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Was that stomach flutter a hunger pang or guilt caused by ludicrous extravagance?

As I punched in my PIN to part with £100 for a pair of titanium QR skewers I noticed a light flutter in my stomach.

At the time I put it down to the fact that I hadn’t yet eaten lunch but on reflection it could have been what remains of the sensible me raising a muted objection that this was rather a lot of money to be spending on something I didn’t strictly need and for which there were numerous alternatives that didn’t cost quite as much.

My extravagance came as a direct result of an increasingly febrile hunt to track down the cause of an infuriating click. Over a period of several weeks I’d eliminated so many possible causes that it seemed incontrovertible to me that the problem lay in my skewers. (How’s that for questionable diagnostics?)

So I popped into a bike shop and browsed the options. What happened next will be depressingly familiar to cyclists everywhere: my initial rejection of the hilariously overpriced Ti option turned to mild desperation at the lack of an immediately available alternative, which then turned into serious consideration of the Ti option due to the salesman’s patter, which turned into a reappraisal of the Ti option (noting afresh the elegant, minimalist lines and feather lightness), which duly turned into one of those dangerous oh fukkit moments. Out came the card; off home I skipped, feeling thrilled and guilty in equal measure.

What the heck has happened to me? I used to mock people who were prepared to spend £100 on titanium skewers. I regarded them as pitiful weight weenies and slavish gadget boys. All the gear; no idea. And now here I am: one of them. Truly I am lost forever.

And before you ask, the click’s still there.

Anyone want to buy a pair of Ti skewers? They’re really nice.

Lifelong lover of most things cycling-related, from Moulton Mini adventures in the 70s to London bike messengering in the 80s, commuting in the 90s, mountain biking in the noughties and road cycling throughout. Editor of Simpson Magazine (www.simpsonmagazine.cc). 

48 comments

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TheLonelyOne [402 posts] 5 years ago
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Here is a tortured soul.

Whilst I will of course gently mock you for your extravagance, I feel that if I do so I should try help you in your quest for silent cycling once more.

Tell us the nature of the clicking, and let's hear what you've tried in your search.

My bet is the front shifter gear cable brushing against your shoes and pinging back.

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Martin Thomas [385 posts] 5 years ago
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No it's not the cable - that's tucked neatly out of the way. I'll tell you what else it's not (all investigated and eliminated in various ways): pedals, cleats, wheels (hubs & spokes), saddle, seat post, stem, bars, cranks, bottom bracket, rear mech, front mech, seat collar, shifters and QR SKEWERS.

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TheLonelyOne [402 posts] 5 years ago
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Is it in sync with cadence, speed or random?

Things that I've had rattle and click:
* Inner tube valve against the rim
* Front chainring bolts loose / too tight.
* Shoe laces against chainstay
* External cables against frame.

The one I am most embarrassed by was my wrist watch strap loosening as I lost weight. The metal links were able to move and bounce against each other. I was convinced that something was coming loose in the left shifter assembly....

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Martin Thomas [385 posts] 5 years ago
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It comes and goes a bit, but it's broadly in time with crank turns. No shoe laces (and it happens with different shoes anyway), not the same sound as external cables vs frame, pretty sure the chain ring bolts have been checked but I'll double check. Haven't thought of the valve thing but I think that would be consistent wouldn't it? Anyway, I'll check. Thanks!

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sm [409 posts] 5 years ago
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Could have bought a nice pair of carbon earplugs for that price. Voila, no noise!

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Chrisc [151 posts] 5 years ago
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I was hunting down an annoying click for ages last summer. Turned out to be keys in my jacket pocket ....

PS I'll give you £50 for the skewers ...  4

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Leeroy_Silk [175 posts] 5 years ago
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Could the noise be from your shoes? I have an unused cleat nut in my shoes that sits in a slot, every time I pedal it rattles a tiny amount. Took me months to figure it out, but now whenever I hear I pedal knowing full well everything else must be fully dialled in to allow me to hear such a tiny noise  1

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crikey [1251 posts] 5 years ago
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I will make a prediction; it will be one of two things.

