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Please HELP ; Creeking/groaning from seat tube/seat post

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Please HELP ; Creeking/groaning from seat tube/seat post

Old 07-28-12, 09:24 AM
  #1  
Peyote
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Please HELP ; Creeking/groaning from seat tube/seat post

Sorry for all the text but please read

I have been googling like made to read up on possible causes of creaking/groaning on here and other forums and I am stumped.

I have a creak that I thought was coming from the seat rails/seat/tube/seat clamp. I removed the seat and and pushed back on the seat post and the creak is still there so it is not the seat for sure. It is also not the clamp as I have tried two now; creak still there. If the clamp is under tight it creaks and if I do the bolt up well beyond 5Nm it still creeks.

It seems to creak more when pushing back on the seat post. But the strange thing is, if I adjust the hight of the seat post slight it goes away only to return after putting weight on the seat. I thought I had my post too high so I lowered it and it when away only to return again after 20 minutes of riding.

I have tried to narrow it down as much as possible but I have no Idea what more I can do to find the source. Greasing the seat post did not help nor did cleaning everything. I am afraid it may be due to frame failure such as a crack either on the chain stay or the seat stay but the bike is only a few weeks old (so it is clean) and I can not see any cracks in the weld anywhere on the frame or in the area mentioned.

I can not see how the seat post could be moving in the seat tube as it is the right size and the clamp is well tightened which makes me think it could be the frame. But the only reason I think it might not be the frame is because it does go away when the post is adjusted, if it were the frame I think it would be there regardless of adjusting the post.

Also, which may be important, it goes away when peddling standing up and is very noticeable when seated and putting weight on the back of the seat/seat post.

The bike is a CUBE LTD CC with a EASTON EA30 seat post.
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Old 07-28-12, 09:47 AM
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Based on what you've discovered so far, I also suspect that it's in the frame, but not because of any defect.

Question----does your seatpost extend least 1-2" below the bottom of the top tube?

If yes, disregard what follows, otherwise seat post length may be the key.

Your frame has an extended seat tube above the top tube. If you simply adhere to standard insertion depth, the post may end above the bottom of the top tube, or close to there. That means that it's not fully engaged in the braced area of the seat tube (inside the main triangle), and with heavy loading the post and seat tube above the top tube can flex, causing the seat post to shift slightly within the tube.

Usually greasing prevents noise, but if the flexing is enough, may not. The solution is a longer seat post. Before spending dough on a new post, though, you'll want to verify, by lowering the post and seeing if the creak changes in pitch or goes away completely. If so then a longer post should help.

As I said, this only applies if the post doesn't extend to 2" below the top tube welds (lower). If it does, this isn't the likely cause.
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Old 07-28-12, 09:49 AM
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Grease the seat post, or use assembly lube for carbon-fiber posts. Dry posts will creak and will require too much torque to hold the post and that will damage the collar or seat lug.

I know this is counter-intuitive but it is the way it is. Grease also goes into the quill stem of a threaded headset system. Failure to grease either will cause creaking and perhaps result in a stuck part eventually. A stuck seatpost is a real PITA.
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Old 07-28-12, 09:53 AM
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If the bike is only a few weeks old I would consult the dealer you bought it from. They may be able to assist in troubleshooting by, for example, switching to a different seatpost manufacturer or material. It might also be worthwhile to try carbon assembly paste instead of grease, just to see if it makes a difference. Also check the slot in the seat tube to be certain that there is not a small burr inside which is not allowing good contact to the post, and that the slot does not close all the way when you tighten the clamp. Is the post inserted into the tube far enough?
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Old 07-28-12, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Amesja View Post
Dry posts will creak and will require too much torque to hold the post and that will damage the collar or seat lug.

I know this is counter-intuitive but it is the way it is.
Yeah? O_o

So would you lube the clamp area on drop bars?

And can someone explain how this might be so?
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Old 07-28-12, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
Yeah? O_o

So would you lube the clamp area on drop bars?

And can someone explain how this might be so?
IMO he's wrong about greasing lowering the clamping force required, (tho opposite is true) but right in that ungreased posts will creak while greased ones won't.

