Creaking Noise coming form my bike's headset- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Creaking Noise coming form my bike's headset

    My XTC 29'er 2 (2010) headset does an annoying creaking noise when I hit any kind of obstacle while riding. I had my local bike shop disassemble and lubricate the part. They also replaced the headset with a new one provided by Giant. However after a few rides they noise is still there.
    Any idea what might be causing this?, and how it can be repaired? Any chance to use other headset other that the one provided by Giant?

  2. #2
    jct
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    i had the same problem with my anthem 29er last week.

    i took the fork off and took the headset apart. the bike is only 2 months old but has been ridden hard in suspect conditions so there was plenty of gunk and dirt and crap. i cleaned all that and greased it up and put it back together.

    I also cleaned and relubed the stem bolts: both the handlbar clamp and steerer tube clamp.

    doing all that took about 15 mins and solved my problem.

    good luck

  3. #3
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    Let's look at what is the same in both circumstances:

    same creaking

    same fork, stem, spacers

    same headtube

    same mechanic

    Did the mechanic bother to replace the lower race on the fork steerer when the new HS showed up?

    I have seen headtubes that aren't square (many shops have the tool to fix that) and some have globs of paint obstructing full insertion of the bearing/cup. If any of those things aren't seated all the way it will creak until the bearing, race, or whatever bottoms out and stops moving.

    I thought I did a pretty good job of installing mine, but a trip to Moraine SP in PA proved me wrong (that place will give your HS a good workout). It creaked like crazy every time I did any steep downs. I pre-loaded the star nut pretty heavily when I put it back together then continued riding in spite of the creak and whatever had been loose eventually found its home and the creaking stopped. Maybe just ride it and make sure your headset is under sufficient compression.

    Then again, it might be your bars in your stem? (face plate tightened unevenly?)

    -F

  4. #4
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    I recently replaced the flat handlebar for a raiser one and the stock stem for a shorter one. And the headset was doing the weird noise before and after swapping those parts

    I will ask the guys at the LBS if they replaced the lower race on the fork steerer. To be honest I don't know exactly what that is (my bike mechanics knowledge is pretty basic)
    Thanks for the tip
    I left the bike with them recently, they will check it and hopefully it will be repaired sometime next week...I hope this time they fix it.
    One last question: as the headset of this bike is integrated is there some risk of damaging if headtube if I ride the bike in this conditions (creak noise, slight play)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by enfig
    I recently replaced the flat handlebar for a raiser one and the stock stem for a shorter one. And the headset was doing the weird noise before and after swapping those parts

    I will ask the guys at the LBS if they replaced the lower race on the fork steerer. To be honest I don't know exactly what that is (my bike mechanics knowledge is pretty basic)
    Thanks for the tip
    I left the bike with them recently, they will check it and hopefully it will be repaired sometime next week...I hope this time they fix it.
    One last question: as the headset of this bike is integrated is there some risk of damaging if headtube if I ride the bike in this conditions (creak noise, slight play)
    That at least narrows it down a bit.

    If you ask the mechanic, he can probably show you all the headset parts without even taking it all the way apart.

    I don't know if I can answer your question knowledgeably - it may or may not affect the headtube. Personally, I would beat the snot out of it so if it was going to break it would happen under warranty, especially if the shop turned you loose on it after they looked at it.

    -F

  6. #6
    ballbuster
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    I had a creaking headset. Turns out it was my carbon fiber headset spacers. I also had creaking with those funky Cane Creak (ha!) interlocking nylon headset spacers. I switched to alu and the problem went away.

    YMMV....

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot
    I had a creaking headset. Turns out it was my carbon fiber headset spacers. I also had creaking with those funky Cane Creak (ha!) interlocking nylon headset spacers. I switched to alu and the problem went away.

    YMMV....

    Same problem here. It helped a lot but I hear it from time to time. Carbon....
    “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.”

  8. #8
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    Thin metal washer between headset top cap and carbon spacer = no more creaking (in most cases).

  9. #9
    Old Punk
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    Dont forget about those pesky starnuts. I've been replacing them with headlocks.
    '09 Specialized Rockhopper expert 29
    Born 26" trials
    '07 Specialized Allez

  10. #10
    SyT
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtboroff
    Dont forget about those pesky starnuts. I've been replacing them with headlocks.
    Have never heard of these until your post. Looks like a far better solution than a starnut. I'm on it...
    To the OP-I recently went through the same thing, in my instance it was an ill fitting crown race.

