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Replace rear hub?

Old 12-08-17, 01:33 PM
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Replace rear hub?

So I have found a beautiful All-City Mr Pink -- fits great and rides beautifully. But . . . the rear freehub is so loud that it ruins everything. Trust me, lots of people tell me that I shouldn't let a loud freehub prevent me from buying a good bike or that I should just keep pedaling or lots of other things to convince me this isn't a problem. I don't care about any of that. I want a quiet freehub. Period.

I think this is a fixable problem though . . . The LBS can, of course, build me a new wheel, but they also suggested they could most likely remove the existing freehub from the rim and replace it with a Shimano hub. Is that true? Would I also end up replacing the spokes? Is this an easy thing for an LBS to do for me?

The existing wheel on this bike is the stock DT Swiss R24 Spline with a 28-hole pattern, 130mm spacing. These don't sound like unusual specs. What else I need to learn about that hub to know if it can be replaced with a quieter Shimano?

Thanks
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Old 12-08-17, 01:41 PM
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It would be a sin to take that wheel apart to replace a perfectly good hub.

Figure paying about $50-70 for the build labor, assuming he reuses the spokes. However, taking a wheel apart to save the spokes also takes time, and rebuilding with used spokes takes more time than when working with all new, so don't be shocked if the shop quotes you more that straight build labor.

While, I'd learn to live with the hub and consider it a remind to stop coasting except on long descents, I'm not you. So, before cutting this wheel apart, shop for a new wheel you can live with, and see what yours will fetch on a sale and see if the spread is less than the cost of the hub and labor. Then do what you will.
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Old 12-08-17, 01:47 PM
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Would some big gobs of grease on the pawls quiet it a bit ?
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Old 12-08-17, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01
Would some big gobs of grease on the pawls quiet it a bit ?
Absolutely that's the first thing we'd try -- certainly before we invest in new wheels or start surgery. I've read some reviews online that say that quiets these down nicely.


Originally Posted by FBinNY
While, I'd learn to live with the hub and consider it a remind to stop coasting except on long descents, I'm not you. So, before cutting this wheel apart, shop for a new wheel you can live with, and see what yours will fetch on a sale and see if the spread is less than the cost of the hub and labor. Then do what you will.
I was surprised when the LBS suggested changing just the hub. That option hadn't occurred to me. The price on this bike is low enough that I can invest in some comparable wheels built with Shimano hubs and then sell the set that's on the bike -- or keep them for winter riding. The bike is unused -- they're brand new wheels.

Last edited by sfh; 12-08-17 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 12-08-17, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01
Would some big gobs of grease on the pawls quiet it a bit ?
A film of heavy grease would quiet it slightly, but more could interfere with proper engagement.

The problem is that this hub doesn't have pawls. the clutch id made of two mating tooth discs with sawtooth profiles. They're held together with a spring, and the moving mass is much greater than a two pawls.

So it makes noise like a round of applause when you coast. Greasing makes it sound like a round of applause wearing gloves.
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Old 12-08-17, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
A film of heavy grease would quiet it slightly, but more could interfere with proper engagement.

The problem is that this hub doesn't have pawls. the clutch id made of two mating tooth discs with sawtooth profiles. They're held together with a spring, and the moving mass is much greater than a two pawls.

So it makes noise like a round of applause when you coast. Greasing makes it sound like a round of applause wearing gloves.
I think the R24 Spline wheel does use the 2-pawl hub. It is not, per the shop selling the bike, a Star Ratchet -- which is what it sounds like you're describing.
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Old 12-08-17, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by sfh
So I have found a beautiful All-City Mr Pink -- fits great and rides beautifully. But . . . the rear freehub is so loud that it ruins everything. Trust me, lots of people tell me that I shouldn't let a loud freehub prevent me from buying a good bike or that I should just keep pedaling or lots of other things to convince me this isn't a problem. I don't care about any of that. I want a quiet freehub. Period.
Did you already buy this bike? Maybe the shop will buy the wheels back or offer you a swap.

