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Loud Ultegra drivetrain when in big chainring

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Loud Ultegra drivetrain when in big chainring

Old 12-14-06, 04:02 AM
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adun111
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Loud Ultegra drivetrain when in big chainring

Here's a stumper.

I've got a brand new (less than 50 miles) ultegra triple setup. When on the middle and small chainring it is smooth as silk, but when on the outer chainring, it feels like it is vibrating and is really loud. It feels strongest while on the outermost 2 cogs in the rear. When I pedal by hand on the trainer (to provide resistance), I can feel tiny bits of resistance as if the chain was catching on the chainring teeth.

This definitely isn't due to chain-rub. Pulling the derailler wires by hand to shift it manually doesn't show any "quiet" spots where it doesn't do this. I'm pretty sure it is due to the large chainring (since it doesn't happen on the smaller ones). When checking how straight the chainring is, it seems to wave by at most 1mm which isn't all that crazy.

This is my first ultegra bike and I'm wondering if this is normal and shouldn't worry?
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Old 12-14-06, 07:06 AM
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It isn't normal. You're sure the chain isn't rubbing on the front derailleur's outer cage plate?
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Old 12-14-06, 07:06 AM
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Tough one indeed, I have this setup and can report no such behaviour. I'll be interested if anyone can shed light on this.
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Old 12-14-06, 01:20 PM
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Did you check to make sure the chainring bolts are good and tight?
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Old 12-14-06, 01:55 PM
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I'll try to take a video later.

Definitely no derailler rub (it was the first thing I suspected) and I checked the chainring bolts already. Maybe I'll loosen and tighten them down.

So people don't have a change in drivetrain noise between chainrings?
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Old 12-14-06, 01:58 PM
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My large chainring is louder than my middle. But my setup isn't fully comparable from chainring-to-chainring, as my middle is an 8-speed-designed Shimano 36t (pinned and ramped) and the outer is an FSA 9-speed-designed 50t, run with a 9-speed chain and cassette.
And in my case, the difference in noise isn't much and neither chainring sounds weird; there's just a little more "hum" as the chain spins around the large outer chainring than is the case when the chain is in the middle.
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Old 12-14-06, 02:21 PM
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If this is only noisy when pedaling, then I'd suggest that you check the rear derailer alignment. Tyr and see if the pulleys/cage are positioned correctly in relationship to the rear sprockets. I had best luck seeing the alignment when on the bike and pedaling for some reason. Not as easy to eyeball off the bike.

My hanger was bent, and this caused the long cage with pulleys to get pulled out of alignment and increased the chain noise while pedaling.

Mine looked like this:




They're supposed to look like this, all lined up:

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Old 12-14-06, 02:25 PM
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A bent hanger or otherwise mis-aligned rear derailler is a possibility, but I don't think that would account for a marked difference in noise between the middle and large chainrings.
It could, if there's a difference in how hard you're pedaling (e.g., you're only in the big ring if you're really hammering, in which case the cause of the noisiness could be misalignment+hard pedaling, as opposed to an actual difference in the big ring).
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Old 12-14-06, 02:26 PM
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I've got new ultegra parts on my bike, and the big ring is not any louder than the inner ring.
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Old 04-12-07, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by adun111
Here's a stumper.

I've got a brand new (less than 50 miles) ultegra triple setup. When on the middle and small chainring it is smooth as silk, but when on the outer chainring, it feels like it is vibrating and is really loud. It feels strongest while on the outermost 2 cogs in the rear. When I pedal by hand on the trainer (to provide resistance), I can feel tiny bits of resistance as if the chain was catching on the chainring teeth.

This definitely isn't due to chain-rub. Pulling the derailler wires by hand to shift it manually doesn't show any "quiet" spots where it doesn't do this. I'm pretty sure it is due to the large chainring (since it doesn't happen on the smaller ones). When checking how straight the chainring is, it seems to wave by at most 1mm which isn't all that crazy.

