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Quiet bike = upgrade?

Old 10-04-22, 07:24 PM
  #1  
kirbyx
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Quiet bike = upgrade?

A week ago I worked on my bike to remove as many of its sounds as I could... bottom bracket clicks, seat squeaks, things rattling in the toolbag, etc. The only sounds left are a quiet sound of the chain and that of the tires on the road. The last two rides I've found pleasantly astounding. The bike seems faster and yet more comfortable... probably because there are less of my senses telling me that I'm going over a bump or over a rough road. If I didn't know that I was riding the same bike, I would think that somehow I'd bought a new bike that's worth considerably more than the one I have. Is it just me, or is this something that everyone experiences?
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Old 10-04-22, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by kirbyx View Post
A week ago I worked on my bike to remove as many of its sounds as I could... bottom bracket clicks, seat squeaks, things rattling in the toolbag, etc. The only sounds left are a quiet sound of the chain and that of the tires on the road. The last two rides I've found pleasantly astounding. The bike seems faster and yet more comfortable... probably because there are less of my senses telling me that I'm going over a bump or over a rough road. If I didn't know that I was riding the same bike, I would think that somehow I'd bought a new bike that's worth considerably more than the one I have. Is it just me, or is this something that everyone experiences?
Not everyone experiences this...Just the people who let their bikes get worn, out-of-tune, and noisy in extremis before doing anything about it.
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Old 10-04-22, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by kirbyx View Post
Is it just me, or is this something that everyone experiences?
Some people are alarmingly oblivious to the agonized desperate cries from their bicycles, but no, it's not just you. I think most people would frame it the other way, though: a smooth-running bicycle isn't so much "upgrading," as a disturbed bicycle is in need of fixing.
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Old 10-04-22, 08:34 PM
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Road bikes should be silent unless coasting. If you have the fortune of quiet roads to ride, itís a pleasure.

Mountain bikes ought to be quiet too but damn if I canít chase every creak. Once it gets bumpy, I donít hear anything anyway.
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Old 10-05-22, 05:39 AM
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each click and creak is the result of some sort of friction which will have an impact on performance (albeit minor). So you may find that it is running better in addition to being quieter.
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Old 10-05-22, 06:55 AM
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If you can't find that creak or squeak, just dip the entire bike in oil...
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Old 10-05-22, 07:17 AM
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Squeaks, clicks, rubbing, etc., drive me nuts. I can never let one get to the point the OP is describing. One that took me a while to locate wasn't the bike, but the shoestring aglets clicking when hitting the crank arms. I always double tie, but those strings I had to shorten. The shoes did not have a string retainer on them. I feel faster, more efficient, and comfortable on a clean and quiet bike. That includes the rear wheel hub, but minimal ratchet noise is ok. My hearing is not so good anymore, ergo, I do not hear quiet noise so much, and I am never sure where it is coming from. The low level, meditative hum from the chain and tires on the road is all I want to hear from the bike.
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Old 10-05-22, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
If you can't find that creak or squeak, just dip the entire bike in oil...
Or wax.
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Old 10-05-22, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
Squeaks, clicks, rubbing, etc., drive me nuts. I can never let one get to the point the OP is describing. One that took me a while to locate wasn't the bike, but the shoestring aglets clicking when hitting the crank arms. I always double tie, but those strings I had to shorten. The shoes did not have a string retainer on them. I feel faster, more efficient, and comfortable on a clean and quiet bike. That includes the rear wheel hub, but minimal ratchet noise is ok. My hearing is not so good anymore, ergo, I do not hear quiet noise so much, and I am never sure where it is coming from. The low level, meditative hum from the chain and tires on the road is all I want to hear from the bike.
I just love when people come on here or on a bike repair group I'm in on Facebook and say, "My bike is making a clicking noise when I pedal, what's wrong with it?" There are just way too many variables and possible causes that it's impossible to identify from a very vague description on an internet forum.
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Old 10-05-22, 07:31 AM
  #10  
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I think it makes sense. Noise production takes energy.
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Old 10-05-22, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
If you can't find that creak or squeak, just dip the entire bike in oil...
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Old 10-05-22, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
Squeaks, clicks, rubbing, etc., drive me nuts. I can never let one get to the point the OP is describing. One that took me a while to locate wasn't the bike, but the shoestring aglets clicking when hitting the crank arms.
Heh. I remember the first time my FD cable end got bent and was making a "tink" sound every time the crank arm hit it. Drove me crazy. Took me a while to figure out where the noise was coming from. After that, I knew the first place to look when I heard that sound again.
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Old 10-05-22, 08:25 AM
  #13  
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Sure I like quiet bikes. But I think a lot of people have too high a expectation of how quiet that should be. They are after all mechanical things with lots of moving parts and pieces that flex and rub against other parts.
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Old 10-05-22, 08:40 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
If you can't find that creak or squeak, just dip the entire bike in oil...
this is where immersive waxing can be a better option
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Old 10-05-22, 08:43 AM
  #15  
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I'm a fan of quiet bikes too.
Noise is just annoying, it's also a possible sign of unnecessary wear being done, and you're suppling the energy for that pointless noise.
I prefer to hear the environment, whether that's wildlife, wind noise, or even cars.

