Creaking and noise in your suspension often depends on where you ride. Problems can occur especially with your suspension pivots when dust and dirt get between the metal surfaces or carbon and metal mounting points and start to make the bike creak and have strange sounds which can be very annoying.
We show you a simple method for removing noise, in this case from our Cannondale test bike which was lightly creaking after a very dusty ride. The squeak/creak noise that we finally identified was coming from the top pivot. In many cases most bikes have a similar pivot set-up with sealed cartridge bearings. It is a good idea to check monthly that everything is clean around those bearings, especially if riding in dusty conditions, fine dust has a way of working its way into tight areas between surfaces and making your bike noisy.
Tools: Allen Keys, cleaner, an old rag.
There are three pivots one of which was creating a creak.
The top pivot was identified as the main source of noise. As you can see it is covered in dust.
The pivots are all dry bushed pivots with sealed bearings, but dirt can still build up and cause a creak.
Firstly remove the pivot bolts with an Allen key, in this case a 5mm.
Check the bolts for wear, here the bolt is dry no lube, but there is a build up of dust.
Taking the pivot apart there is grime build up that needs to be removed.
Also remove any loose hardware and check for wear and dust build up.
Here you can see a build up of dirt around the bearing casing, a prime source of creaking sounds.
We remove the bushing and clean one of the main pivots.
The through axle is removed.
The exposed bearing is very dirty and with dust/dirt build up on the different surfaces despite regular washing. A gentle squeaking sound was emanating from this area.
The through axle also has dirt build up, despite washing the bike regularly it has not been removed.
Take a dry rag and start to clean the pivots.
Clean also all surfaces around the bushings.
A clean axle.
Clean hardware parts that go against the bearing.
The receiving end of the seat stay here needs more dirt removal than just with a dry cloth.
Here we use a gentle degreaser.
We also used a light lubricant on any axle parts.
The bearings are cleaned with out any aggressive cleaning fluid, we do not want to strip out the grease from within the bearing casing.
Also check and clean the wheels axle drop out.
After degreasing, the pivot receiving opening is clean.
The axle is clean.
Very lightly spray, in this case a water based lubricant, onto the bearing surface to ease mounting, wipe excess clear.
Reposition and mount the stay swing arm.
With a soft mallet re-home the axle.
Tighten down the pinch bolts to the specified recommended torque.
Remount the rear pivot points, checking everything is straight and clean.
Tighten everything down, ensure there is no over tightening.
The rear pivot area is cleaned and now creak free after a wheel remount and test.
Check the other pivots and clean as necessary.
Back in one piece, the whole operation took around 30 minutes and saves hours of frustration on the trail when riding with a creaky bike. A simple yet very effective way to make your ride more enjoyable.