Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

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Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby Shpox » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:50 am

Hello wrenchers! I've had a quick problem develop on my ride this morning. I haven't ridden in about five days and my bike has been sitting in the garage during that time. As you know, Australia is on fire at the moment, so I don't think that's helping.

I have this intermittent creak coming from the drivetrain. I was hoping it was just a lack of lube resulting from the dry weather so I re-lubed the chain just now, but the problem is still there although somewhat less apparent.

I get this occasional noise when at at a high cadence, but sometimes at a low cadence. Big ring/Small ring doesn't make a difference so I'm not sure if it's a tension issue. I tried moving the crank sideways to check for flex, but that looks okay. I don't think it's crank bolts either as the bike was serviced maybe about three weeks ago. It's completely intermittent meaning it will occur during a quick climb during one revolution, then the next revolution it will disappear and then reappear the next revolution. However, if I can get it creaking and push a higher cadence, the noise will stay there.

This has occurred before though I'm not sure what caused it; and it does seem to happen when I don't ride for a few days. I'm not well versed in what to do but my guess is that it may be the bottom bracket or loose crank as shifting is fine. :mrgreen: As the bike is quite new, I'm also wondering if it's the chainring bolts needing lube. I've looked at my cleats too and they look okay.
Last edited by Shpox on Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by BNA » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:55 am

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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby Shpox » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:55 am

Also, I can't seem to replicate it on my workstand meaning I need a bit of weight/resistance for it to occur. Hmm!
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby wardie » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:47 am

I have a very similar issue - a loud creak when I get out of my saddle and put a fair bit of power through the cranks. In the saddle pushing as hard as possible then no creak.
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby jacks1071 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:51 am

Number 1 cause of creaks is the seat post. Pull it out, grease it up and try again.

The post can creak even if you are standing up, and it will typically be silent when you are coasting so often people are looking at things like bottom brackets etc when the fix is often just the seat post.
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby sogood » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:54 am

Creaks can be horrendous to diagnose on a bike. Take my experience, one that I thought for sure came from the BB area turned out to be from the spacers under the stem. A smear of grease b/n the spacer rings eliminated the problem. Others have resolve similar through the rear wheel hub. So my suggestion is to grease and tighten in your suspected area and then move further afield.
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby liamb » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:19 am

I have had similar issues before and it was a combo of a few things. The main issue I have is not tightening my front skewer enough after refitting the front wheel. It can be only a small turn but on a ride it is enough to shut the creak up. The other issue I have from time to time is my front end ie head set area/ bars etc becomes a bit loose or needs some lube. I simply take it apart add required lube and re torque it all back up to spec.

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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby Mrfenejeans » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:22 am

Shpox wrote:I've looked at my cleats too and they look okay.


Have you tried tightening them, not just looking at them? My one bug bear when my LBS fits cleats to my shoes, is that they do not do them up tight enough and with in 1-2 rides my cleats creak like crazy.
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby Shpox » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:08 pm

Thanks guys.

Well, turns out it's not the BB. Removed the crank bolts and greased it up, re-tightened again but no go.
Cranks - Tried pulling the spindles left, right. Seem okay. Highly doubt it's the bolts. The crank isn't loose at all.
Pedals - Spin freely with no complaints.
Cleats - Wore normal shoes as I have platform/cleated pedals - No improvement on those.
Chain - Relubed this morning, that's not it.

It's not the jockey wheels either. They seem okay.

Sogood, it's interesting you mention sound as it now seems like it's coming from the rear agh. I did remove the back wheel and readjust the skewer but I need to go for another ride in the afternoon when it's not so hot to see if that's done anything. If it's not that, it might be in between the two - so the seatpsot.

Interesting you mention the seatpost, Jack. I did take it out the other day and it didn't seem to have too much grease, just some. Will take another look at it.

I cannot replicate the sound on the workstand so it has to be something under stress/ load. The sound is akin to your general metal creak, kind of like trying to bend metal.
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby Shpox » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:29 pm

Just a quick question, I've run out of grease but I do have this Shell Retinax LX2 which is a lithium based grease that's also water repellent.

Would it be safe to smother over the seat post provided I cleaned out any of the remaining stuff first? :mrgreen:
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby sogood » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:51 pm

Essentially, grease up every contact point (component to component) on the bike. Good luck! :wink:
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby Kenzo » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:33 pm

Shpox wrote:Just a quick question, I've run out of grease but I do have this Shell Retinax LX2 which is a lithium based grease that's also water repellent.

