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Old 05-16-12, 01:42 PM   #1
RollCNY
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600 Miles, 4-5 Days - Single Speed or Finicky 2x9

Hi Touring Forum

Opinion question. I am planning a blitz around my state, credit card touring, leaving in either 2 or three weeks, but I have not settled on which bike to take. I have done 100 mile rides on both, so it is neither a fit nor hand position question.

I have a steel single speed, drop bars, essentially new bike that has zero mechanical issues. I have the least saddle time on it, but have done group rides and solo stuff to the point of exhaustion with it. To ride fast kills me, but it is a very comfortable putter bike.

I have an aluminum and carbon flat bar road bike, 2x9, that is my main ride. However, I have a mystery creak that I have not yet pinpointed. Started two weekends back after a pothole hit, I will swap out parts, seems to cure it, and then reappears under high load pedal effort. I have thoroughly inspected frame for cracks, but can find nothing.

So the question: would you choose a geared bike with a mystery creak or a single speed for an endurance paced tour? I will always be within about a 4 hour drive of rescue, but will burn much spousal accrued credit if used.
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Old 05-16-12, 04:20 PM   #2
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Pull and grease your seatpost. Squirt some lube where your saddle rails go into the saddle.
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Old 05-16-12, 05:14 PM   #3
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Thanks, but that was first fix tried. Noise continues even on standing (maybe even worse on standing). Swapped out crank and BB to check out bearing failure / noise, will test ride tomorrow.

On finicky flat bar, greased seat post and rails, replaced rear wheel QR, pullled hub apart and cleaned and lubed internals, swapped cassette. Then stripped frame and searched for cracks (alum frame with carbon rear triangle). After each individual change, I would test. Didn't change multiple variables at one time. Each change seems to quiet noise for low load first few miles, but then it starts again.
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Old 05-17-12, 04:33 AM   #4
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Take your pedals off and put a strip of Teflon plumbers tape on your pedal threads. I know it sounds goofy but it has cured the problem on lots of bikes I have worked on.
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Old 05-17-12, 06:10 AM   #5
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Sounds to me as if it might be a fork/headset issue, but I guess you've had a look at them and can't find anything?

Be that as it may, speaking personally I'd hesitate before starting a >100 mile per day tour on a bike with a mystery creak, especially when that creak started after I hit something. So if you can't solve the problem in the next couple fo weeks, what about putting a bigger sprocket on the back of the singlespeed? It's an easy, quick, cheap fix that will allow you to cruise all day on that bike more easily than you now can, and if you're not riding fixed the lower gear won't have you spinning like a demented hamster downhill.
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Old 05-17-12, 09:17 AM   #6
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Pulling the fork is a good suggestion. I inspected the carbon blades (fork legs?) and could find nothing, but did not pull it to examine the steerer tube, or crown junction.

On the commute this morning, with swapped BB, crank, pedals moved over (cleaned and re-greased), the 2x9 was quiet, but it is also not a taxing ride. And it has been disheartening that many things quiet it for a bit, and then it comes back.

But the real heart of the question is, even if it stays quiet pre-ride, my paranoia of cracked frame or catastrophic failure is large at this point. I think I may spend the entire ride just waiting for a noise, which is why the single speed is actually my more likely choice at this point.

As to the easing up on the sprocket, I actually have a spare single chainring (43T vs. installed 47T) that I would bring along. Seems easier to change on the road with lighter tools than trying to swap single speed cassette on the road. First 300 miles are essentially flat, but then the plan is to come back through the Adirondacks, so I would plan to change on the road. However, I will be the first to say that my experience will single speeds is very small, so the change may be more challenging than I am thinking.
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Old 05-17-12, 09:28 AM   #7
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I'd ride the singlespeed, geared nice and low, and enjoy the spinning on flats and coasting on downhills.
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Old 05-17-12, 09:51 AM   #8
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Another point of view...
The 2x9 bike is unlikely to die suddenly because of an undiagnosed squeak. I look for the cause, but ride it anyway if I didn't find it.
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Old 05-17-12, 10:15 AM   #9
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if you decide on the SS, take a couple of extra cogs and a chain-breaker. you might find that you want to change your gearing. of course, there may be bike stores along the way where you could pick that stuff up if needed.
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Old 05-17-12, 11:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
Sounds to me as if it might be a fork/headset issue, but I guess you've had a look at them and can't find anything?

Be that as it may, speaking personally I'd hesitate before starting a >100 mile per day tour on a bike with a mystery creak, especially when that creak started after I hit something. So if you can't solve the problem in the next couple fo weeks, what about putting a bigger sprocket on the back of the singlespeed? It's an easy, quick, cheap fix that will allow you to cruise all day on that bike more easily than you now can, and if you're not riding fixed the lower gear won't have you spinning like a demented hamster downhill.
How would you fix a fork/headset issue? I have a creak on my Specialized Sectuer coming from that area.
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Old 05-17-12, 11:40 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Another point of view...
The 2x9 bike is unlikely to die suddenly because of an undiagnosed squeak. I look for the cause, but ride it anyway if I didn't find it.
I know I am paranoid, but when is a squeak a squeak and when is it a death rattle? I have chased and resolved squeaks on this and other bikes without issue, but this time it is a loud enough noise that basically everyone on Sunday's group ride said, "what the heck is that?"

It is definitely quieter today, so I'll push it and see what I get. Will also check out the fork.

All great feedback. Thanks folks, and I am surprised and pleased by the single speed encouragement and tips. Everyone I ride with thought I was nuts to contemplate it, but they think my flat bar is nuts too.
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Old 05-17-12, 11:40 AM   #12
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Take your 2x9 to a local bike shop that you trust. Have them thoroughly check the bike. Perhaps they can identify and fix the source of the noise and even if not, at least that should rule out any mechanical issues.
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Old 05-18-12, 11:40 AM   #13
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Take your 2x9 to a local bike shop that you trust. Have them thoroughly check the bike. Perhaps they can identify and fix the source of the noise and even if not, at least that should rule out any mechanical issues.
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Old 05-20-12, 11:25 AM   #14
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Not that this was started as a "Fix my Bike's Death Creak" thread, but it is finally resolved:

Sound went away for the first few days after crank, BB, and pedal move over. But then it came back on a big hill climb.

Took it to LBS that I trust, and got essentially nowhere. They went through the same suggestions and checked things over, and told me to change seat tube, BB, pedals. Since the problem was an intermittent sound, very hard to demonstrate to them. But we loosened and lubed and torqued things. Quiet when it left the shop, but got noisy after a some climbing.

So I took it to a big hill and did hill repeats and mashed the snot out of it until the sound was constant, and then I looked for issues. It turned out to be a cracked freehub body and damaged pawls in the hub. I had swapped out the cassette about a month ago, and the freehub had looked good at that point, and it was clearly not now. My hole hit must have overloaded something, because it is definitely an unusual break. I swapped in new wheels, and now all is good. Hill repeats this morning made no noise, except from me.

So now just to decide between a single speed and a full functional 2x9. I think the gears will win.

Thanks for the input all.
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