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Why do some rear wheel hubs make a louder noise than others?

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Why do some rear wheel hubs make a louder noise than others?

Old 06-18-20, 05:25 AM
  #1  
benjamin163
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Why do some rear wheel hubs make a louder noise than others?

Is there a functional reason for it?
Is it simply designed in by the makers?
Is there a way of making the noise quieter/louder?
Any thoughts gratefully received.
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Old 06-18-20, 05:49 AM
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jpescatore
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Basically, the way the pawls/ratchets in there were designed. Check out the GCN video
for a good explanation.
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Old 06-18-20, 09:03 AM
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It's simply a characteristic of hubs, with no rhyme or reason to it - some are simply louder than others. Campagnolo hubs were traditionally pretty loud, Shimano are traditionally very quiet (although my current Campag Zonda hub is ghostlike compared to my previous Rolfs, which used a DT hub). A guy I ride with - I think he has a Specialized bike, but I have no idea what hubs - his rear hub sounds like the proverbial swarm of angry hornets doused in meth. Loudest bloody hub I ever heard. If your hub is too loud, you might try adding more or thicker grease, but don't overdo it, as you might end up interfering with pawl action.

Last edited by Litespud; 06-18-20 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 06-18-20, 10:16 AM
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I'm curious about this as well. In my area, it seems people with high end, newer road bikes always have the loudest hubs.

If a hub is loud, does that not make it generally less efficient than a quieter hub as well?
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Old 06-18-20, 10:17 AM
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I used to dislike my bikes/wheels with the louder hubs. But, I now view louder hubs as a "safety feature"!
When I am approaching pedestrians, and other cyclists, if I pause my peddling, the hub noise alerts the pedestrians & cyclist that someone is approaching.
Try it, I think you will find it is quite effective, at least in my experience it is, they will turn and look, but it doesn't seem to startle them, works especially on MUPs and other locations when the ambient noise is not too high.

Last edited by AndrewJB; 06-18-20 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 06-18-20, 10:57 AM
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I have Campy Protons and Zondas and they are very audible but I do notice people turn their heads when I approach on the loop in Central Park. For me it is a good thing.
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Old 06-18-20, 11:31 AM
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My Shimano hubs are almost dead silent, like being a ninja on a bike. My Sun Ringle hubs are obnoxiously loud. My SRAM hubs fall somewhere between the Shimano and Sun Ringle.
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Old 06-18-20, 11:44 AM
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ofajen
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I have older wheels with quiet freewheels and freehubs. In the short run, louder hubs would annoy me greatly, but I take the point about the safety feature.

Otto
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Old 06-18-20, 12:03 PM
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The reason for loud hubs? Advertising. The quiet hubs never get noticed.

As a racer back in a distant millennia, I use to grease my SunTour freewheels because I never wanted to advertise that I was doing less work than those around me.
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Old 06-18-20, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by AndrewJB View Post
I used to dislike my bikes/wheels with the louder hubs. But, I now view louder hubs as a "safety feature"!
When I am approaching pedestrians, and other cyclists, if I pause my peddling, the hub noise alerts the pedestrians & cyclist that someone is approaching.
Try it, I think you will find it is quite effective, at least in my experience it is, especially on MUPs and other locations when the ambient noise is not too high.
That's actually a really good case for having a loud hub that I hadn't thought of.

I've considered taping a piece of plastic to my seat stay in the path of the spokes to make my bike sound like a "motorcycle" (like I did when I was a kid).

Ringing my bell doesn't work well because 50% of the time the people are startled and jump into my path, and 25% of the time people are annoyed by me ringing my bell "at" them.

Last edited by user2; 06-18-20 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 06-18-20, 12:49 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
The reason for loud hubs? Advertising. The quiet hubs never get noticed.

As a racer back in a distant millennia, I use to grease my SunTour freewheels because I never wanted to advertise that I was doing less work than those around me.
What's a SunTour? Is that one of those long rides you take when it is sunny.

