Saturday, December 26, 2009


I began getting the dreaded clicking sound with every revolution of the cranks on my Quickbeam; it emerged after a long-ish ride last weekend, which included mashing up a fairly long hill on the backside of Queen Anne (that sounds kinda nasty, doesn’t it?) and so I brought the bike down into the basement to see what I might be able to do about it.

I removed the cranks and took out the bottom bracket, re-greased everything and put it all back together. But when I rode around yesterday on a few Christmas-day errands (Oh no! We’re out of beer!) I found the noise hadn’t gone away.

So, this morning, I brought the bike back downstairs, put it back up on the stand, and redid everything I did the other day, only this time, I removed the pedals, lubed them up and also, when re-attaching the cranks, I put a little bit of grease on the square taper before tightening up the crank bolts—with which I used a “cheater bar” (an old steel seatpost) on my wrench to get really good and tight.

Now, I’m aware that opinions differ on whether one should grease the bottom bracket square tapers. I was told, in the first overhaul class I ever took, that you ought to pinch a tiny bit of slippery stuff—like just as much as you have on your fingers after working—onto them. I’ve also heard, though, that they should be left pretty dry; after all, you don’t want them slipping around; it’s supposed to be all about friction fit.

However, it seems to me, in my experience, that more than just a tiny bit of grease does contribute to the cranks running more silently. At least, in this case, it did, because while I didn’t exactly slather the stuff on, I was pretty liberal in my application.

And, when I took the bike out for a test ride, all was quiet.

For now.


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