Contrary to popular belief the squeaky bike seat or seat post noise is rarely caused by loose posts, clamps or parts. That’s why no matter how much you tighten the clamp or grease your seat post, the squeak won’t go away!
But what causes the squeak?
Usually the squeaking you hear is the result of microscopic movement (friction) between the dry, un-lubricated threads of your seat clamp or saddle clamp.
Over time any grease that was on the threads has been washed out and replaced by bare-bone dryness and dust. Then the weight of you on the seat, together with your pedaling motion puts load on those un-lubricated parts, causing friction between them and making them squeak.
And the reason why the squeaking is so loud is because those tiny little friction movements between those dry threaded surfaces are amplified through the seat tube and other tubes of your bike frame, making the problem sound louder and far worse than it is.
Alloy frames are great for this – they’re just one great big speaker box for squeaky seat clamps. But don’t fret. It’s all an
Remember how easy it was to operate the quick release when your bike was new? Well, once you’ve finished the maintenance steps below, the squeaks will disappear, and your quick release and other clamps will work like new all over again.
It really is amazing what a tiny bit of lubrication can do. Just like bringing dry shifter cables back to life with this tip, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of lubricating the threads sooner.
So let’s learn
How to Fix a Squeaky Seat Post
- Remove your seat post from your mountain bike
- Mark the seat position and angle on your saddle clamp with a permanent marker, or take a close-up photo of your seat position with a mobile phone
- Remove saddle
- remove your quick release seat clamp or fixed clamp
- Dis-assemble the saddle clamp (the clamp that holds the seat to the post) and lay parts on a rag in order. Take a photo to refer to during re-assembly.
- Clean the saddle clamp parts, the post, around the top of the seat tube where the clamp collar sits, as well as inside your bike’s seat tube using a bike cleaning fluid like ‘Pedro’s Muc Off’. Rinse with water and dry all parts with a soft cloth.
- Inspect all parts, including the seat post, seat tube entry and seat tube split and remove any barbs or sharp edges with grade 400 or finer sandpaper
- Wipe parts clean again
- Dis-assemble your quick release or fixed clamp, laying parts out on a rag in order and take a photo to make re-assembly easy
- Clean all clamp parts, including washers and nuts, cams and threads, and remove any burrs (closely inspect threads, nuts and cam assembly for sharp edges)
- Re-assemble seat clamp, and using bike grease, lubricate any pivot barrels and the cam contact points, including the cam section on the lever. Also lubricate the bolt thread and nut or internal thread. Do not lubricate under bolt heads, saddle rails or actual saddle clamp sections.
- Apply a thin film of grease to the seat clamp collar where it mates to the seat tube outer, so long as that grease doesn’t transfer to the seatpost, or inside the seat tube
- Re-fit seat clamp
- Re-assemble saddle clamp with saddle in place, applying a small amount of bike grease to all external and internal threads
- Do not grease saddle rails
- Fit seat post / saddle assembly into seat tube
- Adjust and tighten seatpost quick release or fixed clamp. Note: When adjusting the clamping tension, start with the quick release quite loose at first, turning the adjustment nut a little with each test, until the clamp is secure enough to stop the saddle from turning. You’ll be surprised at how little closing force the QR lever needs, to do a good job once everything is lubricated! Let the cam, not your clamping force, do the work of holding your seatpost in place! Excess clamping force can lead to seatpost, clamp or even bike frame failure. (SNAP!)
- Re-position seat on seatpost as per the photo you took earlier and tighten saddle clamp bolts as per manufacturer’s specifications.
- Go and ride squeak-free!
- Tell your mates about mtbtips.com
Oil is Okay – If you don’t have any bike grease handy, simply use chain oil. Better to use oil than nothing at all. But use it sparingly – only a drop or two on each surface to be lubricated. The last thing you want is oil running onto surfaces that don’t require lubrication.
Wheels Too – Do the same for your quick release wheel skewers, to eliminate excessive thread and cam stress and wear
Never Lube Your Post – Contrary to popular belief, you should never, ever grease your seat post. Keep your seat post and seat tube clean, and dust/dirt and grease free.
Except where the *manufacturer* recommends carbon grease, applying grease to your mountain bike’s seat post is asking for trouble big time. The seatpost/seat tube junction is a location where you want friction to hold the seat post, so don’t lube it.
On top of that, the grease will only serve to attract dust and dirt, which over time, will form a not so nice gray abrasive grime between the seat tube and post. This grime rubs at your seat post and tube adding frame and post material to the mix, making each seat height adjustment more difficult than the last.
Post-Mud Clean – The big wash down you give your bike following a muddy ride is great for removing all that mud and crap from your bike. Unfortunately, it’s also good for removing any lubrication you had in your seat clamp.
Perform a quick clean and lube on your quick release seat clamp after every muddy mountain bike ride to ensure you continue to enjoy smooth operation of the quick release.
Dropper Stopper – A dry, un-lubricated quick release makes for difficult and very slow on-the-move-seat drops. So, if you’re a mountain biker like me who likes to manually seat drop on the move, make sure you regularly lube your quick release and always start your ride with a clean post.
In dusty conditions, the occasional quick wipe of the seat post with your glove as you’re riding along is also a good idea too, particularly if you suspect you’ll be ‘dropping’ or adjusting your seat height soon.
Still Got Problems?
If your post or saddle keeps creaking or slipping take your bike to your local bike shop for an inspection. You may have a damaged saddle, quick release, seatpost, or a seatpost with the incorrect diameter for your bike.