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Bike Clicking When Pedaling Uphill? Here’s Why & How To Fix It

A sunset background showing a figure riding a bike up a steep hill.

If you’ve been biking for quite some time now, you may have come across the occasional problem of your bike clicking when pedaling uphill. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! In fact, this is a pretty common issue that many cyclists face, especially those who are just starting out. I also experienced this issue myself when I first started biking. It not only made pedaling harder but also created a lot of noise that disturbed my concentration.

In most cases, all you need to do is make some adjustments to your bike’s derailleur. When you’re pedaling uphill, the chain tends to slip more often since there’s more weight and pressure on it. This can cause the derailleur to move slightly out of position, which then results in that clicking noise.

Keep reading to find out how to identify:

  • why the bike is clicking
  • if you should fix it
  • how to fix it

Why Does It Happen?

Bike clicking when pedaling uphill is often caused by chain line issues. The chain line is the path that the chain takes from the front sprocket to the rear sprocket.

If the chain line is not aligned properly, it can cause the chain to rub against parts of the bike frame or derailleur, which can make a clicking noise.

Another possible reason is that the chains are not properly lubricated. Other factors that can also contribute to this noise are:

  • a bent chain stay
  • misaligned derailleur hanger
  • incorrect bottom bracket

Is There Something Wrong or Is It Normal?

A bike clicking when pedaling uphill is a common issue that many cyclists face. While it may sound like there is something wrong with your bike, in most cases, the clicking noise is actually normal and nothing to be concerned about.

This is particularly true for older-style mountain bikes with derailleur gears. The clicking noise is caused by the chain moving from one sprocket to another on the cassette.

As you pedal harder, the chain has to move to a smaller sprocket in order to maintain your cadence. This results in a clicking noise as the chain moves across the teeth of the sprockets.

There’s no need to worry about this clicking noise, as it’s perfectly normal and is not indicative of any major problems with your bike. However, if the noise is accompanied by other strange noises or symptoms, then it’s worth investigating further to rule out any potential issues.

What Should You Do To Fix It?

This is a common issue that has an easy fix. The first thing to check is the chain. If the chain is loose, then it will click as it rubs against the frame of the bike. To fix this, simply tighten the chain using a wrench or Allen key, Here’s a great value one, sold on Amazon.

A bike chain with some rust getting lubricated with a black can that has a long green straw to aim the spray in the right spot.
Make sure your bike is lubricated regularly

You may also want to check the lubrication. If the chain is properly lubricated, then the noise should go away. (This bike lubricant on Amazon is excellent and it’s the one I always have on hand).

Another reason your bike may click when pedaling uphill is that the gears are not properly aligned. This can be easily fixed by adjusting the derailleur.

First, make sure that the chain is in the middle cog of the cassette. Then, use an Allen key to turn the limit screws until the chain is able to move freely between cogs without rubbing on them.

If your bike still clicks after checking and adjusting the chain and gears, then it could be due to a problem with the bottom bracket or pedals. If this is the case, we recommend taking it to a bike shop to have a professional take a look.

Do You Need To Fix It?

It largely depends on whether the noise is disturbing your rides. If your chain is clicking when pedaling uphill and it’s not bothering you, then you may not need to fix it.

Nonetheless, it’s always best to maintain your bike regularly to avoid any bigger problems in the future. Knowing this, you should address the noise issue sooner rather than later, especially if it’s less of a lubrication concern and more of a misalignment problem.

What Happens If You Don’t Do Anything About It?

If it’s a lubrication issue, you run the risk of damaging your bike’s frame and components.

If the clicking is due to a loose part, you run the risk of losing control of your bike and crashing.

In both cases, it’s best to fix the problem as soon as possible when you notice it.

Will It Damage the Bike?

The good news is, it’s usually not damaging to the bike and can be fixed relatively easily. However, when left unaddressed for an extended period, it can cause more serious damage that may require professional help to fix.

Moreover, your safety is of utmost importance, so it’s best to get it fixed as soon as possible to avoid any potential accidents.

A road cyclist riding up a hill on a forested street.
Clicking while pedaling uphill is usually not a serious problem


Clicking noises when you’re pedaling uphill is a relatively common issue among bikers. Don’t worry, though. It’s not usually indicative of a serious problem. More often than not, it’s just a minor annoyance that can be easily fixed.

You just have to check the chains and sprockets to see if they need to be:

  • tightened
  • replaced
  • lubricated

If the clicking noise persists, then you might want to have a professional get to the root of the problem. Although this clicking noise won’t cause damage to your bike, it can be pretty annoying, especially if you’re trying to enjoy a peaceful ride.

Moreover, it may affect your safety while biking, so it’s best to take care of the problem as soon as possible.

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