2012 Tarmac Expert SL3...a little advice please

by Al'76   June 23, 2013  

Hoping for a bit of guidance re the BB on my 2012 Expert SL3 please.
I bought the bike at the beginning of the year but, due to our fantastic British weather, have only used it over the last couple of months or so. It's done 2,500kms max.
Over the last couple of weeks a loud clicking has developed in the BB; it's not a creak, but a definite click once per rotation of the the cranks.
I took it back to LBS last week and they stripped it down, greased the bearings (apparently there was virtually none) and put it all back together. They assured me the bearings were fine; perfectly smooth with no grinding whatsoever.
Rode it Friday and all seemed fine, and then rode again Saturday and the clicking is back. As the noise has reappeared after only 175kms it is clearly not due to a lack of grease on the bearings. It's really only evident when under power, so climbing mainly and, more so, when climbing out of the saddle.
Am I right in thinking that, on this model, Specialized don't use a "true" BB30 in that there are Delrin cups that house the bearings?
I don't really know where to go with this; I'm told the bearings are fine, everything is tightened to the correct torque and yet the problem is still, painfully, obvious At Wits End
Anybody got experience of this issue?

11 user comments

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I'm almost embarrassed to write this, but its not the end of your gear cable protruding and hitting on your crank arm is it as this will cause a clicking on every revolution?

The only reason I say it is because you say it occurs up hills and if you are changing to the small ring at the front the derailleur shifts and the cable can protrude more than when on the large ring.

Sorry for stating the obvious, but some times you can look past the obvious. Other than that and if the LBS have give the BB a clean bill of health then might be worth inspecting the chain and other drive chain components.

posted by Tinternet_tim [129 posts]
23rd June 2013 - 15:17


the same is happening on mine... and its not the cable!! Smile


posted by beecee34 [9 posts]
23rd June 2013 - 15:29


Don't be embarrassed at all; any suggestion is welcome.
That said, it's definitely not the cable...
I reckon the rest of the drivetrain is sound. My justification for this being that my first ride (post the BB greasing and rebuild) included several sets of hill reps, both long seated and short, sharp, out of the saddle climbs and neither caused the clicking.
Yesterday's ride was less structured but, inevitably, included a variety of hills and it was towards the end of this ride that the clicking reappeared. My thinking is that if it wasn't the BB it would have been apparent on both of these rides; what do you reckon?

posted by Al'76 [127 posts]
23rd June 2013 - 15:41


Pedals? Have you removed them and cleaned and greased the threads. I had a bit of grit in mine once and it made a click once per revolution.

posted by pjay [240 posts]
23rd June 2013 - 16:42


Hadn't but will definitely give it a go. If it turns out to be that simple it'll be a result.

posted by Al'76 [127 posts]
23rd June 2013 - 17:06


Can you get it on a turbo and have someone kneel down close enough to more closely determine the source while you pedal?

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3705 posts]
23rd June 2013 - 22:48


Hi notfastenough,
Might well give that a go if swapping out the bearings doesn't do the trick but given that greasing the BB bearings sorted the issue for 150k or so I'm pretty sure that's where the issue is.
I kinda feel that on £3k bike that has done a shade over 2,000kms it's the shop's problem and they need to sort it. Just hoping that they share my sentiments...

posted by Al'76 [127 posts]
24th June 2013 - 9:18

1 Like

Please don’t think I’m mental with this one Thinking
I had a similar problem and I have tracked it down to the headrace bearings being dry/worn out. Its been plaguing me for a couple of weeks and several strip downs and retightens later I was none the wiser until I was caught out in a rain storm the other day and it stopped. Stripped it down cleaned, greased, tightened it up and job done no more clicking. My bike is aluminium but the principle should be the same. Hope it helps.

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [490 posts]
24th June 2013 - 11:45


Hi Cidermart,
Don't think you're mad at all; I had an identical issue on an Allez Elite where the alloy steerer had gotten dry and need greasing. Initially, I thought that was BB.
On the Tarmac, the headset has been checked for play and all is good (though the bearings have not been checked!).
I can't get away from the fact that the BB was greased and all was good for few kilometers and then the clicking / creaking returned...
Thanks for your input.

posted by Al'76 [127 posts]
25th June 2013 - 9:12


Well, Tarmac is back with LBS. They contacted Specialized who say this is a known issue! FFS, why continue to use a design with a known issue Surprise
Long and short of it; Specialized are sending a Bonding Kit that will, apparently, eliminate any movement in the Delrin cups and, just maybe, I can get back to noise free riding. Happy that this is an issue that (I'm really tempting fate here!) can be easily resolved, but just a little bit disappointed in Specialized. I guess re-tooling is a cost too far.
Still love the bike though Big Grin
At least, for now....

posted by Al'76 [127 posts]
25th June 2013 - 14:03


No problems I'm glad that you have an end in sight. I agree though that if they know it's a problem waiting for a complaint is a bit of a poor show it's far better to be proactive about it. Hope it doesn't take too long and that it does work.

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [490 posts]
25th June 2013 - 17:17