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  1. #1
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    Angry Specialized Roubaix Pro 2017 Seat Clamp Problem

    I purchased a 2017 Specialized Roubaix Pro in November of 2016 and almost immediately experienced a creaking cracking sound coming from the seat post area. I went through 3 seat posts and 2 saddles and the sound persisted. I noticed that the frame had a flaw (hairline crack at the junction of seat tube and top tube), and Specialized replaced the frame on warranty. The new frame is even noisier than the first. I'm thinking this is a design flaw with the seat post clamp? Is anyone else experiencing this issue? It's so bad that it seriously detracts from the ride experience, and I would not expect this from a bike of this caliber.

  2. #2
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    Are you 100% sure it's the seatpost? does it happen when you are out of the saddle? Could it be the saddle rails or the saddle mount bolts?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Migen21 View Post
    Are you 100% sure it's the seatpost? does it happen when you are out of the saddle? Could it be the saddle rails or the saddle mount bolts?
    It does not make the sound when out of the saddle. Since the sound has been there through two saddles and three seat posts (with different saddle clamp styles), I'm guessing it's the seat post clamp. We did try coating the post with a ton of carbon paste, which helped a little for about six weeks, but the sound gradually came back. The seat post clamp has two bolts, and has to be torqued down exactly the same on both sides. Not sure this design is fully worked out.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdavids1 View Post
    We did try coating the post with a ton of carbon paste, which helped a little for about six weeks, but the sound gradually came back. The seat post clamp has two bolts, and has to be torqued down exactly the same on both sides. Not sure this design is fully worked out.
    Yeah, seems like there are some issue there design wise.

    How do you tighten the bolts? Did you try a torque wrench?

    I would suggest cleaning and carbon paste again, and try to tighten the bolts at the same time. Use two wrenches to get them close to torque, then use a torque wrench for the last 1/8 turn or so to balance them.

    Absent that, try 1/8 turn each, alternating. Close to the same torque should be easy to get to.

    Good luck.
    .
    Stout beers under trees, please.

  5. #5
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    Update: ample coating of carbon paste and careful tightening of bolts has only helped quiet the bike for 1 - 2 rides. I sent an email to Specialized's "RiderCare" support site asking for help, but no response yet. I'd be curious to hear from any other riders of this new Roubaix model. I can't believe I'm the only one experiencing this issue, especially since the exact same problem has occurred on two different frame sets. In the mean time, I'm kicking my self a little for buying the first year of a new model, that's a lesson I learned with cars a long time ago. BTW, when it's quiet, it's a real joy to ride, but the constant noise completely distracts from the experience.

  6. #6
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    I've been searching for reports about others having this problem for several months now. I hadn't been able to find anything but recently thought I'd search again and your post came up. Good to know it's not just my Roubaix!

    I got my 2017 Roubaix Expert in May and have had the same problem almost from the start - a loud cracking sound coming from the seat post. Initially I didn't have the time to try and figure it out but I've been zeroing in on it and have come to the same conclusion as you - it likely has something to do with the seat post clamp.

    I tried moving the seat post to different heights (no change) and even pulled and inspected it - couldn't find anything noticeably wrong, no noticeable cracks. So I started focusing on the clamp and how small the gap is on either side. So I started being very careful about tightening the two bolts in unison, checking that the gap stayed similar as I tightened. The final snugging was done with a torque wrench. Checking the gap with a feeler gauge helps to get them even - after torqueing to 6.2 Nm I have a gap of 0.30mm. That's a ridiculously small tolerance!

    After doing that, the cracking sound has almost disappeared - maybe one crack per ride, if that. Part of my daily ride is on a gravel road with potholes and I've been deliberately hitting some them. That used to cause the cracking sound but it doesn't very often since carefully tightening and torqueing the seat post clamp.

    I haven't tried the carbon paste but was thinking of doing that - good to know you tried it and it seems to help.

    This may be related - when I first got the bike and went to adjust the seat post height for the first time, it was so tight I was concerned about stripping the bolts - it felt unusually tight. I didn't think to test it with a torque wrench but subjectively it felt much tighter than it feels when I have it torqued to the 6.2Nm that's recommended. Makes me wonder if they knew about the problem and just cranked it down really tight?

    It's good to hear that Specialized has stood behind the bike, replacing two seat posts to try and fix it (the cracked frame is also concerning but probably unrelated?). I hope they realize it is indeed a problem, likely a design issue with the clamp, and hopefully they'll come out with a modified clamp.

    But all that said, I really like the bike. Its' interesting that I don't feel the suspension that much and probably that's as it should be. I know it's working as I've held my phone along the side and taken videos of the front end moving up and down below the bars. You still feel the hard bumps but overall it does take the harshness away - it makes riding on rough roads more comfortable. And I love the way it handles on pavement, especially in corners - responsive and solid.

