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  1. #1
    Yen
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    Creaking/crackling sounds heard near headset

    At the start of yesterday's ride, Hubby started noticing creaking, crackling, popping sounds coming from the area of the headset. He stopped to tighten the bolts a little but it did not fix the problem. The headset includes a Dimension stem on top of CF spacers. The handlebars are FSA K-Force CF shallow drop.

    We called the shop and will take it in tomorrow when the mechanic returns from vacation. The shop said that sounds made by CF frames can transfer from other areas so it's hard to say exactly where it might be coming from.

    Has anyone else noticed this on a CF frame (or any CF parts)? It's unsettling (sickening, really) to hear noises like this on these brand-new bikes.
    Specialized Roubaix Expert
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  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    So many reasons for creaks on bikes and the Favourite one is a saddle creak. No Matter how much you tighten it- it stays there. Then on a normal check on the bike you find that another half turn is available on the Crank bolts-Or something similar.

    Head sets don't creak. They either work or are broken. But There is the play that can come in if the stem has been changed- The front plate that holds the bar on may make the bars creak or even parts a bit out of alignment could cause the noise.

    If anything major has gone wrong- It would be apparant with play in the part so a damaged headset could give some play in the Stem. It could even be a broken headset bearing but this would be felt on the bars.


    Failing that- the bike is going back to the shop for them to sort under warranty.


    Edit---AND I had a similar sound on The OCR when I got it------It was a gear cable fouling the frame on turning the bars while riding. Never did it when not under load or on the stand.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  3. #3
    Senior Member skiph's Avatar
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    I had a similar 'creak' coming from the handlebar/stem area on my Trek Pilot when it was new. It only happened when I pushed down or pulled up on the handle bars.

    Went by the LBS and the mechanic said could be a number of things.....might have to bring it in.

    As I headed back for the door with the bike, a lady I'd never seen there before started asking me questions about it. Asked if I'd tightened the headset properly and were the stem to steerer tube bolts tigtened?

    Since it was very new, I think I said I hadn't messed with the headset adjustment, as it seemed OK. I think I checked handlebar clamp bolts, but it was still making the creaking. She said to try the headset tension bolt/washer....the round cap that sets on top of the stem where it joins the steerer tube. It's only function is to snug up the headset bearings when you adjust them, and then it just keeps water out of the steerer tube.

    Turns out, the bolt that is for tensioning the headset bearings during the adjustment was just loose enough that the top cap was rubbing on top of the steerer tube when torquing on the handlebars.

    Just barely tightening that bolt in the middle of the top of the steerer tube stopped the creaking. It does not need to be real tight...just so it won't come loose, or in this case, tight enough to keep the top cap from creaking.

    It comes back from time to time (bolt probably works a bit loose), but when it does, I just snug it back up a bit and that stops the creaking. Since whenever the headset needs adjustment, that bolt gets messed with, so it is prone to come back. Might put some grease under the edge of it one day....sounds like work.

    So you might try that, or ask the LBS wrench about it before going nuts on stuff.

    PS: Glad you got back on your bike. A freind of mine lost a family member last week, so I've sort of been using the bike for cathartic purposes, as there's not much I can do for her.

  4. #4
    Senior Member freeranger's Avatar
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    Had a similar problem on my mtn bike at one time. The fix was to remove the bolts on the faceplate of the stem (the bolts on the plate which holds the handlebar onto the stem)--grease the bolts, and reinstall. Sometimes if those bolts are "dry", they will produce a creaking noise. Worth a try. Just be careful in retightening the bolts-do it in an "X" pattern, and be careful how tight you go, especially with a CF bar.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Billy Bones's Avatar
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    I once had a case of the "headset eeck-eecks". Turned out it was NOT the headset, but the cable housing lightly rubbing against the paint on the headset as the steerer turned slightly.

  6. #6
    Yen
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    Thanks everyone.

    Turns out the noise was coming from the seat post! Even while I was riding along side of him, it sounded like it was coming from the stem.

    They changed out the seat post a few times to no avail. Finally they put on an aluminum post -- noise gone. They called Specialized and learned that this happens with some frames but not all.

    The shop offered a new frame under warranty and left the choice up to Hubby. He'll try out the new stem and see what he thinks.

    Anyway, thought I'd share the outcome so someone else here can learn from it.
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  7. #7
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Take the frame- Aluminium seat posts can be harsh.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  8. #8
    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    Take the frame- Aluminium seat posts can be harsh.
    Will he really notice a big difference being that only the seat post is aluminum?
    Specialized Roubaix Expert
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  9. #9
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    Will he really notice a big difference being that only the seat post is aluminum?
    Depends on how much kool-ade he drank.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  10. #10
    Senior Member RoMad's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how much difference the seat posts makes on a carbon bike, but I think I would take the new frame anyway. After paying for a new carbon bike you shouldn't have to switch parts to make it quit making noises.

  11. #11
    Senior Member hockey's Avatar
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    Have a game plan.

    Creaking/crackling sounds annoy the heck out of me. As a result, I have developed a pretty simple routine for determining the source of the creak. Try some of these suggestions next time. Be careful, a few may be dangerous. I'm sure many of you could add other suggestions.
    1. Where does the sound appear to come from?
    2. Stand up, but don't pedal. Do you still hear the noise?
    3. Stand up, pedal. Do you still hear the noise? (now you are looking at seatpost/crank)
    4. Take hands off handlebars while gliding, then while peddling. (stem, headset, crank)
    5. Loosen and then tighten quick releases after moving wheel slightly.
    6. Lube pedals and check crankarms.
    7. Check bottle cage mounts
    8. Wear earplugs.

    Good luck. Hope some of this helps.
    Hockey

  12. #12
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    He should be thankful the creaking and crackling noises weren't coming from his knees

  13. #13
    Yen
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    Got the bike back. Hubby took it for a long test ride and heard a new sound in the area of the crank, with each revolution. Called the LBS; the owner came over on his day off, rode it himself, heard the sound, and took the bike to the shop.

    The verdict: faulty frame. Specialized will send a new frame, and he will get his CF seat post back. He was getting a little anxious because he really wants to take it on the City of Angels ride next Sunday.
    Specialized Roubaix Expert
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