Are you hearing unusual sounds being emitted from your trike? We should learn to know what is normal and what is not when it comes to noises from our trikes. If and when we hear a sound that is unusual we need to look into it as it may be something which needs attention maintenance or repair-wise. If we ignore it and let it continue on it could lead to more problems and expense.

When it comes to identifying such sounds there are certain things we need to be aware of and give thought to. There are questions which can be asked and the answer sought after. Questions like … “When do I hear the sound?” Do you hear it when the wheels are turning (but stops if the trike stops)? If so, which wheel? Do you hear it only when pedaling (the noise stops when you stop pedaling)? Does the sound become more frequent or more intense if you speed up and lesser if you slow down? Is it a clicking type sound, a rubbing type sound or something else?

Upon answering these types of questions you can move on to discovering what the cause is. I will cover a few possibilities here. Most certainly these are not the only possibilities, but they are common ones.

A clicking type sound may be a broken spoke in a wheel. It usually has a metallic sound as the broken spoke is moving about hitting other spokes as the wheel turns. If you are out riding it isn’t too likely you can do much in the way of a repair so I would suggest doing one of three things …. 1) remove the broken spoke, 2) secure the broken spoke to another spoke using tape, a wire tie or something such, 3) if you don’t have anything available to use if you are strong enough you can bend the broken spoke around another spoke. Just be sure it is tucked in so that it can’t catch on anything else and cause other problems. It is not a good idea to ride with a broken spoke without doing one of these things to prevent it from flopping around and getting caught in something else as the wheel turns. Another source of a clicking sound could be a tree branch caught and being held in place into the spokes so that every spoke which makes contact with it as the wheel turns sounds off. Yet another source could be something stuck on the surface of the tire or into the surface of the tire which sounds off with every revolution of the wheel. It it is something stuck into the tire you might want to check things out before removing it. If it penetrated inside the tire causing air leakage it may be a bad idea to pull it out unless you are able to make a road/trail side repair right there and then. Pulling the foreign object out might make it leak worse and make it impossible to ride it any further. Of course, leaving it in and riding on it might be the wrong call as well as it could lead to further damage. It is a call that needs to be determined on the spot.

A rubbing sound may be a matter of picking up some foreign object such as a leaf, a tree branch or something else. It could also be a matter of something moving out of place such as a fender or fender bracket or brace. It could be your derailleur is out of position and too far one way or another. If you only hear the noise while pedaling I would take a look for this problem as it is a fairly common thing. At the very least doing so will eliminate it from the list of whatever is causing the sound. A friend of mine had such a noise and he took his bike to a local bike shop to have them find and fix this problem. A few hundred dollars later after replacing a few things which were perfectly fine and didn’t need replacing he still had the noise. I finally got involved in it and within seconds I discovered the offending culprit. He didn’t have his derailleur shifted over far enough and the chain was rubbing on the derailleur as he pedaled. I simply shifted it on over further and voila … no more clicking rubbing sound. And I didn’t even charge him anything for fixing it. To those bicycle mechanics at the local bike shop all I can say is … DUH! Shame on them for not discovering this simple thing. Instead it seem like they saw him coming and took full advantage of him.

If you hear a hissing sound like air escaping it most likely is air escaping. In other words, a tire is going flat. Of course, as the tire rotates the sound will change somewhat especially as the leaking area is down on the ground. And obviously, the frequency will vary according to how fast the tire is rotating. By the way, if the air is leaking out but is not loud enough for you to hear it once it gets down low enough you should start noticing a “wobble” coming from that tire. It is not wise to ride on a flat tire or even one which is already too low on pressure as it can damage the tire. It could even damage the rim depending upon what the tire is doing in its flat condition.

If the sound increases in volume or frequency when speeding up and decreases when slowing down you should look for something that has to do with the wheels or the chain/derailleurs/sprockets. As with many things discovery is a matter of using the process of elimination.

Another possibility of the source of a sound is the headset area, brake area, or wheel axle area. Yet another possibility is something broken such as the main trike frame, seat frame, etc. Worn parts such as the chain and sprockets could be the culprit.

As I said, I make no pretense that I have covered every possibility. These are just some I thought of and wanted to share here. If you can think of more please leave a comment and share with us. May we all …