Why Does My BMX Bike Click When I Pedal? + Troubleshooting Tips

Why Does My BMX Bike Click When I Pedal?

Hey fellow BMX riders! If you’ve ever experienced an annoying clicking or creaking noise coming from your bike when you pedal, you’re not alone.

This common issue can drive any rider crazy trying to figure out what’s causing it and how to fix it.

As someone who’s dealt with my fair share of mysterious clicks, I wanted to share what I’ve learned about diagnosing and solving this problem.

In this article, we’ll cover all the details about those pesky pedaling clicks – where they come from, what may be wrong, and how to troubleshoot the source.

We’ll also talk tips for quieting the noise, whether repairs or replacements are needed, and when to take your bike to a professional.

Read on for the inside scoop so you can get back to smooth, silent riding!

Why Does My BMX Click When I Pedal?

The first question we always ask – why is my bike clicking in the first place?

The simple answer is that some component is either loose, needs lubrication, or is worn out.

The repetitive motion of pedaling forces parts together, and anything slightly out of alignment or friction-free will make itself known through annoying clicks or creaks.

It’s very common with BMX bikes because of the constant impacts from jumps and tricks.

Things can shake loose over time. The good news is that isolating the cause is the first step towards fixing it.

Once you know where the click is coming from, you can take action to silence it.

Some of the most common causes include:

  • Chain and drivetrain issues
  • Loose crank arms and pedals
  • Bottom bracket or bearings needing lube/replacement
  • Rear hub problems
  • Loose bolts/nuts somewhere on the frame or components

So in most cases, the click relates to some moving part that connects your pedal stroke to the rear wheel propulsion. Finding the exact culprit just takes a little detective work!

Why Does the Clicking Happen When Pedaling?

You’ll notice the clicks happen when applying force on the pedals – meaning something is moving or flexing enough to cause friction. Then when you stop pedaling, the click goes away. This really helps narrow down the source – it’s got to be something that engages with your pedal stroke.

Places to look are the chain, crankset, bottom bracket, and rear hub. If you also hear the noise when coasting, it likely points more towards the hub or chain. But don’t worry, we’ll walk through how to pinpoint the problem area.

Is It Normal for a BMX Bike to Click?

While a little clicking here and there may seem innocent enough, the answer is no – it’s not considered normal for a bike to click with each pedal stroke.

Some occasional drivetrain noise when shifting gears or a click when initially pedaling is common, but not a persistent metallic click that doesn’t go away.

Think of it like your car – if it made strange clicking noises whenever you hit the gas, you wouldn’t just ignore it!

That sound means something isn’t right, and on your bike it’s no different.

Clicks indicate wear, misalignment or looseness somewhere.

The longer you ride it making that sound, the more damage it could do to parts.

It’s best to address the issue to avoid bigger problems down the road.

A well tuned bike should pedal smooth and quietly.

So don’t settle for clicks – it likely signifies a needed repair or adjustment!

How Often Is Clicking Normal?

As a general rule, any clicking, creaking or popping sound happening with every pedal stroke (or rotation of the wheels/cranks) is too frequent.

Intermittent clicks when starting to pedal, shifting gears or applying strong pressure are more expected.

The concern rises when it happens constantly with each revolution.

You may not notice a minor click at first, but it will generally get louder and more frequent over time without attention.

So even if it seems minor now, get it checked to avoid bigger issues.

Think of clicks as your bike’s early warning system!

Diagnosing the Source of the Clicking Sound

Determining exactly what’s causing the click is key before you can fix it.

So how do you pinpoint where the noise is coming from?

Here are some tips to isolate and diagnose the culprit:

  • First, try to reproduce it! Ride and pedal normally to make the click happen consistently. Note when it happens in the pedal stroke.
  • Now stop pedaling and spin the cranks/wheels backward – does it still click when coasting? This can rule in or out the chain and drivetrain.
  • Check various spots by putting your ear close as you pedal – bottom bracket, rear stays, front fork, etc. The source will be loudest.
  • Apply pressure and wiggle/move components to replicate sound (pedals, crank, chainring, wheel).
  • Use a degreaser/cleaner on areas to remove gunk and isolate noise. This can reveal issues.
  • Eliminate possibilities by swapping parts – new pedals, chain, seat post, stem, etc if you have spares available.