    Looking forward to them acknowledging the problem and coming up with a fix.

  7. #7
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    Hey, so glad to hear from another rider experiencing the same problem. My LBS claims no other riders have brought up the issue, but they've ridden my bike and experienced it themselves, so at least they aren't doubting me. After having the exact same issue on two different frames, I find it hard to believe I'm the only one. Update - I've been able to stop the noise for maybe 3 rides, then it comes back. My LBS is working with Specialized now on a resolution. I'd love it if they could come up with a fix, because as you said, when it's quiet, the bike is a joy to ride, but when it's noisy, it's very aggravating. The bike is in the shop now to have the seat post redone (again), and I've asked them to document everything they did.

  8. #8
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    It sounds like you have a good LBS to work with since they're willing to keep replacing and working on the seat post. You also mentioned you emailed Specialized but had not heard back from them - did they ever reply? I emailed them yesterday with a copy of my post above.

    I'm curious, are you in the U.S.? If so, where? I live in Wyoming and not near a Specialized dealer.

    I look forward to hearing of any progress you may have.

    Thanks,

  9. #9
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    I'm in San Diego, and only about 5 miles from my LBS. They are a great shop to work with, I'm very fortunate. I'll let you know what I find out.

    Anyone else out there experiencing the same issue? I'd like for all of us to work with Specialized to find a solution, I'm sure they're aware of the issue by now.

  10. #10
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    I had a similar issue with my Bianchi Intenso when I tried a new saddle. I had the cracking sound and it went away with out of saddle efforts or when not peddling. Thought it had to be the new saddle so I redid the carbon paste on the rails and torqued the bolts for the rails and also the seatpost binder bolt. Still didn't solve the cracking noise and then I realized that the lower profile saddle had required me to raise the seatpost some out of the frame. So, I reapplied carbon paste and torqued down the binder bolt and no problems since.

  11. #11
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    Yeah, I wish the Roubaix had only a single bolt to deal with for the seat post clamp. Unfortunately, it has two binder bolts, each of which must be torqued down to a very specific formula. I'm glad you were able to solve your issue with the Bianchi, but I've tried (and my LBS has tried) so many times to set it up to the letter, but the same result - after 2 or 3 rides, the cracking sound comes back.

  12. #12
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    I sent Specialized an email (ridercare@specialized.com) on the cracking sound and got this reply. As you'll see much of it is generic tips for looking for small creaks - not loud cracks like we're experiencing. The one piece of useful information is the torque setting for the saddle bolt - 13.6Nm - I hadn't been able to find that elsewhere. I've torqued the saddle bolt to that and will test it on my next ride.
    -----------------------------------
    Hello,
    Thank you so much for reaching out! Trying to pinpoint cracking sounds on a bike can sometime be difficult and you will most likely check more then one spot for the area that is causing the sound. For that specific cracking sound around the middle of the bike I recommend looking at the post, seat post saddle clamp, bottom bracket, chainring bolts, and pedals.

    I recommend checking the torque on saddle bolt, the torque should be 13.6Nm for that bolt/saddle interface.
    Clean the seatpost/fame interface and use carbon paste on post when re installing the post into the frame. That paste will help with creaking and help the post stay put better into the seat tube.
    Double check your chainring bolts to make sure that they are all tight and secured.
    Sometimes the bottom bracket/frame interface threads cause a creak when the threads hit each other under load. Removing and cleaning the bb and bb shell on the frame should remove any dirt from those threads. When re installing the bb please install grease to the bb shell of the bike and the bb part.
    The last easiest possible place to check is the pedal thread interface into the crank arms. Those threads should be cleaned before installing and should have grease installed on the pedal and crank threads.

    Checking those spots can be a possible solution for the creaking sound. If the sound continues after that long list of part checking. I recommend taking the bike into you bicycle retailer and have there trained mechanics take a look at it. If it gets to the point where the shop is having trouble they will reach out to there Specialized Inside Retail/Warranty rep for other possible solutions.

    If you have any other questions, I am happy to help.

    Thanks,


    -----------------------------------

  13. #13
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    I don't know the specifics of the design of the Roubaix so I can't say this suggestion will work, but here's my story.

    I had a new custom frame with a creaking seatpost. As all the above, I tried everything. Then I read something in one of Lennard Zinn's maintenance manuals which solved my problem.

    If the inside of your seat tube changes diameter i.e., such as an internal sleeve which reduces the I.D. to fit your seatpost in the clamp area but enlarges lower down, it will allow the seatpost to move in that enlarged area and it's that freedom of movement which causes the creak.

    The solution is to cut off the excess seatpost. In my case, I measured the internal sleeve and the insertion of the seatpost and cut off 80mm of seatpost so the end of the seatpost was flush with the correct I.D. of the seat tube. Miraculously, the creak was gone.

