Q&A - Up a creak

My cranks are creaking, can you tell me what's wrong with them?

Q. My cranks are creaking, can you tell me what's wrong with them?

Joe Davenport, via email

A. It could be various things, depending on what cranks you're running. Old or cheaper square taper splined cranks creak if the arms are moving on the axle. Remove the cranks, clean them and the axle thoroughly then refit and see if they still creak. If they do, repeat the process but put a thin smear of grease on the crank/axle contact areas. If they're still doing it, do the same clean, check grease, check strip down and rebuild process on the pedal threads.

If you've got an external bearing crank, go through the same procedure on first the crank/axle attachment, then whatever clamp/connection bolts they use, then the pedals. After that it's either new bearings, the saddle or seat post creaking, or the chainring bolts.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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