Getting up close and personal with your bike while methodically testing different areas is key.

Take the time to isolate where exactly the click emanates from.

This critical diagnostic step will reveal the problem part.

Tools to Help Diagnose Clicking

Using a few basic bike tools can also help pinpoint clicking noises:

  • A Torque Wrench – loose bolts are a common culprit, so checking torque specs can reveal issues.
  • A Lubricant like WD-40 – spray on areas like bolts, pedals, chainrings. If click disappears briefly, it indicates a lack of lube.
  • Bike Grease – regrease parts like threaded bottom brackets, wheel axles, pedal threads. Noise reduction points to worn grease.
  • Adjustable Wrench – wiggle parts to replicate sound. Loose parts that click will show the problem.

Don’t forget your own senses of hearing and feel!

Your ears and hands are actually the best tools for isolating clicks.

Common Causes of Clicking Noises in BMX Bikes

Now that we’ve covered techniques for diagnosing the clicking, let’s examine some of the most frequent causes so you know what to look (and listen) for.

Here are the usual suspects:

1. Chain and Drivetrain

One of the most common sources of clicking is a worn, dirty or improperly lubricated chain.

The chain links engage with the cassette cogs and chainrings, so any stiffness or grime buildup can cause clicks with each revolution.

A grimy, bone-dry chain sounds like sandpaper and needs a thorough degreasing and relube.

Replacing a stretched and worn chain will often fix persistent clicking.

Just lubricating it is not enough once it reaches a certain wear point.

Misaligned gears, damaged cassette cogs and bent chainring teeth can also cause clicks and should be inspected.

Any damaged drivetrain parts will need replacement.

Proper gear adjustments and chain maintenance are key.

2. Loose Cranks and Pedals

The crankset and pedals also see tremendous force with each pedal stroke, so looseness here is a prime suspect for clicks.

Make sure crank bolts and arms are tight on the bottom bracket spindle interface. Wiggle cranks laterally to check for play.

Remove and grease pedal threads regularly, then tighten fully.

Damaged pedal bearings that allow play can also click – spin pedals to feel grinding or looseness indicating worn internals.

Rebuild or replace deteriorated bearings.

3. Bottom Bracket and Bearings

The junction between crankset and bike frame relies on bearings inside the bottom bracket (BB) to spin smoothly.

If these become pitted, rough or loose, the BB will click with each revolution.

Sealed cartridge BB units can be replaced once worn.

Traditional cup-and-cone style BBs need periodic regreasing, inspection and adjustment of bearing play.

A clicking BB indicates worn bearings needing service or replacement.

4. Rear Hub Issues

The wheel hub contains bearings too, allowing the axle to spin inside the hub body.

If these bearings lose proper adjustment or deteriorate, clicks will transmit through the rear triangle.

Popping the wheel off to spin just the hub will help isolate the sound.

Pitted bearings, damaged pawls inside the freehub, and loose cones/axles are common rear hub issues that click, especially under load.

5. Loose Frame Bolts

It’s not uncommon for bolts on BMX bikes to rattle loose over time.

Hard landings can cause things to shift position.

Listen for any clicks from the front or rear forks, stem, brake mounts or axles.

Try tightening any visible bolts to see if it stops the noise.

Loose seat and handlebar post clamps are other sneaky culprits.

Use a torque wrench and threadlocker when re-tightening major bolts.

Is a Bike Supposed to Click When Not Pedaling?

Let’s get into the scenarios where clicking happens while coasting vs only when pedaling.

Hopefully you’ve now narrowed down the general region generating the noise using the steps above.

If the click only happens when applying force on the pedals, the source is likely:

  • Chain and drivetrain
  • Pedals, cranks or bottom bracket
  • Front hub (less common)

These all rely on pedal input to rotate, so they exhibit clicks under load.

If the click goes away while coasting, focus your diagnosis on these areas.

However, clicks while coasting indicate an issue with:

  • Rear hub bearings
  • Brake pads rubbing
  • Frame or fork bolts needing tightening

Since these components spin constantly, even without pedaling, they’ll click when freewheeling if problematic.

Isolate the noise in coasting vs pedaling mode to get closer to the root cause.

Tips for Troubleshooting Clicking Noises on a BMX

We’ve covered a ton so far on potential sources and diagnosing the issue.

