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Is a silent bike a faster bike?

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Is a silent bike a faster bike?

Old 09-29-12, 03:18 PM
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Dagamon
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Is a silent bike a faster bike?

My bike is dead silent, and my friend's makes all kind of noise. We were talking, and I said that a quiet bike is more efficient, and he said it probably doesn't make a whiff of difference. Now we're talking probably 1% efficiency or less, but does it really matter?
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Old 09-29-12, 03:25 PM
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Dunno. But I hate a noisy bike and it's all about enjoyment.
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Old 09-29-12, 03:36 PM
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Chris Pringle
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What kind of noise? If it's a squealing crankset, for example, that's robbing energy from the rider. But from hubs as you coast? Some of the smoothest/expensive hubs out there are quite loud. Chris King hubs come to mind, but that's understood as bicycle purring.

Last edited by Chris Pringle; 09-29-12 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 09-29-12, 03:44 PM
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Yes, except for hubs. Noisy freewheeling hubs offer a greater speed benefit than painting your bike red.
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Old 09-29-12, 03:46 PM
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I think I go faster when my bike is stealthy quiet. No data to support this of course.
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Old 09-29-12, 04:00 PM
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Technically, yes... noise is a wave an waves have energy, that energy needs to come from somewhere, vibrations generally from friction. Friction = bad for speed. How much speed? Well, that depends on what is causing the noise, wavelength or frequency (pitch) and amplitude or loudness. the higher the frequency the more energy it holds, the louder it is, the more energy it holds. Thus a loud high pitch noise decreases your forward motion more than a a quiet low pitch noise (with no external variables, and on a bike, well... there are a ton of other variables). So to answer your question..... it depends!
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Old 09-29-12, 04:12 PM
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Frame materials carry sounds differently as well. I've got the same group on a steel and a CF both with essentially the same geometry and wheels. The CF is nosier. I had an Al bike as well which really was loud
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Old 09-29-12, 05:19 PM
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If my bike is making noises, i'm constantly shifting around looking for the source, so yes - a noisy bike is slower (for me)

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Old 09-29-12, 05:29 PM
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I like my bikes to be as quiet as those old Rolls-Royce commercials.

That being said, my rear derailleur seems to be making a purring noise from the pulley/jockey wheelset. My mechanic tells me that's how a 'real' derailleur is supposed to sound, as my current piece has sealed bearings in it, as opposed to the setup I'm used to seeing in my old Sora derailleurs.
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Old 09-29-12, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by AK404 View Post
I like my bikes to be as quiet as those old Rolls-Royce commercials.

That being said, my rear derailleur seems to be making a purring noise from the pulley/jockey wheelset. My mechanic tells me that's how a 'real' derailleur is supposed to sound, as my current piece has sealed bearings in it, as opposed to the setup I'm used to seeing in my old Sora derailleurs.
I recently got second set of wheels, and put 105 cassette on it. After that my bike went from quiet to purring when riding. Annoying.
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Old 09-29-12, 07:49 PM
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The Red components on my tribike are audibly loud. It's actually really nice. The shifters have a solid "CLICK". The chain is this steady bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb. And when my cadence is perfect at its maximum efficiency (about 105-110; any more, I start bobbing and I'll shift up), there's a change in the sound to a loud BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB from the cassette/wheel/chain combo. Friends can hear me rushing up
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Old 09-29-12, 08:14 PM
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I don't think it makes any difference, but if my bike is creaking it does tend to make me ease off a little either in an attempt to minimize the noise or in the highly unlikely event that something breaks. It's all in the mind.
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Old 09-29-12, 09:07 PM
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Definetly faster.

It's like a piggy back ride on a Ninja. Ever seen anything faster than a Ninja?

Yea, didn't think so.
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Old 09-30-12, 07:38 AM
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Me on my bike with carbon wheels

Last edited by StanSeven; 09-30-12 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 09-30-12, 07:47 AM
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Absolutely! For several reasons.
1) With a noisy bike I am constantly pausing, trying to figure out where the noise is coming and thus reducing my speed.
2) Witha noisy bike I am less likely to ride- the ultimate in slowness.
3) Drive train noise = friction = speed reduction.
Not so sure 3 makes much of a difference but no question 1 and 2 do.
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Old 09-30-12, 09:13 AM
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Aside from the whoosh of the tires on the road, and the clicking of the freewheel, a bicycle should be silent.

-Sheldon Brown
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Old 09-30-12, 09:15 AM
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If your hub is making noise, that is your HTFU alarm activating. It means you stopped pedaling, and this actually means you are slowing down!
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Old 09-30-12, 10:18 AM
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Good question. My Merlin Ti with Record 10 is super quite. My Orbea with Chorus 11 is not so quiet for some reason.
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Old 09-30-12, 10:28 AM
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The more upgrades I do the quieter my bike gets.. food for thought.
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Old 09-30-12, 11:27 AM
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I have some drive train noise when in the big chain ring, but not in the small chainring. Nothing really annoying but just slight constant, what appears to be, chain noise.

Just can't figure it out. Any suggestions?
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Old 09-30-12, 11:55 AM
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It's mostly drivetrain noise.
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Old 09-30-12, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Dagamon View Post
It's mostly drivetrain noise.
Is that the answer to the preceding post?
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Old 09-30-12, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by deepakvrao View Post
I have some drive train noise when in the big chain ring, but not in the small chainring. Nothing really annoying but just slight constant, what appears to be, chain noise.

Just can't figure it out. Any suggestions?
Check your rear derailleur hanger alignment. Also, make sure your derailleur is adjusted properly. If you pull on the rear shifter cable while riding you can change gears and hear the effects of fine adjustments on the noise.
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Old 09-30-12, 02:19 PM
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If the noise is due to friction from anything aside from the derailer/freewheel, then yea, that friction is slowing you down.

Mentally though, a quieter bike seems faster for me, mainly due to the fact that whenever my bike does make noise, something is not right :/

If you want quiet, I'd suggest a 105 rear derailer. At 15+ the only thing's I hear are the rubber hitting the pavement.
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Old 09-30-12, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Bumer View Post
I recently got second set of wheels, and put 105 cassette on it. After that my bike went from quiet to purring when riding. Annoying.
Try FBinNY's Chain-L No.5.

Mmm, silence.

Originally Posted by deepakvrao View Post
I have some drive train noise when in the big chain ring, but not in the small chainring. Nothing really annoying but just slight constant, what appears to be, chain noise.

Just can't figure it out. Any suggestions?
Well, you are pulling more chain with each rev.
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