Rebuilding the wheel on the same rim with a different hub doesn't sound much cheaper than buying a new wheel.

Do we have a list somewhere of the quietest freehubs?
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Old 12-08-17, 02:39 PM
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If you keep pedaling you won't hear the hub.
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Old 12-08-17, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by sfh
I think the R24 Spline wheel does use the 2-pawl hub. It is not, per the shop selling the bike, a Star Ratchet -- which is what it sounds like you're describing.
Thanks for the info.

I wasn't aware that DT used two different systems. OTOH - I am surprised to hear that a classic ratchet system is making the kind of noise that the star ratchet is known to.

Either way, a film of grease is OK, but more than that is a no no.
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Old 12-08-17, 03:03 PM
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The loudest free hub I ever owned was a Phil Wood. It buzzed like a giant angry bee. Ten years later it started rattling so I sent it in for repair under their flat rate. It came back running dead silent. I was curious as hell how a free hub could make absolutely no sound so I called them to ask what they had changed. They had made no changes. They simply replaced the bad parts and packed it full of grease.
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Old 12-08-17, 03:19 PM
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For the record, 105 rear hubs have generally been pretty darn quiet. Well, at least the one I bought 5 or so years ago was very quiet. The 6800 Ultegra hub I just got on a rear wheel is not quiet, but not loud.
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Old 12-08-17, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott
Did you already buy this bike? Maybe the shop will buy the wheels back or offer you a swap.

Rebuilding the wheel on the same rim with a different hub doesn't sound much cheaper than buying a new wheel.

Do we have a list somewhere of the quietest freehubs?
The bike is in a faraway shop. I test rode about 5 or 6 weeks ago while i was traveling, but they'd ship it to me -- it's a previous model year and not available locally. So no, I haven't bought it, but I don't want to worry about swapping wheels on a deal like that.

I know Shimano hubs can be very quiet -- have two bikes in the family with Tiagra hubs, and I've test-ridden a few 105s that were quiet. They don't have to be silent . . . just quiet enough that I don't notice. When I solo ride, I pedal the whole time, and it's not an issue. Group Rides with the family . . . that's slower. Lots of coasting.
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Old 12-08-17, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
Thanks for the info.

I wasn't aware that DT used two different systems. OTOH - I am surprised to hear that a classic ratchet system is making the kind of noise that the star ratchet is known to.

Either way, a film of grease is OK, but more than that is a no no.
I'm not experienced in servicing hubs, and I'd have the LBS do it. They wouldn't use "globs" . . . they would properly grease the hub. I appreciate the advice. Thanks.

The shop assured me that these wheels are quieter than star ratchet hubs, but that they'll never be as quiet as most Shimano wheels.
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Old 12-08-17, 04:38 PM
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Roller clutch freehubs are offered for police bikes so they can sneak up on suspects.
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Old 12-08-17, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott
Did you already buy this bike? Maybe the shop will buy the wheels back or offer you a swap.

Rebuilding the wheel on the same rim with a different hub doesn't sound much cheaper than buying a new wheel.

Do we have a list somewhere of the quietest freehubs?
I'm not sure, but it would be very hard to conceive of a quieter hub than Shimano Ultegra. They're only barely audible while freewheeling. I was so used to that that my present wheels (the swarm of angry bees kind) took a little bit of getting used to. But I saw the bright side: it's a much more effective way of letting others on a MUP know I'm coming up behind them.

Even as an atheist I would agree that cutting apart that wheel and paying someone to rebuild it on a different hub would qualify as a sin. With the FSM's guidance and tender mercies the OP could either learn to live with the noise, or at least find a relatively inexpensive replacement wheel that's similar in cost to something like a Shimano hub plus possibly new spokes plus labor.

