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Creaking handlebars? Stem?(7 posts)

Creaking handlebars? Stem?Velocipedio
Aug 26, 2001 7:33 AM
On a century yesterday, my bike started creaking from the handlebars/stem at about 135 km when I would climb, stand and, sometimes, when I would apply a lot of pressure to the brakes. This is a relatively new bike, and I only have about 1,500 km [about 900 miles] on it. It has a sealed-bearing FSA headset, a 3T Forgie stem and a 3T handlebar.

I'm just trying to figure out where the creaking is coming from. I doubt it's the headset, though there had been some creaking from there in the first week, and the wrench at my LBS fixed that. I'm thinking of putting a little grease on the stem bolts -- both at the handlebar end and at the headset end -- and seeing if that solves the problem. If the creaking doesn't go away, I'll have the LBS look at the headset.

Does this sound like a reasonable course of action? Is there anything about either the stem, headset and bars that is known to contribute to this problem? Should I be VERY worried about the creaking?
re: Creaking handlebars? Stem?12x23
Aug 26, 2001 7:46 AM
Your lbs probably may offer a 'tune up' after a few hundred miles. Before you contact them check your front wheel skewer to see if it is tight enough. I had this happen with an oclv and Helium front wheel back in the spring. After the creaking had 'bout driven me nuts, and after removing the stem and regreasing several times, I stood over the bike with the brakes applied and torqued the bars. While doing this I listened closer and the sound seemed to come from below the bars. It was the d@**** skewer all along. The stem/bars/steerer tube should be lubed for life. ;-}
re: Creaking handlebars? Stem?Velocipedio
Aug 26, 2001 7:59 AM
Come to think of it, I gave the bike a full cleaning the day before the ride... including removing the front wheel to clean the braking surface... could be... could be... thanks...
carbon steerer tube?JohnG
Aug 26, 2001 11:17 AM
The skewer is a good possibility. I actually had to put some grease on the front axle to "quite" my Ti Skewer. However, if it isn't the skewer then remove your stem and clean the stack spacers and apply a tiny bit of grease to the spacers before reinstalling. Same thing for the stem if it has a shim between itself and a carbon steerer tube. Don't put any grease directly on a carbon steerer tube though.

Another possiblity is the bar stem interface. Repeat as above if creak is still there.

Oh, headset area 'creaks' are fairly common..... and very annoying! ;)

I greased the handlebar clamp...PdxMark
Aug 27, 2001 12:09 PM
I had a similar creak. I removed the stem faceplate and lightly greased the stem handlebar clamp. It solved the problem for me...
I greased the handlebar clamp...Velocipedio
Aug 28, 2001 4:49 AM
Did you have any problems with the bar slipping and rotating in the clamp?
I followed the advice...Velocipedio
Aug 29, 2001 1:41 PM

I lightly greased the handlebar clamp, greased the bolts that hold it into the stem, tightened the skewer and... the creaking IS greatly diminished. I still hear SOME creaking when I brake hard, leading me to believe this remaining creaking (a) has something to do with the headset or the shifter/lever clamps, (b) is probably just normal aluminum noise. My last road bike had a steel handlebar and stem [it was a very old Gitane].