough or it may not. Ideally there should be enough time to get repeatedly distracted.

I decided to start with a whole bunch of easy stuff. Evidently something worked. Although it would be nice to know what, the doggedly methodical approach of multiple test rides was too much of a chore.

At least now I can crank up the music in peace again.

PS. Some things needed more tightening than others – I'm almost making it sound as if the parts were so loosely affixed that the bike was ready to come apart.


Never quit
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2021 »
Good thing it's just us, blog, as velomisophonia is deathly boring. The noise came back, having evolved into a full-blown creak. Or should I say re-evolved; I've had that before, on and off. In a unique twist, it would only commence after riding for a while – sometimes as far as 20 miles. Quiet to let your guard down, then CREAK CREAK CREAKEDY CREAK. This isn't a big hit on a search engine. In those few cases that turned up, replies tended to ignore the part about it being delayed, which strikes me as not insignificant.

Seemed to be coming from the front, though with noises you can never be sure.

Having tried so much else (the previous list isn't exhaustive), I wanted to swap out the forks and/or headset, but neither was going to happen due to disinclination to go through with the operation: prying off cups and crown race, using the only spare 1" forks I have, which I'm not fond of, then having to reverse all that after the inevitable disappointment.

The best I could do was change the stem. I opted for a shorter one, and added a 5mm spacer in case the cap was somehow – don't ask me how – sinking incrementally and bottoming out over the course of a ride, playing musical hell with the steerer. (Mostly it was something else to do.) Finally I very slightly loosened the front axle, normally kept very tight. Hey, a guy on the internet said it worked for him.

Then I went for a nice long hilly ride, heretofore guaranteed to summon any discontent. To underline the seriousness of my mission, I kept the iPod off much of the way. Apparently this is how most people cycle all the time. Strange but true.

Anyway, success!, though with noise there is never success, only reprieve.

The possibilities:
a) It's far too soon to be claiming victory.
b) The stem was the culprit. This is my preferred explanation, as it's En*gma branded.

Note the strategic application of tape

No idea why it would break bad, and then only some way into a ride, but I wouldn't put it past them to have built a devilish flaw into anything they sell.
c) The geometry changed just enough to work a little magic. Satisfying as it would be to have solved this using a branch of mathematics (not one of my better subjects), it leaves the existential dread of a dormant creak. Probably hiding in the star nut.
d) The guy on the internet was right.
d) My wife's lecture on mindfulness did the trick. In other words, there's still a creak, but she managed to upload noise cancelling software into my head.

Thanks, image search

Evil laugh


Character building
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2021 »


Every which way but loose
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2021 »
Late this afternoon I swapped out the bottom bracket, almost out of habit. Also changed the rear wheel, just in case the freewheel was the issue. Then I figured I might as well remove that spacer below the stem, as that's 5mm I don't really need.

Whilst in the vicinity I discovered the crown race is loose. Not long ago I didn't even know what a crown race was, so this is progress. Could it be that whoever installed it put on the wrong size? The bike has been intermittently noisy for years... might this be one reason why?

I did a quick 10 mile ride as dusk crept in. All was quiet, which only proved I hadn't made things worse. The crown race theory feels so right, my new approach to the creaking can be summed up thus:

Re: Peace and quiet
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2021 »
My checklist would've been a) Bottom bracket b) crank bolts c) headset - back when I had a checklist. Loose bearings of 'back in the day' standard were much better for this sort of thing. A little Teflon also goes a long way.

NB Please list a 'none of the above' option in future for inclusivity. Many thanks.


Re: Peace and quiet
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2021 »
The last time I dealt with bearings of any sort was when I was in elementary school. We called them steelies.

For those not familiar, this is a he-man’s marble, a slightly menacing addition to the arsenal because it had the potential to chip the usual glass ones. There would be the occasional arms race, with larger and larger bearings brought to the game. The playground offered its own teachable moments.

The creak did indeed return, so I got someone to shim the crown race, or baseplate as Chris King calls it.

This isn't a bodge universally encouraged, and not just because here we see the baseplate sitting on the shim (though it appears quite flat when you look at it head on).

I have to back up though, because the day before the shimming came a brand new TICK: whenever you press on the handlebars, there it is. I've determined that it's not the wheel or the bars, which only leaves the headset, so far avoided as I've neither the experience nor the tools. Also, I was kind of hoping King was infallible.

The bike is currently in a shop awaiting the kind attention of an exorcist.

Meanwhile yet another noise attacked another bike. Fortunately this was an easy one: a bad pedal.

This has truly been my velo annus horribilis.

NB Please list a 'none of the above' option in future for inclusivity. Many thanks.

Wrong thread? /joke


  • London's hard-boiled black'n'white sweetie
Re: Peace and quiet
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2021 »
Shim-shiminny, Shim-shiminny, Shim-shim sharoo

Yer can't use a coke can like we used ter do

Shim-shiminny, Shim-shiminny, Shim-shim sharee

Becos the aluminum as got plasticcy


« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2021 »
The exorcism failed, or so I was informed by telephonic device yesterday. I have my reasons for suspecting their heart wasn't in it, but won't go into that here. At least they didn't charge me. This wasn't the same place that shim-shimeny shimmed it. I've been juggling bike shops, as they all seem to have their strengths and weaknesses.

Am uncertain how to proceed. The only way to be sure it isn't the headset is to replace it, which may well be a waste of money – this on top of the complication of finding a suitable stem to fit a new crown race, as the current one may not work. Wot a headache.


Idiopathic Trouble Maker
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2021 »
I've had a headache for a while. It could be my dodgy sinuses, or perpetual sleep deficit, or boring deydration (I just don't get thirsty!), or that marathon of The Expanse, which ended the same time as my latest Amazon Prime trial (the verdict, as always: thanks but no thanks). I blame the fork in my brain.

Strange goings on indeed

At the beginning of this saga, which long predates the OP, I suspected the forks but couldn't figure out how. This was before I noticed that loose crown race. Close enough for vindication.

Recently I found a used 1" fork can't make up my mind on that s in conjugal bliss with a headset, along with some hen's teeth, at High Tide Cycles in Hastings. (Note from the reviews that they're not shy about giving feedback on their feedback. My favourite may be "Sorry, sometimes we struggle with life.")

Wholly unappetizing

I filed that information away while the other bikeshop ↑ had a go. I then figured if changing the forks and headset didn't sort things, there was probably a small crack in the frame, someplace I couldn't see, and therefore it was forked.

Picking up the bike I was on tenterhooks.

Two rides in: so far so good. I'd put this post on indefinite hold but this has to be victory. It has to be.

So it could've been either. Or conceivably both, as we're dealing with a couple of different noises here.

The steerer tube is about half an inch shorter than my previous one, so naturally I feel bereft. Assuming the headset was the issue, the old forks could go back in. Arguably I should've just changed the headset first, for a positive ID on the perp, but I was eager to vanquish the goddamn noises and wanted to throw everything at it. The problem now is, reintroducing a variable is too much like tempting fate. Instead, I'm ordering a slightly shorter stem with a moderate rise, and will try not to get a headache figuring out the geometry.

The bling is gone

Paging Arya Stark

Begging to get scraped off, unless I can come up with another use for those letters