Could my headset cups be the source of my creak??



T

TomYoung

Guest
Hi all:

For several months now I've been fighting a creaking noise coming from
the handlebar/stem/steerer tube area. Anytime I stand to climb it's
creak, creak, creak. Even straddling the bike flat-footed and
alternately pushing down on opposite ends of the handlebar will
produce the noise. I've taken things apart maybe 3-4 times now,
cleaning, inspecting, greasing, etc. (I've tried both grease and no
grease where the stem clamps the handlebar) and even if I get the
creaking noise to go away it soon returns.

It dawned on me today that the one thing I haven't done is remove the
headset cups from the headtube. The bike has about 25,000 - 30,000
miles on it with the same headset cups. The headset is Ultegra so
when the sealed bearings started to grind sometime back I just
replaced the sealed bearing since there's no real bearing-cup
contact. Is there some sort of wear here that could be causing the
noise? The cups are mounted on a Merlin Road bike, if that's at all
relevant.

TIA.

Tom Young
 
M

Mark

Guest
TomYoung wrote:
> Hi all:
>
> For several months now I've been fighting a creaking noise coming from
> the handlebar/stem/steerer tube area. Anytime I stand to climb it's
> creak, creak, creak. Even straddling the bike flat-footed and
> alternately pushing down on opposite ends of the handlebar will
> produce the noise. I've taken things apart maybe 3-4 times now,
> cleaning, inspecting, greasing, etc. (I've tried both grease and no
> grease where the stem clamps the handlebar) and even if I get the
> creaking noise to go away it soon returns.
>
> It dawned on me today that the one thing I haven't done is remove the
> headset cups from the headtube. The bike has about 25,000 - 30,000
> miles on it with the same headset cups. The headset is Ultegra so
> when the sealed bearings started to grind sometime back I just
> replaced the sealed bearing since there's no real bearing-cup
> contact. Is there some sort of wear here that could be causing the
> noise? The cups are mounted on a Merlin Road bike, if that's at all
> relevant.


Is it a quill stem or a threadless?

If it's a quill, examine the front of the quill where it contacts the
headset locknut. There's a "lot" of flex in a quill stem design (by "a
lot" I mean that the stem is free to rock some fraction of a millimeter
inside the locknut.) It may be scraping there causing the creak.

I de-creaked the infamous Cinelli quill by sliding a tiny bit of thick
plastic bag between the front of the quill and the locknut, after
observing tiny scrape marks on the front of the stem. Since the binding
of the stem is at the bottom, not near the lockring, this poses no hazard.

If it's a threadless, sorry, I don't have any ideas for you, but my wild
guess is that it isn't the cups.

Mark J.
 
Q

Qui si parla Campagnolo

Guest
On Jun 16, 7:04 pm, Mark <[email protected]>
wrote:
> TomYoung wrote:
> > Hi all:

>
> > For several months now I've been fighting a creaking noise coming from
> > the handlebar/stem/steerer tube area. Anytime I stand to climb it's
> > creak, creak, creak. Even straddling the bike flat-footed and
> > alternately pushing down on opposite ends of the handlebar will
> > produce the noise. I've taken things apart maybe 3-4 times now,
> > cleaning, inspecting, greasing, etc. (I've tried both grease and no
> > grease where the stem clamps the handlebar) and even if I get the
> > creaking noise to go away it soon returns.

>
> > It dawned on me today that the one thing I haven't done is remove the
> > headset cups from the headtube. The bike has about 25,000 - 30,000
> > miles on it with the same headset cups. The headset is Ultegra so
> > when the sealed bearings started to grind sometime back I just
> > replaced the sealed bearing since there's no real bearing-cup
> > contact. Is there some sort of wear here that could be causing the
> > noise? The cups are mounted on a Merlin Road bike, if that's at all
> > relevant.

>
> Is it a quill stem or a threadless?


As ultegra it is indeed quill/threaded unless the top caps have been
modified(threads reamed out).

Grease of the quill stem, including the bolt and wedge. If the hbars
have a bonded center section, like older Cinellis, may be that. Could
be a crack in the hbar where the stem clamps it also. Seen that on
some TTT hbars.

Taking the cups outr, cleaning and reassembling may help, include the
fork crown race.
>
> If it's a quill, examine the front of the quill where it contacts the
> headset locknut. There's a "lot" of flex in a quill stem design (by "a
> lot" I mean that the stem is free to rock some fraction of a millimeter
> inside the locknut.) It may be scraping there causing the creak.
>
> I de-creaked the infamous Cinelli quill by sliding a tiny bit of thick
> plastic bag between the front of the quill and the locknut, after
> observing tiny scrape marks on the front of the stem. Since the binding
> of the stem is at the bottom, not near the lockring, this poses no hazard.
>
> If it's a threadless, sorry, I don't have any ideas for you, but my wild
> guess is that it isn't the cups.
>
> Mark J.
 
