The Squeak

chainOne of the first things a new cyclist learns is how to lube the chain. The advice often given is to lube it every month or so…or every 200 miles…or every third ride…heck, there are as many suggestions about lubing the chain as there are bikes, it seems.

I’ve adopted my own routine over the years. I lube it every two weeks. During that two-week period, I will have ridden anywhere from 100-250 miles.

That has served me well, but a few weeks ago, I was on a ride one Sunday morning when the chain started squeaking several miles into the ride.

This surprised me, because I had lubed it the previous week, so it wasn’t due for another treatment. I clenched my teeth as I saw the ride through to its finish (luckily, I was going only about 25 miles that morning), and went to work on the chain as soon as I got home.

I applied degreaser, cleaned that off, then lubed the top of the chain. Then I lubed the bottom of the chain, and let the whole works sit overnight so the lube could penetrate.

The next morning, I grabbed a rag and wiped off the excess lube. When I took the bike out on an after-work ride the next afternoon, the drivetrain was perfectly quiet.

Imagine my surprise the next weekend then, when it started squeaking again. I repeated the work of the previous weekend.

After that week in England, I couldn’t wait to get out for another ride. The Saturday spin was great, but on Sunday, the squeak returned.

I recently replaced a rather viscous wet lube I’d been using with a thin wet lube. I’m tempted to try a dry lube, but we’ve had some decent rains around here lately, and I was caught in a shower on today’s ride. So I think I’ll wait until we get into the middle of summer when our prolonged drought returns in earnest.

Beyond that, I’m baffled as to why my chain should suddenly start squeaking. Any ideas?


  1. Jon says

    Bb’s areusually a creek, not a squeek. That being said, i have a knocking freewheel right now… At any rate, try some lube in other parts of the drive train. Maybe a chain tenlitioner is asking for attention?

        • Jon says

          Thumbs asside, happy spinnings to you! Despite injuries, subtropical (florida coastal) late-afternoon thunder storms, and girlfriend time, i still managed 83 miles this past week! Not the 150 i’m used to, but not bad either! Oh and BTW, watch out for sharp seashells. A nasty cut on the foot can put a serious kink in your flow, lol! Ride safe, ye brethren of the wheel! Tail-winds to ya, and ruber side down!

  2. says

    Check the chain for a pin that is about to break loose. Does the squeak appear only when you pedal under pressure or can you pedal lightly and no squeak? I had a problem like that and it turned out to be a pin had almost popped out of the link on a Shimano Ultegra chain.

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