Bicycle Clicking Noise When Coasting [Reasons & Solutions]

Zzzzing!

The clicking noise from the bicycle when not pedaling (coasting) is like sweet music. Isn’t it?

But, as the days go by, the sound gets louder and becomes a horrible noise. It seems like something is wrong there.

Yes, it’s!

To be honest, when coasting, clicking noise is quite normal. It appears simply because of the ratchet mechanism inside the freewheel. But, when there is excessive noise or jerk, it’s a sign of a faulty freewheel.

But don’t worry. You can solve it. Just to understand the problem, take preventive measures, and get the solution. That’s it. Let’s dig in.

Why do bicycle clicking noise when coasting?

As I said, the noise is coming from the freewheel. So, you must know how the freewheel works. Let’s see what’s inside a freehub body.

When you remove the sprockets from a freewheel, you will get the freehub body. A hub around the body connects the wheel with cassettes and then with pedals through the chain.

However, there are some teeth between the hub and freehub body. These teeth are called pawls, and all pawls are faced in one direction.

When pedaling, the pawls grab the hub and rotate it as the pedals rotate them.

Again, when coasting, the pawls stay steady, but the wheel/hub keeps rotating. At that moment, the bike should stop. Isn’t it? 

But, it keeps going! Asking how?

The hub teeth come into the play. They are faced precisely opposite to the pawls. So, when paddling, the pawls rotate opposite of the hub teeth and turn the hub.

But, the pawls stay/circulate in the same direction the hub rotates when coasting or pedaling backward.

In this process, the hub teeth depress down the pawls, and a “Clicking Noise Create from Them.”

Freaky Insight: Above mechanism is not applicable for some single-speed or fixed gear bikes. These bikes feature a bearing system instead of a freewheel. But there is still clicking noise. So, no difference in the coasting experience.

I think, now you know why the bicycle is clicking noise when coasting. But the question is,

Is clicking noise bad” when coasting?

Ummmm…this section is getting too long. Let’s answer it in the FAQ section!

A quick fix on bicycle clicking noise when not pedaling

bikerepairoffer

Ssshhh! Keep quiet, dear bike! 

Well, your bike is not going to hear your request. If you want to shut up the noise totally, get a Quiet Hub.

Otherwise, take some preventive measures to avoid excessive noise. Regular cleaning and lubrication of the freewheel can help you to get rid of excessive noise.

Moreover, it prevents the pawls or hub teeth from getting damaged.

Anyways, the freewheel will still wear out, and the sound will be louder after a long time of use. So, it’s good to remove the exhausted freewheel and install a new one.

The process of the repair work will be discussed later.

How to stop bicycle clicking noise when coasting?

Well, the bicycle creates excessive noise when the freewheel is worn out. So, you need to prevent the freewheel from being damaged to avoid the sound.

However, there is no other way instead of cleaning and lubricate the bike regularly. Even after that, the freewheel can wear out after a certain time.

In that case, swap it up with a new one. These 2 steps described below will clarify the process.

Before that, keep some tools and essentials ready. These things are necessary for doing the job.

Tools Needed:

Step-1: Cleaning & Lubrication

freewheel

On your every bike maintenance routine, uninstall the freewheel and check it thoroughly.

If the pawls or hub teeth are broken or damaged, then swap the freehub. Otherwise, just clean and lube it, then reinstall. How to do it? The below steps will guide you.

  1. Firstly, remove the wheel by the quick-release lever. Do it carefully so that the brake doesn’t get scratches. After that, loosen the axle nut or screwer nut from it.
  1. Secondly, you have to get a freewheel remover tool. But, make sure it is compatible with the freehub. However, there are two freehub types; one is spline, and another is the notch. Observe which one your bike has. Also, note down the number of spline/notch it has and measure the diameter of the freehub. Now, get the Freewheel Removal Tool that suits your bike.
  1. After that, set the freewheel tool to the freewheel. If there is any axle nut, mount it so that the remover tool sits tight. Now, rotate the device anti-clockwise with a large adjustable wrench. After unthreading, remove the axle nut and freewheel tool again. Then take the freewheel out of the bike wheel.
  1. Now, you have to degrease the oil from the freewheel and clean it. For that, you can use a degreaser spray or soap water. But in my opinion, a degreaser will be more effective here, and you can easily use it. Just spray it around the lockring and rotate the sprocket so that it uniformly distribute.

However, If you want an advanced cleaning solution, consider ultrasonic cleaning. This is thoroughly described on my Bike Chain Cleaning & Maintenance Guide, so not gonna repeat it.

  1. Finally, wait for the freewheel to be dried and then lubricate it with suitable lube. Dry lube is ideal for dry weather, where wet lube is perfect for the rainy season. Anyways, after lubing, reinstall the freewheel. The installation process is explained in step 2.

Step-2: Changing Freewheel

Changing Freewheel

If you need to change the freewheel, consider the type and number of cassettes your bike has; Then, get a Freewheel that suits your bike.

However, follow step 1 to remove the old freewheel. Now, lubricate the new one on the threads and start the installation process.

  1. Firstly, thread the freewheel on the wheel. Make sure it is not cross-threaded. If the cog is not center align then, it’s is cross-threaded. So ensure the cog is aligned correctly and threaded fully.
  1. Now, tighten the cassettes with a chain whip. Or, you can do it with pedal pressure. For that, reinstall the wheel first. Then grab the rear brake lever and pedal at the same time. Thus the cog-set will get tighten.
  1. Finally, check the disc brake and limit screw setting, and you are all set.

Frequently Asked Questions about Freewheel

When coasting, “Is clicking noise bad?”

It seems that the clicking noise created by the ratchet mechanism is quite normal.

Yes, it is. But, excessive noise is a sign that the freewheel is damaged or worn out severely.

And there is a possibility that the chain skipping problem will appear soon. Thus, the pedaling efficiency and overall performance of the bike will decrease.

Do all bikes click when coasting?

Almost every bike which has a freewheel system must have a ratchet mechanism.

As I said before, the clicking noise creates because of the ratchet mechanism. So, almost every bike will click noise while coasting.

However, some bikes feature silent hubs which don’t click noise while not pedaling.

How often should I clean the freewheel?

It depends on the frequency and type of your ride. If you ride more frequently in dirt or crossroad, cleaning the freewheel once a month is good.

It’s enough to clean the bike twice a year if you are a Sunday rider or ride for utility.

But, it’s best to check how much the freewheel gets dirty after every ride and clean it as per need.

Conclusion

The clicking sound is quite usual while riding downhill or leg on rest. Some cyclists don’t like any sound and prefer a silent ride.

I have suggested getting a noise-free freewheel for them. But riders who have the regular type of freewheel have to endure the sound.

It’s great if you are okay with the sound. But, be aware before the sound turns into a horrible noise. Keep the freewheel clean and lube them regularly.

However, the freewheel can still get damaged after a certain time. So you may need to swap it with a new one.

I guess my repair guide described above will help you in this case. Follow the step-by-step guide to get rid of all freewheel-related problems.

I hope you enjoy your next ride.

Cheers!

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