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Simon Ruane

weird crackling noise in the pedal area from my thin

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Hi, since I got my sondors bike, it makes a weird crackling/squeeking noise while pedaling. Is that normal? Does your Sondors make the same noise?
And if it´s not normal do you have any idea, how it goes away? The funny thing is: The noise stopps after I drive a certain speed. It is particularly loud when I don´t drive that fast.
Here is a video in which you hear the noise:

 

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That's definitely not normal. It sounds like a ball-bearing with broken balls... somehow.

Can you localize the sound? Does it come from the bottom bracket, or the rear axis?

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@3D-vice
It is extremely difficult to locate the sound. I already turned the pedal for 20 minutes while trying to listen where the sound exactly comes from, but I couldn´t figure it out :/
I only know that it pobably comes from the side or the middle of the "chain/pedal-wheel". :o

soundlocation.jpg

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@Simon Ruane - I am going guess here for now based on what I see, hear, and know from my own bikes.

It sounds a lot to me like the belt is WAY too tight. The chain ships stock that way, way way too tight.

This tightness puts a TON of pressure on the chainwheel bearings and the freewheel bearings. It sounds like your bearings are grinding in one of the two places, either in the crank assembly itself or the rear wheel where the freewheel is. I am not sure WHAT is back there for the belt drive system but I am guessing it's a single speed "freewheel" but with a belt drive friendly piece instead of the usual "teeth for a chain" part that most bikes would have.

To test which it is, front or back bearings, turn over the bike so you can work on it freely, and very carefully loosen the piece at the rear axle that is a washer with a metal piece on i that fits over the back of the frame's opening where the axle goes, assuming the belt drive system has this part. Then carefully loosen the rear wheels axle nuts just enough so that the axle and wheel can move forwards just a tiny bit in the frame. Move it forward just enough so your belt loosens up a little. Doesn't have to be super loose, just enough to take off some of the pressure. Then, tighten the rear axle nuts down enough to hold the wheel in place for the moment. Now backwards pedal again and listen. If you still hear the sound, listen carefully to both the rear freewheel/belt part and the section where the crankshaft bearings are. As loud as it was in the video, you should be able to figure if its the front or the back that's making the noises. If you do NOT hear the sound, it means it was indeed just the belt being too tight. If you do hear the sounds again, it means your bearings may be bad in the place the sound is coming from. But I am leaning towards releasing some of the tension being the solution to stop the sound.

Once done, make sure to make the back wheel as straight as possible and re-tighten the axle nuts, then that safety connector and tighten that down until it's snug but not pulling on the axle enough to make your back wheel move to an angle, or bend the metal piece itself.

I can go snap a photo of the part I'm describing but I don't have a belt drive, so I am not sure what yours has. I have attached a picture from my fat bike with chain to show what part I am talking about.

Have a go at this and report back. I'd be willing to bet that this is what is making the crackling sound - your belt is so tight that its putting undue pressure on the bearings. When you pedal backwards, those bearings are being smooshed and no amount of lube is going to quiet them. And there is a very very small possibility that the rear freewheel for your belt drive has been damaged, the bearings I mean, because of this stress but I wuldnt worry about that as much as getting the belt to stop being so tight.

Hope this helps!

IMG_4135.thumb.jpg.990ed9f0ad5462c9fd344165740fe6bc 2.jpg

 

Update - I just noticed you included a pic and mention you hear it from the front. the above suggestion to loosen the belt just a tiny bit SHOULD clear this up.

If the chainwheel bearings are damaged, you can replace them with new ones with a little basic break down of the crankshaft unit, and pop out the bearings which may be pressed in there very tight. They make tools to pop these out. I've used a wooden dowel and a hammer before on other bikes to pop them out. Note, once it's out, you will probably not get it back in. But if its damaged, that isnt an issue.

The reason it sounds like it's coming from the side is basic physics (i believe that is the right word, I am tired and still not quite awake). Because of how tight the belt is, it will pull the belt side of the two items (front crankshaft and rear freewheel/flywheel) at an angle, putting pressure on the right side of the bike's bearings both in the crankshaft area and the rear wheel freewheel area.

Imagine this, you have 2 wooden dowels in your hands with a rubbber band between the two. you hold them both perfectly parallel, and the rubber band connects the two. The dowels are your front and rear crankshaft and rear axel and the rubber band is the belt. Now, imagine if you turned one of the dowels just a tiny bit so the rubberbands pull makes them slightly uneven, not parallel. On the bike, that will then put extra pressure on those bearings, front and back on the belt side. The purpose of the belt is to drive the rear wheel, but NOT to pull the rear axle at an angle, and if its tight enough, the bearings will give a little and your two parallel lines (crank shaft and rear axel) stop being parallel, even if they are off by a few MM, this can cause the bearing NOT to engage evenly on both sides and put undue pressure on the bearings.

Does that makes sense?

soundlocation.jpg - Google Drive 2016-09-23 09-07-32.jpg

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@Simon Ruane - Ausgezeichnet! So glad that was the problem and you can get back to enjoying the bike and not worrying why its making such a ruckus.

I do highly suggest that you check the belt tightness every few weeks as you ride as it will stretch just a little and you may need to take up some of the slack to get it to stay at that tightness level. We have no idea what kind of stretching the belt will do as you wear it in. So keep that in mind. Otherwise, enjoy riding minus the horrible bearing sound! Wahoo!

Bitte, so glad I could help!