  11. #11
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    I had a squeaky headset when I went over bumps and what not. Took apart, cleaned, torqued everything from the quick release to the ergons. Nothing fixed it. One day I got bored and decided to take my seat off the post and clean that area real well, and suddenly what I thought was my headset creak, was actually my seat rails and post.
    Last edited by Adim_X; 05-06-2011 at 11:57 AM.

  12. #12
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    Don't forget to check the frame. I have this "friend" who had a creaky headset. He cleaned out his headset and everything else on the front end of his bike. After finishing, I noticed that the top tube was cracked and barely holding together. Ooops I mean he noticed. It wasn't me I swear.

  13. #13
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    I developed the same problem this winter on a bike that I was experimenting on with shorter stems and wider bars. I went from carbon to carbon but the new stems were cheap carbon stems, if that makes any difference. I tried lubing everything. Grease at any point of contact including between the spacers and on the top cap. I also experimented with different torque settings on all fasteners. The final stem is quieter but not completely. I didn't change anything on the fork or headset. I have thought that I might have a cracked frame which is also carbon but I can't find anything and it was quiet until the stem change. It's hard to ignore persistent noises and I can't make this one go away.
    No it never stops hurting, but if you keep at it you can go faster.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SyT
    Have never heard of these until your post. Looks like a far better solution than a starnut. I'm on it...
    To the OP-I recently went through the same thing, in my instance it was an ill fitting crown race.
    IMO, waaay better. The headlock becomes the locking member for your headset, allowing your stem to only locate your handlebars. And it's nice to know that it's impossible to back out like a starnut can. These should be the standard.
    '09 Specialized Rockhopper expert 29
    Born 26" trials
    '07 Specialized Allez

  15. #15
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    DOUBLE POST, sorry.
    Quote Originally Posted by SyT
    Have never heard of these until your post. Looks like a far better solution than a starnut. I'm on it...
    To the OP-I recently went through the same thing, in my instance it was an ill fitting crown race.
    IMO, waaay better. The headlock becomes the locking member for your headset, allowing your stem to only locate your handlebars. And it's nice to know that it's impossible to back out like a starnut. These should be the standard.
    Last edited by curtboroff; 05-07-2011 at 07:33 AM.
    '09 Specialized Rockhopper expert 29
    Born 26" trials
    '07 Specialized Allez

  16. #16
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    Are you all riding carbon bikes? I fixed it by getting rid of carbon spacers abut seatpost creaks from time to time.
    “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.”

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot
    I had a creaking headset. Turns out it was my carbon fiber headset spacers. I also had creaking with those funky Cane Creak (ha!) interlocking nylon headset spacers. I switched to alu and the problem went away.

    YMMV....

    Ditto with the Cane Creek spacers. They're useless and noisy.

    Cane Creek makes some great products. Their HS spacers are not part of the great products. They should have stopped distributing them long ago.

    And yes, I had them oriented properly. Problem solved in under 4 minutes with standard aluminum spacers.

  18. #18
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    I had a similar issue years ago. It ended up being the fork crown creaking against the upper sanction.

  19. #19
    Ride,Smile, Pedal Damn it
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    I""m having same noise problem. After reading posts. i have a handfull of things to look into. Thanks again to all.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by henrymiller1
    I""m having same noise problem. After reading posts. i have a handfull of things to look into. Thanks again to all.
    I agree, thank you for your suggestions

  21. #21
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    check the steer tube on the fork carefully for any cracks.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot View Post
    I had a creaking headset. Turns out it was my carbon fiber headset spacers. I also had creaking with those funky Cane Creak (ha!) interlocking nylon headset spacers. I switched to alu and the problem went away.

    YMMV....
    Thank you! And everybody else who suggested the same thing. No idea if my spacer were carbon or nylon, but I replaced with aluminum and the creaking went away.

    And +1 for the Cane Creak pun... I had the same thought once I realized my headset was creaking and dreaded it was a worse problem than it turned out to be!

  23. #23
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    great thread

  24. #24
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    A good thread goes a long way...back...
    Belgian beer and Scotch whisky.

  25. #25
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    I recently had a creaking noise in my headset too. It was on a new bike build, and developed after a couple weeks of riding. I took it apart, wiped everything down with a rag (no solvents, just a clean rag), then regreased and put it all back together. So far so good!

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot View Post
    ...Turns out it was my carbon fiber headset spacers...
    Had the same once. Since then I will never use carbon headset spacers again, it's so pointless. The weight saved is not worth the possibility of creaks.

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