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Honey Have You Seen My Magic 8 Ball?


Graphic courtesy of Laurie Niestrath at

It started as an occasional click.  Coming from, it seemed, the bottom bracket.  Unhelpfully, all unwelcome noises on a bicycle seem to emanate from the bottom bracket.  I hoped that the noise would go away by itself.  After all, my bike was clicking intermittently, and only when I pedalled.

But that click didn’t go away.  Instead it soon become a constant staccato tick / creak.  Impossible to ignore.  And very irritating.  Especially as I was riding   my new bike.  New bikes are not supposed to tick / creak!

I worked through the possible causes as I ticked / creaked my way through the ride.  Failing bearings in the press fit bottom bracket?  I hoped not.  Notoriously difficult to fix, and likely to be expensive.

A problem with the rear hub?  A broken pawl perhaps?  I wondered if the hub was easily user-serviceable.

Maybe the spokes were to blame?  Rubbing where they crossed from rear hub to rim?  A drop of oil needed in the hub flange spoke holes?

Loose chainring bolts perhaps?  I don’t think it could be the crank bolts.

Could it be my pedals that were ticking / creaking?  Didn’t I just clean and relube them?

Or was the source of the noise something else entirely?

“Yes honey.  I definitely need that Magic 8 Ball.”


Tick Tick Tick

It stands to reason that as soon as ISKY 1 stopped creaking, ISKY 2 would start ticking.  As with the apparent source of the noise from the purple bike, the ticking seemed to come from the bottom bracket of the orange bike.

Hoping to benefit from past experience, I started my hunt for the source of the tick with the rear hub.  It was in a better state than the one on ISKY 1 had been.  It still needed to be cleaned and re-greased.  The freewheel runs quieter now. But the ticking persisted.

The next step was to remove the cranks and take a look at the bottom bracket.  The bearings looked fine, apart from needing a good clean and some fresh grease.  I did discover this though.

Disc Spring

This disc spring sits on the drive-side crank spindle.

There is a new disc spring in place of this cracked one now.

ISKY 2 is still ticking though.  But, unless I am imagining things, not as loudly as before.

The optimist in me thinks the ticking will just fade away.

The realist in me knows that there is more work to be done.