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The Sounds of Bikes

Old 05-11-21, 07:00 PM
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gthomson
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The Sounds of Bikes

Anyone else love the sounds a bike makes? I really like when I find myself on a quiet road with no traffic and I can hear the sounds of the wheels on the pavement or when I ride by solid objects can hear the hub whirring as it bounces off a large solid object.

I know this is a simple question but what makes some of the newer road bikes have such a loud noise coming from the rear hub and is there any way to get this on an older vintage ride? I do really like that sound.

Any other sounds you like (or dis like) on your vintage ride?

I just recently picked up a brass bell for one of my bikes and what a sound that makes!
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Old 05-11-21, 07:18 PM
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I've very hard of hearing and I use hearing aids. Something I enjoy are the mornings cool enough I can wear my hearing aids without sweat ruining them so I can listen to a 40 year old freewheel.
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Old 05-11-21, 07:19 PM
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My favorite "bike noise" is the sound of high-quality, high-performance tires on a smooth road. Especially if there's a whole peloton of them flying by at speed!
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Old 05-11-21, 07:26 PM
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I've been a fan of fixed gears for so long, everything sounds loud.
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Old 05-11-21, 07:40 PM
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Today, while riding (every time I'm riding, actually), I was having this exact thought. The soft crunch of rolling over wet dirt and light gravel, small pebbles and rocks crackling against each other, being spit out, smacking against the metal fenders. Cushiony, low-pressure tires humming, gliding over snapping sticks, zippers jingling against each other as you ride over tiny mounds. Phantom sounds from inside your bag(s) as the contents get jostled around — somehow hollow and woody even though it's all made of plastic and metal. That mechanical, ratcheting freewheel/cassette. So foreign and out of place in nature, but also somehow in harmony with it all. It almost feels like a disruption to pedal sometimes. And then you nudge the shifter, and it clunks solidly into the next gear, and you spin away.
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Old 05-11-21, 07:52 PM
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I like my bikes as quiet as possible. The only thing I hear riding my fixed gear bike is the tires on the pavement.

"Noise is wasted energy."
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Old 05-11-21, 08:07 PM
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The sound of a Sturmey Archer AW hub's "tick, tick, tick..."

The shift from small ring to big and that distinct sound of a smooth, clean upshift.

"Hey, nice bike" from a stranger.
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Old 05-12-21, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Rooney View Post
Today, while riding (every time I'm riding, actually), I was having this exact thought. The soft crunch of rolling over wet dirt and light gravel, small pebbles and rocks crackling against each other, being spit out, smacking against the metal fenders. Cushiony, low-pressure tires humming, gliding over snapping sticks, zippers jingling against each other as you ride over tiny mounds. Phantom sounds from inside your bag(s) as the contents get jostled around — somehow hollow and woody even though it's all made of plastic and metal. That mechanical, ratcheting freewheel/cassette. So foreign and out of place in nature, but also somehow in harmony with it all. It almost feels like a disruption to pedal sometimes. And then you nudge the shifter, and it clunks solidly into the next gear, and you spin away.
Awesome detailed description and yeah man, what he said. i was just out riding on a maintained gravel trail yesterday and although focusing a lot on the terrain as i was riding, all those things you mentioned were happening in my ears. I'll have to pay more attention next time.
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Old 05-12-21, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post

"Hey, nice bike" from a stranger.
Oh yeah, I have some vanity and like to hear this as well. Some times I got out for a ride and think, "can't believe there was no comment on my bike" ha ha
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Old 05-12-21, 07:36 AM
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I am in the " I love a quiet bike" category. The sound of good quality tires, along with the quiet of a fine tuned, smooth operating and good handling bicycle, on a nice smooth surface with no traffic. Less is more,
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Old 05-12-21, 07:52 AM
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Sounds? Tires rolling, perhaps, but anything else is just annoying. I do not want to hear my freewheel clicking. I do not want to hear the chain engaging the sprocket teeth. I do not want to hear the creaking of this or that. And I most certainly do not like hearing my wife complaining about the too many bike thing!

Most of my bikes are quiet and that is just fine with me. To be honest, I do not even remembering listening to the sound of tires on pavement, or anything else. Now, of course, I will be listening for just that:-(
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Old 05-12-21, 08:29 AM
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Bladed spokes....front and rear.....on one of my rides make an interesting sound at speed.

