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on my 3rd wind...
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had this creaking/movement on the headset area for couple of years and seemed to have finally figured out the cause but now I am looking for a solution. I have a Thomson stem mated with Chris King headset on Intense Tracer. I have this annoying creak/movement on the headset area when ever I apply the front brake hard or intentionally do an "endow". After doing many experiment with LBS, it was determined that the creaking/movement is coming from Thomson stem with help from CK techsupport also. Apparently it's due to how Thomson stem clamps onto fork steer tube. Because it clamps on the back of steer tube like a "clam shell" with two bolts, the contact area to steer tube is a lot less than other brand stems that warp around the fork steer tube completely; hence, causing movement between steer tube/stem area. According to CK tech support (he seem to be well aware this issue w/ Thomson stem), I need use different brand stem all together or keep retightening the stem via trial error until I get it just right. However, that requires holding the steer tube perfectly perpendicular while tightening the Thomson clamp's two bolts. I find this task to be impossible as no matter what I do the creaking noise is heard and felt every time the two clamping bolts are tightened alternately via small turn. Of course if I do an "endow" test afterward, creak/movement is felt and heard ever louder and clear. I am sure someone else had this issue with Thomson stem perhaps would like to share a solution if there's any. I would hate to discard the stem since it's a very nice one, albeit it has creaking issue. It could just be this particular Thomson stem too as I have another shorter & newer Thomson stem that's on DH bike and has no creaking issue at all...yet. Thx for any inputs!

STH
 

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I've had issues, too. Check the Easton vs Thomson stem post, below.

I spend too much of my life trying to work out the issues. Save yourself the grief and just get a different stem. Bontrager and Race Face are my favorites. The problems immediately went away and nver came back. A new THomson stem will do the same thing. Just switch.
 

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on my 3rd wind...
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think so too!

Blue Shorts said:
I've had issues, too. Check the Easton vs Thomson stem post, below.

I spend too much of my life trying to work out the issues. Save yourself the grief and just get a different stem. Bontrager and Race Face are my favorites. The problems immediately went away and nver came back. A new THomson stem will do the same thing. Just switch.
That is what CK suggested too. I want to make it clear that the source of creaking is coming from the interface area between Thomson clamp and fork steerer tube not between the top CK headset area and stem interface or headset spacer. The CK's scuff washer (teflon wahser) is suppose to take care of that...which I am using.

I haven't tried the grease yet because that is usually a temporary solution and attracts dirt/grime...based on my past experience from using it on other parts of bike. I guess I should still give it a shot before ditching the stem. That $ucks because Thomson stem is damn nice stem otherwise. I don't know why majority of Thomson stem owners don't have this issue but for few, as I, can't seem to get rid of it once the creaking starts. Could it be a tolerance issue with Thomson stem and I just happen to got hold of one that's is slightly off but within their machining tolerance?

I still would like to see if other option other than greasing is available. If not, I guess it's time to get a different brand stem. Any suggestion on stem with model name that is stiff, fairly light, and looks good?

STH
 

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I already rode that
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What fork are you using? I have the same stem and headset on my tracer and dont hear no creaks from it just the fork which is an old xfly.
Oh I dont have that plastic spacer on mine either (lost it when I was rebuilding my bike I guess)
 

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on my 3rd wind...
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
SuperNewb said:
What fork are you using? I have the same stem and headset on my tracer and dont hear no creaks from it just the fork which is an old xfly.
2003 Fox RLC 100mm travel. About 8 months ago Fox replaced the upper stanchion tube with steer tube under warranty and still same issue...took few weeks of riding before started again. I have 2003 Rockshox Psylo SL and that does same thing. Few weeks of riding before the creaking starts and once it starts I can't get rid of it. I wsh it was only the noise; I can feel it move during some steep sections of climb, hard braking, & during bump encounter.

STH
 

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I already rode that
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I also do what you said by tightening the bolts lil turns at a time which only seems proper to do to make it tighten evenly.

Sell the stem and buy a new one. I wouldnt be using a stem that felt like it was moving.
You can try thomsons new stem they have out if you like their brand. Lighter and different clamping system.
 

