Wheel question for the experts...
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  1. #1
    Diesel Engine
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    Wheel question for the experts...

    Hi all,

    Lately my rear wheel has developed a nasty click. This is the one noise in years of working on bicycles that I cannot get rid of and it's about to drive me batty. So, here's the deal:

    - The clicking only happens when pedaling at moderate cadence, is silent when really putting the power down or soft pedaling.
    - If I stand the click goes away
    - When the click happens, I can make it go away temporarily by applying more or less force to the pedal stroke.
    - The noise is definetely coming from the rear wheel (confirmed by riding partners)
    - The click happens at exactly the same point of my pedal stroke when it happens
    - I hear it about 80% of the time I ride.

    The wheel build:

    - Dura Ace hub
    - Open Pro rim
    - DT 14/17 non-drive
    - DT 14/15 drive
    - laced 3x
    - wheel has approx 15k miles on it, was trouble free until Sept. '03

    What I have done so far (since September when this started)

    - Rear hub complete rebuild
    - Pedal rebuild
    - Checked chainring bolts
    - Replaced BB
    - Lubricated spoke nipples/spoke crossings
    - Retensioned rear wheel

    After all of this the insidious click is worse than ever. My next proposed step is a complete rear wheel rebuild with a new rim and spokes - my fear is that something is on the verge of failure back there as I am having a hard time keeping the wheel true.

    Before I take the plunge and start over from scratch, have I overlooked anything? This is making me crazy. I'm pretty sure this isn't the famous Mavic click since it only happens while pedaling. The only wild card is that the click vanishes when I stand. I guess before I do any more work to the wheel I will remove the seatpost, clean and grease, then reinsert.

    Help!!!

  2. #2

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    I know it might be obvious but have you tried another rear wheel ? just to establish if it is the wheel that is producing the click.
    It also might be worth trying the "Mavic OP click" fix just to be on the safe side i.e. small centre punch and a few carefull taps on the inside of the rim joint.
    What about the cassette body?
    Detailed frame inspection for small cracks?
    "Better to light a few candles than complain about the dark"

  3. #3
    Diesel Engine
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    Good points...

    Actually I am going to try another wheel on Friday to confirm it is the wheel. I think I have a spare 130 spaced wheel somewhere. I'll probably take the center punch to the rim joint as well.

    Frame is good, I hadn't thought of the cassette body - I think I actually have one of the Freehub Buddy tools at home, so we'll see if some new lube clears things up. I guess I hadn't thought of it since the freehub does most of its mechanical work when one is coasting.

    Thanks.

  4. #4

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    Click, click, click

    I agree with poster, pull the cog, check the pawls and reattach. But, since it sounds like it occurs on the pedal stroke, then this wouldn't be the culprit. I had a similar click that turned out to be my little under-the-seat tool bag. After a year it had worn through and one of the tools in it would occaisonally tap the seat post. click, click, click. Possibly a pedal/cleat thing at 90% on the back of the stroke?

    Try a different wheel.
    Ride with sneakers & no tool bag up and down the street.

    Good luck,

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Also

    If after trying a different wheel the click continues try lubricating the front on the saddle rails.

  6. #6
    Every little counts...
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    (non-expert): 15K Miles? Change the rear rim anyways. It could be the eyelets.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Prince
    Hi all,
    - The click happens at exactly the same point of my pedal stroke when it happens Help!!!
    I'm going to disagree with everybody else and suggest you are looking in the wrong place. The fact that the click always happens at the same point of your pedal stroke leads me to think it's crank, rather than rear wheel, related.

    I'd be for checking out your pedals, cleats and maybe your heel relative to your chainstay. I once had a faint "click" that drove me crazy. It turned out to be the crankarm brushing the end of the front derailleur cable.

    Good luck.

  8. #8
    B2
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    Had the same thing once - the crank brushing against the FD. It's happened twice now over the last year. My technical solution was to push on the FD a little bit. Problem gone (for 6 months anyway). My point is that the clearance is so close that a little push to momentarily flex the FD a few mm is all it took.

    BTW - the LBS was trying all the normal solutions and didn't notice the crank hitting the FD either. I found it because the frequency (at the same point in the pedal stroke) made me start looking more carefully at the crank area.

    Good Luck,
    Bryan

  9. #9
    Diesel Engine
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    Hmm....

    I'll look at the crank/FD area, but I'm 99%+ sure it's from the back wheel. Definetely not a pedal problem as I've switched the pedals out for a few rides and the click persists. I will switch the wheel out Friday and that should fix the click or make me nuttier.

    The click happens at the same point of the pedal stroke but my theory has been that since the pedals are at the ''power" position (between the ST and DT) when the click happens (this happens on the right and left), that the application of force was causing some movement/noise in the back wheel.

    I'll check all of the above suggestions when I get home on Friday. I knew I could count on lots of things I had not considered from this board.

    Thanks!

  10. #10
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    Another idea

    I had an annoying click which seemed to come at the same point of each pedal stroke. It was worsened by mashing on the pedals, completely disappeared with coasting or soft pedalling. Long story short, after an exhaustive search, I discovered that the noise was coming from the junction between the pedal axle flange (?correct term) and crankarm, despite adequate tightening. Lubricating the area and retightening only exacerbated the problem. The only thing that worked was putting a few drops of loctite on the pedal thread/flange area. I haven't had any problems since.

    good luck

  11. #11
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    Another thought

    Consider the QR and the faces where it grabs the frame. Also recognize that sound travels through the frame, and you would not be anywhere near the first rider to think the problem was "definitely coming from the ?????" only to find it was fixed by changing something far away. Bars, stems, saddles, QRs, chain ring bolts, cleats, cleat bolts, and on and on are click sources tied to your pedal stroke.