I sometimes like the noisy freehub and sometimes I don't as much. My touring bike is by far the loudest with an Industry Nine freehub on Paul hubs and it is always funny when people ask if it is broken.
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Old 06-18-20, 01:00 PM
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The loud hub fans are just like the loud pipe motorcycle fans.
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Old 06-18-20, 01:16 PM
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Put a fairly loud hub in one of those hollow carbon fiber disc time trial wheels and you will scare away animals.



freewheeling in my Rohloff is quiet





..

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-18-20 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 06-18-20, 01:26 PM
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I used to love my dead-silent Shimano hubs back when I was road racing...I could sometimes sneak up behind someone and draft for quite a while without being noticed.
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Old 06-18-20, 01:45 PM
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My rear end makes exceptionally loud noises. It’s a point of pride, if I do say so.
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Old 06-18-20, 02:19 PM
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You could probably put weaker return springs in the pawls of a noisy drive unit, but why???
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Old 06-18-20, 02:52 PM
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There's a variety without ratchet pawls, probably moist commonly found in single-speed coaster-brake bikes, but not always. I once had a Raleigh Technium touring bike with that. One day I was out riding with a friend and all at once he said, "Hey, your bike don't make no noise." I like things quiet.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freewheel
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Old 06-18-20, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I used to love my dead-silent Shimano hubs back when I was road racing...I could sometimes sneak up behind someone and draft for quite a while without being noticed.
+1 Why give that away! Making a really good and silent freewheel mechanism isn't hard. The new noisy ones aren't better, just a whole lot louder. Racing is a chess game as much as it is a test of strength. Why start the game without your knights?
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Old 06-19-20, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by benjamin163 View Post
Is there a functional reason for it?
Is it simply designed in by the makers?
Is there a way of making the noise quieter/louder?
Any thoughts gratefully received.
In short no. But usually over time the pawls wear the edges down and become a little quieter. There are designs in which the clearance between the pawl and the hub is very narrow and the angle of the hub locks so sharp that the hub is so quiet it is effectively soundless. I really like these but the Chinese hubs most commonly available these days for a reasonable price are so loud that freewheeling a quarter mile aware from some jogger on a path makes them leap off as if they're about to be run over.
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Old 06-20-20, 10:04 AM
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Got new wheels recently and the new rear hub is very loud compared to the old one. Was very annoying, almost sounded like a deisel truck behind me whenever i'd start coasting. Thankfully it's getting quieter with use. After 400 miles or so, it is still a bit loud but not nearly as loud as it was. So maybe they get quieter after break- in period.
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Old 06-21-20, 02:49 AM
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I ride coaster brake stetups so my rear wheel is silent. Last year I was riding a road bike (thin tyres) in this setup and on my way back from work on a night shift (1am) I was smoothing through the avenues dead silent like a ninja. Now I'm riding a 90's mtb with the same coaster brake setup but now the cubes on the tyre tread make a very satysfying rum-hum noise on descents at fast speeds.

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Old 06-21-20, 02:59 AM
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Quality

Haven't had any noise coming from my rear wheel since I only use Campagnolo.
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Old 06-21-20, 06:18 AM
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I do like the silent hubs better; but my loud hubs have quicker engagement, which I really like. I'd like to think that the extra noise was from the extra pawls or similar, as opposed to marketing driven sound engineering, but I am probably fooling myself.
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Old 06-21-20, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by AndrewJB View Post
I used to dislike my bikes/wheels with the louder hubs. But, I now view louder hubs as a "safety feature"!
When I am approaching pedestrians, and other cyclists, if I pause my peddling, the hub noise alerts the pedestrians & cyclist that someone is approaching.
Try it, I think you will find it is quite effective, at least in my experience it is, they will turn and look, but it doesn't seem to startle them, works especially on MUPs and other locations when the ambient noise is not too high.
I also disliked loud hubs but after doing group rides, I actually started liking them. Louder hubs make a great warning system when someone in the group breaks cadence.
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Old 06-21-20, 12:26 PM
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Sorry, but if I had to listen to that stupid buzz the whole time during a long ride, I'd want to kill someone.

It's really got a "fingernails on chalkboard" effect on me for some reason.
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