There’s nothing more annoying than squeaking sounds coming from your BMX bike when you pedal. Each time you turn the cranks, there’s a sneaky creak and a squeak you can’t seem to pinpoint. Why does my BMX bike squeak when I pedal? This is one of the most common problems BMX riders experience – and we know just how to solve it!
The reason why BMX bikes squeak is because of metal-to-metal contact on components. That contact may be created by corrosion, lack of greased parts, ill-fitting and loose bolts, or a dry chain. Routinely applying bicycle-specific greases and lubricants to metal-to-metal contact areas eliminates untoward squeaks and maintains BMX bikes’ durability.
As much as you love whipping, grinding, jumping with your BMX, the maintenance of your bike is as important as a perfect landing. When you’re flying the through air, the last thing you want to worry about is your BMX bike’s chain snapping or the crank working loose.
If you’re a newbie, don’t become overwhelmed: you can keep your BMX running silently and sweetly with just a few tools and some grease. From the headset, pedals, cranks, the bottom bracket and to the rear hub, these components need only a few minutes of maintenance once every week to keep your BMX bike running perfectly and also extend its reliability that much further.
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What can cause my BMX bike to squeak when I pedal?
The squeaking and creaking from your BMX bike when you pedal is caused by metal-to-metal contact. Finding the source of that can sometimes take a bit of spanners-and-elbows effort, but using these foolproof checks I’ve learned will not only save you time but also teach you just how to keep your bike in tip-top condition too.
BMX bike chains can tolerate a lot of abuse. These are one of the most overlooked yet overworked components on BMX bikes.
A bike chain may create mysterious squeaks that seemingly travel around the bike through the frame’s tubes to leave you fooled you into scratching your head regarding its actual cause and location.
A simple test: run your finger over the chain. If it is dry, simply wipe the chain clean with a cloth to remove any dust and dirt and then lube the chain.
After a short test ride, does the bike still squeak? Solving a squeaking bike is a process of elimination, and this is the first and most likely solution.
Don’t become despondent, though. There are a few more tricks and steps to take that are guaranteed to rid your ride of squeaks and creaks. Armed with 5 mm and 8 mm hex wrenches and a 14 mm socket wrench, you’ll be able to check the bike over to cure those squeaks from your BMX bike when you pedal.
What Must I Check to Fix my Squeaking BMX Bike When I Pedal?
The three most used workshop items for fixing and maintaining BMX bikes are a set of hex wrenches, grease and lube.
Here we’ve listed the best fixes to cure any further squeaks when you pedal your BMX bike:
- Pedals: Check the pedals to see they’re tightly threaded onto the crankarms. If they’ve worked loose, unscrew the pedals to remove them so you can re-grease their threads and then re-install them.
- Crank Bolts: If the cranks move side-to-side more than 2-3 mm, you’ll need to tighten the bolts. With an 8 mm hex wrench or a 14 mm socket wrench, remove the bolts to re-grease them and then re-install them. At the same time, check to see if they display signs of rust; replace them if they do.
- Sprocket and Spindle: While busy with the crank bolts, check the sprocket and spindle too. Tighten these bolts with a 5-mm hex wrench.
- Seat Post and Seat: Lean onto your seat with your body’s full weight and shift it around the seat to check for squeaks as the seat post and seat move from the weight. If you detect any squeaks, then check your seat clamp bolts and seat post clamp bolts. Once again, remove them to re-grease them and re-installing them will remove those annoying creaks. As with the crank bolts, check to see if you spot any signs of corrosion; simply replace the rusty bolts if necessary.
- Bottom Bracket: After you’ve completed checks on all the above items, and discover the squeak persists, then through the process of elimination you have pinpointed the squeaky culprit to be the bottom bracket. This is the most difficult area for newbies to work on simply for the fact that loosening and tightening the bottom bracket requires specialist tools. The good news is that your local bicycle shop will be able to remedy the squeaky bottom bracket in less than 10 minutes.
What Types of Grease and Lube Will Stop my BMX Bike Squeaking When I Pedal?
Metal-to-metal contact causes pesky squeaks. Your local hardware and bicycle shop will have a large selection of greases, lubes and oils available.
Which do you choose and for what components? Don’t use all-purpose motorcycle/vehicle bearing greases as these tend to be very sticky and very thick. These greases are designed to thin out over the metal-to-metal areas only after very high levels of heat and friction have been reached.
Applying the incorrect grease-type to your BMX bike could cause more damage than annoying metal-to-metal squeaks when you pedal.
The most popular and common bicycle-specific greases feature an anti-seize compound that also prevents rust. There are many brands to choose from, but you’ve only got to make sure for your BMX that the one you choose features that anti-seize compound solution.
Bicycle-specific grease is similar to a lubricant, but they serve different purposes on different components due to the rates of wear and use.
Where to use bicycle grease:
- Bike wheel bearings
- Crank bolts
- Pedal threads
- Seat and seat post bolts
- Bottom bracket threads
- Headset cups
Don’t be fooled by multi-purpose WD-40 either to lubricate your BMX bike’s chain: it isn’t a replacement for chain lube because it is simply not a lubricant.
There are two types of chain lubes to bear in mind: dry and Wet. Dry lubes work best for dry conditions and clean chains – and need re-lubricating once every few rides. Wet lubes can be used in any condition and last for weeks of use before requiring re-application.
Where to use a bicycle-specific lubricant:
- Brake lever pivots
- When dislocating jammed and stuck components
How do I Prevent Squeaks from my BMX Bike When I Pedal?
No matter which chain lube type you use, the effort you put into your chain’s condition will reward you with long-lasting reliability. Re-applying lube according to the type you have will coat and protect your chain as well as eliminate all squeaks and creaks.
Metal-to-metal contact creates corrosion. The best way to treat this is to re-apply the bicycle-specific greases to the needy areas. A simple re-grease of key components once in a while will ensure your BMX bike’s long-term durability and retain its failsafe qualities too.
Washing your pride and joy too often and too deeply with strong detergents will also wash off the much-needed grease and lube. As counter-intuitive as it might seem, limit washing your BMX bike to maintain its protectively greased and lubricated layers. Use a moist cloth and dampened chamois to keep your bike gleaming.