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@alienmeatsack Damn! I cheered to early. The sound seemed to be gone, because it didn´t make that sound when I turned the pedal with my hand. But when I actually drove the bike yesterday evening there was an even weirder sound, coming from that area. :(
I have a Question about these two wheels at the back of the belt. Do these wheels have to touch the belt or shouldn´t they or is it all the same.

Picture of the wheels I mean:
touchbelt.jpg

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I am not sure @Simon Ruane - I've not seen or used the belt driven version of the THIN so this may be a question for someone who has. :D

I can say I am not surprised the tightness of the belt caused some minor possibly major bearing damage possibly both in your crankshaft bearings as as well as any bearings related to the rear belt drive system. So That could definitely be a possibility for your noise issue as well.

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21 hours ago, Simon Ruane said:

@alienmeatsack Damn! I cheered to early. The sound seemed to be gone, because it didn´t make that sound when I turned the pedal with my hand. But when I actually drove the bike yesterday evening there was an even weirder sound, coming from that area. :(
I have a Question about these two wheels at the back of the belt. Do these wheels have to touch the belt or shouldn´t they or is it all the same.

Picture of the wheels I mean:
touchbelt.jpg

It looks like those two metal wheels (they look like ball bearings with protective caps) are pressing the belt against the cogwheel, probably to avoid the belt to skip some teeth. Therefor, I'd say those wheels are meant to be in touch with the belt.

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I'm with @3D-vice here, I think those bearings are meant to ride gently in the rear belt drive wheel holding the belt in place. I'd assume they are supposed to have a tiny bit of play so the belt isn't smashed.

And FWIW, they look like skate board bearings to me. I'd pull them off, see if they crackle when hand spun and take them to your nearest skateboard shop. Those guys will be able to give you a better idea on the bearings and may have new ones you can pop on in stock. Or maybe know what induststry specs and all to use when looking for them. Worth a shot!

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2 hours ago, Simon Ruane said:

@alienmeatsack @3D-vice I just took the bike to two different bike shops. They both weren´t sure what is causing the sound and they both said that they can´t help me :(
Damn...

Where they at least able to say what type of bottom bracket you have? If it is a standard one, they should be able to open and exchange it.

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I know that in the past, the bearings for the crankshaft were standardized for bmx, 10 speeds, etc and almost always required a hammer and tool to knock the old ones out, and something like a rubber mallet to hammer the new ones in place.

In the back portion, I have no idea what kind of bearings they are using for the belt drive, the freewheel/chain version is literally the same freewheel (BMX standard teeth and threads etc) for rear wheel. And those are closed systems not meant to be reused, but instead replaced.

Seems like I read somewhere that the bottom crank bearings on the fat were used by certain mountainbikes. But the thin, I have no idea. Aside from popping one out and taking to bike shops, or measuring and asking questions and trying some that are close, I dont know how else to find out. I bet there are a few people here who could tell you exactly.

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6 hours ago, 3D-vice said:

It looks like those two metal wheels (they look like ball bearings with protective caps) are pressing the belt against the cogwheel, probably to avoid the belt to skip some teeth. Therefor, I'd say those wheels are meant to be in touch with the belt.

http://www.vxb.com/Specialized-Integrated-Crank-p/Kit176781.htm?gclid=CjwKEAjwjqO_BRDribyJpc_mzHgSJABdnsFWp8RJxmDyzxmEtbHAdSShxb79O5-Z9Ugl_8HbSU3AaBoCzpPw_wcB

These look similar to whats in your picture.

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Doing some more research, I think that the bottom crankshaft bracket bearings are standard for a roadbike using a sealed system. Both my Fat and Thin have the same exact bottom bracket bearings systems. You look a the end and it has a series of notches that I believe are how you use a tool to unscrew the end caps, the bearing assembly should be inside. I am not sure if its closed or not. And I dont know how long the crankshaft is, but I think its longer then usual ones.

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I think I just have to live with the sound and hope the sound won´t get worse ... :( I don´t want to risk breaking even more by trying to fix it.... I mean I don´t have a clue what is actually causing the noise or which parts need to be replaced...
I even tried to contact sondors directly, but they don´t reply to my E-Mail and have deleted my Question from their supportpage...

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That stinks @Simon Ruane. I'm still pretty sure its damaged bearings from the belt being too tight. This tight belt, if ridden even a little, would cause issues with all the bearings taking the uneven load off the belt off it was tight. And would cause either your crankshaft bearings to be bad or your rear wheel belt assembly bearings to possibly go bad inside.

 

Sort of like the reg bike with chain wheel, chain and rear freewheel - if the chain was super tight enough to cause cracklings when spin backwards, there's a chance it damanaged the bearings.

I dont have the belt or I'd be out there pulling it apart to document what you need to fix it. We need to find a good DIY'er here who has or will to help us further explore and fix.

In the meantime, as long as the bearings dont get worse, you should be OK riding on it I think. JUst keep an eye on the belt to make sure it stays where its at at not too tight.

 

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On September 29, 2016 at 6:22 AM, Simon Ruane said:

I think I just have to live with the sound and hope the sound won´t get worse ... :( I don´t want to risk breaking even more by trying to fix it.... I mean I don´t have a clue what is actually causing the noise or which parts need to be replaced...
I even tried to contact sondors directly, but they don´t reply to my E-Mail and have deleted my Question from their supportpage...

You can take a wooden or metal rod to help isolate where the noise eminates ( a Stethiscope would be better). Place one end in your ear and the other at various items on the bike. The loudest report will be close to where the sound eminates. It might be from rust on bearing balls or races.  Looks like rust in your picture and you left your bike out in the rain.

Edited by Reddy Kilowatt

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