Knocking Noise When Pedaling Exercise Bike?

Author: Alex Bristol

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A Knocking Noise In Your Exercise Bike

If your exercise bike makes a knocking noise as you’re riding it, this might be an indication that something inside the machine is broken. Rather than fixing it yourself, you might want to contact a professional if you’re worried about breaking your bike or damaging it further. This is the safer and more efficient solution but of course, there are other ways to fix and diagnose this issue.

Types Of Exercise Bike


Also referred to as a static exercise bike, this is the most common type of home fitness equipment and the type you’ve probably seen advertised online. The position when exercising is similar to a regular road bicycle.

If you are looking for a cheap exercise bike, upright exercise bikes are often the most affordable type of bike to buy for the home with many costing as low as $100. They are a great entry-level option for anyone who doesn’t regularly exercise.

An upright bike is also the best option if you are looking for a compact exercise bike. They’re an excellent low-impact option that will improve muscle tone and strengthen your legs and also provide a great cardio workout.


These bikes provide a similar type of workout to the upright stationary bike but allow you to sit in a position that supports the back. The choice between an upright or recumbent stationary bike normally centers on exercising comfortably.

Recumbent seats resemble a chair rather than a saddle so people who are recovering from knee or back injuries seem to benefit more from a recumbent rather than an upright bike. The focus of the exercise tends to be slightly more on the glutes and has slightly more impact on the lower stomach muscles compared to an upright stationary bike.


Air bikes, also known as fan bikes or cross-trainer bikes have two upright handles at roughly chest height that move back and forth. You push and pull the handles as you cycle, giving you an intense, full-body workout.

Fan bikes have a large fan that is driven by the speed and power of the pedals. The resistance is created by the fan and increases as you pedal faster, the harder you work the harder it becomes. Most CrossFit gyms will have an air bike as they have become a mainstay in many CrossFit workouts.

Air bikes are ideal for those looking to intensify and challenge their exercise routine as it’s a vigorous workout perfect for HIIT-style training.

Reasons For The Knocking Sound

Worn Brake Pads

Symptoms –When there’s a squeak coming from the wheel area and your wheels are true, it could be caused by dirty or worn brake pads vibrating against the rim.

Solution –Clean the braking surface of the rim. Then replace your brake pads if they’re worn and toe them in toward the rim. If the brake pads aren’t worn but are dirty, remove any grime with rubbing alcohol or other solvents designed for cleaning bike brakes. Once clean, rough the pads with sandpaper.

Dirty Chain

Symptoms –If the squeak occurs when you pedal, you probably have a dirty, grimy chain — particularly if you haven’t oiled or cleaned your chain recently.

Solution – Use some degreaser and an old toothbrush to clean your chain. Once you’ve removed all the grime, apply one drop of chain lube to each link. Remove any excess lube with an old rag.

Loose Cleat Screw

Symptoms – If you have a squeak in the same general area as your chain and you’re sure a dirty or worn chain isn’t the problem, a loose cleat screw may be the culprit.

Solution – Check each of your cleat screws and see if any have come loose. Retighten to see if it solves the problem. If it’s still occurring, it could be a problem with your pedal. If this is the case, try a few drops of lube on the pedal spindle.

Loose Bottom Bracket

Symptoms –A clunking sound on the bottom of the bike that only occurs when your pedal may be coming from the bottom bracket.

Solution – If it isn’t a loose pedal, chances are you may have a loose bottom bracket. To tighten the bottom bracket, you’ll need to remove the crank arms. If you have bottom bracket tools, you can make the needed repair by either tightening the bottom bracket cups or adjusting the bearings. For less experienced home mechanics or if you lack the tools, you may need to visit your local bike shop.

Bent Derailleur

Symptoms –The chain acts as if it wants to move up or down your cassette when pedaling in certain gears, even when you aren’t attempting to shift.

Solution – Most modern bikes will have barrel adjusters on the cables to adjust the tension. If the chain seems like it wants to fall onto a smaller cog, turn the barrel adjuster a quarter turn at a time clockwise until the problem is fixed. If the chain jumps to a larger cog, turn the barrel adjuster a quarter turn at a time counter-clockwise. If your problems persist after you’ve completed a full turn of the barrel adjuster, a bent hanger could be your problem and you may need a new derailleur.

Fixing The Knocking Noise

If you’ve spent the money to buy a bike for at-home exercises, you should try to maintain it as much as possible. Broken bikes can be costly and time-consuming to repair and we all just want to get on with our routine. Peloton, a popular brand of exercise bikes, recommends a quick maintenance routine following your workouts:

  • First, you should wipe down your bike and its screen after exercise to remove any sweat and germs. Do not use soap and water. Instead, opt for disinfecting wipes. Peloton also recommends tightening the seat, pedals, and clamps once a month.
  • If you hear a clicking noise as you pedal your bike, something may have broken off in the wheel, or perhaps one of the pedals is rattling around. If that’s the case, you should contact a maintenance service provided by your bike manufacturer.
  • Some companies specialize in bike repair, even though they don’t manufacture bikes. For example, Sears Home Services can send someone to your home to repair your bike. This is a good option if the manufacturer of your bike doesn’t provide repair services.
  • Some companies, such as Schwinn, offer replacement parts that you can use to fix your bike yourself. If you feel competent enough to do your own repairs, this can be a less expensive option.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my bike making a tapping sound?

A loose pedal or pedals can make a ticking sound at the bottom of the pedal stroke. This ticking sound can also be from a worn pedal or bearing.

Do stationary bikes make noise?

Exercise bikes may make a sound if they are not well maintained, worn parts can quickly become squeaky and rattle when used. Some bikes do make a sound while riding too but this depends on the resistance system.


If your stationary bike is making odd sounds then it’s worth diagnosing because nobody wants their bike to suddenly break, plus the noise can be very distracting during your workout.

It’s important to maintain your stationary bike too so you can avoid any future damage or mishaps so be sure to keep your bike clean and have any spare parts handy.

So, enjoy your workout and…

Keep pedaling!

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