Road Gear

Technical FAQ: Mystery ticking

Why does my new bike tick?

Originally published: April 2002

Question: I have a new Bianchi SL Light frame.  I swapped my Dura-Ace 7700 components over from another bike to this one. Now, however, I have a tick in the bottom bracket area that I can’t get rid of. I’ve tried a new bottom bracket, I have a new chain, cogs, I’ve tried different wheels and pedals.  The only thing I haven’t tried are new chainrings ($100 for new DA chainrings … sheesh).

The tick is always in the same spot, when the left crank arms is about even with the down tube.  It’s intermittent in that it ticks about 75 percent of the time.  Under heavy load, out of the saddle, it ticks on the left and right side.

But…sometimes it ticks when I’m soft pedaling, sometimes it’s quiet when I’m pushing a big gear.  But again, when it does tick, it’s always at the same spot.

I can’t believe it’s the frame; it’s pretty beefy looking down there. But do you know of any of these types of problems with recent Bianchi frames? Could it be the chainrings: I’ve used chainrings for a long, long time and haven’t had any problems and these aren’t very old. Could the alignment between the cogs and the chainrings cause a tick? Is there something about my new Bianchi frame I should know?
I’m stumped and frustrated.

– Phil


I would approach the problem in this order:

  1. Grease the snot out of the bottom bracket threads and the inside of the cup that comes free where it fits over the cartridge, and re-install the BB. This prevents noise from parts moving relative to each other, like slop in threads or fit of the cup over the cartridge.
  2. Switch pedals and shoes to eliminate those as possibilities. Put your MTB shoes and pedals on and ride it.
  3. Remove, grease, and tighten the chainring bolts.

Of course, I assume you have already inspected your frame for cracks.

Good luck.

— Lennard