Calfee Update #4: Still Clicking / Still Evaluating

We finally made it out on the tandem Saturday morning  and had a very good ride. However, the clicking sound and evidence of frame flex continue.  I’m truly perplexed by it and continue to try and come up with low-cost solutions vs. saying, “The heck with it, it’s time for a new tandem.”

Don’t get me wrong, our Calfee tandem still provides us with a great and comfortable ride and the shifting is as smooth and predictable.  It’s just that annoying “click, click, click” that comes with every right-foot pedal stroke under anything more than moderate pedal pressure and what appears to be rear derailleur “flutter” induced by frame flex that’s become more than annoying. But, as I said, it was a good ride with a higher than usual average speed.  In fact, I wasn’t even aware of our healthy average speed since I failed to reset my computer from our previous rides since I’m not chasing personal bests: we just like to get out and enjoy the day on our tandem.

Back at the house following the ride I took one more shot at addressing the clicking sounds by putting teflon tape around all of the coupler threads and then re-torquing the coupler nuts.  I also re-torqued the crank arm bolts, the chain ring bolts and eccentric as an extra measure.  Again, I’m at a loss as to what else it might be.  So, fingers crossed, perhaps we’ll have a click-free ride on Monday.

The only other issue we’ve been having that’s new since my last update was unrelated to the mechanicals: my DiNotte tail light was acting up.  By acting up, it’s been working fine for years and then suddenly it wasn’t working.  I tried freshly recharged / rechargeable batteries and fresh out of the box non-rechargeable batteries with no luck.  I checked the batteries with a battery tester / multimeter and they were all “good” so it wasn’t the batteries. However, when I put the batteries in the 4AA battery holder there wasn’t any power at the contacts / connector for the light’s pigtail connector.  Hmmm.  Well, I knew I had at least one spare 4AA battery holder as I’d purchased two of them from Radio Shack for $1.79 several years back and kept at least one of them in my cycling event / rally duffle bag.  Sure enough, it was the battery holder.  Now, sadly, Radio Shack has closed all of its stores and the same battery holder is $10.79 from Walmart: what the hell?  Oh well, at least for the time being I’ve got our taillight back.


About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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15 Responses to Calfee Update #4: Still Clicking / Still Evaluating

  1. leissp says:

    You might try re-installing the pedals and or using pedal washers. Can’t hurt and only takes a couple of minutes.


    • TG says:

      Thanks for the suggestion, but as noted in prior blog entries on this issue I’ve been there and done that. We have Speedplay Frogs with Ti spindles on the Calfee which are notoriously “loose” in the theads so they’ve always been installed using the thick, yellow teflon tape used for gas pipe installation. Moreover, I’ve done on overhaul of all four pedals as part of chasing this clicking noise around the bike and also substituted other Frog pedals with stainless steel spindles to rule out the pedals.

  2. Dave Mansfield says:

    DiNotte has battery holders 2 for $4 SP $2 each.

  3. Dave Mansfield says:
    In the dropdown window you can select “2 battery holders only (no bag)”

  4. Torsten Degn says:

    Our clicking noice disappeared after applying Teflon tape to the front bottom bracket after having changed pedals, clamps and pedal arm – Santana Sovereign with S&S couplers.

    • TG says:

      Yes, early in the diagnosis process I pulled, overhauled and then re-torqued and applied Loctite to the Phil Wood BB’s. Later I swapped them out for a set of Shimano BB’s to no avail. Pedals were overhauled and also swapped out along with the replacement of cleats. I even tried a different eccentric. The clicking at the rear bottom bracket remained. It is perplexing.

  5. Dave says:

    Wheels? I had a similar click that was caused by the tube lock nut. I removed the nut and the noise was gone. How about spokes, nipples, and any other wheel component you can think of?
    Someone already mentioned using pedal washers.
    Good Luck!

  6. Doug Johnson says:

    I can’t remember reading if you’ve tried this or not, but Carbon bikes are notorious for amplifying sound. Since pedals, Bottom brackets, cranks, wheels, and eccentrics have had attention given to them, that doesn’t leave much left to check. So, perhaps doing a swap out of seats, seat posts, seat post clamps. Also swap out stems and bars, if available. That should narrow down what is left to make the clicking noise. I’ve had issues with a “loose” saddle making annoying noises in the past. At this point, I don’t think you’ve got much left to check. Good luck.

    • TG says:

      Hey Doug:

      The condition exists when we’re seated or standing, so it’s not the saddles/seat posts. And, bars/stems are also good. As mentioned in an earlier post, after chasing every possible lead that’s what led to the aha and checking the frame couplers. The “slop” in the rear coupler was fixed by Calfee; it’s just the lingering “clicking” and ghost shifting on high load sprints / climbing that continue to remain a mystery.

      I’ve done a few more things to isolate potential sources of play at the couplers and re-torqued all of the crank related bolts. The only thing that caught my eye tonight looking at the tandem hanging in the garage were the Titanium bolts that connect the seat stays to the rear drop-outs, so I may check on those before our next ride as well.

      • Doug says:

        Thinking about it on my ride tonight, that’s a tough one. The “ghost shifting” manifested itself on my bikes when the Campy ergo shifter springs wore out, and frame flex at the bottom bracket moved the cables enough to pull the cable and cause the shift out of the bigger cogs under the conditions you mentioned. Which, you’ve talked about on a previous post. But, you’re running Shimano, which I don’t think has that issue. Also, I’d think the Calfee would be stiffer than my old steel singles though. So, I’be be curious to see what the TI drop out bolt check/replacement get you. Will that solve the “ghost shift” and clicking? I don’t envy the spot you’re in. Keep us posted!

  7. edwardtasch says:

    When trouble shooting did you use the same skewers on both wheel sets? I ask because sometimes depending on the skewer’s bushing material and design, if the bushings are extremely clean and “dry” the quick release will sometimes introduce a creaking or clicking sound when experiencing torque from pedaling.

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