Bike Chain Noise in High Gear – 4 Causes and Solutions

Getting a cranky noise in high gears is undoubtedly the most common issue faced by riders. But this little noise never happens without any reason.

So as there are certain reasons behind it, there are also easy fixes. And we’re here to help you out on that.

So, why is there bike chain noise in high gear?

Bike chain noise in high gears occurs for a couple of reasons. Common among them are the wrong alignment of the front and rear derailleurs. In addition to these, it also happens because of lack of lubrication, stretched-out gear cable, and worn-out cassettes.

Well, these were just to name a few of the causes. In our article, we’ll go through their solutions too.

So let’s not waste any more time and get straight at it.

Noise in High Gear- Causes and Solutions

Bike making noise in high gear never happens without any reason. There is always something wrong with either the derailleur, chain, cassette or gear cable. 

For your ease, we’ve listed all the possible causes along with their solutions. Let’s have a look.

Worn Out Cassette/Chain

Now the first and most common issue for this noise is the worn-out chain. Chains become rusty over time. When this happens, they face trouble while moving to higher gears. This causes that noise in high gears.

However, it’s not only the worn-out chains that cause bike chain clicking in high gear. The cassette can also be damaged over long-term use. In fact, worn-out cassettes give rise to even bigger problems than just noise.

If you are using your bike for a long time without maintenance, this can be an issue. Plus, if rust has already accumulated in either the cassette or the chain, it’s time to replace them.


Now the only solution for worn-out chains or cassettes is to replace them.

Here’s our recommendation for bike chains.

If you wanna replace the chains on your own, I suggest using the RUBY-Q Bike Chain Kit. It will ease your work.

For Cassettes, you can go with-

Wrong Alignment of the Front Derailleur

The front derailleur needs to be aligned perfectly with the Outermost ring of the crankset. Otherwise, under high gears, the chains rub against the derailleur and make noises. Thus, bike chain rubbing in high gear is seen.

This happens very often. Mostly when the bike hits rocks or falls down. This causes the derailleurs to misalign causing cranky noises in the chain. 


The upper edge of the derailleur needs to align parallel with the line of the biggest ring. That’s one part of the criteria.

The next one is that there needs to be a 2-3 mm gap between the derailleur and the ring.

Ensuring these 2 things can make sure that the chain doesn’t rub with the derailleur. Thus, reducing the noise in the highest gears.

There exist screws to change the position of the derailleurs. Different manufacturers place the screws in different positions. But, they all exist on the derailleur itself. 

If the derailleur body is too far outside the chain, the screws need to be rotated clockwise to adjust. If the derailleur body is too far inside, the screws need to be rotated counterclockwise.

You can use the Park Tool DSD-2 Derailleur Screwdriver to adjust these screws. By following these, you can successfully avert bike chain rattle in high gear.

Apart from aligning the derailleur, you might also need to maintain a proper gear ratio to reduce noise. If you are using a BMX, make sure to maintain the right gear ratio for BMX.

Lack of Lubrication

Lack of enough lubrication can cause the crackling noise of chains in high gears. This is not limited to regular bikes only.

It also causes road bike noise in high gear. You see, when the chain is all dry, it makes it difficult to shift. 

So, rusting is seen in the long term. Not only that, these noises keep increasing over time. And at one point, there’s a high chance of the chain breaking mid-ride.


You can use a degreaser to lubricate the chain rag. This can be done once every month.

Here’s our recommendation for good quality degreasers.

Stretched Gear Cable 

The gear cables are seen to stretch when they are generally new. When they stretch, they fail to be tight enough to reach the big ring through the down tube.

How rear derailleurs function is a simple thing. However, stretched gear cable causes the derailleur to fail to shift between higher gears. So, rear derailleur clicking in highest gear is seen. 

Along with the rear derailleur, the chain also causes these noises and clicks. This is a very minor problem and can be solved easily.


In order to solve this problem, all you need to do is adjust the rear derailleur. You will see the adjuster on almost all bikes these days on the back of the rear derailleur. 

You need to go to the highest rear gear on your bike. After that, shift the gear to the next one. You’ll see the chain making that crackling noise. Also, the gears won’t shift.

Just rotate the adjuster towards the cassettes while being on the highest gear. You will see that 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Now let’s have a look at the most common queries regarding Nike chains.

Is it normal for bike chain to make noise?

No. It’s not normal for a bike chain to make noise. If it’s making noises, there’s some problem with the derailleurs. They need to be realigned parallel with the rings

What is chain slap on a bike?

A chain slap is made when riding downhill. This is when the chain creates a racket slapping. This is done against the swingarm.


That’s it for today. We hope we’ve been able to help you with bike chain noise in high gear. 

Remember that the wrong alignment of derailleurs is the first thing you should look out for. This is the most common reason for this problem.

Best of luck to you. If you have any more queries, let us know in the comment section below.

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