creaking in my bottom bracket/crank set

Forums Mountain Bike Forum creaking in my bottom bracket/crank set

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This topic contains 34 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Dr Sweets 2 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #204009

    When I apply heavy pressure to my crankset (ie out of saddle or going uphill at low speed), I’m getting a “creaking” in my bottom bracket.  Is this due to bad bearings?

    I’ve been toying with the notion of upgrading my crankset from the low end Shimano that I have now (my 2nd bike has XX SRAM and I love them).  Should I consider buying a new bottom bracket or trying to repair what I have now?  And how big of a difference will a higher end crankset really make?

    I’m a beginner (riding for exactly 1 year) but progressing quickly.  I want to make sure I leave myself room to grow but also don’t want to waste money on components that my skill set won’t be able to maximize.

  • #204015

    Not necessarily, may just need cleaning and re-greasing.

  • #204017

    I would say your bottom bracket definitely needs service. I’ve had similar issues where I had water and dirt jammed into the bearings adding more friction. I just replaced the bearings but kept my spindle and cranks mostly because I didn’t have the money for that kind of upgrade at the time. I’d say that upgrading parts is always a good idea. Fixing your current set up will probably correct the problem, but you could run into the same problem again in a few months. I’m sure you would be less likely to run into this problem in the future with higher quality components.

    I have a priority list when it comes to upgrades, but if you’re not planning on putting your money toward upgrades on other parts (suspension, wheels, tires) I’d say go for it. There’s a lot of variety in componentry so I’m sure you can find something that fits your skill set and will also allow you to progress.

  • #204018

    Alvin is right, it could just need to be cleaned up. Another possibility is that it needs to be tightened. If it’s a Hollowtech type bottom bracket, a good local shop should be able to knock out the old bearings and press new ones in for less than the cost of buying an entirely new unit. BBs aren’t terribly expensive though, starting around $25. Although you will need specific tools to remove and install, unless you have them already.

    What series are your current Shimano cranks (Deore, XT, etc.)?

  • #204020

    The crankset is Shimano Alivio (Acera shifters, Deore derailleur) on my hardtail Giant Talon 29er.  I bought the bike from a friend and he had the same issue.  He took it to our local shop and they were able to clean up the bearings but, as Nick suggested, it started again after a few months.

    I was thinking of upgrading the crankset to Shimano XT.  What are the benefits of the better crankset?  I’m pretty certain I’m going to upgrade the bottom bracket to prevent future issues.  Also looking at XT for the BB.

    If I do the crankset, I’ll want to covert to a 1x as well and remove the front derailuer.  I figured the best/logical time to do that is when I get a new crankset.  But I don’t fully understand the benefits of the new crankset.  Thanks for the input, I really appreciate the education on this stuff!

    PS – I’m not changing any of this myself, I’ll take it to my local shop.  I’m not competent/comfortable enough to make these changes…yet.

  • #204023

    Hmm, then it’s probably using an Octalink BB. A crankset could be a worthwhile upgrade, mostly because of the BB. An Octalink BB houses the bearings inside the BB shell of your bike. With external cup BBs (like Shimano’s Hollowtech, or SRAM’s GXP) the bearings are actually outside the frame. This wider bearing spacing makes for a much stiffer setup. More stiffness = better power transfer

    XT cranks are just fine, but if you want to save a few bucks, go for the new SLX cranks (M7000 series). The weigh only about 15-20g more than the XT (M8000) cranks but cost less. There’s no loss in performance, and personally I prefer the aesthetics of the SLX. Whichever crankset you decide on, it should come with a matching series BB.