  14. #14
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    In the case of the Roubaix, it's just the opposite - the seat tube is smaller (e.g. the same diameter as the seat post) further down, and expands just above the clamp. The idea is that the seat post will flex unencumbered above the clamp. There's actually a little "peep hole" in the frame that you have to be able to sight the seat post in to know it's far enough down in the seat tube, so I don't know if cutting off excess seat post is a solution, but I can certainly bring it up with my LBS. This is really a very different design than anything I've had in the past (and I've owned more bikes than I should have, to be honest), so I really believe it's something about this new design that isn't quite right. I appreciate everyone's input on this issue, and I do believe Specialized is a great company and will be motivated to work with those of us who are experiencing this problem to resolve it.

  15. #15
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    Hey rdavids1,

    I'm not quite ready to declare victory yet, but just maybe...I haven't had the bike make any noise since torquing the saddle clamp down to 13.6 Nm (along with previously very carefully torquing the seat post clamp down). I've only tested it on two short 1 mile test rides so far so who knows, but it feels promising.

    Winter weather has come early to Wyoming this fall with many days of rain and snow so I haven't been able to get out for a good ride this week. Tomorrow looks hopeful so I hope to give the Roubaix a good workout - and me too.

    Interestingly, I couldn't find the torque setting for the saddle clamp anywhere - not in the manual and it's not stamped on the clamp the way it is on the seat post clamp. So getting that from the Specialized guy might just be the info I needed. The saddle clamp is roughly twice the torque as the seat post clamp and I don't think I had it torqued that tight.

    I'll keep you posted,

  16. #16
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    I just picked mine up from my LBS, once again asking them to clean the post and clamp area thoroughly, then put it back together exactly to spec. I'll do two rides this weekend to see how it behaves. I'll be happy if it's quiet, but to be honest I'm not counting on it. If it isn't quiet I'm going to see if Specialized will exchange it for another type of frame. I'm pretty certain the issue (for me at least) isn't the saddle clamp, since I've been through 3 seat posts and 2 saddles now, and the cracking sound has always been exactly the same. And it's always gotten better (for a short period of time) after messing with the seat post clamp. I'll let you know how it behaves.

  17. #17
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    Had a good ride today and no cracking sounds.

    Interestingly, before the ride, I noticed the saddle had moved backward on the rails during previous rides. I'd had it as far forward as possible but it was now half way back. And there were scratch marks on the rails so it had been moving during rides - I wouldn't put scratch marks on it while adjusting it. I hadn't had the saddle clamp torqued tight enough before - know I know it's supposed to be 13.6 Nm.

    When getting back from the ride, I put the torque wrench on it and was able to turn it a bit before the wrench clicked. It must have loosened up on the ride as I'd checked the torque just before riding. This is something I'm going to keep an eye on as if that clamp is working itself loose, then of course the seat would be able to move. And the cause of the cracking sound may be the saddle as it walks itself along the rails.

  18. #18
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    Interesting, I had the same issue when I originally bought the bike. The saddle would not stay put, and slid back no matter how tight I cranked on the seat post clamp. That was on the CGR post. Then, when I was trying to figure out whether the noise was coming from the seat clamp, the saddle itself, or the seat post clamp, I swapped out the CGR post for a Pave. I also bought the carbon rail saddle, which has some roughness on the rails to keep the saddle in place. The saddle now stays put, but same cracking noise, which I'm now convinced is the seat post clamp. The whole seat post/seat tube area of this bike is just suspect. BTW, after taking it back to the LBS and having them completely redo the seat post clamp, the bike was completely silent, and I had a very enjoyable ride. We'll see if it lasts.

  19. #19
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    Boy, that IS interesting! Good to know your saddle was moving too, the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit into place. So there are likely several things going on. Between the saddle clamp and the seat post clamp there are several things that could cause the sounds.

    I do think the saddle clamp is what's been causing my most recent cracking noise - it was bound to make noise as the saddle rails moved back in the clamp. Plus since getting it tight, having previously gotten the seat post clamp torqued correctly, I haven't had the cracking sound.

    I didn't realize there were different seat post options. What are the differences between the CGR post and the Pave post?

    It does indeed sound like your cracking noise is in the seat post, but why does it only last a couple of rides? Has your LBS tested the torque on the seat post bolts as soon as you take it in? Before they work on it? Your LBS is quickly becoming an expert at working on the new Roubaix!

  20. #20
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    OK, since getting both the saddle clamp and seat post clamp torqued to specs, I've now had two good rides with NO cracking sounds. And on the last ride the saddle clamp didn't loosen up, but I'll keep an eye on it as it did loosen on one ride.

    And I looked up the difference between the CGR and Pave posts.

    So from here, the cracking problem may be solved by ensuring proper torque - time will tell.

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