False Alarm

Sheldon Brown was a genius.

After experiencing the mystery clicking the other night and then riding quietly up and down the street for a half hour trying to figure out the source, I pretty much concluded that my bottom bracket was acting up.  Figuring $50 or so for the part and maybe $25 labor, I mentally prepare myself, with the worst part being that I have no idea how long the bike will be in the shop because of repair backlogs.

Out of curiousity, I check the Park website, and they give a list of things to check before focusing on the BB.  Especially enticing are the pedal bearings.  These are bargain Dimension pedals that have at least 4K miles on them, and it was easy to imagine them dying.  I figured that it would make the most sense to just replace them, so I was down to $35-50, depending on what I could find.

But wait!  I do a quick Google on bottom bracket noise, and up pops one of Sheldon’s sites, and it’s organized around noise.  Yup.  I had to discern between clicks and ticks; and the general area that it was coming from.  He pretty much matched the Park site, but then he includes this little innocuous comment: “check the —– ———.”

So I go home last night, and swap the pedal with the Cannondale, thinking about the bearing.  The clicking is gone.  I put the pedals back on, thinking I’ll pick up a pair this week, when I notice the little plastic reflector is loose.  The plastic nubs that snap it into the pedal cage have worn, and the reflector is flapping around.  It takes 5 seconds with a screw driver to pop out the reflectors…quick test ride in the street…no noise.

Another five seconds to remove the right side reflector, and all is well.  Cost: $0.00.

Sheldon, we luv ya!


2 responses to “False Alarm

  1. Last week, riding the old Collegiate, a single tick would occur every time my left foot was forward and just below horizontal. I couldn’t reproduce it off the bike, so I started experimenting with putting my foot on different parts of the pedal. It turned out that my shoelace aglet was slapping the downtube.

  2. It’s amazing how once we get used to a “better bike”, we fret over the slightest noise.

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