General Discussion Gear Reviews & Questions » Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling? Rss Feed  
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2010-07-31 12:35 AM

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Subject: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
How come some bikes make constant clicking, a Zizzzing type noise when you are moving on the bike but not pedalling (for example down a hill) and some others don't?

It's not a problem with the bike, it's how they are made but why do some zizz and some don't?


2010-07-31 3:55 AM
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Resident Curmudgeon
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
They're called pawls:

Pawl

A spring-loaded part that engages a set of teeth when moving in one direction, but slides over them when moving in the other direction. The pawls in a freewheel make a ticking sound when a bicycle coasts. Most freewheels have two or three pawls.


BTW, Sheldon Brown's site is great for all information related to bikes.
2010-07-31 9:00 AM
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Master
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Bedford, MA
Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
I have two sets of Neuvation wheels - an M version and an R version. The R has a loud freewheel and the M is completely silent. I like riding the M's because I can sneak up on riders at lights!

I'm not quite sure why companies choose to make loud freewheels.
2010-07-31 9:29 AM
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Pro
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
I always wondered about that. Thanks for the explanation.
2010-07-31 9:38 AM
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Master
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
The older "freewheels" were noisier than cassettes hubs IMO
2010-07-31 5:50 PM
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Elite
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
Funny this came up - my new bike is so loud, I swear it will wake the dead. My friend just bought a bike and he could sneak up on a cat.


2010-07-31 9:05 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
My husband rode a set of Easton EA90 SLX wheels that were so loud, I could literally hear him coming from 1/4 mile away.   Yet my stock Shimano wheels on my Cervelo hardly made a sound...as do my current Shimano RS-80 wheels on my Cannondale Synapse.  I also have a riding buddy that rides a Trek with Shimano hubs, and his bike is completely silent when he coasts.   I've heard Campy stuff is super loud, though.  
2010-07-31 9:12 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
I have a campy set-up and after I got used to it I kinda like the clicking. It lets people know I'm coming up behind them.
2010-07-31 9:16 PM
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
as the bear mentioned, it's the freewheel and not the wheels, though realize they are joined.  If you want silence, switch them, I haven't surveyed freewheels, but my buddy's Dura-Ace freewheel clicks while my Ultegra does not.  Also my Campy wheels with a Campy freewheel clicks while my SRAM wheels does not.   Best to check with the bike shop on which ones to get.

>jersey walt
2010-08-01 6:26 AM
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Elite
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?

natethomas2000 - 2010-07-31 10:00 AM I have two sets of Neuvation wheels - an M version and an R version. The R has a loud freewheel and the M is completely silent. I like riding the M's because I can sneak up on riders at lights!

I like having a clicking hub on my training wheels.  When I ride up behind another rider I just coast a bit, and they know I'm there. 

I agree that you need stealth on race day.  Black bike + silent hub = podium.

2010-08-01 6:56 AM
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Champion
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?

There's huge difference in the noise between my spoked Shim?ano training wheels and my Renn disc.  I think the solid disc acts as a sound board and reflects the pawl clicking.?

Mark?



2010-08-03 1:51 PM
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?

From a physics point of view the noisy pawls make no sense for a cyclist concerned with speed.  The noise is created as the spring loaded ratchet slides over the teeth and slams back down.  The higher the resistance springs create louder ticking noise.  Extra energy is required to overcome the resistance of the spring.  If you took two similar wheelsets, one with silent hubs and one with the extremely noisy hubs and with your bike on a rack spun them up to say 20mph then timed the coast time until the wheel stopped roatating, the noisy set stops first.  The noisy sets are less effecient... 

2010-08-03 4:03 PM
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
Bmx cruiser and a white industries freewheel for fun....sweet music..

Edited by mxr746 2010-08-03 4:04 PM
2010-08-03 4:22 PM
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Master
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Bedford, MA
Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
The way that you stop the 'noisy' freewheels from making noise is to keep pedaling - going downhill just shift into a bigger gear. Sometimes my goal on a training ride is to never freewheel - unless at a light or with some traffic.
2010-08-04 9:53 AM
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Champion
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
Consider it Racing's version of Jiminy Cricket.

When you hear that sound, it means you should be working harder.
2010-08-04 10:25 AM
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
Leegoocrap - 2010-08-04 9:53 AM Consider it Racing's version of Jiminy Cricket.

When you hear that sound, it means you should be working harder.


Nice one


2010-08-04 10:54 AM
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Champion
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
Av8rTx - 2010-07-31 9:38 AM The older "freewheels" were noisier than cassettes hubs IMO


I've found the opposite to be true.  My old Raleigh with a Suntour freewheel was very quiet.  My Klein with a Sach's freewheel is relatively quiet whereas my Javelin with a Campy Freehub is very loud.  My "race wheels" with a Shimano hub is louder than the Sachs, but not as loud as the Campy.  In my experience, the Campy freehubs are significantly louder than Shimano hubs. 

ETA:  It's possible that my Suntour and Sachs freewheels were/are nearly worn out and that's why they're so quiet. 

Edited by McFuzz 2010-08-04 10:56 AM
2010-08-04 11:34 AM
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
OK, this is probably a stupid comment, but I've always wondered this.

If you hear the freewheel, then there is some action (energy - friction?) generating that audible noise.  Theoritcally, isn't that friction costing the bike some of it's forward motion while coasting?

Obviously it couldn't be much.   But if some of us stress over every ounce of weight or flutter of wind drag, aren't we also worried about something effectively braking the bike while we coast?

2010-08-04 3:38 PM
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
jpf5911 - 2010-08-04 9:34 AM

OK, this is probably a stupid comment, but I've always wondered this.

If you hear the freewheel, then there is some action (energy - friction?) generating that audible noise.  Theoritcally, isn't that friction costing the bike some of it's forward motion while coasting?

Obviously it couldn't be much.   But if some of us stress over every ounce of weight or flutter of wind drag, aren't we also worried about something effectively braking the bike while we coast?



My Campy wheels are loud, they have a three pawl design, they also spin forever. I have some wheels with like 12 smaller pawls in them, they are pretty quite and spin down faster than my Campy's.

If you ever take a hub apart and play with the springs and pawls, they are very lightweight and the springs are tiny/soft. Not sure there is that much drag being created compared to rolling resistance and wind drag.
2010-08-04 7:32 PM
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Champion
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Subject: RE: Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling?
IdealMuse - 2010-07-31 9:12 PM I have a campy set-up and after I got used to it I kinda like the clicking. It lets people know I'm coming up behind them.

All campy wheels have loud pawls.  The joke is that Tullio Campagnolo made it mandatory becasue he wanted to remind riders to keep pedaling at all times. 

Edited by jdwright56 2010-08-04 7:32 PM
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General Discussion Gear Reviews & Questions » Why do some bikes make clicking noises when not pedalling? Rss Feed