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"Clicking" Sound From Handlebars

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"Clicking" Sound From Handlebars

Old 05-30-12, 08:22 AM
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"Clicking" Sound From Handlebars

I am nervous about a "clicking" sound from my handlebar and stem.

This is a bike I bought a few months ago. It is a 1992 Cannondale R1000. The prior owner replaced the Mavic stem and handlebars {sad** with a Tioga stem and Scott bars. I'm not familiar with vintage Tioga or Scott parts but they look like the "T-bone" stem and the "LF Lite Flite" bar.

When I apply pressure to the handlebars, I hear a "clicking" sound. This happens when I'm riding and torquing on the bars, it has also happened when I hit a sharp bump without unweighting the front. At first I couldn't figure out where the clicking was coming from but now I do think it is the bars. I don't notice any looseness when I deliberately pressure the bars, although I can flex the bars just a bit if I try really hard.

The stem clamp and stem quill are tight. I loosened the clamp and tried to slide the bar over so that I could see the section uinder the clamp. It was very tight. The right edge of the clamp has worn a groove around the bar (and marred the bar when I moved it - grrr), otherwise I don't see anything. When I re-tightened everything and rode again, the clicking is still there.

Should I be worried? Has anyone had drop bars break? I'm 185 lb if it matters.

If I should replace this bar or stem, I have two ways to go. One way is quill adapter and threadless stem. The other is quill stem, I happen to have a Mavic stem here. Any pros/cons that I should consider?
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Old 05-30-12, 08:30 AM
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Single bolt (non-removable face plate) stems are notorious for creaking and it's worse if the handle bars are "sleeved" at the clamp area. If your bars have been compromised by the groove around them, replacing both them and the stem is a worthwhile precaution. A quill adapter opens up an entire world of threadless, removable faceplate stems and matching bars in both 26.0 and 31.8 mm diameter.
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Old 05-30-12, 08:37 AM
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Because the scratch from the edge of the stem can grow to a break,
Replace the bar.
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Old 05-30-12, 09:26 AM
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Even use a magnifying glass to look at wear . trace the click , a broken handle bar is not a good thing ! height of stem ?greased expander wedge ?
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Old 05-30-12, 10:43 AM
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Are you certain that the sound is coming from the bars? It is possible that the headset bearing adjustment is loose. Lock the front brake and try to push the bike back and forth by the saddle. If you hear a clicking/knocking noise you will need to adjust the headset.
As mentioned above, a sleeved handlebar can also be a source of noise. I have successfully quieted them by wicking Krazy-type glue into the crack between the bar and the sleeve, NOT between the sleeve and the clamp, you don't want to glue the bar into the clamp by mistake.
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Old 05-30-12, 11:20 AM
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Stem is low. Expander is greased. I am not sure if the bar is sleeved, but I suspect it is - I will check.
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Old 05-30-12, 12:28 PM
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I've had a couple creaking handlebars. Both times it turned out to be a dirty interface between bar and stem. You might try removing the bar from the stem and cleaning both well.

If the stem doesn't have a removable faceplate, you don't have to completely remove the bar, just loosen the bolt and slide the bars over.

Might not be your problem, but it's an easy task to see.
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Old 05-30-12, 12:35 PM
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My old stem has creaked forever(35 years) when pulled on hard.When it stops creaking there's a problem,the stem is starting to corrode in the fork.I take it out and clean/lube it.
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Old 05-30-12, 06:47 PM
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Unless the bore of the bar-clamp in the stem and the bar at the clamp-area are is perfectly cylindrical and matching in diameter, there will be some fretting motion leading to creaks. Single-clamp stems are OK if they are the thin steel kind that can change diameter as the bolt is tightened. But if it's a two-piece stem with separate face-plate with a hook-edge on one side and bolt on the other, this will always cause problems.

I've found that using some Yamabond-4 sealant between the stem and bar can seal the mismatch and quiet creaks. Available at your local Yamaha motorcycle dealer. Don't get the newer Yamabond-5, it doesn't work as well.
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Old 05-30-12, 11:02 PM
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Thanks, everyone. Clicking is driving me nuts. Not sure if "nervous" or "aggravated" is winning out. I'm going to stop riding this bike until I have it sorted.
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Old 05-30-12, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl
Thanks, everyone. Clicking is driving me nuts. Not sure if "nervous" or "aggravated" is winning out. I'm going to stop riding this bike until I have it sorted.
I got clicking and creaking from the shifter cables where the housing enters the ferrules. It's just a small metal-metal contact but bumps and steering seem to cause it.
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Old 05-31-12, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl
The right edge of the clamp has worn a groove around the bar (and marred the bar when I moved it - grrr), otherwise I don't see anything.

Should I be worried? Has anyone had drop bars break? I'm 185 lb if it matters.
If the stem has cut a groove in the bar it is bound to fail at some point. I would replace the bar.
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Old 06-01-12, 03:49 AM
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+1 quill adapter.

Removable faceplate stems are win, and I'm sure the 31.8mm diameter will help out of the saddle for a 185lb guy.
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Old 06-01-12, 05:17 AM
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I've had clicking handlebars on 2 occasions -- both turned out to the be the seat post . If nothing you do silences the noise, even against all your common sense - try a different seat post.
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Old 06-01-12, 07:50 AM
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Lusting for a Cinelli one-piece "ram" bar-stem . . .

https://www.bikebling.com/v/vspfiles/...egrated-2T.jpg

And "I'm sure the 31.8mm diameter will help out of the saddle for a 185lb guy" - how about a 185 lb guy with the legs of a 90 lb woman?

Last edited by jyl; 06-01-12 at 07:53 AM.
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