Monday, June 16, 2008

The Most Annoying Thing in The World

...or close to it...
I was riding my Trek on Saturday, and my handlebar started to creak. It creaked when I put weight on the brake hoods. I could hear it go tick tick, and I could feel it too. So I stopped and tightened the bolt that holds the bars. The creaking didn't go away. So I stopped and tightened the stem bolt and the brake levers, thinking it might be those things. I even tightened my seatpost's saddle mount bolt in case I was totally missing the source of the tick tick creaking. And it continued, even got worse as the ride continued.

When I got home I thought about greasing where the bars go through the stem. But I wasn't sure I should do that, because I had never had to do that before, and this creaking showed up out of nowhere in this Trek's second hundred miles since I built it. The Internet would surely tell me what I should do! So I Googled creaky handlebars. Results summary: lightly grease the bar/stem contact point, and another possibility was a cracking handlebar. The TTT Forgi bar on the bike is almost new, so I hoped it isn't cracking - I am far from a beefy sprinter and I have not used the bike in the mountains yet, so I have not yanked very hard on these bars. They did have a previous owner, however - but before I wrapped them, they appeared to be new.

Not wanting them to suddenly rotate in the stem, I lightly greased my handlebar at their midpoint, slid them back into the stem and tightened down hard. It seemed to make a difference while in the garage. I went for a ride on Sunday and at first all was cool - no creaking. But as the ride progressed it came back and proceeded to get worse and worse for 50 miles! What a great ride - my longest this year - but the annoying creaking tick tick tick over bums and while just relaxing on the brake hoods! AH!

At home again - disassembly at the stem again. I sprayed in a ton of WD-40 and heavily applied the grease. The creak is gone in the garage again. I have not ridden the bike yet, and probably won't until Thursday.... On Thursday night while watching the news, if you hear about a cyclist who suffers an attack of road-rage, perhaps tossing his bike through a car's windshield after the car passed him too closely only to cut him off while turning right, it might be me if that creak comes back!

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