With flex, there's some slight sliding of the post within the tube (same with quill stems) as it flexes, it's kind of like wearing shoes without socks. The movement causes creaking. Grease prevents the creak, but not the movement itself.

Often to get good hold on a slipping post, I'll wipe the post and tube dry, then apply grease to the tube below the clamping zone, and spread it as I push the post down (being careful not to pull it back up). That gives me the higher traction of dry clamping, while preventing corrosion or creaking deeper down. It's a bit of a nuisance so I save it for only when I need to, usually on steel or Ti frames with the ears welded directly to the tube without reinforcement. These can crack fairly easily if torqued down hard, destroying a frame. On frames with replaceable collars, it's less of a worry since all you can lose is a low cost collar.
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Old 07-28-12, 10:45 AM
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OK, I checked the the length of post that was entering the seat tube and it is about 2 inches past the minimum insert line; not icluding the collar so this should be fine I think, any lower and by legs are too bent when the pedal is at lowerest point (got that from Sheldon). Still a fair hight sticking out that could be used for leveage which could make more movement I suppose.

I did grease the post before but I used a copper grease and once applied, looks kind of watery. I have just re-greased with lithium grease that stays put more and looks more like a paste.

My last bike had a SDG i-beam and it never creaked once and the post was always inserted dry. The SDG does have tiny ridges to help grip inside the seat tube though. The EASTON EA30 came as stock and I imagine this is a pretty crappy post anyway but it should not be creaking after just a month or so.

Taking it to the dealer is a bit tricky because I ordered this bike from a Cube dealer in Germany and I am from UK. I would return it but only after I know that it could a warranty issue. Even contacting them at this point is a bit useless because they will not know the cause until they see it.

Anyway, I have greased up (the post, not me ) and I have put my weight on the seat, bounced up and down and rocked back and forth and there is no creaking at the moment. I'm going to take it for a ride and see what happens and will report back in an hour or so.

Thanks for every bodies advice and help so far
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Old 07-28-12, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Often to get good hold on a slipping post, I'll wipe the post and tube dry, then apply grease to the tube below the clamping zone, and spread it as I push the post down (being careful not to pull it back up). That gives me the higher traction of dry clamping, while preventing corrosion or creaking deeper down. It's a bit of a nuisance so I save it for only when I need to, usually on steel or Ti frames with the ears welded directly to the tube without reinforcement. These can crack fairly easily if torqued down hard, destroying a frame. On frames with replaceable collars, it's less of a worry since all you can lose is a low cost collar.
Nice tip
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Old 07-28-12, 11:14 AM
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It sounds like a defect in the frame (such as a small crack). It could also be a defect in the seatpost. However, if you haven't tried greasing the threads of the seat clamp bolt, I'd give that a try first, since it's a possible quick fix. If it still creaks, try a different (perhaps longer) seatpost. If that doesn't work, you may need to talk to your vendor about the frame.
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Old 07-28-12, 11:18 AM
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Just keep throwing grease at it till it STFU
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Old 07-28-12, 01:02 PM
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Just took it for a few miles ride and there was no creaking but I have just got back and pushed hard on the back of the seat and the creaking is back but less so, seems to creak when pulling up on the back of the seat rather than pushing down, doesn't take a lot of effort either, as before
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Old 07-28-12, 01:13 PM
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I guess it's a good thing your bum never pulls up on the seat, then.
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Old 07-28-12, 01:17 PM
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You actually DO want grease in the top of the seat tube at the binder bolt. The grease makes sure that the metal on metal "ring" of the binder fully contacts the seatpost all the way around. If left ungreased the metal can't conform and pull itself to the shape of the seatpost fully and only the 1/3-1/2 of the diameter of this "compression joint" is actually tight while the front part of the seat clamp area of the lug is actually still loose due to the friction of that part near the binder bolt. The intermediate area of the clamp diameter where it is not quite tight yet not quite loose is the area that is creaking.