  12. #12
    Miggity Mac Daddy
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    My seatpost/seatrail junction creaks so every few rides i have to tighten that down.

    But, then again, could be your rear wheel for all we know.

  13. #13
    Chili hed & old bike fixr
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    Question Need more info

    What kind of frame is it and does it have a carbon rear triangle?

  14. #14
    Diesel Engine
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    Quote Originally Posted by curlybike
    What kind of frame is it and does it have a carbon rear triangle?
    It's a tig welded steel frame (Reynolds 853). No carbon anywhere. The rear dropouts are brazed to the stays (vs. tig welded). Frame is a Steelman Stage Race and is less than 3 years old.

    Mike

  15. #15
    jhr
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    Try this first!

    What you are describing is the famous Mavic Open Pro click. Take your chain lube of choice (should be light weight lube) and place a single drop of lube on the outside of each spoke nipple of the rear wheel (you are trying to lube the outside of the nipple where it seats in the spoke eyelet of the rim (ie you want lube to flow around the outside of the spoke nipple into the crack between the nipple and the eyelet, not into the spoke/nipple junction). Once you have done this for each spoke spin the wheel hard (to move lube ******d into the eyelet area).

    This will most likely solve the problem. I had an old open pro/ultegra rear wheel that would do this frequently, a little lube solved it each time for a few hundred miles. Unfortunately, I had to figure this out the hard way after replacing a freehub and overhauling the bottom bracket.

    jhr

  16. #16
    Diesel Engine
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    I wish it was that

    Quote Originally Posted by jhr
    What you are describing is the famous Mavic Open Pro click. Take your chain lube of choice (should be light weight lube) and place a single drop of lube on the outside of each spoke nipple of the rear wheel (you are trying to lube the outside of the nipple where it seats in the spoke eyelet of the rim (ie you want lube to flow around the outside of the spoke nipple into the crack between the nipple and the eyelet, not into the spoke/nipple junction). Once you have done this for each spoke spin the wheel hard (to move lube ******d into the eyelet area).

    This will most likely solve the problem. I had an old open pro/ultegra rear wheel that would do this frequently, a little lube solved it each time for a few hundred miles. Unfortunately, I had to figure this out the hard way after replacing a freehub and overhauling the bottom bracket.

    jhr
    Unfortunately, been there done that so many times that I probably have put more lube inside my rim than on my chain the last few months. I've done exactly what you describe at least 3-4 times in the last few weeks with no improvements. Having said that, I'm going to swap the wheel out on Friday and see if the click goes away. At least that will pinpoint where the noise is coming from. If it is the rim I will lube more and also try to re-seat the weld insert with a center punch. Also, the tension meter I ordered has arrived while I am on the road this week so I will be able to check the tension of the spokes with some level of precision in case the noise is caused by an imbalance of spoke tensions or inadequate overall tension.

    If it is the dreaded Mavic click, now I realize why many people will not go back to Mavic rims. Never understod that until now.

    Thanks.

  17. #17
    Chili hed & old bike fixr
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Prince
    It's a tig welded steel frame (Reynolds 853). No carbon anywhere. The rear dropouts are brazed to the stays (vs. tig welded). Frame is a Steelman Stage Race and is less than 3 years old.

    Mike
    Thanks, The reason I asked about the carbon was, it is not unusual for the joints between the seat stay and the dropout to get noisy. Most are bolted together and the joint faces get dry and creak. The screws need to be removed and the joint faces smeared with lube. This is clearly not a problem in your case.
    I would make sure that the BB cup's threads are lubed and the bb torqued to spec. Make sure that you post all your efforts and their results.

  18. #18
    Diesel Engine
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    Used a different wheel...

    And the click remains. I checked all of the crank/bb fasteners and while the drive side bb cup snugged up a bit more, that did not cure the click. I switched pedals out from my fixed gear, even rode up and down the street in non-cycling shoes, again no help there. Checked all chainring bolts, bottle cage bolts, and front derailleur clamp - all OK, nice and tight.

    I ran out of time to diagnose any more as I actually wanted to ride. I also checked all of the chainring bolts, they are all tight.

    I don't think it's seat/seatpost/stem/front wheel related as I've discovered that the click still happens standing as well as no hands.

    Running out of places to look now. Before my next ride I think I'm going to replace the chain, that's about the only thing I haven't checked yet. Also I'm going to remove my 'chain watcher' from the seat tube before my next ride and see if that makes any difference.

    At least it's not the back wheel...

  19. #19
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    It's probably the most obvious place...

    Your chain....

    It's probably got a stiff link.

    Regards,
    Sean

  20. #20
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    I know you said the problem sounds like it is in the rear, but I'm more inclined to think it a problem with the cranks or BB seating. Yes, I know you checked this. It may be a thread problem or some sort of weird crank-BB axle seating problem that won't be fixed by more tightening.

    I wouldn't rebuild the rear wheel just because of a clicking noise. If it's not getting worse, just learn to ignore it. It can be done! If I had to replace everything that clicked on my Mtn bike...

  21. #21
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    "When I stand, the click goes away."
    While I'm certainly no bike mechanic, your statement above about standing up seems to suggest to me that the seat or seat post may have something to do with the noise, because as you removed it from the equation, you removed the noise. Just a shot in the dark.

    Best,
    Frank

  22. #22
    Diesel Engine
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    Click is gone.

    Replaced the chain (it needed to be replaced anyway). No improvement as far as the click.

    Pulled the seatpost. Wiped it off, checked the seattube in case 'the bull' put some ball beraings in there , regreased seatpost and reinserted. Noise gone. Rode tonight, no click.

    I am sane again. Thanks to everyone for the advice, believe it or not this has been one of my bigger learning experiences in lots of years building and maintaining my own bikes. Lesson learned - check the easy, non-obvious stuff first.....

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