Trek Domane SLR headset / front IsoSpeed decoupler creaking

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sennder
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:13 pm

by sennder

Hello forum,

My 2018 Trek Domane SLR that I built up from the frameset has incessant creaking from the headset. It started halfway through my second ride on the bike. I suspected the handlebars, and that led to a whole other story by itself. After waiting over a month for a replacement from Trek, I installed the new handlebars and was greeted with the same creaking within 5 minutes of test riding. I took it to a local bike shop and they opened up the headset and greased up the front IsoSpeed decoupler (as instructed by Trek). The creaking started again within a few minutes when I rode it the following day (it was completely silent when I rode it in the bike shop's parking lot, of course).

A creak comes from the slightest shift in weight on the bars, which is all the time due to small bumps or even braking. Essentially, this bike a constant creaking soundtrack with a creak every second or so. It's loud and audible even while riding in the wind (I'm sure everyone around me can hear it as well). It is very distracting and ruins the experience of an otherwise fantastic bike. The creaking is almost definitely from the headset, possibly due to the front IsoSpeed decoupler. It feels like it is coming from the front end of the frame, around the top tube.
  • I've confirmed that it's not the cable (creaking was present when I removed the cables).
  • I don't think it's the handlebar (the creak seems to be coming from the frame)
  • It's not the saddle or the bottom bracket (the bike creaks when I'm not on it simply by putting weight on the hoods or by turning the bars sharply left or right)
  • It's not the QR skewers either
  • Loosening the top cap and the stem bolts stops the noise, but returns once retightened
Someone on a different forum had the same issue. They isolated it to an unfinished surface at the bottom of their head tube / steerer tube (they were a bit ambiguous). I checked the same but mine's properly finished.

Has anyone faced a similar issue with the bike? If so, how did you resolve it? If not, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

monkeytusmc
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:12 pm

by monkeytusmc

Everything you describe would point me to the headset bearings, especially when you mentioned that it went away when you loosened it.

I don’t know if you use any spacers upfront but once I had a Trek madone and I changed the spacer sand had some creaking following that. Might want to check there. Good luck man. It’s very difficult sometimes.


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by Weenie


sennder
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:13 pm

by sennder

monkeytusmc wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:51 am
Everything you describe would point me to the headset bearings, especially when you mentioned that it went away when you loosened it.

I don’t know if you use any spacers upfront but once I had a Trek madone and I changed the spacer sand had some creaking following that. Might want to check there. Good luck man. It’s very difficult sometimes.


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Good point on the spacers. I'm stacked right now with 3cm below and 1cm above. I'll try moving them around a bit. Thanks a lot!

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jekyll man
Posts: 1415
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 10:23 am
Location: Pack filler

by jekyll man

There was a post on here about a creaky domane front end a few weeks ago.
might have been from richtheroadie?

edit found it:
https://weightweenies.starbike.com/foru ... 9#p1404029
Official cafe stop tester

sennder
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:13 pm

by sennder

jekyll man wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:19 am
There was a post on here about a creaky domane front end a few weeks ago.
might have been from richtheroadie?

edit found it:
https://weightweenies.starbike.com/foru ... 9#p1404029
Thank you for the link. I read through the thread and the problem seems very similar to mine (it would especially explain the "creak/knock" when turning). I did reinstall the sleeve mentioned in the thread (the preload spacer per the manual) just last night. It does only fit one way to allow space for the bolts for the bearings on the side, and I'm pretty sure I put it in straight. I'll double check that along with the spacers.

Once again, thank you for your help!

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henryj30
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:14 am

by henryj30

Is this creaking just annoying or can it lead to catastrophe? I am having the same noise on my new fuji sl Di2 but everything appears and feels rock solid.

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sennder
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:13 pm

by sennder

henryj30 wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:43 am
Is this creaking just annoying or can it lead to catastrophe? I am having the same noise on my new fuji sl Di2 but everything appears and feels rock solid.

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So far, it is just extremely annoying. My brother rode it in the parking lot (with loud HVAC compressors and wind noise) and I could hear it from a few meters away. Though to be honest, the creaking is loud and sharp enough that it could possibly be leading to some permanent damage.

I checked the spacers but it doesn't seem like those are the cause either. I dropped it off at the shop again, hoping that they might find a fix. Else, I might file a warranty claim.

sennder
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:13 pm

by sennder

Quick update. I picked up the bike today. The mechanic there said that he thoroughly checked and regreased the headset but couldn't get the creaking out. He said that it was almost gone though, and the remaining was probably due to my shifter cables. After bringing the bike home, I removed all cables, shift and brake. Creaking is still there, as heavy as ever. Just turning the bars left or right causes a sharp creak. Putting weight on the hoods causes the same creak. I'm going to file a warranty claim with Trek. Hopefully, this time the replacement won't take a month and a half.

sennder
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:13 pm

by sennder

Hello,

After I submitted the frameset for warranty, the mechanic discovered that two spacers that are supposed to be inside the isospeed decoupler were missing. Trek puts the blame on the supplier of the frameset.

