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Why are higher-end freewheels (cassettes) so much louder when coasting?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Why are higher-end freewheels (cassettes) so much louder when coasting?

Old 07-28-20, 07:57 PM
  #1  
eaglesandcycling
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Why are higher-end freewheels (cassettes) so much louder when coasting?

Just curious on this. You'd think in a way you'd want it even quieter, the higher end you go.

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Old 07-28-20, 08:20 PM
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79pmooney
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It's marketing. You too can sound like ...

I used to race. I silenced my freewheels. I saw no advantage to telling my opposition that I was getting a free ride and not working.
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Old 07-28-20, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
It's marketing. You too can sound like ...

I used to race. I silenced my freewheels. I saw no advantage to telling my opposition that I was getting a free ride and not working.
Sorta the opposite for all of us non-racers.... my hub is almost silent and I often think it would be nice if I could just stop pedaling for 1-2sec as I approach someone to “give them the hint” to move to the right rather than have to constantly shout out “on your left!”
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Old 07-28-20, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by eaglesandcycling View Post
Just curious on this. You'd think in a way you'd want it even quieter, the higher end you go
Most sounds are unwanted because they hint at maintenance issues or similar problems. Freewheeling pawls don't, and some people like the sound. That's really all there is to it.

Not much different from how some people like deep-section wheels that reverberate noise loudly, and especially disc wheels with a strong WOMP WOMP.
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Old 07-28-20, 11:11 PM
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I wouldn’t say the DT Swiss 240s is a low end hub, and it’s insanely quiet.
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Old 07-29-20, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by InvertedMP View Post
I wouldn’t say the DT Swiss 240s is a low end hub, and it’s insanely quiet.
True. I guess he is mainly referring to Chris King.
I also have a Niner hub which is close to the noise of Chris King.
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Old 07-29-20, 08:48 AM
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Dura-Ace is another high quality hub that's quiet.
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Old 07-29-20, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by eaglesandcycling View Post

Just curious on this. You'd think in a way you'd want it even quieter, the higher end you go.

I don’t think there’s any strict correlation either way. The DT on my Rolfs is LOUD, Campagnolo are generally considered pretty loud, as have been those I have used (Chorus and Athena), yet the freehub on my current Zondas is whisper quiet. Every Shimano I’ve used (low-end road and mid-range MTB) has been super quiet All depends on design, number/shape of pawls, extent of lubrication, age of hub - too many factors to be able to draw firm conclusions
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Old 07-29-20, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by InvertedMP View Post
I wouldn’t say the DT Swiss 240s is a low end hub, and it’s insanely quiet.
It depends on which ring gear you use, and how much grease is used. With the 18t ring + a liberal application of DT grease, the hub is quiet. If you use the 54t ring gear, and a thin layer of the grease, the hub is LOUD.
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Old 07-29-20, 09:53 AM
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I have White Industries hubs and the rear is annoyingly loud. While my wheel is being serviced for a pothole, I have asked the builder to use different grease to make the hub quieter.
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Old 07-29-20, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I used to race. I silenced my freewheels. I saw no advantage to telling my opposition that I was getting a free ride and not working.
What? I think everyone that races understands that you can coast in the draft.
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Old 07-29-20, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Hikebikerun View Post
Sorta the opposite for all of us non-racers.... my hub is almost silent and I often think it would be nice if I could just stop pedaling for 1-2sec as I approach someone to “give them the hint” to move to the right rather than have to constantly shout out “on your left!”
The few times I've needed to, I start doing hard shifts up and down rapidly for just that reason.
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Old 07-29-20, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Hikebikerun View Post
Sorta the opposite for all of us non-racers.... my hub is almost silent and I often think it would be nice if I could just stop pedaling for 1-2sec as I approach someone to “give them the hint” to move to the right rather than have to constantly shout out “on your left!”
The hub in my new bike is really loud but despite that, I find that almost no one hears it when I'm coming up on them on a bike path.
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Old 07-29-20, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Ogsarg View Post
The hub in my new bike is really loud but despite that, I find that almost no one hears it when I'm coming up on them on a bike path.
Some people won't hear anything, but there are people who move over when I coast with my stock HED hubs.
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Old 07-29-20, 10:42 AM
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DT makes both pawl-based and ratchet-based hubs

Not sure about their pawl hubs but the rear hub on my PRC 1400 wheelset it really quiet. Of course ratchets are available in 18,36, and 54 teeth, so maybe depends on which ratchet you have installed. My 18 tooth ratchet hub just right for nearly no noise.
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Old 07-29-20, 10:42 AM
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Get yourself one of these if you really need to be heard.


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Old 07-29-20, 11:04 AM
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I think it started with the "immediate engagement" hubs for mountain bikes with more pawls, then the angry bees sound became trendy, then the roadies copied the mountain bikers (because they secretly wish they were mountain bikers).
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Old 07-29-20, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
Get yourself one of these if you really need to be heard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkor-DErceM

I'm getting DuraAce decals for mine.
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Old 07-29-20, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by cybirr View Post
I'm getting DuraAce decals for mine.
That'll be smoking hot! As my wife would say, "classy with a K."
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Old 07-29-20, 01:24 PM
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One of my wheelsets has a super loud hub and it always seems really flashy to me. I roll up to a stoplight and feel like I am yelling "hey everybody, look at me! This bike is fancy!!".
Chris King has successfully associated loud hubs with high quality/expensive. Their hubs are awesome and definitely sound unique, but there are plenty of cheap hubs out there that are super loud too.
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Old 07-29-20, 01:29 PM
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We used to have to stick hockey cards in our spokes to mimic that sound. Thank god we don't have to do that anymore.
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Old 07-29-20, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
What? I think everyone that races understands that you can coast in the draft.
It can be quite convenient to be unnoticed when gassed after bridging to a break Yeah, they will get you're there, but if you can have recovered your wind, you are now a lot harder to shed.
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Old 07-29-20, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
Get yourself one of these if you really need to be heard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkor-DErceM
How many watts will it add?
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Old 07-29-20, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
It can be quite convenient to be unnoticed when gassed after bridging to a break Yeah, they will get you're there, but if you can have recovered your wind, you are now a lot harder to shed.
Or you could just... soft pedal.

Quite a thing to go through all the work of pulling apart a freehub so you can coast for a few seconds once or twice a season.
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Old 07-29-20, 03:15 PM
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I love my loud hubs, it has saved me from getting hit and people with earbuds from stepping in front of me in DC.
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