  • #204050

    A couple things to note. If you are mechanically inclined (at least slightly) and/or can follow video instructions you can buy the cranks, BB and some basic tools and DIY. If not then, you can still have your LBS acquire/install these otherwise you’re at their mercy as to what they can/will order/install for you. Either way, taking those things into consideration (and my vague estimation of your budget) if you want to pretty much silence any bottom bracket/crankset noise as well as have options for every kind of chain ring out there get a Raceface Aeffect crankset and a Saint bottom bracket (search around as you may be able to find these for even less on eBay or Amazon). The Saint BB’s thread into the bike’s bottom bracket shell deeper making any kind of creaking virtually impossible and the Raceface cranks are some of the stiffest feeling you can get outside of a steel BMX crank. The cost is about the same as the going the SLX route, but you’ll have more options and even better durability. Plus, Raceface stuff has always looked (and mostly performed) great.

  • #204068

    I had this problem fixed recently.  Replacing the bb didn’t fix it.  Disassembling the frame and reassembling did the trick.  Sounded like the bb, but was one of the linkages down there.(giant anthem)

  • #204087

    I looked at that saint BB before and really liked the gold and I have been a big fan of Raceface since I started using Chester flats, but I thought that I needed to keep all the drivetrain components the same manufacturer?  All Shimano or all SRAM.  Is that not the case?

    • #204114

      I looked at that saint BB before and really liked the gold and I have been a big fan of Raceface since I started using Chester flats, but I thought that I needed to keep all the drivetrain components the same manufacturer?  All Shimano or all SRAM.  Is that not the case?

      Oh nosirrreeee. Shimano, Race Face and FSA all make bottom brackets and and cranks that are inter-compatible via the BSA 24 standard. The RF Aeffect Crank uses the proper spindle diameter, whereas their other cranks…Turbine/Atlas/Next/SixC are 30mm and will NOT fit a standard Shimano bottom bracket. There are tons manufacturers that make BSA 24 bottom brackets, Chris King being the fanciest, most durable, troublefree and most expensive. The combo I previously mentioned will play nice with any drivetrain…Shimano, SRAM or a single speed for that matter.

  • #204123

    You could also have a crack in your frame, especially around the bottom bracket. Check the paint and the welds.

  • #204129

    <p style=”text-align: center;”>Thank you Raymond the more I try to learn the more I’m confused, I appreciate the shared knowledge.</p>
    Definately not a cracked frame and def BB issue, got way worse on my last ride.

    The derailleur on my Giant doesn’t have a clutch.  Am I asking for problems trying to convert to a 1x?
    <p style=”text-align: center;”></p>

    • #204131

      The derailleur on my Giant doesn’t have a clutch.  Am I asking for problems trying to convert to a 1x?

      Maybe. You have some options. A. Buy an inexpensive clutch derailleur.  If you already have a 10 speed drivetrain this would be the easiest and most practical way to go. B. Run a cheap chain guide and maybe a bash guard. The N-Gear actually can work pretty well; you just have to put it in a vice to bend the upper flange out versus in to prevent the chain from bouncing up. A bash guard adds even more security preventing the chain from jumping to the outside not to mention protecting your chainring. Something like this might be the ticket if it fits your seat tube and/or you do not have chain guide mounts (not likely).  Finally, running a no drop chainring will keep you chain on pretty well on its own even w/o a clutch derailleur, but if you get into rough terrain you’ll want more retention.

      No worries; happy to help out.

  • #204138

    I converted my Giant to 1x without adding a clutch derailleur. I added a narrow/wide chain ring and a cheap clamp-on chain guide. (not sure I even need the guide) and have had no problems.

  • #204139

    What kind of rear derailleur is on your bike now? SRAM’s derailleurs tend to have tighter springs than Shimano’s. For instance, I was able to use a SRAM X9 (9 speed) derailleur with a narrow wide chainring and didn’t have an issue dropping the chain.

    I would go for a clutch rear derailleur and a narrow wide chainring. I wouldn’t worry about a guide or bash ring.

  • #204170

    I can’t tell you how many times I thought my bottom bracket was creaking/ticking, and it ended up just being a pedal that needed tightening. I’m talking about where the pedal spindle threads into the crank arm. Worth checking before you throw money at it. Pedal threads should always be cleaned meticulously, then installed with fresh grease applied and torqued to spec. Same goes for threaded BBs, clean, re-grease and re-torque.

