Fingers crossed, but I think I finally have my bike fixed. Not my road bike, that one is still working great, but my mountain bike. My Trek 4300 which is mainly used for commuting and cruising around town has been giving me trouble for the past couple of weeks. The problem I have been having is a creaking noise coming from the crank area. It started out only making noise at speeds of 15mph higher, but has gradually gotten worse to the point that it would creak on every revolution of the pedals. I was worried that the problem was going to be serious – ala bottom bracket – due to the location of the sound. However, after numerous web searches, I found that a lot of minor problems manifest themselves as coming from the crank.
So, tonight, I tried a few of the possible fixes. The pedals were a bit loose, so I tightened them down. I also adjusted and lubed the seat post. I can’t believe that the seat would cause so much noise, but I found numerous forum posting suggesting it as a solution. The one thing that I wanted to tighten, but couldn’t because I don’t have correct sized wrench, is to tighten the crank arms. They don’t seem loose, but again, it was one of the more common suggestions.
Even with just the two possible fixes, the problem seems to have gone away. It was getting dark out, so I didn’t ride it around too much, but I couldn’t recreate the problem. I’ll probably take it out for a longer ride tomorrow, so we’ll see if the problem stays fixed.
One of the best resources I found for diagnosing the problem was Park Tools website. They have a great bike diagram where you pick the area you are having a problem and are then presented with repair and diagnostic information. The only downside is that you will (at least I did) inevitably wander over to the products Park Tools offers and drool over the Professional Tool Kit.