How To Stop Your Bottom Bracket From Creaking
Articles Blog

How To Stop Your Bottom Bracket From Creaking

November 6, 2019

– The dreaded creak or click, now, for those of you who
watch the GCN Tech Clinic, I’m sure it’s all of you, right? You all know just how much
I despise those sounds. Now, personally, I’ve never fallen victim to one from a bottom
bracket, but I do know that plenty of you
have, or, certainly ride with people out there who have got themselves a creaky bottom bracket. So, let’s look into how to
solve those creaks and clicks. (jazzy music) Firstly then, let’s actually find out where that sound is coming
from, because it might not be from the bottom bracket after all, it’s a process of elimination, and we’ll start with the
easiest things first. So, let’s actually stand over the bike and then wrestle your handle bars, pretend you’re Andre
Greipel in the sprint, or something like that, put
as much torque as you can through it and see if you’ve
got any creaks or clicks. If there is, then it’s probably going to be your headset
bearings or the interface between stem and bar. Give that a grease-up and
see if it gets rid of it. Now, does the creak only happen when you’re riding along in the saddle? Yeah, right, well take out the seat post and also remove the saddle
from the seat post, too. Re-grease it or use carbon
gripper when necessary, also, a little tip here, it
could be to cover the rails of your saddle with some anti-seize or copper paste and then
refit it all back together and then go out and have a ride
and see if it still creaks. Still creaking? Blimey, most people have
got it sorted by now! Okay, so it’s time to
remove your chain set and give it a good clean
up on the axle of it as well as the inside of the bearings of your bottom bracket
and also the seals, too. Then apply some fresh grease to the inside of those bearings, as well as on the axle of your chain set, refit it,
go for a ride, creak-free. Okay, it’s time for
the nitty-gritty, then. So, you’re going to
have to actually remove the bottom bracket from the frame. So depending on what type
of bottom bracket you have, depends on the tools required to do so. So, a press-fit bottom
bracket, you are going to need some specialist tools, and the same goes for a traditional bottom bracket where you are going to need one of those notched-style spanners
to actually remove that. Once they are removed, then clean up both the bottom bracket as well as the bottom bracket shell itself. Now, if you’ve got yourself a traditional style bottom bracket, and
when I say traditional, I mean one with threads,
so it simply threads into the shell of the bottom bracket, I would recommend trying
one of these three methods. Firstly, you could try some copper paste, which has been great in
the past when I’ve had to try to solve this problem for people, then you’ve got anti-seize
as well as some grease, and failing that, you could
even try some PTFE tape, which is what plumbers
use, ’cause that could even take up a little bit of
tolerance differences and eliminate those creaks. Remember as well, to torque
up the bottom bracket to the manufacturer’s
recommended torque setting. That’s very important. So, if you have a press-fit
type bottom bracket that’s creaking and it’s
inside of either a steel, alloy, or carbon frame,
then you could well try a thin layer of high quality grease inside of the shell and then
refit the bottom bracket and see if that stops any creaks. Failing that, you’re
gonna need some of this, retaining compound,
but how does that work? Well, first of all,
you’re gonna have to use some of this, which is adhesive primer, which goes on the inside of
the bottom bracket shell, allow that to dry, then
apply the retaining compound, and when that dries, it actually hardens and expands very, very slightly. So it takes up the difference between the bottom bracket shell
and the bottom bracket cups, see what I mean here? So, it’s then going to
stop any very, very slight movements which could be
causing that creaking. Now, if you’ve got a
titanium frame out there, well, firstly, I would try some anti-seize first of all, because that seems to have really good results in stopping creaks. Now, many people out there,
they think to themselves, “Oh, why not just apply
this from the start?” Well, as a rule of thumb,
if it’s not creaking, it doesn’t need it, so don’t go ahead and put it onto a
brand-new build that you’re doing at home, because, well,
it may well not be needed. Now, another option is one of these, which is a bottom bracket
for a press-fit bike, but it threads together,
so it’s kind of going back to a little bit of old-school here, but I like the idea behind
it, because it certainly helps out people who have
a bottom bracket shell that maybe is not perfectly in line, because when it threads together, the two parts aren’t going
to be perfectly equal. I like the idea behind that. Right, I hope that solved your creaky and clicky bottom bracket, now, if you’ve got a method that I’ve not tackled in this video, leave it for me in the comments section down there so I can add it to my notebook of remedies for these annoying problems. Believe me, I do, in fact, have one. Remember as well to like and share this video with your
friends, share it with someone who’s got a really
annoying, creaking bike, because, well, we don’t
want them to ride with us if they’re that loud, do we? Nah, we do, really, but, well,
just get rid of that creak. Anyway, remember as well
to check out the GCN shop at
where we have a whole heap of goodies
for you to check out, and now, for another video, this time, how to fit and remove a
press-fit bottom bracket, click just down here.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. I had a tremendous creak going on, turns out the rear quickrelease just wasn't tightened enough after cleaning..

