Creaking handlebars

I've taken my elderly commuter bike out of hibernation at the back of the garage and it seems to have developed a creak in the handlebars, of all things. It seems to occurs when I'm using the bar ends which means it's probably caused by the extra pressure when I put my weight on them.

I've tried loosening and tightening bolts but nothing has changed: I'm pretty sure it's an annoyance rather than a serious problem but can anyone advise as to a possible cause?
 
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Location
London
well at the bad end i suppose it could be a sign of imminent failure.
But I'd try taking the key bits apart, cleaning interfaces and bolts and greasing - the handlebar clamp, the bar end/handlebar clamps.
Seem to recall that I fixed a creak by doing this years ago and nothing has broken under me yet.
 

roubaixtuesday

self serving virtue signaller
IME it's best to try and replicate when stationary.

If you put the front wheel between your knees and wrench the bars, can you replicate?

If yes, try loosening off a bolt at a time until it stops. Could easily be front QR rather than the bars, for instance.

Creaks can have very odd causes and be very difficult to find - I spent the last couple of weeks trying to find a similar one and eventually yesterday I discovered it was the gear cable outer moving slightly at the stop on the down tube when rotatingthe bars. A squirt of wd40 solved it...
 

Drago

Guest
If you cant locate the creak, substitute the bars. If that cures it retire the old ones. Ive seen the odd one snap over the years, and some of my students who are competitive rides replace them every 2 years to avoid failures.
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
Clean and grease. Is it an aheadset ? My fixie used to creak after a while as the preload washer would mark the alloy steerer, and leave blackened deposits - if I lightly sanded these off the washer and steerer, all would be fine. Similar principal why Look cleats could creak - you'd get black deposits of alloy on the cleats from the pedal. Remove them, all quiet.
 
Location
London
If you cant locate the creak, substitute the bars. If that cures it retire the old ones. Ive seen the odd one snap over the years, and some of my students who are competitive rides replace them every 2 years to avoid failures.
Yes, I've known 2 folks who have had bars break under them.
I assume steel bars (though heavy) are less prone to breaking/fatigue?
 

Vantage

Carbon fibre... LMAO!!!
I had a bar snap once. Wasn't nice at all. Luckily I just round the corner from the bike shop.
 

Sharky

Guru
Location
Kent
On one bike (Ribble winter), the creak was caused by the QR's. A dabbing of grease on the qr cams and nuts, solved it.

Same sound on another bike (Giant Bowery 72). Couldn't solve it. Took it to our local bike expert mechanic and he confirmed that it was the forks themselves that were faulty. Luckily at the time, Planet X were selling off forks in odd colours for £25, so got them and our expert fitted them and the problem solved.
Now the bike has odd coloured forks (pale blue with white frame), but they are carbon instead of steel and ride was improved at the same time.
 
Location
London
I would think so. All the breakages ive seen have been alloy.
Pretty sure the bars I took off two old hybrids for builds are steel.
They are damn heavy but am tempted to refit them.
Have always been somewhat nervous about ally for such things ever since i learned about the Comet plane.

I care nothing for weight saving.

Does anyone fit steel bars to tourers as original parts?
I can see a certain sense in it.
And given the mountains of junk i carry on the back a bit of extra weight on the front might be welcome.
 
Thanks for the responses. I realised after posting and going off to work that a photo would have been handy so here it is:

20201114_112606.jpg


Headset detail:

20201114_112553.jpg


I appreciate that in some ways an adjustable aheadset stem is a contradiction in terms but I needed the flexibility to get the handlebars at the right height and reach. I'm still working on that. It's an alloy bar that came with the bike when I rescued ot from a scrap pile about a decade ago.

On the basis that the simplest solution is probably best, I'll try and regrease the screws over this week and see what happens...
 

Sharky

Guru
Location
Kent
The adjustable stems that I have used were prone to creaking. If you still have your old stem, put that back on and see if the creak disappears.
 
Location
London
Thanks for the responses. I realised after posting and going off to work that a photo would have been handy so here it is:

View attachment 558088

Headset detail:

View attachment 558089

I appreciate that in some ways an adjustable aheadset stem is a contradiction in terms but I needed the flexibility to get the handlebars at the right height and reach. I'm still working on that. It's an alloy bar that came with the bike when I rescued ot from a scrap pile about a decade ago.

On the basis that the simplest solution is probably best, I'll try and regrease the screws over this week and see what happens...
I'd do more than that - well at least if the problem persists after the bolts are greased. I'd be inclined to take the bar out, clean the interface and grease.
One hell of a rise you have on that adjustable.
I rather like adjustable stems - don't see any contradiction with aheadsets. Some folk think them ugly but I don't. Eminently practical, especially as you age with a practical bike or tourer and want to just keep riding it. Very German I think as well - which is maybe why the likes of Rose are a good source of them, even for 1 inch threaded steerers.
 
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