1. Your lower headset bearing has gone rusty and needs either replacing or cleaning.

2. You have factory built wheels and are keen on washing your bike. The noise is a spoke or spokes ticking with each wheel revolution. Solution; a drop of oil on each spoke hole in the rim, then set the wheels next to a radiator and revolve a few times overnight.

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DeanK [23 posts] 5 years ago
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I would check your pedals. I had something similar. Tended to be on the down motion of the crank. I removed the pedals, greased the thread and put them back. Creak gone.

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Beatnik69 [426 posts] 5 years ago
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I have had a clicking noise on my bike. It was really annoying today. I had it up on the workstand after my ride and I noticed that on one of the rear sprockets a plate on the chain was catching on one of the teeth before dropping into place. I've only been out on it about 8 times so back to the shop for sorting out it will go.

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Beatnik69 [426 posts] 5 years ago
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I have had a clicking noise on my bike. It was really annoying today. I had it up on the workstand after my ride and I noticed that on one of the rear sprockets a plate on the chain was catching on one of the teeth before dropping into place. I've only been out on it about 8 times so back to the shop for sorting out it will go.

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Martin Thomas [385 posts] 5 years ago
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Funnily enough my friendly LBS (Rule 5 in Brighton - excellent shop) spent five hours on this last week. This is what he did: reassembled crankset and bb, tensioned wheels, fibre gripped seatpost, changed seat collar, tightened hub bearings, tightened shifters, fibre gripped stem face plate, and greased pedals axles and bearings.

Once I'd got the bike back I decided the Ti skewers were a mistake so I swapped them for the original Mavics. Went out for the club ride yesterday and *sigh* more clicks. Was figuring out with a heavy heart how to break the news to my LBS when something occurred to me. I stopped briefly to tighten up the rear skewer. Result? No clicks! (Well, maybe just a tiny one from somewhere or other but I can live with that...probably).

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mbrads72 [242 posts] 5 years ago
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Martin Thomas wrote:

I stopped briefly to tighten up the rear skewer. Result? No clicks! (Well, maybe just a tiny one from somewhere or other but I can live with that...probably).

Wouldn't be a Canyon would it?

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rich22222 [167 posts] 5 years ago
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Is it your knee?

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russwparkin [45 posts] 5 years ago
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i realised i became a cycling ponce when i turned around after a mile to go and change my socks as they just didnt work right with the jersey i was wearing.

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domd [12 posts] 5 years ago
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i had a strange clicking noise when i was riding earlier today.. turned out that the bolt clamping the saddle rails needed a half turn

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mpaulpearson [4 posts] 5 years ago
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Chain needs cleaning, then diesel and dry wax lube.

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Martin Thomas [385 posts] 5 years ago
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mbrads72 wrote:

Wouldn't be a Canyon would it?

No, Enigma.

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GrouchoMC [8 posts] 5 years ago
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Skewer related clicks and creaks are quite comment but can actually be the interface between mech hanger and frame. Tightening the skewer can mask it for a while but taking the mech hanger off and cleaning/greasing between it and the frame can solve such problems.

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sea_biscuit [31 posts] 5 years ago
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GrouchoMC wrote:

Skewer related clicks and creaks are quite comment but can actually be the interface between mech hanger and frame. Tightening the skewer can mask it for a while but taking the mech hanger off and cleaning/greasing between it and the frame can solve such problems.

as above quote and furthermore, what solved it for me, was greasing the contact surfaces between forks and front skewer and rear frame and rear QR.... all squeaks gone...for now

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banzicyclist2 [299 posts] 5 years ago
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If it's a push fit bottom bracket it could be it needs a bit of silicone grease. My new bike developed a click like the one you describe, greasing the bottom bracket did the trick.  7

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rix [269 posts] 5 years ago
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I am about to embark on a quest of finding my mysterious click!

