eBike Motor Clicking Noise when Slowing Down

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Updated March 2, 2023

If your e-bike motor is making a clicking noise as you slow down, it is imperative that you diagnose the issues before they turn into something serious. It may be the motor, but more likely, it could be the derailleur in need of adjustment. Though even the best electric bikes do audibly whirr when running, extraneous or unusual sounds emitting from one are cause for inspection. Alternatively, the motor isn’t the only thing that can malfunction. If your brakes have started to act up on your bike, you may be interested in how to install hydraulic disc brakes on an electric bike. Lastly, if you are doing repairs on your bike, you may end up using a lot of the battery life troubleshooting problems, so be sure to know how to properly charge your ebike.

Key Takeaways:

  • If your electric bike makes clicking noises when you are decelerating, you may need to adjust the derailleur by manually loosening the barrel adjuster. Once you’ve loosened it, turn the crank and the wheel simultaneously, and tighten and loosen the barrel adjuster more until the derailleur moves smoothly.
  • Loose debris can rattle around within geared hub motors, creating excess noise. A thorough cleaning should alleviate this. Be sure to power off the bike and remove the battery when cleaning any part of your electric bike.
  • Cogging, while uncommon, is another cause of unusual sounds. It occurs when the rotor and stator click together as they spin.

Electric Bike Motor Clicking Noises when Slowing Down Causes:

A clicking noise is much more common on hub motors than on mid-drives since they are attached to the axle of the electric bike. No matter what the reason, you will need to power down and disassemble the hub motor to look inside and get to the bottom of the issue. It may benefit you to learn how electric bike motor works, so you can have more understanding of your ebike, should something go wrong. This can be especially important if you buy a used ebike as you never know how well the previous owner took care of the bike. While you are at it, it may also be of use to read about electric bike laws by state to ensure that you can ride your ebike legally. Now onto what may cause those clicking noises.

Misaligned Derailleur

If you’re riding in a gear that doesn’t agree with the bike motor, especially if you retrofitted an ebike kit onto a traditional bike, you could encounter a clicking noise. Try shifting gears and listening to see if the problem persists. If it does, your likely cause is the derailleur. The derailleur allows your bike’s chain to shift to different cogs, thus helping the rider change gears. If the derailleur is out of alignment, it could cause a clicking noise when slowing down.

How To Realign Your eBike’s Derailleur

Realigning your derailleur is a relatively simple process as far as repairs go. You will want to shut your ebike off and make sure the battery is fully discharged and removed. Shift into 7th gear- this will set the chain on the smallest cog. Then, lift the frame so that the back wheel can spin freely. Here, you can inspect the way that the chain jumps cogs, causing the clicking noise.

Using a Phillips head screwdriver, slightly loosen the barrel adjuster. You may need another pair of hands to assist, as the next step will require you to shift gears and turn the crank simultaneously, adjusting the barrel until the chain seems to transfer smoothly.

If this seems like too much work, read our Pedego Comfort cruiser review and buy a new bike instead.

Loose Debris

There is a possibility that one way or another, a small amount of debris might have found its way into your motor, especially on older geared hub configurations. When you slow down, the strange noises are more apparent, as wind and spinning wheels won’t drown them out. Giving your motor a proper inner cleaning may serve well to loosen any pebbles, bits of metal, or other detritus that wormed their way in on the road. Unfortunately, this is something you might find on some affordable used electric bikes.

How To Clean A Geared Hub Motor

As with all motors, a geared hub contains electric components. Be extremely careful when using water to clean it; do not use a hose on an electric bike the way one would a traditional bicycle. Turn your bike off completely, and remove the battery and any displays, if applicable. Take a cleaning cloth that is just damp and apply it gently. Be careful not to degrease the chains or motor, as this can lead to grinding.


Inside your electric bike’s direct-drive hub motor sit two rings of magnets: the stator and the rotor. On occasion, the rotor and stator’s “teeth” can snap together, causing a clicking noise, especially at decreased speeds. While cogging is a relatively uncommon issue in most newer models, sensorless direct drive motors can run into this on occasion.

How to Fix Cogging in a Hub Motor

Your electric bike may be cogging if the startup settings are not appropriately set, especially under load. Reapply your bike’s settings so that more power directs to the motor at startup. That change in settings will likely reduce cogging. If you are still having the issue, it may be advisable to upgrade your direct drive to one with a sensor. Sensorless models run into cogging much more often than their newer counterparts.


  • Hub motors are the oldest type of e-bike motor, dating back to 1895 when Ogden Bolton Jr. invented a battery-powered electric bicycle with a “6-pole brush-and-commutator direct current (DC) hub motor mounted in the rear wheel.” (patents.google.com)







Why Is My Electric Bike Clicking as I Slow FAQ

Why is my motor so loud?

All electric bike motors will make a sound when they are running, and some are louder than others; this is dependent on the make and model. However, rattling, clicking, or grinding sounds in an e-bike motor are all signs that your ride needs attention.

Are front or rear-mounted hub motors noisier?

Rear-mounted motors tend to be much quieter than front-mounted, as the way they propel the bike is much different and requires less energy.

Can mid-drive motors click?

Not typically, as they are attached to the cranks instead of the wheels. If you hear a click, it is more likely to be originating in the cranks themselves.
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