Last edited by SethAZ; 12-08-17 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 12-08-17, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by TruthBomb
I’m sure that there is a hub that is quieter than Shimano Ultrgra.

One example:

Stealth Road Rear Hub | True Precision Components
Thanks for linking that. I haven't heard this Stealth hub, but it's probably quieter than the Ultegra hub.

The Ultegra hub isn't actually silent, but it's quiet enough that while actually riding on a road people just don't hear much. Freewheeling while riding up behind someone on a MUP, for instance, simply doesn't work to alert them. The Neos hub on my Stans Grail wheelset, on the other hand, can alert people that I'm coming from a good 20-40 yards out with just a few seconds of freewheeling.

If the OP is interested in hearing the difference between the Ultegra hub and a bona fide loud freewheeling hub, here's this little comparison. Note: the Ultegra hub is recorded from maybe a foot away. While actually riding out on the road you barely hear anything while freewheeling, and people further than just a few feet away pretty much don't hear anything at all. The sound of the tires rolling on the pavement is probably louder.

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Old 12-08-17, 08:18 PM
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And here I am shopping for wheelsets with the loudest hub I can find....

Road bike has Mavic Ksyrium wheels on it - nice and loud
SS mountain bike has Chris King hubs laced to Stan's wheels - it's all about that buzz

Get on my cross bike that just has the stock whatever Specialized used in their wheels and it is silent. I can hear the tires over the hub. It sounds weird.

This is what you want if you want to go absolutely silent but be prepared to pay a pretty penny.

Last edited by TenSpeedV2; 12-08-17 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 12-08-17, 10:17 PM
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Yeah that really is silent. Thanks for posting that. The OP is looking for a quiet hub, not necessarily silent, so for the price I think Ultegra is going to be hard to beat.
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Old 12-08-17, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by SethAZ
I'm not sure, but it would be very hard to conceive of a quieter hub than Shimano Ultegra. They're only barely audible while freewheeling. I was so used to that that my present wheels (the swarm of angry bees kind) took a little bit of getting used to. But I saw the bright side: it's a much more effective way of letting others on a MUP know I'm coming up behind them.

Even as an atheist I would agree that cutting apart that wheel and paying someone to rebuild it on a different hub would qualify as a sin. With the FSM's guidance and tender mercies the OP could either learn to live with the noise, or at least find a relatively inexpensive replacement wheel that's similar in cost to something like a Shimano hub plus possibly new spokes plus labor.
+1. Shimano hubs have long been just the right kind of quiet. They have a nice soft click that lets you know they're working, but that sound is quickly covered up by other sounds in the environment.
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Old 12-09-17, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01
Would some big gobs of grease on the pawls quiet it a bit ?
Yes it would, but its not a normal system. Its based on two engaging discs and I did read about a guy ruining the teeth on the discs, using some generic grease to silence the system. I do however use grease to silence pawls and its works fine. I hate loud freehubs too.
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Old 12-09-17, 10:23 AM
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I thoroughly clean freehub pawls (all the surfaces in thar) then grease with Dow #41 (which is still available, if expensive; I inherited Dad's, thanks Pop); quiet af.

Is there a better grease?
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Old 12-09-17, 11:05 AM
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Phils's tenacious hub oil is pretty quiet compared to some others.
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Old 12-09-17, 03:55 PM
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So, thanks for the replies here. I've come to agree that there's no point in tearing into a perfectly good wheel just to replace the hub. Talked with the shop today who said it would be cheaper to just cut all of the spokes out instead of trying to re-use them (because the labor would be so much less). So at that point, this would be a big project just to re-use a $50 rim. And then, we figure out it wouldn't work anyway. The DT Swiss hub is 28 holes, and the Shimano hubs are 32 . .. so I'd have to get a new rim. Researched some today, and it's easy to find a wheel set with the same DT rims, same DT spokes, and a 105 hub.

Pretty straight-forward solution: Buy the bike. Ride the bike. Fix it if needed.
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