  2. jon , you forgot greasing the chainring bolts and skewers, if a bb30 creaks you need to add a 0.5 mm spacer to eliminate any play try FSA MS188 BB30 spacer kit

  3. I have a creak between bar (Carbon) and Stem (Carbon, front plate metal) , and while the torque is done properly, I have used carbon paste here…I know the creak is that metal front plate of the stem. Should I use grease instead of Carbon paste ?

  4. My recent experience with a creaking on the power stroke (both sides) turned out to be my pedals. I had purchased new M530 pedals at the beginning of the season from Wiggle and by the time August rolled around there was this annoying creaking. I changed the pedals and the creaking was gone. So I thoroughly cleaned, adjusted the tension, and applied generous WD40 to the pedal springs and put them back on my road bike. Viola, no more creak. Love your work! DL

  5. I service my tarmac bb 30 a lot riding over 1500 miles monthly it’s crucial plenty of grease is key imho i remove bearing seals and clean and grease bearings regularly and I’ve got shit tons of mileage on my bearings ????????

  6. The best PF bottom bracket is made by or BBInfinite. It's a ine piece shell, inserted into the frame. Bearings pressed into the shell.

  7. GCN Tech: I have a very important question re. Gatorskin Tires sidewalls: at what point should I replace the Continental Gatorshkin tire(s) when the sidewall exposed threads are abraded and/or cut? Also, how many affected areas can be affected and the tire's integrity is still not detrimentally affected? Thanks! Ron

  8. It can still be the seatpost interface when it's (still) creaking out of the saddle, as the seat tube may/will flex when you put all that power and weight to one side. Maybe a less likely culprit on modern superstiff frames though.

  9. Creaking could also be caused by pedals or cleats. Loose cleats can creak and resonate through pedals, cranks and carbon frame

  10. Steve, please note the following link: This link is from a FB conversation re. Gatorskin sidewall thread problems.

  11. Taken entire bike apart twice, cleaned and greased everything. No creak to start. Then it begins on the hills in and out of the saddle. Noise is somewhere in the seat post. Carbon frame. Did find a broken chain ring bolt……but she still creaks. While taking her picture, she had a precious moments and fell over, hit the carbon saddle on the ground, could she have a hair line fracture in the seat post ?

  12. when you clean your BB, try to manually turn the bearing. If it's sticky and doesn't roll smoothly it means the BB bearings will need to be replaced within the next 6-9 months if you don't want annoying creeeeeks. Living in new england where salt and sand can kill bearings, I've had that happen in the past.

  13. Great Video Jon, I know now not to buy press fit after reading all the comments.
    Not a solution but a suggestion on showing us how to change Campagnolo Ultra Torque System BB bearings, I've had to change mine in the past due to water ingress, lesson learnt.

  14. Does anyone know if Ceramic Speed bearings would stop the creaking noise? Still debating between that and BB Infinite.

  15. Might be worth GCNsplaining how bearings can be replaced in a Praxis type BB converter. I use a bearing puller and press. Saves a few quid in the longrun as Enduro 2437 bearings can be had cheapish on their own. Saves spending £60 on a new Praxis each time the bearings are farked.

  16. That threaded BB for press fit looks good for another reason for me. As I enjoy stripping and rebuilding my bikes every few months, this would be excellent. On my shopping list.
    A pleasure to meet you the other night Jon and a genuine thank you for helping with the lights.

  17. I installed the the wheels manufacturing thread together bottom bracket in my Giant Defy bb 86 press fit using grease according to manufacturers directions. The creak was solved for a short time. After doing this several times with the same results I used Loctite 609 medium strength retaining compound. It doesn’t require a primer and is made for bearings you want to remove at a later time. So far, no creak!?

