Bike Noise When Pedaling (6 Reasons Why)

Bike Noise When Pedaling

Have you ever asked yourself or your friend what the reasons for bike noise when pedaling are? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.

If your bike is making annoying sounds while you try to enjoy a nice ride, you can find yourself worried. It is perfectly natural to wonder about the bike noise when pedaling and try to answer the question: why?

Though some noises a bike can make while pedaling are natural results of hard pedaling, others are symptoms of a problem with your bike and can lead to injury if not dealt with.

 In this article, we’ll go over the 6 reasons why your bike may be making noise while pedaling and cover some frequently asked questions about the topic!

6 Reasons Why Your Bike Makes Noise When Pedaling

If you do find your bike making clicking, whirring, or even squeaking sounds when you are trying to pedal, it can lead to concern.

After all, if something does wind up being wrong with your bike, it can undermine your confidence in your own safety while riding it!

Let’s take a look at the 6 most common reasons why your bike makes noise while pedaling:

  1. Cassette Cogs
  2. Derailleur Pulleys
  3. Presta Valve Nuts
  4. Pedal Malfunction
  5. Brake Pads Are Unsteady
  6. Bike Chain Wear

Let’s take a closer look at each of these reasons for bike noises and how to solve them!

1.   Cassette Cogs

You may have noticed the gear-like mechanisms on the rear wheels of your bike. When they are stacked together, smallest to largest in size, and placed on the back wheel of your bicycle, they form a cassette cog. Usually, they are numbered around 8 or 11 in total.

These cassette cogs are responsible for changing gears when you pedal, increasing the resistance when you try to move forward, or lowering the resistance and making pedaling easier, depending on the bike-rider’s preference.

If these cogs become loose, they will cause a clunking sound while you pedal. It may even jostle you with every revolution of your legs!

This can be disturbing, and it can cause wear and tear on your rear gears. To tighten cassette cogs, you have to purchase a special tool called a cassette locking tool and make sure they are fixed firmly together. This will get rid of the clunking!

2.   Derailleur Pulleys

The strangely-named derailleur pulleys are also a part of your gear-shifting function on your bike. They come in rear and front positions and are the device that pushes the chain from one chainring to another as your bike switches gears. In the rear derailleur pulley, the bike maneuvers the chain in a more complex “S” shape.

Each derailleur pulley is kept in a type of cage. When they become tight or are under significant strain, they can produce a clicking sound.

It is a bit of a hassle to oil each part of a derailleur pulley, but it is the only way to eliminate this noise and make sure they continue working properly!

3.   Presta Valve Nuts

One of the lesser-known but incredibly useful parts of a bike is the installation nut, also called a Presta Valve nut or a jam nut.

This tiny metal piece is made to stop the valve of your pump from sinking into the wheel when you try to pump your tires full of air. 

Typically, this nut is removed after you are done pumping up your tires. If it is not, however, it can not only weigh down your tire and even risk a tear in the tire, but it can rattle around and make an annoying sound while you pedal.

 You can tighten these nuts to stop the noise or remove them!

4.   Pedal Malfunction

Sometimes the reason you hear a clicking or otherwise terrible noise while pedaling actually comes from a problem with the pedals themselves.

Pedals can become loose just like any other part of your bike, so be sure to tighten each component of them carefully and regularly. This will require a pedal wrench.

In fact, everything associated with your pedals, from the crank arms to the bottom bracket of the bike, should be regularly inspected for looseness and tightened accordingly.

If you tighten one part of your machine but leave the other areas loose, you are only setting yourself up for more clicking or rattling noises later on.

5.   Brake Pads Are Unsteady

The large metal clamp on the side of your bike’s rotor is the brake caliper. Within this very caliper is a rubber lining, and that rubber lining is referred to as your brake pad!

Brake pads naturally come into contact with the rattling parts of a bike in motion, but when they rattle against your bike pedal, you’ll hear a consistent clicking noise.

When this happens, you will have to adjust the position of your brake pads so that they only touch the very back of the bike with the front of their rubber, making the least noise.

Remember that brake pads can also make their own set of uncomfortable sounds if they are dirty or otherwise ill-maintained.

Simply apply a solvent to the brake caliper or take it apart and apply solvent directly to the rim for a nice, quiet ride.

6.   Bike Chain Wear

Your bike’s chain is the core of its function. It is what connects the motion of your pedaling to the spinning of the bike’s wheels.

Your first sign that something is wrong with your bike chain will come from the fact that you may find it very difficult to pedal all of a sudden.

This happens because, like all metal, and especially machinery that is exposed to the open air or elements, bike chains can become stiff, dirty, and above all, suffer from a lack of lubrication.

A lack of lubrication can cause the chain to be unable to move smoothly in response to the energy you produce while pedaling; this is especially true if you are a hard Pedaler!

Luckily, bike chain wear has an easy fix. You do not even need to remove the bike chain from your bike. All you need to do is spray the chain with a lubricant, ideally once every two to three weeks. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few frequently asked questions about bike noises while pedaling!

Why does my bike make noise when I change gears?

Your bike uses several different parts to accomplish a change in gears. One of these, as aforementioned, is the cassette cogs, and another is the derailleur pulleys.

If any of these pieces become dirty, damaged, or loose, they will not only cause noises but make it difficult for you to pedal.

How often should I lube my bike chain?

According to, your bike chain needs to be lubricated at least once a month, if not every two weeks!

How do I get rid of noisy pedals?

The most common way to get rid of noise coming from your pedals is to simply use a pedal wrench and tighten them.

If looseness is not the problem, you may want to replace your bike pedals entirely.

Locate and Eliminate bicycle noise: clicks, clunks, rubbing, creaking >> Check out the video below:

In Conclusion

To sum it all up, a bike can click, clunk, squeak, or make all sorts of annoying sounds when pedaling if it is not maintained properly.

The reasons behind this can be anything from the looseness of certain parts, like the pedals themselves or the derailleur pulleys, or a lack of lubricant on important areas, like the bike chain!

As long as you are making sure to keep your bike thoroughly oiled, cleaned with solvent, and tightened regularly, you should notice a significant drop in those pesky noises!


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John Muranko

John is Founder and Senior Bike Editor at ProBikeCorner. John is a bike and travel addict who has cycled through 17+ countries and doesn't really have any plans of stopping. He´s passionate about helping others by creating technical resources, in-depth reviews and more…

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