Now let’s get into specific troubleshooting tips to silence those pesky clicks:

  • Thoroughly clean and degrease drivetrain then relube the chain, cogs, pulleys and chainrings. Listen for improvement.
  • Tighten any potentially loose bolts and connections – handlebars, brakes, fork, frame.
    Especially check hidden spots.
  • Remove pedals and bottom bracket to clean, inspect and regrease threads.
    Check chainring bolts too.
  • Adjust rear hub bearings and grease axle contacts if click seems isolated to the wheel spinning.
  • Replace any visibly damaged or worn drivetrain parts – chain, cassette, chainrings, cables.
  • Upgrade to sealed cartridge bearings in hubs and bottom bracket if using loose ball bearings.
  • Test for bent spokes causing rim/brake rub – spin wheel and watch for wobble at rim braking surfaces.
  • If click persists in one crank arm, remove arms and inspect spindle, BB interface and pedal threads for damage.
  • Check wheel axles are tight and lubricated, not allowing play while rotating.

Don’t forget the simple stuff!

Loose seat, dirty/seized derailleur pulleys, gummed up cables, etc can all cause drivetrain misalignment and noise.

Be meticulous and systematic to pinpoint the problem.

When To Visit A Bike Shop For Clicking Issues?

Sometimes you’ll need to bring the bike to your local shop if the click goes unsolved after thorough home troubleshooting.

Mechanics have specialized tools and expertise to isolate tricky issues.

Consider visiting a shop if:

  • The click persists after cleaning/lubing drivetrain, bolts, bearings, pedals and bottom bracket.
  • You suspect warped/damaged parts like the frame, wheels or crankset.
  • Significant play is felt in wheel hubs or BB indicating component damage.
  • You need bearing, hub, or bottom bracket overhaul with special tools.
  • The sound is extremely loud/frequent and you fear imminent failure or damage.

While shops charge for repairs, they can solve mystery clicks and prevent further problems.

If you’re stumped after all DIY efforts, their trained ears and diagnostic skills may be needed!

Knowing When To Replace Worn Parts Causing Clicks

Here’s the big decision once you’ve located the clicking component – is it worn enough to require replacement, or can you silence it with cleaning, adjustment or lubrication?

If the click stems from damaged, deformed or badly pitted parts, replacement is likely your only remedy:

  • Bent/damaged chainrings or cassette cogs need replacing.
  • A chain stretched past its service limit won’t run quietly – install a new one.
  • Badly pitted/rough bearings in hubs and bottom brackets typically require new bearings or whole unit replacement.
  • Axles and BB spindles with cracks, deformities or corrosion will need swap out.

For less severe wear, try the following remedies before resorting to replacements:

  • Chains within stretch limit – thorough degrease and relube may quiet.
  • Cassettes/chainrings – clean and check closely for shark fins indicating replacement need.
  • Pedals/BB – clean and regrease threads, check closely for damage.
  • Hubs – readjust, clean and repack bearings to remove all play and roughness.

Use your best judgment on wear and whether renewed lubrication will temporarily mask deeper damage.

Your safety depends on components being in sound shape, so replace uncertain parts if needed.

But sometimes a good deep clean is all it takes!

Final Thoughts

Tracking down annoying clicking on a BMX bike may require time and patience.

But with the right systematic approach, you can diagnose the problem and silence those irritating noises!

Remember to thoroughly clean areas and regrease threads/bearings during inspection.

Feel and listen closely while pedaling and coasting.

If clicks disappear with lube but quickly return, worn parts likely need replacement.

Riding a squeak-free, smooth rolling bike is possible and worth the effort to tune and troubleshoot issues.

Just take it step by step to pinpoint the source, then correct it.

You’ll be rewarded with a peaceful, quiet ride once again.

With this guide’s help, you can channel your inner bike detective and solve the mystery clicks happening with each pedal stroke.

Here’s to many happy years of click-free riding ahead!

Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips for isolating pesky BMX noises.

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Joey B. Ramsey
Passionate cyclist, father, and blogger.
I've been riding bikes since childhood and enjoy sharing my knowledge with fellow cycling enthusiasts.
My diverse bike collection allows me to write reviews and advice based on personal experience with various bikes and accessories.
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