This is my first ultegra bike and I'm wondering if this is normal and shouldn't worry?
Bringing this to the top to see if there was any solution. I have what sounds like the same problem, same components. The best I can desribe it is a very pronounced, loud and "coarse" vibration - the vibration seems to be identical to what the teeth on the rear sproket would make as the chain passes over it. It is not the frequency of the front chain wheel cycle, but seems to be the frequency of the rear sprocket, if that makes sense.

For me, I know it is NOT: chain noise on front derailleur cage ... also NOT the noise that is caused by rear derailleur cable adjustment. I know how to adjust rear derailleur and have fiddled with that - no change. Shifting up and down is very crisp and smooth.

It could be rear derailleur alignment. If so, would that explain why it only happens with large front chain wheel and rear smallest two or three sprockets? (problem starts with 3rd smallest, get worse as they get smaller - therefore worst on smallest).

Is there an "idiot's guide" to fixing rear derailleur alignment - I don't want to just start trying to bend anything!

The drive train is very smooth and quiet on all other "normal" (i.e. not cross chained) combinations of rear and front gears.
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Old 04-12-07, 01:50 PM
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I have the Ultegra 6600 crankset/BB set up and I can assure you that this does not happen to mine. My suspicion is that it is chain rub on the FD though you won't be able to easily see it on you own checking. Probably the force exerted on the angle of the sitting position leads to that noise.
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Old 04-12-07, 02:05 PM
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Try moving the FD with your fingers (be careful!) rather than the shifter while making the noise and see if it affects it.

Is there an "idiot's guide" to fixing rear derailleur alignment - I don't want to just start trying to bend anything!
Bending is the only way. What usually bends is the "hanger" where the RD bolts to the frame. There is a special tool to align (square) it to the wheel rim. Check the Park Tools site to see what it looks like and how it is used.
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Old 04-12-07, 02:06 PM
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Are you sufficiently oiled?
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Old 04-12-07, 06:46 PM
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Is the rear wheel fully seated in the dropouts? Set the bike on the floor, loosen and re-tighten the skewers. Be sure the rear wheel is fully seated.

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Old 04-12-07, 06:56 PM
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the complete guide to derailer adjustment, and an incredibly useful web site http://www.sheldonbrown.com/derailer-adjustment.html
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Old 04-13-07, 12:53 AM
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Is the vibration in all gears in combination with the RD or a particular combination? Maybe chain length too short.
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Old 04-13-07, 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Deanster04
Is the vibration in all gears in combination with the RD or a particular combination? Maybe chain length too short.
The OP reported the phenomenon in the large chainring and smallest couple of rear sprockets. I think I know what he's talking about having considered this for a while, as I have experienced this on some bikes. I always attributed it to worn chain or sprockets, but this is clearly not the case here with a virutally new Ultegra drivetrain. What I will suggest is that you clean the 'gunk' build-up from the jockey wheels which I guarantee will have collected from the Shimano factory-applied chain lube running over them. I think you can attribute most of the problem to the very high RPM of the rear wheel compared to the pedalling cadence when in the aforementioned gear combinations and some problem with smooth chain flow through the rear mech. Check the B-tension adjustment too in case the chain is being fed at an acute angle. I really hope this helps, I can't think of anything else at the moment but if I do I'll be sure to post it. It's a shame you have this problem as your first introduction to Ultegra 6600. It really is amazing, I promise!
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Old 04-13-07, 06:16 AM
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I have a Kuota Kharma that I got about six weeks ago with the ten speed 105 setup with the Shimano R700 compact crankset and it does the same thing. I have noticed that as the drivetrain gets broken in it is getting better. I also have cleaned the chain a couple of times and relubed and that may be helping things to. I talked to my LBS about it and they said that they have never heard of that and to bring it in but I haven't as of yet. I hate to be without it for a few days and I got it where it is shifting really smooth and crisp.
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Old 04-13-07, 06:42 AM
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I'm adding another vote for rear derailer hanger alignment. I had a similar situation in that my drivetrain was quiet on the inner and middle rings but noisy on the big ring. Actualy it still is slighly noisier on the big ring but having the derailer hanger re-aligned made itsignificantly quieter on the big ring.