    Just a heads up if you plan on tackling yourself, right pedal spindle is right hand thread (standard = clockwise to tighten), left pedal spindle is left hand thread (reverse).

    Based on the spec, Cranks and BB be worthwhile parts to upgrade if they are in need of replacement and you plan on keeping the bike for a long time.

  • #204171

    It’s a Deore derailuer.  I was looking at the narrow wide rings and was thinking that would suffice, but I get a lot of chain slap with my 3×9 set up now and was worried it might get worse with a 1x set up

    So to make sure I have this right, for the 1x coversion I’ll need A) crank set/bottom bracket — the upgrades I’m making regardless if I change to 1x  B) chain ring  C) chain D) new derailuer with built in clutch  E) optional chain guide.  I currently have a 9 speed SRAM cassette that I’d like to keep if possible to save $$$.

  • #204174

    thanks for suggestion Bud, I just swapped out my flats last month and they’re def not making noise

  • #204175

    Technically chain slap will be at its worst when in small front chainring and/or small rear cog. That puts the chain close to the chain stay, and derailleur spring tension at a minimum. Going 1x would eliminate small front chainring so that may help a little.

    You might have difficulty finding a 9 speed derailleur with clutch…

    I would recommend getting the crank/BB and NW chainring, skip bash guard & guide, and opt for a decent 10 speed clutch derailleur (Shimano has strongest clutch) and shifter. You won’t be getting the most out a NW chainring with a 9 speed chain anyways, most NW chainrings are meant to be a close fit with a 10 speed chain, that is how they work. Putting a wider 9 speed chain on it would kind of defeat the purpose.

    Max bang (range) for the buck would be a wide range 10 speed Sunrace MX3 cassette. Would give you the range of a Shimano 11 speed. Pair that with a Shimano 10 speed shifter and clutch derailleur of your choice.

     

  • #204177

    I agree with Aaron, Ive done a couple 1x conversions with a narrow wide chainring and clutch derailleur and have not had any trouble. I guess if your riding hard downhill you might get it to skip off but like I said I haven’t had any trouble with trail riding.

    I’ve always replaced my cassette with my chain/chainrings. As I understood it a worn cassette will stretch your chain, not sure if this is true but a new cassette is relatively cheap.

  • #204178
  • #204208

    Sure, but you can probably find that set up for less or go with the more economical SLX. On eBay you can put together a SRAM NX set with a Raceface Aeffect crankset, and a Sunrace 11-42 cassette (cheaper and lighter weight than comparable one’s from Shimano/SRAM) for less than $275 shipped. All of them work great, whatever turns you on.

  • #204220

    Should I be looking for a crank that has the narrow wide ring built in or look for two separate parts?  Sorry for all the questions but I’m learning a lot and want to be happy with my upgrade. Thank you!!

    • #204226

      Should I be looking for a crank that has the narrow wide ring built in or look for two separate parts?  Sorry for all the questions but I’m learning a lot and want to be happy with my upgrade. Thank you!!

      Either is fine, but I just look for the best deal. Shopping around takes patience and strategy. By no means am saying not to buy from a local shop. Especially if they are going to do service now and in the future for you. If the difference in price is less than 20% and the aforementioned factors are in play, then buy it locally.

      I do most of my own repair and maintenance on my bikes; probably more than 80% of it. I go to a few shops locally where I know the mechanics and have not the time, patience, or knowledge to execute the repair in question (wheel building, suspension rebuilds that have to be sent out, brake rebuilds, etc.). The rest of the time I will find whatever I need and do it myself or with a more knowledgeable friend over a few beers (or sodas depending on your age and level of delinquency).

      Back to the question though…if you can do the work yourself and score this (less than half of the MSRP) without much more price increase, perhaps utilizing a sniper bid you’d have a nice deal.

