Just spent 90 minutes chasing down the creaks that were coming from "down there" on my last ride.
First thing I looked at was the cassette, I loosened the retaining ring and tightened it back down to spec. Creak still there, definitely sounding like it was coming more from the front but hard to tell exactly where because it only occurred when I was really stressing the bike out of the saddle. Of course, that made it harder to pinpoint the location of the noise because I was farther from the source.
I went for the next most easy thing to check: cranks. Pulled them off, noticing that I forgot to add the washer back in when I replaced a pinch bolt a couple of weeks ago. Grease > torque > test ride... still creaking.
I got off and grabbed the handlebars from the front, pinched the front tire between my feet and twisted. Creakkk. Ok, time to take apart the stem/headset assembly – which I had never done before. I discovered some nice rust between both the top and bottom bearings and the seats in the frame where they sit. No surprise really after all the rain I've ridden in.
Cleaned up the corrosion, reassembled and did another test ride. Crrreakkk.
Sheesh, where the heck is that noise coming from? What haven't I checked. I know it's somewhere between the handlebars and the front... wheel... no, it couldn't be THAT simple, could it?
I unclamped the front skewer, wiggled the wheel a bit, lined it up and clamped the skewer back down.
So, how much of a ride can I put in now that I killed all this time?