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Ever since I bought my hybrid bike the handlebars creak. It is worse when torquing them such as climbing a hill, but just shifting my weight on the bars will make them creak.

The problem gets much worse in hot weather.

The bracket is as tight as I can make it. Is there any thing I can do to stop this annoying noise?

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Note that for some lightweight road bars the creaking comes from the metal sleeve that is glued over the enlarged center section of the bar. The glue softens and creaks, and there's not really much that can be done about it other than to replace the bar or wait for friction to wear away the rubbing surfaces a bit. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 15 '12 at 2:47
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3 Answers 3

From the fact that you say "Something seems slightly loose if I twist on the bar", there is also some chance that you have mismatched handlebar and stem. There are 25.4mm and 26.0mm clamp area diameters for both handlebars and stems, so you might have a 25.4mm bar in a 26.0 stem, which might make it creaky and loose. You could try removing the handlebar and sticking a Nitto or beer can shim around the clamping area of the bar and remounting it. If you can't fit the bar into the stem's clamp with the shim, then this isn't the problem.

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It has consistently worked for me:

  1. Disassemble everything around the zone of noise suspicion, namely remove the handlebar from the stem and separate every bolt and washer away from each other;
  2. Clean them with light solvent or oil (the idea is not to degrease, but more to remove dust/rust/dirt and to allow a residual layer of lubrication to remain);
  3. Apply light oil to a cloth and polish every contacting surface with it (middle of handlebar, stem clamp);
  4. Apply GREASE to the threads, but not elsewere;
  5. Reassemble with proper torque (tight, but not strangled). You'll find out that you get excelent tightening without too much torque when you use a recently cleaned and lubed bolt/washer pair).

My theory is that these creaking sounds are caused by micro-movements between dry, dust-affected, under-pressure surfaces. The cleaning and lubing do fine.

But... DONT DO IT if you're using carbon or any non-metal parts! Silicon (or WAX) might work better in this case (after the disassembly and cleaning, of course).

Hope this helps!

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I had bad creaking in my handlebars that was caused by debris. The aluminum on aluminum joint wore down a bit and needed to be cleaned out. –  BBonifield Sep 14 '12 at 22:27
    
Good advice, thanks. I'll give this a shot. –  RichardM Sep 18 '12 at 19:28
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Are you positive it's coming from the handlebar to stem interface? Creaking sounds are notoriously hard to diagnose. It's highly possible that the noise could be from the stem to steer tube interface or your headset or the spacers on your steer tube or topcap or another source, while it may sound like it's coming from your handlebars.

Also, be cautious with making things "as tight as I can make it" as you may risk over-tightening the part and risking more damage to your bike and/or components. If you are unfamiliar with how hard to tighten bolts, you should consult your owner's manual, the part manufacturers technical documents or simply take your bike into a reputable mechanic to properly tighten everything.

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+1 for overtighting warning ( = DANGER!) –  heltonbiker Sep 14 '12 at 19:32
    
+1: over-tightening the handlebar clamp in particular can lead to the bar snapping at the edge of the clamp. If your stem is an aheadset with 4-bolt faceplate holding the bar, try to make sure all 4 bolts are evenly tight, so you're not focussing the pressure on one spot –  Useless Sep 16 '12 at 9:32
    
Fair enough. I can't be certain of anything. Something seems slightly loose if I twist on the bar. It is an adjustable stem so it may also be that. I've never personally adjusted the adjustable stem. What I meant by "tight as I can make it" is that using a crappy Allen key the bolts were definitely very tight as assembled by the bike shop. –  RichardM Sep 18 '12 at 19:27
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