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Old 05-12-21, 10:07 AM
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My favorite is being able to identify the rare times a Sturmey AW clicks away down my street.

Same for when it's dubbed into movies. Puppet on a Chain and Mary Poppins Returns both make use of AW hub recordings. It's always appreciated when the foley artist goes the extra mile not to use the sound of just any freewheel.

-Kurt
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Old 05-12-21, 10:09 AM
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Modern fames, particularly aluminum and carbon fibre generally have oversized and airfoil shaped tubes, which provide a lot more surface area for reverberation of sound waves. Drivetrain noise is more prominent. I don't recall this being as big issue on the Alan, so I think it's more a function of tube diameter and shape than material.

If you want a quiet drivetrain, don't clean your chain, cogs or chainrings. It's amazing how much a little dirty buildup dampens the sound.
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Old 05-12-21, 11:11 AM
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Are you saying you would like a rear hub that makes a relatively loud tick when it turns?
Buy Hope hubs. https://www.hopetech.com/products/hubs

I think all of their rear hubs are 130mm o.l.d. spacing, though, so measure the dropouts first.
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Old 05-12-21, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
I know this is a simple question but what makes some of the newer road bikes have such a loud noise coming from the rear hub and is there any way to get this on an older vintage ride? I do really like that sound.
I prefer the opposite. I love the sounds of cracking twigs and leaves under the soft tyres, with just a faint whirr coming from the freewheel and drivetrain, and an occasional crackle when shifting. My ear is tuned to look for the sounds of a suboptimal shift, which are harder to make out when there's too much going on in the background. Loud sounds or squeaks (leather saddle notwithstanding) are cause for concern in the lubrication dept. Modern freehub ratchets are far too intrusive-- like a swarm of mechanical grasshoppers on your tail. I often purposefully speed up or slow down so I can put as much distance as possible from other riders' freehub racket...

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Old 05-12-21, 12:01 PM
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One of the pleasures of riding a bike is the relative quietness. As most above have mentioned a quiet bike allows you to hear all these other sounds rather than the sounds from a machine. The bicycle is a machine after all. When I rebuild a freewheel, I sometimes put a dab of light grease by the pawl to keep to from getting too noisy. Also waxed chains seem quieter to me than oiled (my opinion only).
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Old 05-12-21, 12:14 PM
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Velo Mule, I agree. I will also say that when I hear a carbon bike approach, I can always tell, because it gives off a sound,
as though the drivetrain and wheels are faintly yet audibly vibrating the entire frame. It also sounds like the oversized tubing catches
the wind more. Steel bikes are much more silent.
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Old 05-12-21, 12:28 PM
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The whoosh sound the aero wheels on my Krono makes when pedaling.


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Old 05-12-21, 02:04 PM
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The art of keeping your bike quiet is to keep pushing big gears, always. Like Big Mig.
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Old 05-12-21, 02:47 PM
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My wife and I use aero helmets with "goggles" that reduce wind noise around one's head so you can hear better.

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Old 05-12-21, 03:36 PM
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The Sturmey AW also has (to my ears) three different pairs of sounds in each of the different ratios while pedaling, and freewheeling.
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Old 05-12-21, 03:57 PM
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A sound that I connect with is the distinct click from ratcheting shifters, namely Suntour Power Shifters.
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Old 05-12-21, 06:00 PM
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Yes I love hearing all of these sounds. Now that I have acquired a taste for fancy tires, I love the way they sound. They're louder than cheap tires but in a nice way.

I once rode with a guy with Hetre tires, and they sounded like a finger stroking the wet rim of wine glass.
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Old 05-12-21, 09:20 PM
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Personally, though I like the sound of a Sturmey Archer hub or a well-mannered RD with a quiet Suntour or Shimano freewheel/freehub, I dislike the sound of tires with tread patterns. My favorite tires back in my skinny-tire days were the Specialized Turbo and the Avocet Criteriums with no tread at all -- slicks -- for the smooth riding they afforded. The nearest I can come to that now is the Rivendell Jack Brown Greens, with the minimal checkerboard (especially after worn in some), but I wish someone would make high quality, lightweight slicks in the 35–42 widths. Tread patterns are vastly overrated for use on pavement, IMO.
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