Would it be safe to smother over the seat post provided I cleaned out any of the remaining stuff first? :mrgreen:


Is it a carbon frame and or seatpost? If so, then no, do not use the lithium grease. Get some Carbon grease - expensive at about $5... but a tiny sachet of it lasts for ages and ages.
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby sogood » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:45 pm

Kenzo wrote:Is it a carbon frame and or seatpost? If so, then no, do not use the lithium grease. Get some Carbon grease - expensive at about $5... but a tiny sachet of it lasts for ages and ages.

Apparently that's a bit of an urban myth. Apart from some rare "unobtainium" industrial grease with very special ingredients, no commonly retailed greases have been noted to cause issues for bike CF. Bike manufacturers make those statements to cover their back side. Otherwise "carbon grease" has the advantage of added friction agent and should be selected if readily available. Otherwise for lubrication/weld avoidance, common greases are all fine.
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby Kenzo » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:51 pm

sogood wrote:
Kenzo wrote:Is it a carbon frame and or seatpost? If so, then no, do not use the lithium grease. Get some Carbon grease - expensive at about $5... but a tiny sachet of it lasts for ages and ages.

Apparently that's a bit of an urban myth. Apart from some rare "unobtainium" industrial grease with very special ingredients, no commonly retailed greases have been noted to cause issues for bike CF. Bike manufacturers make those statements to cover their back side. Otherwise "carbon grease" has the advantage of added friction agent and should be selected if readily available. Otherwise for lubrication/weld avoidance, common greases are all fine.

Fair enough - but I wouldn't risk it - to my mind it is the friction agent which is needed - lubrication is what needs to be avoided on (carbon) parts like seatposts/seat-tube, handlebar/stem and stem/fork-steerer.
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby sogood » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:11 pm

Kenzo wrote:Fair enough - but I wouldn't risk it - to my mind it is the friction agent which is needed - lubrication is what needs to be avoided on (carbon) parts like seatposts/seat-tube, handlebar/stem and stem/fork-steerer.

It's actually more than just friction agent. It's also to provide an important barrier to prevent CF to CF welding. As been said by many, one needs grease (or Carbon Grease) at every component interface. Carbon grease with its added friction agent will increase the "grip" at the same bolt torque. It may or may not be needed but it's another expenditure to purchase.
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby Shpox » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:37 pm

Kenzo wrote:
Shpox wrote:Is it a carbon frame and or seatpost? If so, then no, do not use the lithium grease. Get some Carbon grease - expensive at about $5... but a tiny sachet of it lasts for ages and ages.


Aluminium grease for both. I don't know any stores that stock Phil Wood or Triflow Synthetic grease either and the closest Marine store is really far away in Brisbane for any marine greasy. Whatever it is, has to come from an autoparts store like Supercheap so I'll go have a look today.

LBS's only have chain lube/carbon paste. Nothing else.
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby Howzat » Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:44 am

If you can reproduce the creaking sound with the bike on a trainer, you can use a home-made stethoscope to precisely locate the source.

Get a short length of hose, or a longish cardboard tube, and have a friend place it on various suspect points while you ride. Or vice-versa. You'll quickly pinpoint the offending components.
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby DaveOZ » Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:47 am

Tighten the chain-ring bolts.
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby wardie » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:48 am

DaveOZ wrote:Tighten the chain-ring bolts.


I did that yesterday, as one was very loose, but still creaking.

Could a chain that is passed its life cause it?
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby Summernight » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:03 pm

Mine also intermittently creaks and seems to only do it under load. And mine also sounds like it comes from the BB/crank area.

Considering I just put in a new BB and crankset (FSA to Shimano 105 so completely different brands) and the headset was tightened recently as it was loose and it still does the intermittent creak I'm thinking it might be somewhere else on the bike, like others have mentioned. It sounds like it comes from the cranks but maybe it isn't. I'd be interested to know if you find out what it could be. :)

And mine did it when the bike was pretty much new too (and presumably they gave me a new chain at that time), so it might not be the chain.
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Re: Intermittent Creak coming from drivetrain - Shim 105 FD

Postby Shpox » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:58 pm

Could be a bad chain link Summer.

May aswell throw an update here. Turns out it wasn't the seatpost but actually the rear wheel skewer. I would have never imagined a skewer to cause a noise like this but I think it resulted from use a floor based bike stand that pinches the rear stays to keep the bike upright. Hot weather and the load on this thing caused the skewer to slightly move outside of center in the lockring and caused this weird creak.


My advice would be firstly check your rims and wheel seating. Secondly, check the seatpost and make sure it's got sufficient lube and is tightened correctly.
Thirdly would be the drivetrain components - .e.g. relube chain, inspect links, tighten chainring bolts, triflow pivots and finally check the BB.
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