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  1. #1
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    Headset clack troubleshooting--AL fatigue?

    I'm trying to troubleshoot a "clack" in/near my headset. Sounds like a creak, but short and sharp, caused by fore/aft load on the front wheel. It's an old AL Giant Trance, ridden hard, with a newish 160mm fork and newish 2-degree angleset. The welds look fine. I've taken everything apart and regreased/retorqued a couple times with no effect.

    Is it possible that frame flex is allowing the headset bearings to shift relative to each other?
    Last edited by phile; 01-15-2018 at 03:36 PM.

  2. #2
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    First place to look would be the angleset. I had a "clack" and discovered I had not tightened my angleset enough. Cane Creek recommends you tighten the angleset much more than you would a conventional headset. They state this will not damage the bearings.

    After tightening my angleset, it has been 100% silent and steering has not been changed by the added tension.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by 410sprint View Post
    First place to look would be the angleset. I had a "clack" and discovered I had not tightened my angleset enough. Cane Creek recommends you tighten the angleset much more than you would a conventional headset. They state this will not damage the bearings.

    After tightening my angleset, it has been 100% silent and steering has not been changed by the added tension.
    Oh, great tip, I'll try that out, thanks!

  4. #4
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    Sounds like a classic crown steerer unit creak. Iím told that itís not dangerous just annoying and usually warranted.

  5. #5
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    Video

    Should have done this originally--here's a short clip of the noise. The front brake is on. You can hear the clack at the same time as the standard sproing.

    https://youtu.be/gcUlBrYUKQM

  6. #6
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    Thatís hard to tell. Try it with the front wheel against a wall or solid post and push the bike forward and also lock the front brake and pull back while pushing the front down. And lock out the fork if you can.

  7. #7
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    Maybe it's your fork. Are the bushings worn?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeDee View Post
    Maybe it's your fork. Are the bushings worn?
    I finally swapped out the fork yesterday for troubleshooting -- the noise was unchanged. Before that I had swapped out the upper headset bearing (with a used-but-good bearing), with no change. Tightening the stem topcap also didn't seem to have a strong effect, but I didn't try an outrageous amount of preload.

    The fork I removed also had asymmetrical wear on the steerer: in the general vicinity of the upper headset bearing, there was a band of slight wear that was offset front to rear--the rear half was higher than the front half. I'm guessing the noise might be related to that? It looks like the steerer may be rocking/pivoting back and forth around the lower bearing.

    I'll put the old non-angled headset back on and see what happens.

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