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Old 11-29-06, 04:56 AM   #1
JonTheDestroyer
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105 rear hub makes nasty noise - what to do?

Hello all you lovely bike people.

I have a Trek 1200 which I have owned for three weeks today. Sadly something is up with the rear hub which I really am not keen on. Once you spin the back wheel at a certain speed, the hub makes a sort of 'singing' noise - a bit like when the brakes are off centre and one side is rubbing on the rim. Combined with this it seems to slow down more quickly (more 'rolling resisance' I think is the correct term).

I'm figuring this is pretty much A Bad Thing, as hubs aren't supposed to make a noise. I'm taking it into the shop to get it looked at, I just wondered if any of you clever people knew anything about this kind of thing. My basic kind of queries are these:
  • What might the problem be?
  • How bad is it?
  • Should it be easy to fix?
  • Is it advisable to ride the bike at all?

I don't know if it just needs some oil or grease or something. So far I've covered just over 300 miles on it commuting in the lovely British winter (lots of rain), and have been cleaning the dirt off regularly, the brake dust off the rims daily and cleaining/oiling the chain about every other day - but I don't even know whats inside the hub so I've left it well alone.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 11-29-06, 05:22 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonTheDestroyer
Hello all you lovely bike people.

I have a Trek 1200 which I have owned for three weeks today. Sadly something is up with the rear hub which I really am not keen on. Once you spin the back wheel at a certain speed, the hub makes a sort of 'singing' noise - a bit like when the brakes are off centre and one side is rubbing on the rim. Combined with this it seems to slow down more quickly (more 'rolling resisance' I think is the correct term).

I'm figuring this is pretty much A Bad Thing, as hubs aren't supposed to make a noise. I'm taking it into the shop to get it looked at, I just wondered if any of you clever people knew anything about this kind of thing. My basic kind of queries are these:
  • What might the problem be?
  • How bad is it?
  • Should it be easy to fix?
  • Is it advisable to ride the bike at all?

I don't know if it just needs some oil or grease or something. So far I've covered just over 300 miles on it commuting in the lovely British winter (lots of rain), and have been cleaning the dirt off regularly, the brake dust off the rims daily and cleaining/oiling the chain about every other day - but I don't even know whats inside the hub so I've left it well alone.

Thanks for your help!
But freewheel hubs DO normally make a noise. Pick up any bike and spin the back wheel and you'll hear a noise. I would be worried if it didn't.
Is this something that has just occurred with your bike?
You might try lying the bike on its side, chain side up and putting just a few drops of oil into the freewheel. Spin the wheel and wipe off excess oil. Don't use too much oil or it will run down the spokes later and onto the wheel rim.

Another thought: if you don't have a bike stand to hang the bike from while you work on it, turn the bike upside down and turn the wheel gently with your hand in the "free" direction, i.e. so that the pedals do not move. Does it feel tight? Do the pedals move? If you put the ty(i)re valve at the 3 o'clock position does the weight of it turn the wheel? If the wheel feels tight or the valve does not turn the wheel, the bearings might need adjustment. If the pedals move when you turn the wheel in the free direction, there's a problem with the freewheel which oil might fix.
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Old 11-29-06, 06:25 AM   #3
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Well, it makes the normal sort of 'tick tick tick tick tick' noise when its freewheeling, but this is something that only started last night. I was riding along when I became aware of the noise, I thought it might be a leaf or something stuck in the brakes at first, but I couldn't find anything. I turned it over by the roadside and span the pedals to get the wheel going round, which is when I realised it was coming from the hub.

There is a reflector in the spokes opposite the valve (which I reckon weighs more than the valve) and with that at the three o clock position it does rotate round to the bottom by itself. It just feels a little sluggish compared to before the noise started happening, when I stop pedalling I just seem to slow down quicker than usual.

Its a strange kind of noise, a little like when you rub the top of a wine glass and it makes a ringing tone (but you know, not a ring tone). I'm taking it into a bike shop tonight, I'm just wondering what to expect really, whether it'll be something that can realistically be fixed in an hour or so, or if it's more likely gonna mean leaving it with them for a few days.
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Old 11-29-06, 07:56 AM   #4
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Since it sounds as if you've confirmed that the noise is not the freewheel/cassette racheting (which doesn't sound like what you described anyway) nor the brakes rubbing against the rim, here are a few possible causes:
  • the noise is most likely coming from the hub seals. The current generation of 105 hubs have labyringth seals and contact seals, the labyrinth seals on the outside, and there may be some dirt or other particles stuck in somewhere that gives a tone when oscillating fast enough when the wheel gets spinning fast enough
  • if you have a chainguard between the cogs and the spokes, this may be slightly loose and making noise (though probably not the sound you described)
  • any chance that the tire is rubbing against the underside of the brakes or fenders, or against the chainstay?
I doubt the reflector has anything to do with this. From your initial description, it sounds like it's more due to something going on in the hub. I'd open it up, clean it out and repack with new grease.
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Old 11-29-06, 08:14 AM   #5
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There is a chainguard, but you get the noise whether you're pedalling or not, so I don't think it is down to this.

How much of an undertaking is it to dismantle the hub? I'm not too put off by the idea - I changed the bottom bracket on my old mountain bike years ago - but if it is a job that is best left to a professional (or at least someone who knows what they're doing) then I'd rather not mess it up myself.
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Old 11-29-06, 08:36 AM   #6
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The chainguard would make this noise not from rubbing the derailler cage, or from pedaling (since pedaling doesn't interact with the chainguard at all, only turning the wheel does). Rather, chainguards can be slightly loose and wiggle around in their place and this can make noise. But it's still an off-chance.

