Hi all, looking for some advice regarding my rear freehub. I just bought a new wheelset. It’s definitely the nicest one I’ve ever had, as it’s crazy light and they seem to spin forever. However, the stupid freehub makes so. much. noise. I get that some people like that, but I rode on a bike path the other day and it was kind of embarassing. I’d stop pedalling when I came up on a person, and my wheel would go “BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ” and made several people jump (I wish I was joking).
Is it possible to quiet it down? Can I put some sort of grease or oil in the ratchet mechanism to make it quieter, or will that just mess up how nicely they spin?
You’re right, best solution is to buy the hub that makes the right amount of noise. That can be tricky with anything on-line. I bought a set of Hunts. Great wheels, great service, great company. But I cannot stand how loud the hub is. Going to try dampening with some heavy hub grease (which worked great to dampen a set of old Mavic Ksyriums I have).
I’m very, very tempted to go full silent with an Onyx Vesper hub, but again, on-line purchase is easiest where I live
Putting grease onto the ratchet may be the only option, unless the manufacturer provides a mechanism to adjust the sound. Acros hubs have different ratchet positions that allow tuning from intolerable racket to normal, but I don’t know of any other hubs that have something similar. It may still be worthwhile to contact the manufacturer.
While the Onyx Vespers are mouthwatering, their price tag is rather eye watering, but I lust for those as well. Unfortunately, telling the OP to replace the hubs sounds pretty cruel - but nice wheels you don’t want to ride because they annoy you should probably go before the financial loss gets even bigger.
Edit: spinning a wheel in the stand admiring how it spins forever can be misleading: the resistance is very much determined by the bearing seals, and some seals change their resistance with rotational velocity, getting lighter with speed. So these endless slow turns do not help when on the road - and the freehub may not be what makes those wheels spin great anyways.
you’ve gotta be careful about packing them with grease. it will tend to bind the spring action up, and then the bike will not go anywhere. it’s really a bodge in my assessment - something try out of desperation before buying replacement wheels.
Thanks everyone for all the replies! The general consensus seems to be grease on the ratchet, or buy new hubs. I’m not so annoyed with the nicest wheels I’ve ever owned that I would buy new hubs, though! My other wheelset has a DT 350 rear hub, and it’s not silent, but definitely quieter than this one. They do have the same spoke count, so I suppose I could swap the DT350 over, or buy another one, but that would definitely be a very last resort.
@tbro21 the hubs are some Chinese one. Called an M11 hub. Here’s a link. The wheelset in full is here.
They seem fairly easy to disassemble, with sealed cartridge bearings. I’ll take a crack at it today. As would be expected from a generic Chinese hub, they didn’t come with a manual, but there are a couple videos on YouTube of people taking them apart.
Adding grease will make them quieter but only insofar as it’s adding grease to get up to the correct amount of grease on an un or under greased hub. Adding more beyond that is going to start to compromise your ratchet to pawl engagement so be careful with how much you add.
Ha, I was just wondering if someone already did a writeup or a list of silent hubs. I haven’t found a list, but a nice article stating / echoing that the grease has just a minor influence and other Aspects of the hub are rather more influential.
Nice Writeup by Matt Wikstrom, going from basics to some nice additional info:
Somewhere on reddit I read that Shimano XT (or similar) or old Scylence-Freehubs are quiet, DTSwiss 18- and 36- can be made quite quiet with grease, for the rest seems to be like hit and miss… I reckon.
Mine are getting loud with more km in them - so it maybe time for a service and some grease - they used to be not too loud. Will have a look at the type, can’t remember out of my head as I trust my LBS with the wheel-components.
This would be best in the “what’s the next big thing in cycling” - thread, but here we go: there should be a very silent freehub with an electronic noise generator that can be programmed to the desired sound and activated by a reassigned DI2 button.
Sorry, no mechanical option - but hey, that’s how progress works, so stop complaining.