T

TomYoung

Guest
On Jun 16, 6:04 pm, Mark <[email protected]>
wrote:
> TomYoung wrote:
> > Hi all:

>
> > For several months now I've been fighting a creaking noise coming from
> > the handlebar/stem/steerer tube area. Anytime I stand to climb it's
> > creak, creak, creak. Even straddling the bike flat-footed and
> > alternately pushing down on opposite ends of the handlebar will
> > produce the noise. I've taken things apart maybe 3-4 times now,
> > cleaning, inspecting, greasing, etc. (I've tried both grease and no
> > grease where the stem clamps the handlebar) and even if I get the
> > creaking noise to go away it soon returns.

>
> > It dawned on me today that the one thing I haven't done is remove the
> > headset cups from the headtube. The bike has about 25,000 - 30,000
> > miles on it with the same headset cups. The headset is Ultegra so
> > when the sealed bearings started to grind sometime back I just
> > replaced the sealed bearing since there's no real bearing-cup
> > contact. Is there some sort of wear here that could be causing the
> > noise? The cups are mounted on a Merlin Road bike, if that's at all
> > relevant.

>
> Is it a quill stem or a threadless?
>
> If it's a quill, examine the front of the quill where it contacts the
> headset locknut. There's a "lot" of flex in a quill stem design (by "a
> lot" I mean that the stem is free to rock some fraction of a millimeter
> inside the locknut.) It may be scraping there causing the creak.
>
> I de-creaked the infamous Cinelli quill by sliding a tiny bit of thick
> plastic bag between the front of the quill and the locknut, after
> observing tiny scrape marks on the front of the stem. Since the binding
> of the stem is at the bottom, not near the lockring, this poses no hazard.
>
> If it's a threadless, sorry, I don't have any ideas for you, but my wild
> guess is that it isn't the cups.
>
> Mark J.


Hmm.... Posted a reply earlier via Google Groups and GG said the post
was successful but I'm not seeing my reply.

Anyway, the setup's a quill stem adapter (ITM) to which I've attached
a Deda Zero stem which is clamped to a Deda Elimenti handlebar. The
ITM adapter claims one of the lowest weights I've seen for these sort
of adapters and I'm guessing this low weight is obtained by the
adapter's quill portion (the section buried inside the steerer tube)
being shorter than that of other adapters. I also have the adapter
raised to its minimum insertion point and the combination of short
quill minimally inserted might be the source of the problem. I'll try
your solution and see if that helps things.

Thanks!

Tom Young
 
P

pj

Guest
Hi Tom,

I doubt that the following is your problem, but I'll add it on the very
outside chance it is:

I bought a new Specialized Crossroads Sport and a couple months later, I had
this very nagging squeak. To me, it sure sounded like it came from the
front suspension. After lubing the heck out of the suspension several
times, I took it back to the dealer. His mechanic played with it for about
20 minutes and couldn't figure it out. He tried to tell me he couldn't do
anything about it, so I told him it was only 2 months old and if it didn't
get fixed, I wanted my money back. With this incentive, he delved into it
further and finally discovered that it was the stock 'comfort saddle' (it
was the least comfortable saddle I'd ever experienced). The saddle had a
plethora of springs and he sprayed lubricant all over the bottom of the
saddle. That got rid of the squeak for a while but it came back several
times. Re-lubing the bottom of the saddle would quiet it down every time.


"TomYoung" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> Hi all:
>
> For several months now I've been fighting a creaking noise coming from
> the handlebar/stem/steerer tube area. Anytime I stand to climb it's
> creak, creak, creak. Even straddling the bike flat-footed and
> alternately pushing down on opposite ends of the handlebar will
> produce the noise. I've taken things apart maybe 3-4 times now,
> cleaning, inspecting, greasing, etc. (I've tried both grease and no
> grease where the stem clamps the handlebar) and even if I get the
> creaking noise to go away it soon returns.
>
> It dawned on me today that the one thing I haven't done is remove the
> headset cups from the headtube. The bike has about 25,000 - 30,000
> miles on it with the same headset cups. The headset is Ultegra so
> when the sealed bearings started to grind sometime back I just
> replaced the sealed bearing since there's no real bearing-cup
> contact. Is there some sort of wear here that could be causing the
> noise? The cups are mounted on a Merlin Road bike, if that's at all
> relevant.
>
> TIA.
>
> Tom Young
>
 
C

* * Chas

Guest
"TomYoung" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> On Jun 16, 6:04 pm, Mark <[email protected]>
> wrote:
> > TomYoung wrote:
> > > Hi all:

> >
> > > For several months now I've been fighting a creaking noise coming

from
> > > the handlebar/stem/steerer tube area. Anytime I stand to climb it's
> > > creak, creak, creak. Even straddling the bike flat-footed and
> > > alternately pushing down on opposite ends of the handlebar will
> > > produce the noise. I've taken things apart maybe 3-4 times now,
> > > cleaning, inspecting, greasing, etc. (I've tried both grease and no
> > > grease where the stem clamps the handlebar) and even if I get the
> > > creaking noise to go away it soon returns.

> >
> > > It dawned on me today that the one thing I haven't done is remove

the
> > > headset cups from the headtube. The bike has about 25,000 - 30,000
> > > miles on it with the same headset cups. The headset is Ultegra so
> > > when the sealed bearings started to grind sometime back I just
> > > replaced the sealed bearing since there's no real bearing-cup
> > > contact. Is there some sort of wear here that could be causing the
> > > noise? The cups are mounted on a Merlin Road bike, if that's at all
> > > relevant.

> >
> > Is it a quill stem or a threadless?
> >
> > If it's a quill, examine the front of the quill where it contacts the
> > headset locknut. There's a "lot" of flex in a quill stem design (by

"a
> > lot" I mean that the stem is free to rock some fraction of a

millimeter
> > inside the locknut.) It may be scraping there causing the creak.
> >
> > I de-creaked the infamous Cinelli quill by sliding a tiny bit of thick
> > plastic bag between the front of the quill and the locknut, after
> > observing tiny scrape marks on the front of the stem. Since the

binding
> > of the stem is at the bottom, not near the lockring, this poses no

hazard.
> >
> > If it's a threadless, sorry, I don't have any ideas for you, but my

wild
> > guess is that it isn't the cups.
> >
> > Mark J.

>
> Hmm.... Posted a reply earlier via Google Groups and GG said the post
> was successful but I'm not seeing my reply.
>
> Anyway, the setup's a quill stem adapter (ITM) to which I've attached
> a Deda Zero stem which is clamped to a Deda Elimenti handlebar. The
> ITM adapter claims one of the lowest weights I've seen for these sort
> of adapters and I'm guessing this low weight is obtained by the
> adapter's quill portion (the section buried inside the steerer tube)
> being shorter than that of other adapters. I also have the adapter
> raised to its minimum insertion point and the combination of short
> quill minimally inserted might be the source of the problem. I'll try
> your solution and see if that helps things.
>
> Thanks!
>
> Tom Young
>


The problem could likely be the ITM quill stem adapter.

My guess is that you have a light weigh, thin wall quill adapter and a
bellmouth steering tube. The adapter is minimally inserted and is able to
move around freely at the top when under pressure.

Both Nitto and Cinelli make what I consider safe quill stem adapters that
come in several lengths. If you ever ride out of the saddle or in a
straight away sprint you will usually be putting a lot of side to side
loading on the bars. Saving a few ounces in a critical area like the stem
is plain assed foolish!

Let me say that after having 3 quill stems break off while riding I have a
healthy regard for using strong stems. Two of the breaks occurred while
road testing customer's bikes - they were both cheap Bike Boom bikes with
cast aluminum stems. The third was my own bike, I used a supposedly high
quality French stem but it was made of cast aluminum too. I was lucky to
be able to stop the bikes without any injury.

With a quill style stem you should keep the quill inserted to the maximum
or minimum line on the stem. Also, some bikes with threaded headsets have
a long threaded area on the steering tube. Expanding the stem wedge inside
this threaded area can cause the steering tube to crack in the threads and
eventually break off leaving you holding the bars.

Steering tubes and stem diameters are not all that accurate. I have a
bunch of Cinelli 1/A stems which were considered the best available. The
quills are supposed to be 22.2mm (.874) diameter. Mine range from 22.05mm
to 22.25mm measured with a digital micrometer. I also have several French
Cinelli stems that measure 21.9mm - correct stem size and 22.0mm.

I put a brand new 22.2mm Cinelli 1/A stem into a late 80s steel Colnago.
It creaked every time I started or stopped. The steering tube was
bellmouthed at the top. I had to put a thin shim in one spot between the
stem and the tube to stop the creaking.

Chas.