Repacking a hub is relatively simple. For the 105 rear hub you'd need 15mm cone wrenches, I think. Park Tool has a useful guide:
http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=105

Also, since the sound comes when you're pedaling and when you're not, you know it's not a problem with the freehub.
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Old 11-29-06, 09:08 AM   #7
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Cool, thanks for that. The guide looks a bit daunting to me though! Of to the shop it goes then.
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Old 11-29-06, 09:18 AM   #8
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The guide really overdoes it. If you're moderately mechanically inclined, you can figure this out, even without lost of background knowledge.
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Old 11-29-06, 09:28 AM   #9
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Maybe I'll give it a whirl then, who knows. I'll speak to the guy in the shop. I'll need to buy all sorts of spanners and things to do it.

Thanks for all your help!
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Old 11-29-06, 09:39 AM   #10
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You'll need to buy a 14mm and a 15mm cone wrench.
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Old 11-29-06, 12:36 PM   #11
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On a three week old bike, get it fixed or replaced under warranty.
One question, how are you "cleaning the dirt off regularly"? It is bad to use any sort of pressure spray to clean around the hubs, or any other bearing, as this has a tendency to force water into the seals.
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Old 12-01-06, 11:01 AM   #12
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Well, when I get it home, I leave it to dry off, and then I just kind of dust off the loose dirt with some rags. I live in a flat and using a pressure hose in the hallway might not go down too well with the neigbours

Anyway..... It turns out that I am a big fat drama queen. I took it back to the shop, all ready to start going 'this is an outrage, bla bla bla', and the sales guy looked a bit worried about the noise, so he went and got the mechanic guy who promptly got some oil and put some on part of the hub and the noise stopped. He also told me to pump up my tyres, which would stop it being so sluggish.

In my defence the bit he oiled (which was some kind of like rubber cap bit on the left hand side) looked like it was a metal part of the wheel. Well there you go, you live and learn as they say. Thanks for all your help and advice everybody.

I got two punctures on my way into work the next day, so maybe thats like some kind of karma or something.
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Old 12-01-06, 11:24 AM   #13
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Jon,

I own three Trek bikes. A Multitrack, a men's Navbigator and the wife's Navigator.

When we purchased the Navigators in late 2004 her rear hub was fairly silent when coasting while mine was somewhat noisy. I too thought something was wrong with mine. The local bike shop where I purchased these bikes told me not to worry about it.

This morning I returned from the local bike shop. Picked up my Navigator's rear wheel after having them rebuild the hub. In two years I put 3200 miles on that rear wheel. I weigh 180 pounds and carry a bag on a rear rack. My Navigator becomes something of a mule on our long rides. I joke about the wife's shopping gene kicking in when we pass through towns along the rail trails we ride.

I learned in two years that tires are important in rolling resistance and how tough a long ride can be. I ditched the stock Trek tires and went to Continental tires. I run the Town and Country tires on mine and Traffic on her bike. BIG difference in rolling resistance between wide tires at 40 psi maximum pressure and tires at 60 psi maximum pressure. Both of these tire designs are good on both asphalt and gravel ("stone dust") trails.

In a year of riding I use a good bit of Teflon lubricant on the gears and deraillers and chains. Keeping these clean and well lubricated is a key to long life of the parts.
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Old 12-04-06, 04:35 AM   #14
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Funnily enough I bought some continental tyres on friday night. They can take 120 psi, as opposed to 100 psi of the tyres I got with the bike. On my way into work today I shaved about ten minutes off my best time.

I'll have to check out this teflon lubricant stuff too, thanks!
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Old 12-04-06, 05:11 AM   #15
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Could be anything. Bring it back to the shop. I had a noise in my rear hub ignored it and then snapped the quick release. Freehub had worked its way loose. Bring it back to the shop and get it checked.
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Old 12-04-06, 06:35 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonTheDestroyer
Funnily enough I bought some continental tyres on friday night. They can take 120 psi, as opposed to 100 psi of the tyres I got with the bike. On my way into work today I shaved about ten minutes off my best time.

I'll have to check out this teflon lubricant stuff too, thanks!
If you fit Vredestein Fortezza Tricomps which you can inflate to 175psi, you could shave off half an hour
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Old 12-04-06, 07:13 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by JonTheDestroyer
Funnily enough I bought some continental tyres on friday night. They can take 120 psi, as opposed to 100 psi of the tyres I got with the bike. On my way into work today I shaved about ten minutes off my best time.
I'll have to check out this teflon lubricant stuff too, thanks!
And I can tell you with confidence that the difference between 100 and 120 psi matters very, very little to how fast you're riding. The Teflon lubricant will matter very, very little, too.

Last edited by TallRider; 12-04-06 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 12-04-06, 10:20 AM   #18
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AndI can tell you with confidence that the difference between 100 and 120 psi matters very, very little to how fast you're riding. The Teflon lubricant will matter very, very little, too.
Maybe it was psychological, the 'shiney new goodies' effect, or I could've just had some extra energy after relaxing all weekend. Plus a lot of traffic lights were going my way
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Old 12-04-06, 10:57 AM   #19
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well about a montha go my pretty pink bike had this problem i rebuilt the hub and it was all better!
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