Why Does My Bicycle Chain Keep Clicking?

When you are on the road, the only sound you want to hear is whooshing of the trees passing by. Nothing is more annoying than a bicycle whose chain keeps clicking, especially when you are just trying to enjoy your ride.

The primary power transmitter in a bicycle is the chain that lies between your legs and the wheels. You will come across a number of maintenance issues associated with chain integrity and you’re helpless if you don’t solve it.

Find out more about problems regarding chain health and why does a bicycle chain keep clicking?

Why Does my Bicycle Chain Keep Making Clicking Noises?

There is never a definite answer to this. You can hear a squeaky clicking sound by something as simple as not oiling your chain regularly. It can easily be fixed by rubbing some oil on your chain as lubrication.

Aside from that, here are some common causes you can look for in your bicycle that may be the reason why your bicycle keeps clicking.

Factors Causing Clicking Noise From Bicycle Chain

1. The chain on your bicycle is too old

Riders do not focus on the bike chain as often as they should. The chain on your bike tends to move around more horizontally as well as laterally as it stretches over time.

A new chain fits perfectly in the sprocket so you do not hear a thing. But over time, the gap widens and you can hear the chain clatter around as you pedal. Apart from that, a worn-out chain can damage your chainrings and sprockets as well.

2. The chain is misaligned

Your chain may be misaligned because of poor placement of spacers, wrong sized wheels, chainrings or sprockets, or the rear wheel might not be centered.

In an ideal situation, the chain works with a straight path from rear sprocket to chain ring. Chains have a little flex so there is some grace involved, but it can wear down other components as well, if it gets too far. This causes the chain to click and jump.

The derailleurs need some adjustment

On geared bikes, the derailleurs are responsible for pushing and pulling the chain into gear. When it is poorly adjusted, the chain keeps clicking and jumping.

Most derailleurs and shifters depend on a cable for adjusting the gear. This can make the chain jump out of gear if the cable is too tight or too loose.

Even if you have a worn-out shifter cable, it can be fixed with a tune-up. However, shifter-derailleur balance is not an easy task, so you must take your bicycle to a local bike shop for adjustment.

The components are worn out or damaged

Some of the components on your bicycle might be damaged and fixing it costs a few bucks. This includes worn-out chainrings or sprockets. You need to switch to replacement when a chainring gets to the point where it cannot fully grip the chain anymore.

Some other parts that can potentially wear out are derailleurs, sprockets, shifters, and cranksets. There is no quick fix if any of these are broken or worn-out. Replacement is your only option.

How to Fix a Clicking Chain on a Bicycle

A clicking noise can be heard from the rear cassette when the chain on your bicycle is trying to jump up or down a gear. Generally, the issue is solved by adjusting the tension of the cable running from your shifter to your rear derailleur.

The location of barrel adjusters varies depending on the style of your bike. You may get its access from cables and/or near the rear derailleur, and the shifters. Use the barrel adjusters to fine-tune the tension on the cable.

To adjust the tension, you must turn the barrel adjuster  ¼ turn at once. You need to turn the adjusters clockwise if the chain looks like it will fall into a smaller cog. And turn it counter-clockwise if the chain is having trouble shifting to a larger cog.

In case if turning the barrel adjuster more than one full turn doesn’t fix your problem, you should consider taking your bicycle to a professional technician. The clicking sound may be coming from a bent derailleur hanger.

Bike Noises and Maintenance

A bike that is well maintained and properly set up is free of any creaks, squeaks, and clicking noises. But these annoying noises should not be ignored as it may indicate a serious problem.

  • Squeaky bike brake levers and shift levers
  • Rear and front suspension pivot noises
  • Squeaky bike saddle, derailleur
  • Creaky bike pedals, handlebars, and seat post
  • Rattling bolts and bike headset

How to Maintain a Bike

  1. Take your bike to a repair shop annually to get it serviced. A bike mechanic will check up on every little detail before it becomes a problem.
  2. Keep it clean. Adding lubrication helps to reduce wear and tear.
  3. Take some paste grease and liquid lube every time you go on a ride.
  4. Use a torque wrench to make sure all the bolts of your bike are tightened.

Final Words,

Finding the origin of a noise can be difficult. You can try to identify the root of the problem and make an attempt to solve it. However, you must have a basic idea of the bike parts and how they operate in order to properly diagnose and repair bike noises. In case it seems too complicated or confusing, you should take help from a professional.