  18. I've had 2 years of creaks on a new bike! Replaced the BB twice, had new cables fitted, changed the cassette, derailleur, chain, even new wheels to try and stop it! I bought new DTswiss oxic wheels. For about a year the noise was coming from the BB maybe but once the bike shop did a thorough check after another year of creaking and clicking they discovered it was coming from the DTswiss rear wheel! The bike was not cheap and the wheels were not cheap these things should not be happening on such expensive kit! Where is the quality control?! And now to add insult to injury I have to pay for the rear wheel to be fixed! Cannondale and DTswiss No Thanks!!!

  19. 1. Replace the plastic cups with quality metal ones.
    2. Get new bearings. Wash out the factory grease and replace with water proof marine grease
    3. Fit new bearings

  20. Agree with checking other parts first, I recently traced a creak to worn rear wheel bearings when I would have put money on it being the bb.

  21. I had a press fit BB and the dreaded creak. I removed it, bought a new one only to find the creak was still there. Thinking it was my frame being susceptible to creaking, I bought a wheels manufacturing threaded/press fit bb….and the creak continued. After many hours and pounds spent, I found it was the rear quick release of all things.

    Definitely check the rear quick release before making the same mistake I did!

  22. BB30 was a disaster for me, only solved by retro-fitting the frame with a Praxis, then later KCNC, hollow tech converter,. How about a video on converting a press fit frame to a screw in bottom bracket, going through the various options.

  23. I'm not a fan of Hollowtech and have stuck to Shimano UN55. Two of my bikes have those BB for over 10 years. Wore out a Hollowtech in less than a year. They are a money grab.

  24. Have a square taper BB. My creak was on the power stroke. Replaced the BB, but creak returned after a couple of weeks. Problem was with the crank fit on the square taper ; I lightly greased the square taper, reinstalled the crank and it's been creak free since. (I probably could have replaced the crank. 🙂 )

  25. This video should be better if you show how it done and not only saying things to be done, it will be hard especially for the beginners. Hope you do a better "How to" videos next time

  26. I went through the list and concluded it must be the bottom bracket that was making annoying sounds. After trying everything to fix the BB three times to no avail, my BB finally broke down completely mid ride. A clonking sound told me the real problem and the real solution. New BB. Changed it, and no more annoying sounds! Sometimes grease and anti-seaze aren't the answer…

  27. A riding partner has a whining sound between the pedals and above the bottom bracket. It sounds like "can we take a break at the top of this hill," "it's tooooooo hot" and "slow down would you".

  28. Friendly advice: before you touch the BB check your rear mech hanger! I bought a new BB just to found my hanger losened up due to crappy bolts

  29. Personally I use a Campagnolo Ultra-Torque crankset. I hereby challenge you to understand why it works creak-free!!

  30. Steve, is there another email address that I use to forward the photo of the Gatorskin's scuffed sidewall tire?

  31. I went through all of this. Replaced a perfectly good B.B. Turned out it was a worn cleat on my left shoe! It was creaking at exactly 9 on the pedal stroke. So annoying!

  32. After Checking out your headset, stem, bars, seat post, saddle, then before you tear apart your bottom bracket, check your pedals. I found them to be a cause of a lot of my noise makers.

  33. What about creaky pedals? Is it the pedal itself, the cleat, the interface between cleat-pedal or the springs? Sure is annoying riding with someone with a noisy pedal…

  34. Last two bikes with creaks were noise-isolated by changing out the wheels – one was spoke-related, the other TBD. Had done just about everything else including BB.

  35. I’ve got a clicky noise when in the saddle, but it’s definitely not my seatpost. I usually hear it on the downstroke of my right crank, around the “4:00” mark. Help! #askgcntech.

  36. A teammate has clicking spokes. and that stops when riding in the wet and start clicking again when they are dry again for a while. He says he cannot fix that (over a year now). Tension are ok of the spokes.
    What to do about that besides buying other wheels?

  37. Great first point! It's not always BB creaking, and in fact for all my 3 bikes with pressfit BB (TCR adv 2014, one Chinese carbon frame, TCR adv disc pro 2016, all BB86, no BB30 though),
    it's never BB creaking.
    I have experienced almost all creaking mentioned here, creaking seatpost/frame, saddle/seapost, stem/bar, even ungreased thru-axle, but BB.