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SingleTrackHound said:
I still would like to see if other option other than greasing is available. If not, I guess it's time to get a different brand stem. Any suggestion on stem with model name that is stiff, fairly light, and looks good?

STH
Really, save yourself the grief and get a new stem. You should be able to easily sell the Thomson.

I like Race Face and Bontrager Stems.

IF you can live with a 105mm, 7 degree stem, CBO has them on blowout for $19.95. IT's really a Bontrager stem. I bought one when Bontrager still sold them. They're good stems and the bolts are recessed to save your knees.

Otherwise....Race Face Deus, other Bontrager stems, Easton...they're all good stems. I hear good things about the Hope stems....especially if you want a chi chi color.
 

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on my 3rd wind...
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Blue Shorts said:
Really, save yourself the grief and get a new stem. You should be able to easily sell the Thomson.

I like Race Face and Bontrager Stems.

IF you can live with a 105mm, 7 degree stem, CBO has them on blowout for $19.95. IT's really a Bontrager stem. I bought one when Bontrager still sold them. They're good stems and the bolts are recessed to save your knees.

Otherwise....Race Face Deus, other Bontrager stems, Easton...they're all good stems. I hear good things about the Hope stems....especially if you want a chi chi color.
Thanks to all for inputs and reconfirming what CK tech support had already told me. I guess it's time to go shopping...

STH
 

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I've had a similar experience with my king ritchey stem combo.

I have finally figured out what the culprit was after going through the clean all grease all process many many times.

It was the top cap.

I simply took it off after I had everything installed. I did have to loose the top stem bolt to take it off. That was where the creak was. There was no more noise with the top cap taken off. The problem was that the stem has 2-3mm above the steerer tube and that was tightening around the lip of the king topcap. So I took the dremel to the top cap and now I'm creak free. FINALLY!
 

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on my 3rd wind...
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Question?

xl_cheese said:
I've had a similar experience with my king ritchey stem combo.

I have finally figured out what the culprit was after going through the clean all grease all process many many times.

It was the top cap.

I simply took it off after I had everything installed. I did have to loose the top stem bolt to take it off. That was where the creak was. There was no more noise with the top cap taken off. The problem was that the stem has 2-3mm above the steerer tube and that was tightening around the lip of the king topcap. So I took the dremel to the top cap and now I'm creak free. FINALLY!
I may have similar issue. I have about 1/4" gap on mine. Question for clarification:
(1) "I did have to loose the top stem bolt to take it off." <-- Do you mean the bolts for the stem clamp (on the side or back of the stem itself), or a single bolt that is mounted on the top of the headset cap for bearing tension adj for the headset?
(2) "The problem was that the stem has 2-3mm above the steerer tube..." <-- 2-3mm was too much distance causing the problem or too little? Then what distance (between top of the stem and top of the steer tube) was the ultimately fix for creaking?
(3) " So I took the dremel to the top cap..." <-- What is dremel?

Thx
STH
 

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Fermented Grain Sampler
clinking clanking clattering collection of collagenous junk
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How about a spacer?

SingleTrackHound said:
I still would like to see if other option other than greasing is available. If not, I guess it's time to get a different brand stem. Any suggestion on stem with model name that is stiff, fairly light, and looks good?
STH
Maybe place the smallest spacer you can find between the stem and headset? Not sure if your ride setup will be impacted. I use the Thomson/CK setup but do have a spacer. No creaking.
 

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SingleTrackHound said:
I may have similar issue. I have about 1/4" gap on mine. Question for clarification:
(1) "I did have to loose the top stem bolt to take it off." <-- Do you mean the bolts for the stem clamp (on the side or back of the stem itself), or a single bolt that is mounted on the top of the headset cap for bearing tension adj for the headset?
(2) "The problem was that the stem has 2-3mm above the steerer tube..." <-- 2-3mm was too much distance causing the problem or too little? Then what distance (between top of the stem and top of the steer tube) was the ultimately fix for creaking?
(3) " So I took the dremel to the top cap..." <-- What is dremel?

Thx
STH
1) The bolt on the stem clamp. the topcap bold also so that I could take the topcap off.

2)That is the correct distance... The stem was just clamping around the top cap. That created the noise.

3) A small rotary sander.
 
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