These days on a local multi user path the pedestians know I'm behind them when I shift down on the Suntour Power Shifters

I've also noticed 'modern' freehubs are really noisy when freewheeling - you can hear them 50 yards away.
I can only just hear my Sunrace freewheel from 5 feet away.

Edit: waxed chain too.

Last edited by Aardwolf; 10-05-22 at 09:09 AM. Reason: More info
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Old 10-05-22, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Sure I like quiet bikes. But I think a lot of people have too high a expectation of how quiet that should be. They are after all mechanical things with lots of moving parts and pieces that flex and rub against other parts.
Yes, I understand that. I have carbon fiber Orbea Avant that is never going to be as quiet a couple of my other bikes. I have minimized that noise, but, I have also accepted that it is what it is. After riding it for 30 minutes or so, I really do not notice it much. I suspect that is probably true for most bikes that have minimal, low-level noise.
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Old 10-05-22, 09:05 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by kirbyx View Post
A week ago I worked on my bike to remove as many of its sounds as I could... bottom bracket clicks, seat squeaks, things rattling in the toolbag, etc. The only sounds left are a quiet sound of the chain and that of the tires on the road. The last two rides I've found pleasantly astounding. The bike seems faster and yet more comfortable... probably because there are less of my senses telling me that I'm going over a bump or over a rough road. If I didn't know that I was riding the same bike, I would think that somehow I'd bought a new bike that's worth considerably more than the one I have. Is it just me, or is this something that everyone experiences?
My senses calm down when my bike is mostly quiet. I doubt that the extra friction of mechanically noisy parts impacts average speeds too much but when it is quiet I probably do push harder and maybe ride in 1 gear taller which does increase the average speed for the ride. Whenever I have ticks, clicks, squealing, squeaking or any other audible protests from my bike, my natural instinct is to dial back the torque a bit in an effort to decrease wear and tear.

Another interesting aspect of sorting a bike to become quieter reminds me of the audiophile hobby a bit. The more you lower the noise floor of one part the more you then notice the next noisiest part of the system. By knowing the next noisiest part, it is possible to move on to that next part and doing some problem solving to see what can be done to tighten down what is loose or lubricate what needs lubrication and so on.

And yes, Iím a chain waxer. When I get it right the drivetrain really gets quiet (at least for one or two rides). This is pretty satisfying.
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Old 10-05-22, 09:54 AM
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I go to great lengths to make sure all of my bikes are dead quiet: no clicks, no creaks, no chain noise -- every thread is lubed, every bolt is tight. To me, there's no bliss quite like riding a well-tuned, silent bicycle.
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Old 10-05-22, 09:58 AM
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Nice work. It's all good until you encounter a rider with a bluetooth speaker blasting his or her personal soundtrack.
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Old 10-05-22, 11:40 AM
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When I first purchased my new bike in 2020 it made all sorts of little rattles over bumps which drove me nuts (I like my vehicles rattle and noise free - other than the stereo). It took me a couple of weeks to locate and neutralize the rattles and what a difference! Then I decide to put new Look carbon Keo pedals on it and another bike. Whenever I was putting the power down on climbs or out of the saddle they would creak like SOBs. I took off the cleats and waxed the interface to the shoes. I took the brand new pedals apart and relubed them and then I waxed the interface between the cleats and the pedals which was a temporary fix. After researching on the net creaking noises were very common with Keos with no permanent fixes - (a few people never had creaks, which I did experience when just moving along without smashing then pedals.), plus they were a PITA to clip into until I shimmed the front-most screws. Getting fed up, I purchased Shimano pedals and have lived a happily creak-free ever after.
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Old 10-05-22, 01:26 PM
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I treat every noise as a lurking failure, work to get a quiet ride. Had to figure out aglets slapping against my shoes. One frustrating occasion I eventually figured out the faint click I was hearing was a knee.
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Old 10-07-22, 05:00 PM
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My tinnitus owns out all those faint noises.
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Old 10-07-22, 08:27 PM
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Sounds like that should be rare on a properly maintained bike, improper maintenance will lead to loads of noise and worse. If you take care of your bike it will take care of you if you don't it will be noisy and get more and more dangerous in some cases.

I can agree with the bluetooth speaker thing but I am also a small part of that but generally I am only using the speaker while commuting and rarely see other cyclists and usually am past them rather quickly if I can (not bragging just don't like to hang around people while playing music or with the pandemic still going). If I do run across a bunch of folks I will usually turn down. I do find the music helps me be more "visible" and on frequent occasion I do get a good music reply from motorists or others. I will say no need to go crazy blasting music listen to it so you can hear it and keep an ear on stuff around you and don't play bad music...LOL
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Old 10-08-22, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Heh. I remember the first time my FD cable end got bent and was making a "tink" sound every time the crank arm hit it. Drove me crazy. Took me a while to figure out where the noise was coming from. After that, I knew the first place to look when I heard that sound again.
I think you just found my annoying tink.

.
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Old 10-08-22, 08:44 PM
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Quiet bike is a priority for me. Smooth and quiet, like a silent assassin. Except I don't kill anybody.
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