When it is greased the entirety of the diameter of the seat lug is pulled tight up against the seatpost all the way around. Greasing this connection actually makes for a tighter squeeze of the seatpost in most cases that holds it firmer with the same amount of torque on the binder bolt than if it wasn't greased. And it will not squeak or creak..

Last edited by Amesja; 07-28-12 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 07-28-12, 01:50 PM
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I am going to have a LBS take a look at it and confirm if it is the frame.

If it is, regarding warranty, do I have to return it to the shop in Germany to get the warranty or can I return it to any Cube dealer in my country to get a replacement ?
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Old 07-29-12, 12:01 PM
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Little update; I have noticed on the seat post, if I hold a cloth and run my hands a long the post, there is an obvious but small dip in the middle where the post was at my perfect height and it has a width of about 1/4; it is also only at the back of the post where the bolt secures the clamp. Also when I insert the post there is a lot less resistance where this dip is and requires the clamp to be tighter than other locations on the post.
If I set the hight really high, too high for me, I can not create the clicking noise. The same goes for if I set the seat really low. A few inches either side of the dip and the noise is easy to create by hand.

I'm thinking, if it was a crack in the frame then setting the seat at a high hight would make perfect leverage making it easy to flex the frame disturbing the crack. I have checked the weld points all over the back end of the frame and I can not see any cracks and I have also checked in the seat tube and I can not see anything obvious.

Would 1/4" wrapped area compromise a large segment of a seat post and could this be causing the clicking/creaking? Is it not unheard of for new posts to develop dent/dips ? Weird for a brand new stock seatpost...

Tried to get hold of a different post to swap and test but couldn't today so will try tomorrow.
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Old 07-29-12, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Peyote View Post
Little update; I have noticed on the seat post, if I hold a cloth and run my hands a long the post, there is an obvious but small dip in the middle where the post was at my perfect height and it has a width of about 1/4; it is also only at the back of the post where the bolt secures the clamp.
It sounds like the aligned slots of the clamp and seat tube are allowing the corners to dig in at the back of the post (where the maximum compression stress is anyway). This used to be a significan problem with thin carbon posts, and would often lead to post failure.

Try reversing the clamp so the clamp's slot is in front, while the frames, is in back. The non slotted part of the clamp and frame tube then support each other across their respective slots maintaining a uniform compression without corners digging in.

To make this work the clamp has to be greased well on the inside (outside of the seat tube) so the clamp and tube can slide over each other as they're tightened onto the post. This will give you a more uniform hold and may also solve the creaking, but at the very least will reduce the chances of buckling the post because of local stress.

One other note --- the corners digging in is often an indicator of a slightly loose (within the tolerance of a correct post) fit, and that may be the cause of your creaking. Ideally a post should be a snug running fit within the frame, such that you may need to twist slightly to move it up or down. If yours is easy to slip up and down, the fit is a bit loose. Sometimes you can solve this with a different brand post made closer to the high limit of the working tolerance.
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Old 07-29-12, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
It sounds like the aligned slots of the clamp and seat tube are allowing the corners to dig in at the back of the post (where the maximum compression stress is anyway). This used to be a significan problem with thin carbon posts, and would often lead to post failure.

Try reversing the clamp so the clamp's slot is in front, while the frames, is in back. The non slotted part of the clamp and frame tube then support each other across their respective slots maintaining a uniform compression without corners digging in.

To make this work the clamp has to be greased well on the inside (outside of the seat tube) so the clamp and tube can slide over each other as they're tightened onto the post. This will give you a more uniform hold and may also solve the creaking, but at the very least will reduce the chances of buckling the post because of local stress.

One other note --- the corners digging in is often an indicator of a slightly loose (within the tolerance of a correct post) fit, and that may be the cause of your creaking. Ideally a post should be a snug running fit within the frame, such that you may need to twist slightly to move it up or down. If yours is easy to slip up and down, the fit is a bit loose. Sometimes you can solve this with a different brand post made closer to the high limit of the working tolerance.
Still crossing my fingers until I get a new post but that sound exactly what is happening because there are rub marks on the post where the corners may be digging in and there are rub marks on the seat clamp where the corners may be digging in. At the dented part of the seatpost, it is not a good fit at all, there is almost no resistance at the dented part. Looks like my wieght on the seat and caused the corners to push on the seatpost causing it to dent and deform.

