Bike noob here. I pedal, and then I coast, and when I start pedaling again, I have to move the pedals a bit before the chain actually engages the cog//hub/wheel. Would buying a higher quality rear hub fix this? Like when I go from coasting to pedaling the wheel is IMMEDIATELY engaged? Or is this something that freewheelers just have to live with?
The fact that you even notice some hesitation makes me wonder if there's something wrong with the freehub mechanism. That bike came with Bontrager wheels, right? Have you had an experienced mechanic look at them?
Shimano used to make Silent Clutch rear hubs that used a clutch mechanism that engaged almost instantly, but they were infamous for their lack of reliability in the long term or under high stress.
2008 Novara Randonee - love it. Would have more bikes if I had time to ride them all. Previous bikes: 1968 Motobecane Mirage, 1972 Moto Grand Jubilee (my fav), Jackson Rake 16, 1983 C'dale ST500.
The amount your feet move before engagement has to do with two factors. The is how the ratchet mechanisim is set up in the freewheel/freehub. The second is how fast you are going. There will be slightly more hesitation if you are traveling fast before the pawls engage. Probably nothing unusual and it is true that you will be much more efficient on the level if you pedal consistently.