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  1. #1
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    Chasing an SB-95 creak: THE saga!

    I want to first preface this post with the fact that I'm not posting any of this to shame Yeti, SRAM, Fox or my LBS. In fact I'm posting for the opposite reason, to point out some of the great customer service I've had. I’ve learned a lot through this process. I’ve been able to figure out, with the help of MTBR, how to troubleshoot and do quite a bit of maintenance myself. Overall, I think the situation deals mostly with being a big rider (195lbs), being hard on parts and just having some lemon components (part of the .1%).

    About a year ago I took delivery of an Alloy SB-95 enduro kit. I made some mods before it left the bike shop: Truvativ X9 2 x 10 crank and front D and a Fox DOSS. I was upgrading from a 2002 Gary Fisher Sugar 4+ nicknamed chainsuck (suck for short). Holy $**** was I in for a surprise! I had no idea what awesome bikes Yeti produces. A roommate several years back was from Colorado and couldn't shut up about em, so I was looking forward to joining the tribe. I can truly say even with all the troubles, that this was one of the best purchases I made.

    I was so amped to hit the trails! I was awed at the prowess the bike had and the confidence it inspired. One thing that nagged though, despite the awesome handling, after two or three rides I noticed creak, more like a tick, like a component moving out of position. I first thought it might be the soft over hard sandy dust stuff So Cal is known for, getting in to every crevice, so I tried the usual suspects of cleaning and re-greasing to get it to go away. No joy! Creak remained. I ended up taking it back to the bike shop and they tried their usual stuff, still creaking. Posted on the forums and heard a lot of chatter about this and that, chips etc. In the process I upgraded to 12mm rear, 36t star ratchet, steel freehub body and RTV'd the chips, all in an effort to get the bike quiet. Finally after a while I decided just to ride and suck it up. Every day was more and more epic. The SB just ate up everything I threw at it. The problem was steadily the creak got louder, and louder.... Friends started commenting during group rides, hikers and joggers dove for cover… and one day my wife was like: why is your new bike so noisy? Oh HELL no! Eventually I could no longer ignore it.

    It was getting towards annual overhaul time and I decided that it might be my LBS's incompetence driving some of the problems. I tried a new shop and they broke the bike down, cleaned serviced and installed a new bottom bracket. After getting the bike back, it was silent for half a ride AND THEN... it returned. Every revolution of the cranks on the non-drive side, it was there. This clickity creak. The aluminum transferred and amplified the noise and I... well, I lost my mind. I knew that I should ride it and not care, but what the heck was causing that noise? I thought to myself that the Fisher (a.k.a: sucK) didn't make that noise.... I took the bike back and after a few days of trying to troubleshoot they couldn't find the problem. The shop owner suggested I call Yeti. I would have thrown a fit had I actually purchased the bike from them. I put a call into Yeti and decided that it was time to return to the LBS I purchased the bike from.

    To the original LBS we went. This time, on a mission, I was gonna be cool. No one wanted to hear some douche complain about how their bike creaked. I mean we are a dime a dozen, right? So I held my cool. I was greeted by a technician who asked me what was wrong and then handed me a bottle of Teflon penetrating lube and suggested I just hit the bricks. Remain cool, I thought. “Who's in charge of service,” I asked? Finally someone cool came over and listened to what I had to day. At this point the creak was so pronounced that I could replicate it just by placing pressure on the non drive side crank arm. Click, click, click. He listened, took the bike in the back and told me they would have an update at the end of the day. That afternoon I returned and he told me that the non drive side shift bearing was notchy and he had repacked it with grease. He also had pulled the bottom bracket re-greased the threads and re-torqued the crank arm spider bolts and the chain ring bolts. He also informed me that the Fox FLOAT 34 was creaking and I should consider sending it for warranty at some point. He ordered a new bearing and I planned to bring the bike back when it was in. For the first time since I took delivery, it was quiet QUIET!!!!!!!!!! I was so happy. But that only lasted for a ride.

    Yeti returned my call about the same time. Told them the situation and they told me that they would send the LBS a set of bearings on warranty. I was super stoked. Took the bike in for the warranty repairs and a few days later got a call. "Umm Richard, ya, your bottom bracket, it's... cracked. Bad news is we will have your bike for at least another week. Good news is Yeti will replace it free.” I was shocked to hear that news, but was then stoked because I thought for sure that was the cause of the creak. Four days (FOUR DAYS! holy cow fast) later I had a new frame and it was ready to be picked up. I left with no charges, not even for tear down. A brand new front triangle, brand new bearings and a cool Yeti branded QR that wasn’t part of the original 2012 model! STOKED!!!! The head mechanic was super cool and I returned the favor with two cases of beer. Took the bike home and it was quiet. Surely all my troubles had to be behind me… right? But then AGAIN! AGAIN! The click, the creak!

