If you are hearing unusual noises from your rear wheel or your rear wheel is not spinning freely (aka free wheeling), something may just need adjusted or lubricated.
Many times noises are from:
- Brake caliper or rotor - to verify remove the rear brake caliper, carefully secure it to the frame away from all moving parts.
- Something embedded into the tire, glass, rock, nail, screw.
- Fenders - to verify, properly adjust, and in some cases remove. Even small debris and pebbles can rattle between the fender and tire causing noise.
- Wheel reflector - to verify, please remove (yes, they can resonate or cause a weird noise at times).
- Derailleur - if not properly tuned or derailleur hanger is bent.
- Drive Train - dirty chain, loose pedals or crank arms.
- Inner nuts - the nuts inside the drop outs may be too tight causing excess friction (see below for detail)
If you've checked that and still have noise; The Ride1UP support team put together this guide for diagnosing and treating most common causes of motor noise. Our five step process will walk you through how to keep your bike running silent and smooth for years to come.
If a video is requested, please use both methods as this can help us rule out issues even if 1 method does not make the noise.
Making clear videos of the rear wheel and any noise.
For the fastest resolution, please make 2 videos as described below. 1 of each is ideal, sometimes 1 is enough, but sometimes it is not clear so if you have a friend nearby, please make both. Having both a video with the rider on the bike and off can provide additional insight (IE noise is only present with rider on bike) Please provide this video as an attachment on your support ticket. If you do not have a support ticket, follow the instructions via the contact page: https://ride1up.com/contact/
1st Video with Rider off the bike:
- In a clear work space, in the garage or outside, with the bike unplugged.
- Carefully stand next to the bike on the side with the kick stand. Keep the kick stand down.
- Gently lean the bike towards you so that the bike is balancing on the kick stand and front wheel.
- You can now use the throttle to operate the motor, be careful and make sure you apply the brakes or let the wheel slow down before putting it down.
- If abnormal noise is being made during this video, removing the brake caliper is a great way to rule it out as the cause of the noise.
- This will allow you to record any noise it is making without wind noise and minimal background noise so it can be reviewed by the Ride1UP Support Team.
- If the file is to large to email, you can upload it in the cloud and share a link.
2nd Video with Rider on the bike in a clear safe area:
- Have one person ride the bike, while another person records the rider as they go by demonstrating the noise and issue. This will allow us to clearly hear the noise and minimize wind noise.
- Again, depending on the noise, it may be best to remove the rear brake caliper, zip tie it to the frame away from the moving wheel. Then in a safe clear space test the bike and see if the noise is present. Carefully apply the front brake to slowly come to a stop.
Depending on what noise we hear, we can better determine what the issue is and the fastest resolution.
Step One - Brakes
Many of the sounds we hear coming from the back of the bike can be caused by the rear brake rubbing. Sometimes the caliper is misaligned, this will sound like a metal scraping sound and will be consistent. Other times the rotor is out of true and will only touch in certain spots. This will sound similar but the sound will be intermittent and not constant. A fast way to check if the noise is brake related can be to remove the two bolts that hold on the caliper mount, ziptie the caliper to the fame, and then test. If find the sound went away then your brakes need to be adjusted, these two links can help with that:
Adjusting Rotors- https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/disc-brake-rotor-truing
Step Two- Fenders and Accessories
The second common cause of rear wheel noise is from fenders or other accessories rubbing on the wheel. All our models that feature fenders that are adjustable and they all adjust the same way. They have arms that plug in to plastic mounting brackets. By loosening that bracket it allows the rider to extend or shrink the support arms. By making the support arm on one side it pushes the fender to the other side. So in example; extending the left arm pushes the fender to the right. By balancing those arms the rider can achieve perfectly centered fenders that will not rub.
Step Three- Spokes
The third common cause of rear wheel noise can be from the spokes. The spokes are the metal rods that make up the support of the wheel. They are constantly under tension and that tension is what makes a wheel strong. The spokes can loosen up over time and do need periodic maintenance. Sometimes a loose spoke will make a variety of noises, ensuring all spokes are properly tensioned is the first thing to check. Fortunately this can be done by hand:
If any feel significantly looser than the others or are wiggly when touched, they will need to be tightened. This process is outlined in the following link:
In addition to being loose, spokes can also make noise where they interface with the rim. This sound typically occurs under load and sounds like a groaning sound. It is simple to alleviate and requires a little bit of lubricant placed at each junction. A light weight drip lube is preferred, TriFlow brand is our preference but many will work. The process is shown below:
Step Four- Axle Nuts
The fourth common cause of rear wheel noise comes from loose axle nuts. On our bikes there are two sets of nuts on a rear wheel. The ones on the outside of the frame that hold the wheel on, and the ones on the inside of the frame that hold the motor into the hub. Both sets need to be tight for a quiet ride. This step will involve removing the rear wheel. If you are unsure how to do this, check out this link: https://support.ride1up.com/a/solutions/articles/65000167999
Part 1- Inner Nuts
Once you have removed the rear wheel you are able to inspect the inner nuts that hold the motor in and the hub together. These nuts need to be snug but not overly tight to ensure proper performance. Too tight and the hub will make grinding sounds and will not roll smoothly. Too loose and the wheel will wobble and make rattling sounds. While holding the nut on the gear side, tighten or loosen the nut on the disc side. Loosen the nut all the way, and then tighten it until it just touches the inner part of the hub. Then tighten it one half turn more for proper tension. See picture below for location of the nuts:
Part 2- Outer Nuts
The outer nuts hold the wheel on and is essential to get these tightened correctly. If the wheel is too loose it can move and deflect in the frame under load. This can cause some odd sounds and if the wheel is moving in the frame and it can even cause the brakes to rub when the wheel flexes under load. The outer nuts are shown in the above link about removing the rear wheel. Ensure that the wheel is fully inserted in the dropout and then tighten the rear axle nuts to 30nm. If you do not have a torque wrench, don't worry. If you have a wrench like the one shown in the photo above, and assuming "as tight as you can make it" is 100%; tighten this to about 70%.
Step Five- Lubrication
The fifth most common cause of rear wheel noise comes from lack of sufficient lubrication. Along with lubing your chain, there are other parts of the bike that need lube too. Hubs of all kinds need lubrication and routine application of lubrication prolongs component life. Here at Ride1UP we like to use a few different types of lubricant for our bikes. For internal hub lubrication we like to us white lithium spray grease. This stuff is easy to apply, long lasting, and inexpensive. For chains we like the Finish Line Wet lubricant, it is a robust lubricant for general riding conditions. While chain lube application is fairly intuitive, hub lubrication can be more complex. Fortunately with the spray lube it makes the process easy, apply a liberal amount into the areas shown below. Be careful not to get lube on the disc rotor or other braking hardware.
If after trying the five step guide you are still having rear wheel noises. Please reach out to our support team with video documentation of your issue along with your original order number.