Now, after installing the stem, I noticed that there's a 1.5mm-2mm space underneath the cone spacer (photo attached) which was not there before. I've seen gaps beneath the cone spacer but never this wide. Is this normal or should I press the shop for a frameset replacement before I reassemble the bike?

Thank you

EDIT: So I opened up the headset yet again to see what the missing washers/spacers were. Turns out that the bike shop installed three thin washers between the preload washer inside the decoupler and the top headset bearing (between F and G in the attached image from the Domane SLR manual). The mechanic said that those washers are supposed to be preinstalled in the bike and that the supplier is at fault for not including them. However, the Domane SLR manual does not show these washers (as can be seen in the image from the manual). The added washers are causing the large gap below the cone spacer. Is the bike shop mechanic lying or is the Domane SLR service manual not up to date?
Attachments
IMG_1300.JPG
Capture.PNG

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bullymad
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:14 am

by bullymad

Hi, I have a Domane Sl 2017 but whether I had mine as a comparison or not a gap anywhere from the bottom of the headtube to the top of the stem cap would be wrong. If it was mine I would be in contact with Treks tech dept to discuss what the shop has done. I do get the odd knock from the front end going over some rough ground but I guess that would be normal.
Here's a bad quality, zoomed in off another pic of my bike to show you how it should be (hopefully).
Look forward to your progress Image

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sennder
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:13 pm

by sennder

bullymad wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:49 pm
Hi, I have a Domane Sl 2017 but whether I had mine as a comparison or not a gap anywhere from the bottom of the headtube to the top of the stem cap would be wrong. If it was mine I would be in contact with Treks tech dept to discuss what the shop has done. I do get the odd knock from the front end going over some rough ground but I guess that would be normal.
Here's a bad quality, zoomed in off another pic of my bike to show you how it should be (hopefully).
Look forward to your progress

Sent from my TA-1012 using Tapatalk
Thank you so much for the image. I spoke to Trek and they confirmed that there should be no gap. I'll have to take the bike to the shop yet again. This time, I'm going to push for a warranty replacement.

I'm still curious about the "missing" washers/spacers that the shop installed (image attached). They said that they are supposed to be installed in the factory. Would you know if your bike had any just below the top headset bearing?

--Sennder
Attachments
IMG_1301.JPG

asiantrick
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:18 pm
Location: the OC, CA

by asiantrick

Hope you get this issues resolved. It must be extremely frustrating. Time to find a new bike shop!!!

sennder
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:13 pm

by sennder

asiantrick wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:38 pm
Hope you get this issues resolved. It must be extremely frustrating. Time to find a new bike shop!!!
If you read my previous thread, it is actually much worse. This build hasn't had much good luck since I started it 4 months ago. First, the supplier forgot to include the accessories box with the bike, so I had to wait another two weeks to get the grommets, braze on part, etc. to finish the bike. Then, I had a probably busted handlebar, which took Trek and month and a half to replace. In that time, I moved to another city, with a new bike shop. I've taken my bike to the shop 4 times now (they didn't charge me the first 3 times though) to get this issue resolved. Hopefully a new frameset will fix this.

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bullymad
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:14 am

by bullymad

Hi, unfortunately I couldn't say as I haven't needed to take the headset apart. I've had it for a year now and it's only been used in dry weather. The only problems I had were with the Vision wheels that came with the bike. Fingers crossed for the Warranty replacement as I think to fix this everything needs to be replaced. Is there a third Trek dealer near you to try out once you get a replacement frame?

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by Weenie


sennder
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:13 pm

by sennder

bullymad wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:32 am
Hi, unfortunately I couldn't say as I haven't needed to take the headset apart. I've had it for a year now and it's only been used in dry weather. The only problems I had were with the Vision wheels that came with the bike. Fingers crossed for the Warranty replacement as I think to fix this everything needs to be replaced. Is there a third Trek dealer near you to try out once you get a replacement frame?

Sent from my TA-1012 using Tapatalk
Thanks for your response!
I do all my repairs and maintenance myself, so I never really have to go to a dealer. The only reason I went to this shop was because I could not figure out the cause of the creaking and the only solution Trek offered was to take it to the shop. Hopefully, once I get a replacement frameset, I won't have to visit the shop again for a while.

--Sennder

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