    Youtubed pulling a fork, it seemed simple enough. With the LBS over a 30min drive from me and my history as an aircraft mechanic I decided it was time to take charge. I removed the parts, took the fork to a shop that was close to remove the crown race and off to Fox it went. Two weeks down I received the fork back. The stanchions had in fact started to separate from the crown and I received all new uppers. I was headed for an entirely new bike. STOKED! ...but then! F-U! CREAK!
    I started to have a “Come to Jesus” moment with myself about how I should just ride. It’s just a creak… quit being a *****. That’s what I did, but then again… that damn click came back. It came back after a buddy tore is derailleur off on a long climb 20miles out on a trail and I was sent speeding back to the truck to pick him up. I hammered as fast as I could so he wasn’t stuck forever out in the heat. But every freaking pedal revolution the damn click!

    Off it came…. It had to be the crank. I longtime suspected it was but everyone said they re-torqued the bolts and cleaned it. There’s no way it’s the crank they said. Well it was getting checked… BY ME! Took off the crank, hooked up a chain whip to it and applied counter (drive) torque. It clicked! Clicked again and again. The damn crank was the culprit! Searched again on the web and found a post here on MTBR about the interface between the crank arm and the spider. Cleaned it, still the creak was there. Re READ the post and discovered a sentence saying “Reassembled so there was no drive direction slop in the notches of the spider-to-arm interface.” SO I took it apart again. This time the creak was 90% better. Still there was some apparent creaking when standing and pedaling. I called SRAM this morning to tell them this horrendously long story. They were super cool and will warranty the crank.

    That’s my story… hopefully the end (right?)

  2. #2
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    wow, but glad for finally a happy ending.

  3. #3
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    +2 Wow , what a great write up on what it can take to chase down a creak, I feel your pain , I generally get stuck chasing creaks on bikes.

    I have spent several days sometimes locating creaks ( I do work for several bike shops in my area, most bike shops really are not set up to or have the knowledge to correct some of these)

    I am going to save this write up to show customers just what they can get into.

    Thank you for sharing , I know you where about to die.

  4. #4
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    Ya, it sucked in the beginning because often the LAST thing a bike shop wants to do is chase a creak. I had one shop tell me that it's what full suspension bikes do. "You don't want creaking, buy a hardtail." After a while I thought I was just being rediculous. Persistence paid off and truly all the manufacturers involved were a pleasure to work with. Bike shops on the other hand... I guess I'm lucky to have found a friend with the head mech at the shop I bought the bike from.

  5. #5
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    Pull your derailleur hanger clean it and where it attaches to frame.
    Grease the hanger and the frame where it attaches.
    This has been the culprit of many creaks for me.
    Drove me mental, and sure enough in the end it was the hanger...
    Now I pull clean and degrease every two months.
    Lynn Woods
    JRA cycles
    YETI cycles.com

  6. #6
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    Sounds like you should ride with headphones. : )
    SEI Racing

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarsandtears View Post
    Pull your derailleur hanger clean it and where it attaches to frame.
    Grease the hanger and the frame where it attaches.
    This has been the culprit of many creaks for me.
    Drove me mental, and sure enough in the end it was the hanger...
    Now I pull clean and degrease every two months.
    Wondered if this has worked for others here? Didn't work for me, so I'm still searching.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by White Bear View Post
    Wondered if this has worked for others here? Didn't work for me, so I'm still searching.
    Boy I tell ya , Scarsandtears is so correct , I get more bikes in with the hanger creaking like no tomorrow , and it is hard to find .

    The first things I do on a bike is the ft and rear drop outs, the hanger and the pedals .....I do these right out the gate and generally that will get it if it is not a really stupid creak.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelstr View Post
    Boy I tell ya , Scarsandtears is so correct , I get more bikes in with the hanger creaking like no tomorrow , and it is hard to find .

    The first things I do on a bike is the ft and rear drop outs, the hanger and the pedals .....I do these right out the gate and generally that will get it if it is not a really stupid creak.

    "front/rear drop-outs", what do you do on these?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by White Bear View Post
    "front/rear drop-outs", what do you do on these?
    Grease the ft and rear wheel spacers where they contact the drop outs then grease the through axle inner shaft and the outer flang where it contacts the drop outs,
    then do the same for the ft .

    The guys that water wash their bikes will really corrode these areas and you will get one hell of a creak / pop noise .

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelstr View Post
    Grease the ft and rear wheel spacers where they contact the drop outs then grease the through axle inner shaft and the outer flang where it contacts the drop outs,
    then do the same for the ft .

    The guys that water wash their bikes will really corrode these areas and you will get one hell of a creak / pop noise .
    Awesome, thanks!

  12. #12
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    That's awesome that SRAM is taking care of your crank. We've seen this one quite a few times on X9/X0/XX1/XO1 cranks with the removable spider. Once or twice a season you need to remove the crank, take off the spider, clean and grease it and re-torque the whole assembly.

    Hopefully the new crank solves your problem!
    www.singletrackfactory.com
    The Singletrack Factory
    1005 S. Gaylord St.
    Denver, CO 80209
    (303)733-3334

  13. #13
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    Follow-up: After doing all of the aforementioned fixes, I have isolated the noise to the crank area. I have torqued spider/chain ring bolts, BB and pedals. I am getting a loud "knock" when I apply hard hand pressure down on the pedal. The sound emanates from the front triangle.
    Again, SB-95c, XX1.

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