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  1. #1
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    Creaky handlebar/stem assembly on Giant OCR3

    Hi All,

    I bought a Giant OCR3 last year brand new. I think it was a 2005 model, but I bought it in 2006 because the LBS had a pretty good sale on them. I like the bike a lot - it's really light and it rides really well. However, since I've had the bike I've noticed an occasional creaking sound when I ride the bike. I think the sound is coming from the handlebar / stem assembly, but I'm not exactly sure.

    This stem assembly is some kind of funky aluminum ergonomic assembly that allows you to tailor your handlebar position to something that fits your body and riding style.

    I've tried to tighten all of the screws in the head assembly that I could find, yet I still hear this creaking noise. The noise seems to occur, even if I'm only holding the handlebars lightly, and not really leaning or pulling on them.

    Any ideas on what I can try to isolate and eliminate this noise? Do you think I need to put some kind of dampning compound on the handle bar inside of the assembly to prevent the noise?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Matt Gaunt's Avatar
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    Been there my friend. Been there. Not the same symptoms, but there are some good suggestions here:
    Yet Another Mystery Noise
    Matt
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  3. #3
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    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the link!

  4. #4
    Neither rain, snow... dsm iv tr's Avatar
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    Don't know if you've tried it, but - I solved a creaking handlebar issue by -lightly- greasing inside the handlebar clamp on the stem and tightening it down properly. If anything, it might help isolate if the noise is coming from somewhere on/in the bars or the stem. If the bars have a separate sleeve at the clamp point, you might wish to check that for cracking. Bolts are another thing that could creak if not greased and tightened to spec.
    "You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need."
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  5. #5
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    Thanks dsm_iv_tr - I will give that a shot. I THInk the sound is coming from the handlebars, but I might have to try a bunch of things like Matt's thread listed if I'm wrong.

    Any idea on how tight I should tighten the bolts down? I have a torque wrench, but I didn't use it when I tightened my bolts. I just used an allen key and tightened them hand tight.

  6. #6
    Neither rain, snow... dsm iv tr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cynergy
    Thanks dsm_iv_tr - I will give that a shot. I THInk the sound is coming from the handlebars, but I might have to try a bunch of things like Matt's thread listed if I'm wrong.

    Any idea on how tight I should tighten the bolts down? I have a torque wrench, but I didn't use it when I tightened my bolts. I just used an allen key and tightened them hand tight.
    I normally use just my index and middle fingers at the end of a fairly standard allen wrench, and tighten until it "feels" tight - which is incredibly subjective. I'd say tighten them until they feel "tight" to you, but don't reef on the allen wrench because if you have lightweight bars an overtightened clamp could cut into them, which could then worsen when you apply stress to them.

    nb. Here's some common torque values that Google produced, if you happen to dig up a torque wrench or gizmo that works with an allen wrench. "Handlebar binder" is what you're looking at, and they claim 145-200 inch-_pounds_ - which is fairly tight.

    http://www.faqs.org/faqs/bicycles-fa...ection-33.html
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  7. #7
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    I Had the same problem with my OCR2 a few weeks ago. I noticed a creak coming from the handlebar/headset area, so naturally, I asumed he worst... Try this first: turn the handlebar from side to side to see if the noise is still there, then wiggle the shifer cables where they go into the head tube cable stops. Check the cable stops for dirt or sand. Mine apparently got a grain of sand in it, and the metal cable end was grinding it into dust while making some serious noise! I spent an hour taking things apart, cleaning and greasing, and I fixed my problem in 10 seconds with a Q-tip. Hope this helps, let us know what works!

  8. #8
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    creaky OCR 3

    Cynergy I too have a 2006 OCR 3 with Shimano wh-R550 wheels and some other stuff. My front end creaks whenever I am pulling or moving the bars. It creaks so bad I never can "sneak" up on someone and try and pass they always hear me coming! It took me almost a year of riding and listening and the bike shop fooling around. One day last week I was riding by myself in the country and had a chance to listen. I put my hand around the neck of the frame and magically the creak either went away or was minimized. My LBS has had the fork out twice and checked and lubed it. I think the removing of the clamp bolts and putting something like graphic would work as well as lightly greasing the handlebars. Let me know if something works for you and I shall do the same. Damn creak but good bike. Wardie

  9. #9
    nvr
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    I also have a 2005 OCR3 that came with the adjustable stem. I've tried everything suggested here, but the creak always eventually came back. I solved my creaking permanently by getting a new non-adjustable stem. It seems it's a common complaint with the Giant adjustable stems. Good luck.