  • #204221

    Always start with cleaning and re-greasing with a creaking in the drive train. I recently had a creak in my bottom bracket area when putting good pressure on my road bike. I removed the bottom bracket and cleaned and then reassembled with new grease but still had creaking. I was about to buy a new bottom bracket but first decided to remove the pedals and clean/re-grease the thread area… that fixed the creaking problem. It was all in my pedals

  • #204284

    Which BB should I use with the Aeffect cinch 1x?  The bike is a Giant Talon 29er and believe it’s 73 mm but want to confirm before I purchase anything

  • #204286

    From what it looks like most of the talons are threaded bb, dont know what year your bike is but that’s what I’m seeing online.  With that said, if you buy the raceface affects it should come with a bb and will be threaded.  From my experince those ones are pretty solid bbs, maybe not as high as chris king or hope but solid.  Make sure you use the right amount of spacers on the bb for a 73mm (should be 2 for rafeface bbs), if you are taking it to your lbs for them to set up then nothing to worry about.  Hope that helps.

    Oh and if you dont get a bb with your cranks then you will need to see whether your cranks you get are 24 or 30mm spindle.  If it is 24 which is the more common type unless getting into bigger things like DH, you need to find a 68/73 BSA type bb

    https://www.raceface.com/products/details/turbine-x-type-bb

  • #204291

    The more I try to understand how bottom brackets work the more I’m getting confused lol.  The bike is a 2015 Talon 29er, it has a Shimano octalink sealed bottom bracket per Giant specs but it doesn’t give me any size info.  From digging through various forums I’ve determined it’s 73mm.  My LBS will do all installation.  Is the set up below compatible?  I’m still unsure on the 30mm spindle.

    http://www.jensonusa.com/Race-Face-BSA-30mm-Bottom-Bracket

    http://www.jensonusa.com/Race-Face-Aeffect-Cinch-1X-Crankset

     

    PS – I removed, cleaned, and re-greased the pedals and still creaking.  This bike has cheap components and I’m sure the BB bearings are shot.  Rather than service the pos in there now, I’d rather upgrade to avoid future issues.  I already put on a nice DT Swiss wheel set and new DT hubs and upgraded  to a FOX F29 fork.  I feel like after upgrading the BB and the drivetrain this bike will be spec’d the way I want it and will be done with upgrades.

    • #204302

      The more I try to understand how bottom brackets work the more I’m getting confused lol.  The bike is a 2015 Talon 29er, it has a Shimano octalink sealed bottom bracket per Giant specs but it doesn’t give me any size info.  From digging through various forums I’ve determined it’s 73mm.  My LBS will do all installation.  Is the set up below compatible?  I’m still unsure on the 30mm spindle.

      The two bits you’ve listed are NOT compatible unless you wanna go around your a$$ to get to your elbow by swapping the spindle out on the cranks (dumb). The Aeffects use the older (and still more common) 24mm diameter spindle. Shimano Hollowtech 2 still uses this standard for their bottom brackets and they are probably your best bet cost/performance wise especially the aforementioned Saint bottom bracket. The Raceface one you’d want would be the Team XC X-type (or the DH) If you are having your bike shop install it you might well consider having them order said parts if the cost is within 20% of the lowest you can buy them online for.

  • #204292
  • #204298

    I am running 1×9 with out a clutch and having no issues.

  • #204339

    thank you raymond, you’ve been a TREMENDOUS help brother!!

  • #204401

    so that could be why my bike is creaking… i’m gonna look into this upgrade as well..

  • #204817

    Last question….

    chain ring on the Aeffect is 32 tooth but Sunrace cassette is 42 tooth?  Problem?

    • #204818

      Not a problem. Most people running 1X run a 32t ring driving whatever cassette size. You can go lower, eg.30 or 28t even all the way down to 26t. I think a 32t is pretty solid middle ground giving you a low enough range to get just about everything outside of serious big mountain stuff and still have enough oommphh to not spin out on every high speed section. You can go bigger too, but you’ll lose some climbing advantage that a big cassette provides. Then again if you got the legs, have at it macho man.

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