Gritty sound coming from front fork.

by bikeboy76   January 6, 2013  

I have noticed a gritty sounding noise coming from the head of my front fork where it meets the frame. I guess I didn't notice this outside as it is a quite quiet hiss and only there when I turn the handlebars. I was tightening my front brakes for new years and noticed this sound.

I have tried taking the handlebars and various rings off the top of the stem but for some reason the fork does not slide out (I've not tried this before.) Using a torch I can't see anything that looks like components down the tube. All the online videos seem to be for mountain bikes and the forks come out easily. I would like to try and clean and grease the components and see if that improves the situation.

Some of the outer paint around the joint is chipped off. I try to keep the bike clean and dry but that is only so possible. I have smeared lithium grease around the joint seeing as I can't take the fork off, and it has improved the noise a bit. However I am worried this might be a problem starting to build up.

Any advice, please?

5 user comments

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Sounds like your headset may have given up the ghost, which they all do eventually.

If it's stuck then, assuming you've removed the cap, stem and any spacers then a gentle tap with a rubber mallet should help free things up.

Once released you can then remove the bearings from the top and bottom and get some replacements. Their mostly sealed units these days and so practically impossible to service.

If you let us know which bike this is one it should be an easy enough to work out a suitable replacement.

posted by Gromski [47 posts]
6th January 2013 - 22:35


Sounds like some crud in the bearing, very common in the lower race. Easy enough to sort out though but it would help to know what kind of headset it is - some have serviceable bearings you can clean, some you replace the whole bearing but smearing grease round the outside wont help. What bike is it? This would help identify the headset to start off with.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [1112 posts]
6th January 2013 - 22:47


Its a Jamis Xenith Comp. I may just be paranoid, it is just a whisper, less than the sound of scratching your belly. I should have know it would actually be impending doom. Well I have no money to spend on components so it will have to get worse first.

I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1812 posts]
7th January 2013 - 0:00


chances are the compression ring is stuck hence you
can't get the forks out .... have a look at this page
(about 2/3's of the way down) it has an exploded picture
of both threaded and threadless headsets Smile

yours has a 1 1/8" - 1 1/2" integrated so a replacement
could be or or if your headset really is dead.
A "Slight whisper" could be the cable outer moving against
the frame ????

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [922 posts]
7th January 2013 - 13:18

1 Like

When you've fixed the problem it might be worth using one of these or similar

I use one on my wet weather bike and don't suffer any issues in this area anymore.

posted by bike_food [164 posts]
7th January 2013 - 14:46