    I would say, at least try to avoid BB30. So far BB86 looks pretty good, and even Chinese frame maker could handle it without creaking.

  38. I have suffered with a suspected creaking bottom bracket numerous times. Every time is been either the pedals loose in the cranks or more often the rear wheel skewer not being quite tight enough after a bike clean. Gives the same creak but usually a sudden on-set and then it just gets worse very quickly!

  39. The most common area for that nagging creak on my bike is the chainring bolts. I have the Sram Red latest model and I am finding that every couple of weeks I have to re-grease the chainring bolts. I use Loctite Blue on the threads but grease around the outside of the bolts. I am thinking of trying a different type of bolts in hopes of solving this problem once and for all.

  40. Never use copper paste in contact with aluminium. Use aluminium paste instead. Copper paste will create galvanic corrosion.

  41. i always heard clicks when i was pedaling so I thought it was the crank. but that wasn't it! it was a bearing in the rear hub. i just didn't heard it when i wasn't pedaling due to my noisy cassette!

  42. Jon, I think you forgot creaking from the pedals! My Look pedals are creaking these days – guilty of having an overdue servicing.

  43. I will never again buy a bicycle with a PF BB. It never creaks for the mechanic at the LBS–only creaks for me, usually for group rides.

  44. Mine only creaks when I'm in the small ring. I only ride alone and after 7 years it hasn't effected the ride quality so I just pay it no attention. ?

  45. Great video, really helped me fix a creak that I was convinced was my BB. After trying everything you'd suggested the creak was still there, especially when putting power down. I realised it wasn't the BB and might be my rear skewer, loosened it by 1/8 turn. No more creak!

  46. Had the creaking sound with new shoes (left foot) on n and on n-1. Total silence with the old shoes. It turned out to originate at the heel of the insole. Some beeswax helped.

  47. All external BB's are pure prosport things. Market just forced ppl to use them. From almost iternal, sealed Square BB wich runs 10-15k km we are here, with fast diying but "Pro" expendable material. If you are not pro DH rider or jumper, you will go alright with ST BB

  48. I had this sound that drove me crazy for weeks and I was convinced it was coming from my crankset or bottom bracket. After many hours of searching online one article said to check the presta valve rings…

  49. Wow for the first time someone actually has the proper fix. I don’t road bike and I ride mountain Enduro. Th is the only fix threaded together plastic free

  50. Had a creaky bike, it was only 6 months old. Yes it was a press fit bb, but I think it was the chain rings loose. As I managed to get half to three quarter turns on the bolts. I did the normal gripper paste on the seat post as the same time and degreasing the crank set.
    Now on my mountain bike the creaking was coming from my shoe cleats. I know a lot of people are using shimano type pedals on their road bike like me and changing your cleats costs about £10-£15, "look" cleats have 6 degrees of float compared to shimano 4 degrees.
    It’s worth checking you shoe cleats before buying new bottom brackets etc.

  51. 2 new bottom brackets, new chain, cassette, back wheel & 3rd set of new pedals…& the awful snapping/clanking noise continues. Definately coming from the b/b area, can feel the snap/crack under my left pedal..then the right. My bike mech says it isn't the b.b so i'm having the chain rings/pedal arms changed 2m. Hopefully this will solve the awful noise problem..just cant seem to find out where it's coming from?& it's really starting to piss me off…

  52. Thanks for this!! My new bike only had a few hundred km on it and I was sure it was the BB. I was going to take it back to the bike shop to look at. Turns out it was the seat tube!! Greased it up, noise went away.

  53. Really didn't want to take the bb out. Just greased my headset and lubed chain and it must be the bb

  54. Could this happen only on a very hot day? Went for a cycle this morning and it creacked like hell…cannot ever remember it creaking like that. It's been the hottest day of the year her at 30degrees C…

  55. Anyone else find his technical instructions hard to follow? Tell us where exactly to apply it, don't just show us the materials…

  56. Whatever you do, don’t buy these specialty tools for removing and installing your bb. Threaded bb come out very easily with a adjustable channel lock wrench. You can also press fit a bb with a piece of all thread and two nuts and two washers for 5 dollars, just knock it out from the opposite side with a screw driver and hammer. You just saved a bunch of money!

  57. Bloody Hell !! Went through all those. Worked my way back to the rear wheel. Greased the skewer and dropouts…… Bob`s your uncle. I could swear blind it was coming from the cranks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *