Flex worry

Benjamin Hall
Benjamin Hall Posts: 608
edited March 2011 in Road beginners
I was out riding today, with good few out of the saddle climbs...after about 10 minutes I started to notice a creaking coming from the headset area and I could feel the bars flexing a few mm when i was out of the saddle.

The headset is only 6 weeks old, fitted by a shop and has felt fine till now. I stopped and made sure everything was tightened up, the noise continued. So i popped into a bike shop and the one of the guys in there had a look, tightened the headset and had a general look at it. The flex didnt go away though...The guy in the shop reckoned it could be flex in the frame itself...What does that actually mean for the longevity of the frame? Is it new frame time? Is it safe to ride?



  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    It's far more likely that the bars are flexing rather than the frame - you don't say whether you're a heavier rider and whether you were riding hard - both make a big difference as will the model/type of bar. Provided you eliminate the obvious, i.e cracked parts, then there's no reason why you can't continue to ride.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • peejay78
    peejay78 Posts: 3,378
    agreed - probably the stem/bars. sometimes they just don't sit right, so when out of the saddle the force tends to make them creak a bit.
  • Thanks for the replies guys. Im not really a heavy rider...12stone and I wasnt riding particularly hard, just sprinting out of corners and climbing. The clicking got gradually worse over 2 hours in the saddle.

    I will have another look for cracks and things later. The stem is second hand ITM forged carbon and the bars are FSA omega compacts, also second hand.

  • colsoop
    colsoop Posts: 217
    Creaking noises can come from being overtightened too.

    When you squeeze the front brake on and try to move the front wheel does the fork rock forward or is it solid?
  • peejay78
    peejay78 Posts: 3,378
    odd noises can come from weird places. it took me ages to work out a strange ticking sound was from the crimp at the end of the derailleur wire just brushing the edge of my heel.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    How can you feel the bars moving a few mm when you are out of the saddle ?
  • lioneld
    lioneld Posts: 69
    I've had Creaky bars once or twice before - It can be overtightening, but if its not, a very gentle wipe with very fine sandpaper over the area where the clamp sits, then apply a thin smear of grease and re clamp the bars, works for me everytime :wink:
    All Italian
  • balthazar
    balthazar Posts: 1,565
    It's usually the stem/bar interface as everybody says, but the front wheel skewer is often overlooked, and sometimes the cause.

    It's very unlikely to be a fatigue failure in any component (though I wouldn't choose second-hand handlebars, personally: I prefer strong, durable aluminium ones with a known history).
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    balthazar wrote:
    It's usually the stem/bar interface as everybody says, but the front wheel skewer is often overlooked, and sometimes the cause.
    +1 for this. Also check the rear one. Noises often come from where you least expect them.
    There will be some flex on most bikes. It is just that you have now noticed it and it is in your mind. Make sure there are no sharp edges on the stem clamps and the contact points on the bars and steerer have not been marked by any there may be. Then refit with smear of grease then tighten to the correct torque doing all bolts up evenly.