Noises that a bike makes…And what to do about it!
In general, Cycling should be a pretty quiet endeavour. When you are out for a ride, the only sounds should be from the natural world around you. If you are riding along and it sounds like you are being chased by a flock of birds, and you’re NOT in a Hitchcock movie, then your chain is in dire need of lubrication! Your bike’s chain contains the most moving parts of the entire bike. The chain is the most neglected part of the bike. It is the cause of many problems and can cause premature wear on other moving and non moving parts. There are plenty of chain lubes out there, but my recommendation, for our Illinois roads and trails, is a good quality “wet” chain lube, generally called “oil”. There are dry lube too, but they are better for dry, dusty conditions and need to be renewed more often than a good oil. Yes…a wet lube is messier but your chain will last longer and run more quietly.
Another noise that is chain related is caused by rubbing on the front derailleur. I have seen many front derailleur cages sawn clean through! And many others that are almost that bad. This noise is a kind of a rattle usually worse when pressure is applied to the pedals. This will cause premature wear to the chain and derailleur cage. And is super annoying to listen to! Sometimes that noise is caused by “cross chaining” , That comes into play when you use the biggest cog in the rear and the largest chainring on the front. and the opposite is true, using the smallest cog in the rear and the smallest chainring in the front. Those are combinations to be avoided if possible, and certainly only used for a brief time. This cross chaining wars the chain in a manner that degrades the shifting.
If your bike is not silent when you are riding it…It is time to bring it to a shop for repair or adjustment. Now the ultra quiet belt drive bikes will be covered in another blog.