Carbon bike creaking - what can cause it?

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Carbon bike creaking - what can cause it?

Postby Arlberg » Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:07 pm

I have a new full carbon bike. Its been mostly great so far but I am curious as to why it occasionally creaks. I can be riding along on a perfectly flat smooth road and the frame or forks (I think its the forks) will give a short, sharp unmistakeable creaking sound for no apparent reason. I can also be riding on a roughish road surface, such as minor road corrugations etc and the frame will stay beautifully silent. So there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it, it seems to just happen randomly. I have tried to make the bike creak by doing things like pulling hard on the handlebars while climbing, moving my position in the saddle, riding on rough surfaces etc but I can't pin it down to any one thing. It can happen when pedalling, it can happen when coasting. It does not seem related to the drive train or the pedalling action. It's not a continuous creak, just the occasional creak out of nowhere.

As this is my first carbon bike I am wondering if creaking is just a characteristic of carbon frames, or if I should be concerned?
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by BNA » Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:12 pm

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Re: Carbon bike creaking - what can cause it?

Postby RoFlmaTiC » Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:12 pm

I had a creak like this which I eventually figured out was caused by the cable housing rubbing agianst each other and the stem.
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Re: Carbon bike creaking - what can cause it?

Postby durilium » Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:31 pm

I would doubt it has anything to do with the frame itself moreso some component that is attached to the frame, i'd check things like the BB and the fork crown race to begin with, make sure they have a thin film of grease on all contact surfaces, hell i even put a very thin film of grease on my saddle rails so it's not a dry joint that could potentially creak later on.
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Re: Carbon bike creaking - what can cause it?

Postby Addictr3 » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:12 pm

Not to say it is the problem, but I had the same sound when I crashed my bike (came off around 60kph) and found small cracks in the forks, but I rode the bike to the LBS anyways, lol should of heard the noise!!

So maybe check your forks?
If you can't explain it simply, then you don't understand it well enough.
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Re: Carbon bike creaking - what can cause it?

Postby Stuey » Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:04 pm

Saw an interesting comment on a headset instruction somewhere, where it was stated that a headset can creak if the bar stem is not 'faced' (machined) where it contacts the spacer or headset, so it is not absolutely flat. The solution by the headset mfr was to provide a very thin plastic shim/washer to fit under the stem against the top of the headset.
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Re: Carbon bike creaking - what can cause it?

Postby AndrewBurns » Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:19 pm

Possibly the seatpost too, I've heard of those creaking and people mistaking it for a pedal or BB or similar.
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Re: Carbon bike creaking - what can cause it?

Postby Gassy » Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:55 pm

I just lightly greased my front wheel skewer this week and it fixed a squeak (seemed to be the front forks ) that had been annoying me for 3 months. :oops:
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Re: Carbon bike creaking - what can cause it?

Postby old al » Sun Feb 05, 2012 6:16 pm

Carbon bike are noisy. Don't let anybody tell you they are not! I have 3 "racing" bikes. A steel framed vintage Europa, an anodised aluminium framed vintage Alan and my race bike which is a carbon framed Avanti.

The carbon Avanti is noisy. It rattles and creaks on rough roads. I ride and race regularly with other riders on carbon bikes and they are all noisy. The steel Europa and the aluminium Alan are super quiet in comparison. Now I will get told that there are carbon bikes that are super quiet. There probably are but in general they are noisy.

The carbon bike is the fastest, the aluminium bike is not far behind but more comfortable to ride and the steel bike is like riding your favorite armchair.

By all means check everything, you should do this on a regular basis anyway but don't get too stressed if your carbon frame "creaks".

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Re: Carbon bike creaking - what can cause it?

Postby JV911 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:58 am

RoFlmaTiC wrote:I had a creak like this which I eventually figured out was caused by the cable housing rubbing agianst each other and the stem.


me too only it turned out to be my cleats :lol:
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Re: Carbon bike creaking - what can cause it?

Postby birdbrain » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:13 pm

Andrew wrote:
Possibly the seatpost too, I've heard of those creaking and people mistaking it for a pedal or BB or similar.


Thats what it seems to be on my bike. I removed the saddle and applied a thin film of grease to the opening of the seat post, reinserted the saddle and the creaking disappeared. This was OK for about 2 weeks but the creaking started up again. Instead of grease I then tried plumbers tape because it's really thin. This worked for about 6 weeks and the creaking started up again. I replaced this and went back to grease which worked for about 2 weeks and now it's creaking again. At this point I'm just trying to ignore it. All along I could have sweared the creaking was coming from the bottom bracket but thats not the case.
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Re: Carbon bike creaking - what can cause it?

Postby heanous » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:15 pm

^^ if it creaks when your out of the saddle surely that is a fool proof method of eliminating the seat post possibility.. my cf frame is complaining under pressure so i know your pain :)
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Re: Carbon bike creaking - what can cause it?

Postby william » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:49 pm

Sometimes a bike assembler may err on the side of caution when tightening (or torquing) screws and clamps around a fragile carbon frame.
I had a faint click on a Cervelo that I was sure it came from the bottom bracket bearings. I used a torque wrench to accurately tension the bottom bracket to manufacturers specs and the noise went away. The very slightest of movement with connecting parts to the frame will be hard to pinpoint when riding.
Variations with equipment can also vary too. Not every tool is calibrated precisely.
Seat and seat post clamps could also be under tensioned.
If you have a bonded rear triangle look for faint lines around the bond area although this is rare these days.
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Re: Carbon bike creaking - what can cause it?

Postby Sauce » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:13 pm

spokes rubbing against each other?
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