Also it doesn't have to be as wildly out of alignment as that picture to cause problems. I think that pic was deliberately exagerated to make it easier to see.

Regards, Anthony
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Old 04-17-07, 09:20 AM
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Interesting thread. My '03 Bianchi Vigorelli has an Ultegra drivetrain and a triple up front. I have a noise like the OP, except mine can be heard when I am on the MIDDLE chainring. Inner and outer chainrings are silent. I have checked and have no FD rubbing, and my chain is well lubed. I can't figure it out for the life of me. It is just something I put up with. Maybe one day I'll find a cause.
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Old 04-26-07, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Camilo
Bringing this to the top to see if there was any solution. I have what sounds like the same problem, same components. The best I can desribe it is a very pronounced, loud and "coarse" vibration - the vibration seems to be identical to what the teeth on the rear sproket would make as the chain passes over it. It is not the frequency of the front chain wheel cycle, but seems to be the frequency of the rear sprocket, if that makes sense.

For me, I know it is NOT: chain noise on front derailleur cage ... also NOT the noise that is caused by rear derailleur cable adjustment. I know how to adjust rear derailleur and have fiddled with that - no change. Shifting up and down is very crisp and smooth.

It could be rear derailleur alignment. If so, would that explain why it only happens with large front chain wheel and rear smallest two or three sprockets? (problem starts with 3rd smallest, get worse as they get smaller - therefore worst on smallest).

Is there an "idiot's guide" to fixing rear derailleur alignment - I don't want to just start trying to bend anything!

The drive train is very smooth and quiet on all other "normal" (i.e. not cross chained) combinations of rear and front gears.
OK, I thought I'd report back. I've decided the issue has three aspects:

1- Chain: I lubed it up real well and that seemed to decrease the noise and roughness somewhat. Not night and day, but it seemed a little smoother.

2 -Rear Derailleur: It indeed was slightly bent out of alignment. Shifting up and down was actually OK, but I had a pro mechanic check it out and he straightened it and it is a little smoother/quiter from that as well.

3 -But based on my discussion with him, most of what I'm feeling and hearing is normal. It's just a coarse "whirring" sound made by the chain links on the teeth. And the only time it's felt is when it's free spinning on the repair stand, not when underway (e.g. "under load").

I think that I'm just not used to the friction-free, easy motion of this high quality drive train. It is Ultegra/ DuraAce vs. my early 90s Exage. It is just the chain spinning the big 52t wheel and tiny 11t cog with very little resistence that is the main difference. I can definitely feel that it's free-er spinning. I think my old bike's drive train in essence operated "under load" at all times because it just wasn't as free running - dampening the action of the chain over the teeth. If that makes sense at all?

Anyway, the mechanic, whom I respect, said the drive train (chain, wheels, cogs) are in great shape and it sounded and felt normal to him. I feel good because (1) I was pretty sure the rear der. was a little bit out of alignment (but was afraid to mess with it) and (2) I was pretty sure all the teeth looked just fine. After cleaning everything up, I'd have to say they look almost like new, and the chain measured well within the tolerance for wear.

Thanks for the pointers everyone. Living and learning - and loving the nice "new" (used) bike!
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Old 04-26-07, 01:30 PM
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Great- thanks for the update. Glad you got it fixed. Interesting to hear the difference sin mechanical friction between newer and older drivetrains too.
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Old 04-26-07, 04:54 PM
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My Ultegra tirple on a Jamis iEclipse is the most quiet dirvetrain I have ever had. Chainline issue?
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Old 07-11-07, 08:09 AM
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Has anyone else got any further updates? Running Compact Double Cannondale SI on Ultegra, and same issue with big chainring... but the cage is not bent at all. Any luck with b-tension adjustments??
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Old 07-11-07, 09:13 AM
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Cross-chaining from the big ring to the upper three cogs of a larger, say 12-27t, cassette will give a bit of a rumble as the rd is quite extended at that point adding increased tension on the chain.
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