Eliminating excessive drivetrain noise?

My old road bike has become my dedicated trainer bike. I had problems with drivetrain noise before, but chalked it up to the fact that it’s an old, worn-out bike.

But considering how loud it has become lately, I wonder if some improvements couldn’t be made?
I can’t say for sure, but I could swear the noise is mostly from the jockey wheels or the cassette.

The chain is brand new and waxed with MSW. Yes, waxed chains are somewhat louder, but this doesn’t sound like the whir of a chain. More like a loud meshing of chain and gears. Or possibly just rattling jockey wheels. I will take a little bit of noise for the cleanliness of wax.

I did reuse an old master link, but I figure the affect on shifting and noise would be negligible and there is no safety issue on a fixed trainer.

The 10-speed cassette has only seen trainer duty. Probably a couple hundred hours worth over three years?

The chainrings are 11 years old and have… many miles. But I wonder whether this could cause the noise I am experiencing? It actually doesn’t look that bad, all considered, although I used to drop my chain a lot.

When I was using the bike on the trainer and on the road, I had to get the hanger adjusted frequently. I attribute this to the age of the aluminum frame and the fact that the hanger doesn’t appreciate shifting on a fixed trainer. I strongly suspect it is not quite straight. The hanger has been damaged in at least one crash. Should I go ahead and replace the hanger? The last time I got it adjusted, my mechanic said he was worried about bending the frame…

The jockey wheels (105 5700) have been replaced once or twice due to them developing terrible squeaks (usually greasing them up will help for a while, though I just greased them and I could swear they’re still squeaking).

My trainer (Kickr Core) has had some minor damage to the drive belt (cause unknown), but as far as I can tell, it has nothing to do with the noise I am hearing.

How old are the jockey wheels? They tend to be a replaceable cheap maintenance part anyways, so at a minimum I’d just go ahead and do those, and have the hanger looked at.

Most of my really annoying woes come from needing to adjust or replace the derailleur hanger ( new they tend to still need a light tweak )

Old chainrings COULD be a cause but it’s the last place I’d look.

It’s all general maintenance though, if parts are available, and it was my bike, I’d do all 3.

Otherwise the most likely is just the hanger, followed by the chainrings.


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I bought a new derailleur at some point, thinking that play in one of the joints was causing shifting issues (which was probably just misalignment). However, I may have mixed and matched the bushings at a later point to deal with a nasty squeak. So the pulleys might be upwards of 11 years old.

Come to think of it, pulley squeaking and rattling and loud chain-on-cassette meshing could definitely all be caused by skewed derailleur alignment, even if the shifting is basically OK (for the purposes of indoor riding, at least).

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Honestly nothing drives me nuts like an overly noisy drivetrain, and I can find it REALLY distracting indoors, haha.

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I think the noise was simply partially masked by the liquid lube I had used until recently.

Although the first time I waxed the chain, I didn’t do it right, so it was immediately absurdly loud until I redid it properly. So at least I know what an unlubed chain sounds like…


I haven’t gone the crockpot wax method yet, so far I’ve just been using squirt ( for a while it was being shipped with some of the premium pre-waxed chains as the closest bottled thing on the market to top it off til they made their own ) and was SUPER paranoid, and basically double ziplock bagged and boiled the chain with the bags full of the lube for max penetration.

Turns out they have a pre-waxed chain of their own now, so I tend to just get those when I replace instead of stripping them myself :stuck_out_tongue:

Seems like some of the noise was coming from a chain that was too long after switching back to my old crankset. It’s still a little loud, though…

Buy a derailleur hanger adjustment tool or go to a shop to get a quick check, I had the same problem and whilst it changed gears without issue it was out of alignment. I aligned the derailleur and it’s perfect now.

I know you have talked about waxing your chain and I am not knowledgeable regarding that and don’t want make assumptions, but I have found that I have a tendency not to clean or maintain a biker that remains on the turbo in the same way I would look after a bike that I use in the road. As a consequence, I don’t degrease, wash and reapply lubricants in the same way, which leads to a much noisier drive chain. I don’t notice as quickly since I often have earphones in whilst riding indoors too.

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It occurred to me that the drivechain is very quiet when freewheeling backwards and only becomes loud when under load.

Anyone know what might cause this discrepancy?

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I have the same issue. When I lightly pedal during recovery workout, it is almost quiet. But when I start hammering, it produces a lot of rattling noise. I can feel with my legs that the chain is rubbing something or something does not go smoothly, but I cannot figure out what is causing it. Chain line seems to be straight and does not rub anything. At first I thought it was BB. But when I replaced the BB, I found no improvement. I regret destroying the old one. I adjusted the derailleur, but it did not help. Actually derailleur could not have caused this because it not under load and I clearly feel that chain starts rubbing something only when under load.

I think I was able to improve chain noise by applying a thicker dry lube - Squirt Lube. I had used some very light dry lube that did not provide enough dampening.

What chain? What cassette? Wax/lube doesn’t really work on the contact surfaces, it mostly serves the pivoting surfaces of the chain. The noise is the wrong size chain/cassette combo, chain/ring, chainline, chainwear.