|There's a decent chance that the noise you're hearing doesn't have anything to do with your headset, but it's not going to hurt to give it a going over since your bike was bought used. The first thing that you're going to want to do is to drop the fork out of the frame and clean all of the headset's surfaces. You probably don't need to push the headset cups out for inspection and cleaning unless the problem persists after you do everything that's laid out below, but wipe off the bearings, the split cone up top, the crown race, and the inside of both cups. Next, apply a very thin layer of grease to all of the components listed above before you reassemble.|
As weird as it is going to sound, the noise you're describing actually sounds a lot like housing crackle from your shifter cable and housing. Over time the steel wire in the housing will tend to push out past where it was trimmed when first installed, and the bare ends are known for making the exact noise that you're describing as they are loaded and unloaded against the hosing caps as you turn the handlebar. Strange, I know, but I've seen this happen countless times, especially when metal housing end caps are used. You'll need to use a sharp pair of cable cutters to trim a few millimeters off of the end of the housing in order to stop this noise. - Mike Levy
Ratty ends of the shift housing can make strange crackling noises as you turn the handlebar, but it's a simple fix.
|I assume that you added a booster 42t cog to your existing cassette, and then paired it with a 32t narrow-wide chainring. Divide your original gearing (36 / 26 = 1.384), then do the same with your new gearing (42 / 32 = 1.312) and it shows that your original gearing was lower (your new gearing works out to about a 5.2-percent increase in climbing effort). Switching to a 30t chainring will net you a slightly lower low gear (42 / 30 = 1.4), which is very close to what you had before, while still giving you a taller top gear.|
You can push your 32 for a month or so, increase your strength and endurance, and save the cost of purchasing a 30t chainring - or buy the 30 and tailor your gearing to match your present abilities. The hills around my place are pretty steep. Using a 42t cassette cog, I ride a 30t on 27.5-inch-wheel bikes and a 32t for 26-inch wheels. For 29ers, I use a 30, although I often wish for a 28 for long slug-fest ascents. - RC
|Both the Pike and the DebonAir are top notch suspension products, and they also happen to be very easy to tune via volume spacers in order to get exactly the feeling you're searching for. Let's start with the front fork first. By adding one or two bottomless tokens into your fork, (a super quick procedure that involves letting the air pressure out, unscrewing the top cap, twisting on a token, and then reinstalling the cap and reinflating), you'll make it ramp up more quickly at the end of its stroke. In turn, this should allow you to reduce the air pressure, making it feel more supple in the beginning of its travel.|
The same tactic can be uses for the DebonAir rear shock. Inside the air can are rubber bands that can be added or removed to accomplish the same thing that the plastic tokens do in the fork. Adding two or three bands will be a good starting point, and should allow you to run a little less pressure without bottoming out.
Don't be afraid to experiment with different configurations - the suggested settings for your fork and shock are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. Everyone's preferences are slightly different, as are riding styles and terrain. Take notes detailing all of your initial settings, and then keep track of the changes you make. Before long you'll have everything dialed in and feeling just as plush and progressive as you'd like. - Mike Kazimer
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