A simple tip for rattle-free riding!
As most of you know, I am very meticulous about bike maintenance. My attention to detail in this area ensure that my bikes run as smoothly, safely, reliably and quietly as possible.
Bike noise is extremely distracting, and it will detract from the enjoyment of your ride and those stuck riding with you. No one wants to hear your bike clicking/popping/creaking with every pedal stroke for 4+ hours.
Believe me, I know how tricky bike noises can be to track down, but it’s important to locate and and correct these problems: that noise could very well be alerting you to a potential safety issue. Do not ignore it.
This article focuses on eliminating a common benign, yet highly annoying, noise: valve stem rattle.
One day a few months ago I was on my usual Saturday morning club ride. My bike was purring like a kitten, and running beautifully. At one point in the ride we turned onto a very rough chip seal road, which–not unexpectedly–produced some rattling. Because the road was so rough, I didn’t think anything of the rattle, and simply tuned the noise out…
I was riding next to my buddy Paul Lewis on that rough road, and at one point Paul said, “That rattling is coming from your valve stems hitting the rims. You can silence that with a little electrical tape.”
Wow. So simple and so obvious, and yet it had never occurred to me to do that. As someone who hates bike noise, this little tip that Paul causally threw out to me was solid gold–and it really works! Now even on the roughest roads my bike is as quiet as a church mouse.
Here’s how to do it in three easy steps.
Step 1: Mark the valve stem where it emerges from the wheel.
Step 2: Deflate the tube and remove the valve stem from the wheel; wrap a small amount (2 turns) of black electrical tape around the valve stem centered over the mark you made in Step 1.
Step 3: Carefully push the valve stem through the stem hole in the rim (it will be a tight fit), air up the tube and enjoy rattle-free riding!
Enjoy, and thanks again for the great tip, Paul!