Mystery bb creak

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  • Afternoon. I have a mystery creak seemingly eminating from the bb on my CX/gravel bike. It's a Forme Calver SL alloy frameset with a GRX 600 group + Scribe alloy gravel wheels, built up 16 months ago and ridden fairly hard in UK weather off road since then. I've replaced the bb, chain and cassette, tried different pedals, cleaned and regreased the rear hub, used carbon paste on the carbon seatpost, checked all bolts, ensured axles are tight...and it's still creaking life a mf. It's caused by the downstroke on the non-drive side but doesn't require much effort to generate - here's a video riding easy across a lovely field - you can hear how bad it is. Ride-ruinous. Any help appreciated, ta!


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  • Shoes with cleats? Tried different shoes?

    I had a similar problem, driveside under load but only after about 10kms or so. In my case it was the right pedal.
    On the way there, I changed wheelset, saddle, seatpost and bottom bracket.

  • I know when all my omniums have creaked it's the plastic sleeve that goes between the 2 bb cups. Does yours have something similar? I say because it's always been due to a downwards push on the nds aswell

  • I can see you’ve been through a lot of diagnosis - but fwiw I’ve had issues thinking it was BB and it never has been. Culprits have been:

    Pedal bearings - tho sounds like you’ve swapped pedals and that is more ‘clicky’ sounding.

    Seat clamp - knackered bolt. Sounded more like your issue.

    Saddle - rail unbonded from saddle. Sounded more like your issue.

    Wheel bearings worn. Sounded more clicky.

    It can drive you mad! Good luck getting to the bottom of it.

  • I’ve had a creak come from the headset once, seemed like the bottom bracket as it was when pedalling hard but turned out it was due to pressure on the bars and down to the headset.

  • My last clicky BB turned out to be a front wheel bearing, I only worked it out after putting the wheel in backwards after a puncture and the click changed sides :/

  • Thanks for replies. Persists to be an issue when out the saddle too so saddle rails / clamp issue seems unlikely but will check front wheel and headset bearings - nice one. Not sure if grx has same plastic shell as omniums, I’ll take a look. I have actually tried different shoes too, and have had a mechanic switch pedals (and try everything he could think of. He was stumped!)

  • Be systematic. Replace or grease one thing at a time and work your way towards the issue. Obviously check for play and gritty bearings etc first, then anything loose like chainring bolts etc. Start with the cheapest easiest first.
    My last creak ended up being a loose spider. Drove me insane for half a year with multiple pedal services and fresh bb before finding the culprit randomly.

    Bikes are lovely like that

  • Had an annoying click our riding turned out it was the zip on my coat when i learnt forward !

  • It sounds like the creak I get from clipless pedals, I use spds so I have put it down to either the cleat or the bit of the pedal it engages with getting a bit rusty.

  • My money is still on the bb shell. I think grx has the same sleeve. It sounds exactly like the issue ive had 3 or 4 times and always fixed when reinstalling the bb without the sleeve.

    Could be anything though! I'm putting off finding a creak on a bike I'm not riding at the moment. Hoping it's just a loose chainring bolt!


  • Grease the thru-axle/skewer

  • Indeed. The systematic approach makes sense, although the creak only manifests after 30 mins or so riding, adding to the fun / mystery.

  • Chainring bolts.

    Shimano bbs do not have the same issues as gxp bbs. Most of the time with the gxp system its insufficient torquing

  • That's horrendous. Here's two more suggestions, seatpost too long, touches the bottle cage bolt or defective crank, sometimes the axle-arm interface isn't as solid as one would expect.

  • I have twice now wasted massive amounts of time trying to fix mystery creaks, including changing BBs, bearings, etc. Only then to discover it was just that the rear QR/Thru axle (two different bikes) just needed tigthening. The first time is excusable, the second less so - I wrongly assumed that it couldn't be a thru axle causing it and didn't waste valuable seconds checking...
    Suspect the loctite I applied to the BB shell in the process may come back to haunt me too.

    I realise you said you'd checked the axles so it's probably not that in this case, but triple checking them/switching out for a different QR or thru-axle might be worth a try.

    Both times it sounded like it was coming from the crank area and the wheel was done up fairly tightly, just not tightly enough.

  • I have twice now wasted massive amounts of time trying to fix mystery creaks, including changing BBs, bearings, etc. Only then to discover it was just that the rear QR/Thru axle

    Yep, guilty of this too. One time I was about to ship a set of wheels back under warranty due to a creak I later found out was a loose front QR. Second time I stripped and replaced my BB only to find it was my loose rear QR causing a creak.....

  • Glad it's not just me.

    Just remembered I think I once had a creak that turned out to be a slightly loose disc rotor which flexed just enough to creak when pedalling hard out the saddle, so that might be another thing to check.

    Can also recommend headphones if offroad as an easy solution to creaking. Though not for anyone else you're riding with

  • seatpost too long, touches the bottle cage bolt

    This is genius/pure evil!

  • Yup, have been using noise-cancelling earbuds. Creak is so bad I can only listen to music without any 'space' in it, lest the creak sneaks through. Cheers for tip - will check rotors, though the offending noise doesn't need a lot of strain to produce - in/out the saddle... it's there.

  • Yes that sounds really annoying. Swapping out crankset remporarily would help isolate it, but obviously that's pretty tedious to do.
    Downstroke on non-drive side was also what seemed to trigger mine creaking and that was thru-axle tightness on rear wheel, despite it sounding like it came from crank.
    It's amazing how something just slightly loose can sound so bad + sound like it's coming from somewhere else.

  • I once had a mystery pinging sound that was my shoelace aglet pinging off a bottle cage 🤦♂️

  • aglet

    learnt a new word today, thanks

    and re the above - I too have had a shop stip and grease a bb to later find out it was a loose front QR. Shimano closed cam all round now

  • Update: Checked chainring bolts - all good & tight. Greased the thru-axles and tightened them up a lot then took it for a 10 minute spin on the trails. Creak now worse than ever! Can generate the sound when not moving by pushing down gently on pedals with brakes clamped. Seems to be a fair bit of lateral movement in the bb area but not sure if that's just the frame's natural give - tried unsuccessfully to show this in attached clip.

    Maddening! I'll check the bb shell thing.

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  • hmmm, reminds me of the time a seat stay came loose. Terrible creaking sound.

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Mystery bb creak

Posted by Avatar for CharliePriceDrop @CharliePriceDrop