At the very top of the seatpost and at the very bottom, it is indeed a tight fit meaning I have to push/pull and twist to remove/fit which is how it should be as you said

I'm going to get a new clamp which is deigned to to disperse the stress around the entire collar and grease it how you said.

Hopefully, I think that I set my seat too high and the faulty and/or cheap post couldn't take the leverage on the back with my weight on the seat. I set my seat so my legs are only slightly bent when the pedal is at the lowest point, I'm 6ft so you can imagine how high the seat might have been; although the post was still set in the frame well within the minimum insert amount.

Are Easton EA30 seatpsots known for being crap or failing ? It came as stock.

Hopefully this is the cause, hopefully. Will report back.

Last edited by Peyote; 07-29-12 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 07-29-12, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Peyote View Post
Still crossing my fingers until I get a new post but that sound exactly what is happening because there are rub marks on the post where the corners may be digging in and there are rub marks on the seat clamp where the corners may be digging in. At the dented part of the seatpost, it is not a good fit at all, there is almost no resistance at the dented part. Looks like my wieght on the seat and caused the corners to push on the seatpost causing it to dent and deform.

At the very top of the seatpost and at the very bottom, it is indeed a tight fit meaning I have to push/pull and twist to remove/fit which is how it should be as you said

I'm going to get a new clamp which is deigned to to disperse the stress around the entire collar and grease it how you said.

Hopefully, I think that I set my seat too high and the faulty and/or cheap post couldn't take the leverage on the back with my weight on the seat. I set my seat so my legs are only slightly bent when the pedal is at the lowest point, I'm 6ft so you can imagine how high the seat might have been; although the post was still set in the frame well within the minimum insert amount.

Are Easton EA30 seatpsots known for being crap or failing ? It came as stock.

Hopefully this is the cause, hopefully. Will report back.
Easton posts have a decent reputation, but the mix of a big rider, saddle pushed back, high post, and light post isn't great. If you continue to have these problems, consider trying a slightly heavier post (also cheaper) with a thicker walled tube. Some like Thomson, and a few others have thicker walls at the back to increase fore/aft rigidity and buttress them against the effects of slot stress.

Be sure to install the new clamp with the slot roughly 180° opposite the slot in the seat tube for maximum strength, and hopefully this will be the end of it.
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Old 07-29-12, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Amesja View Post
You actually DO want grease in the top of the seat tube at the binder bolt. The grease makes sure that the metal on metal "ring" of the binder fully contacts the seatpost all the way around. If left ungreased the metal can't conform and pull itself to the shape of the seatpost fully and only the 1/3-1/2 of the diameter of this "compression joint" is actually tight while the front part of the seat clamp area of the lug is actually still loose due to the friction of that part near the binder bolt. The intermediate area of the clamp diameter where it is not quite tight yet not quite loose is the area that is creaking.

When it is greased the entirety of the diameter of the seat lug is pulled tight up against the seatpost all the way around. Greasing this connection actually makes for a tighter squeeze of the seatpost in most cases that holds it firmer with the same amount of torque on the binder bolt than if it wasn't greased. And it will not squeak or creak..
I guess it's plausible, but how could you ever have evidence of it?
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Old 07-29-12, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Be sure to install the new clamp with the slot roughly 180° opposite the slot in the seat tube for maximum strength
Thanks and will do.
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Old 07-29-12, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
I guess it's plausible, but how could you ever have evidence of it?
Wrong thread...
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Old 07-29-12, 02:40 PM
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When replaced the stock saddle on my Cannondale Synapse, I started having a lot of creaking. I tried everything I could think of. Finally, a couple of weeks ago I was doing a thorough cleaning of the bike and pulled the seat post, clamp and seat off the rails. I cleaned everything really well and relubed the tube with carbon paste and applied Superlube to the outside area where the clamp is located, clamp bolt and nut and the seat rails and tightened to torque spec. My creaks have disappeared. I like a quiet bike and this worked for me. Good luck.
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