  10. #10
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    Hi Folks,

    I think Static Chaser is on to something. After my ride this morning I put the bike on the workstand and turned the handles bars. I could hear the creaking. It appears to be the brake cables for me. When I turn the handlebars, the brake cables and the cable housing seem to push/creak against the aluminum brake levers. I haven't had a chance to clean them and grease them, but I'm going to try it later this weekend. I can see when I turn the handlebars the cables move a little as the handlebar turns. It seems like the rear brake cable housing is moving around a little in the cable stop and it causes some movement/vibrations in the aluminum brake lever.

    My OCR3 has these extra hand brake levers that allow you to ride in an upright position and still control the brakes. I think it is these levers that are making the sound.

    I'll try diagnosing this more when I get a chance and post an update (gotta watch the kids right now while my wife is out).

    I agree wardie - the OCR3 is really a pleasure to ride. I almost don't even notice the creak (or care about it) anymore. I took a nice 2 hour ride today and it was a joy to ride! About midway into my route, there's a nice stretch of winding road that runs along side a scenic river with the river on my left and trees and farms on my right. There weren't many cars out at all and it was very, very enjoyable. I really like riding the OCR3!

    nvr - I've thought about replacing the stem with a fixed one eventually, but for now I'm going to keep the bike the way it is and just ride it a lot. I think these ergo stems are convenient, but I prefer the simplicity of a traditional stem.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Matt Gaunt's Avatar
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    Yeah I had a feeling that mine was related to some grit that may have got into the ferrules or somewhere hard to reach. I'm gonna have a look now!
    Matt
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  12. #12
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    I have a Ritchey fixed stem . I have replaced the Sora shifters with Tiagara and changed everything over to a nine speed and eliminated the cyclocross Teckro additional brake levers on the handlebars and it still creaks. I removed the stem clamping bolts and put never seize on them and retightened so we'll see what happens tomorrow. I di notice that if I put my hand around the fork tube it either eliminated or almost eliminated the creaking. What's up with that?

  13. #13
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    Wardie,

    I wonder if the fork tube is amplifying some noise on your bike. maybe it's not the cause of the noise. Have you checked to see if the noise might be originating somewhere else like in the hubs or perhaps the cable housing stops on the head/fork tube?

    One other thing that I noticed today was that my back wheel was making a squeaking noise. At first I thought it was the brake shoes rubbing against the rim. However, on closer inspection it turns out that the rubber/plastic dust cap on the hub must have gotten some dirt in it and it was partially spinning and rubbing against the main part of the hub and making an annoying squeaky sound. the dust cover on the front hub wasn't doing this, only the rear.

    I wiped off the grit and dust on the outside of the cover as best I could and then put a couple of drops of oil in between the dust cover and the rest of the hub and the noise was gone.

  14. #14
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    Found the Creaking Noise! On Giant OCR 3

    It turns out that the creaking noise is coming from those plastic cable holders where they fit into the steel holder on the fork tube. I grabbed one while it was doing the creaking thing and it stopped. Someone earlier in this post came up with it..thanks to all of you who have made terrific suggestions. Wardie

  15. #15
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    wardie,

    Glad you isolated your noise. I found another source of noise today (I think). One of the bolts on my water cage was loose (the one on the downtube). I tightened it up and it seemed much better. I still get some creaking, but I think it's the plastic cable guides. I haven't had a chance to grease the cable stops yet.

  16. #16
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    Sucess, kind of

    Hi all,
    Thanks so much for all the deducing thus far. Took my headset apart tonite to grease the heck out of it to get rid of the creak, but no luck. So after reading the other replies, went down to the basement all excited I would finally be able to eliminate that wretched creak...however, after some investigation turns out the location was correct: in the little "barrel adjuster" at the very beginning of the down tube where the derailleur cable housing stops as the cable runs naked down the bottom of the down tube. Inside that little plastic end cap sits the housing. Now it appears that Giant went cheap on us all and got some low level housing that is starting to fray when the end cap is removed. Thus, I've discovered that this creak is cause from the frayed metal from the housing hitting the inside of the plastic cap when the housing is bent/moved/torqued. It is not too loud when out of the wells and off the bike, but once it is seated, the hollow frame acts as an amplifier for the creak, causing it to be quite audible. So the solution it seems is either deal w/the creak or replace the derailler cable housing from the shifters to the down tube. Hope it helps.

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