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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 11-15-05, 02:07 PM   #1
peripatetic
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is the noise coming from the general vicinity of the stem/headset of my 80s Zebra beater bike with flat alloy bars and an alloy stem. The noise comes out when I'm cranking the pedals, and therefore as a result of pulling up on the bars. Is this a symptom of shot bearings, a loose headset or something else? There doesn't seem to be any major problem with the steering per se. (The flat bars seem kind of cheapo alloy, so I'm wondering if it's possible that those alone might be the source of the cheapo creakie noises.)

thx
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Old 11-15-05, 02:11 PM   #2
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Have you ridden in the rain recently? Sounds like there's moisture in the steer tube. Take the stem out, wipe everything dry with a rag, regrease it, and put it back together.
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Old 11-15-05, 02:14 PM   #3
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Have you ridden in the rain recently? Sounds like there's moisture in the steer tube. Take the stem out, wipe everything dry with a rag, regrease it, and put it back together.

Nah, haven't ridden the thing at all recently, and the last time, it was warm summer w/o rain. I'll check the stem again, but I seem to recall that the noise has been emanating for quite a while. It just took a while for me to get the rest of the bike (i.e. drivetrain and brakes) fixed up enough to realize that there was this other noise, isolated from the rest.
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Old 11-15-05, 02:16 PM   #4
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It could be just about anything. BUT, one thing you should definatly check is the bar itself. Check for cracks in the bar on both sides of the stem.

It could also be any of the other things that you mention. Check the headset by holding the front brake and rocking the bike back and forth. If you feel movement in the headset, it needs adjustment.
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Old 11-15-05, 02:56 PM   #5
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okay, checked the headset per Avalanche's suggestions. Nothing wrong with the headset as far as I can tell. I'm thinking that this might just be a case of some very crappy aluminum in the stem...There are no cracks, however.

Any other tips/suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 11-15-05, 03:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by peripatetic
Any other tips/suggestions would be appreciated.

I had a creak when mashing the pedals. It turned out to be the clamps for the brake levers creaking as the bars flexed.

As stated before, be careful of hairline cracks in your bars/stem.
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Old 11-15-05, 03:18 PM   #7
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when reassembling the stem and bar, lube everything.
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Old 11-15-05, 03:44 PM   #8
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Remove stem from steerer tube.

Remove handlebar from stem.

Clean all grease off of stem, the inside of the steerer tube, and the bar clamp area. Degreaser and a rag.

Grease everything upon reinstall. The inside of the steerer tube, stem wedge, the threaded rod in the stem, the bar clamp and the part on the bar where it clamps.

99% of the time this will solve all creakage.

Could you swap in another bar/stem setup to verify that its the bar/stem creaking?
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Old 11-15-05, 04:10 PM   #9
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Remove stem from steerer tube.

Remove handlebar from stem.

Clean all grease off of stem, the inside of the steerer tube, and the bar clamp area. Degreaser and a rag.

Grease everything upon reinstall. The inside of the steerer tube, stem wedge, the threaded rod in the stem, the bar clamp and the part on the bar where it clamps.

99% of the time this will solve all creakage.
Thanks, will do as you suggest. All sounds reasonable. Since the grips and levers are securely on, I think I'll just slide the handlebar out enough to grease its contact point with the stem, then slide it back in.

As far as your next suggestion:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bostonfixed
Could you swap in another bar/stem setup to verify that its the bar/stem creaking?
I don't think I can spare the time presently to do this. If the creaking continues, I'll try it. The creaking is definitely coming from the bars/stem proximity, and I checked and double checked with no hairline fractures yet readily present.

Thanks all for your input.
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