Wish me luck!

 17

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sandrider69 [4 posts] 5 years ago
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I've got some brilliant news for you...you have to buy a new bike!  36

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Grizzerly [366 posts] 5 years ago
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rich22222 wrote:

Is it your knee?

That was my first thought, or tinnitus...

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The Gimp [3 posts] 5 years ago
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You Da Man  16

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rix [269 posts] 5 years ago
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rix wrote:

I am about to embark on a quest of finding my mysterious click!

Well, the click is gone... What did I do? Nothing!

I pumped up my tires before going out for a ride, in a last ditch-effort, to locate mysterious click on my bike before I disassemble it. Well, the bloody thing was not there anymore! I tried everything to bring that annoying sound back... I sprinted, climbed, TT'd. I tried one foot pedaling, no hands, no feet. I even kicked both tires... nothing helped. Silence!

And what if that annoyance comes back at most inappropriate of times - long ride? I will not have a faintest idea where it comes from and how to get rid of it! It has a potential to ruin a nice day out on a bike at some point in the future. How can it be that an annoying problem, when resolved, is able to become even more annoying?!

P.S. At the moment, it looks like the most probable cause of disappearance of clicking sound on my bike is dramatic failure of my hearing...  17

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arowland [192 posts] 5 years ago
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How do you know it's going if it doesn't click or rattle?

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Welsh boy [714 posts] 5 years ago
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mpaulpearson wrote:

Chain needs cleaning, then diesel and dry wax lube.

The chain then needs another clean and lubricating with a proper oil that doesnt wash off at the first forecast of rain.

Clicks: chainring bolts. Rings off, clean interface between rings and spider, re-tighten bolts.

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Blue_Brevatto [37 posts] 5 years ago
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My offering is the cup of the wheel bearing.
(This assumes of course that you have cup and cone bearings in your wheels - I don't know if cartridge-based wheels would give the same symptoms).
Anyway last year my commuter bike developed a constant clicking which was definitely coming from the front wheel. I stripped down the hubs and re-greased them, re-adjusted the bearings and it went away ... for a while ! Then it came back only a little bit worse. Another strip and overhaul - with nothing obviously wrong spotted and once again it was fine - for a few hundred miles but then returned. By this time I knew I could "make it go away" by tightening up the QR but I still didn't know why because the bearings themselves were properly adjusted after each strip and the cone lock-nuts were tight. Eventually nature took its natural course in matters of this kind and the hub failed. Not catastrophically. But the outer race (the cup which is a press-fit in the hub shell) had cracked in a circle - probably roughly in-line with where the balls would contact. Once the crack had gone full-circle it was obvious because even with the lock-nuts tight part of the cup was still loose and trying to fall out. I suspect what was happening before that was that it was partly cracked and the balls were clicking as they ran across the crack. But tightening the QR put just enough tension into axle to either close the crack temporarily or to make the balls run in a slightly different line so they ran quiet. Until the crack progressed to the point where it could click again. And further adjustment of the cones and tightening of the QR was simply going in this loop until the cup failed completely. In hindsight the design of the cup - with an external lip designed I assume to reduce ingress of water/muck - made it more difficult to inspect that area and I probably spent too much time looking at the ball bearings and the cones for wear.

You'll probably tell me now that you've got a cartridge-bearings in a HOPE wheel. FWIW mine was a pretty cheap Shimano stock wheel and they'd done c10K.

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Martin Thomas [385 posts] 5 years ago
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Blue_Brevatto wrote:

My offering is the cup of the wheel bearing. [...]
You'll probably tell me now that you've got a cartridge-bearings in a HOPE wheel. FWIW mine was a pretty cheap Shimano stock wheel and they'd done c10K.

I do have cartridge bearings I'm afraid - wheels are Mavic Ksyrium SLS - but thanks for the detailed reply. This thread has made me realise just how many possible causes there are for a click...it's a miracle any bike ever runs quietly!

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