Phrased towards someone looking to purchase a new commuter bike, I prioritize a quiet smooth ride when possible. One of my past issues is that bikes are often great on the test ride but pretty quickly develop a lot of "personality." Are there some recommendations as to which components or brands are the quietest without too much sacrifice of functionality?
(Note: No, I am not planning illicit bike-behavior!)
Gearing: I expect a fixed gear would win by far, but that's not really my interest. Other than that, will fewer gears produce best results?
Hub: My old Raleigh freewheel actually had a beautifully quiet ratchet (softer than most cassettes I hear), but it took me a while to find one that doesn't start clicking after a few rides. Is there a type/brand of cassettes which will do better?
Shifters: I've been using downtube shifters which are great- no "click click THUNK". But if they don't line up just right (user error) they can be a loud bother.
Tires: Best results I've found are totally smooth tires. Does width/pressure affect this much?
Brakes: I've not had a bike with anything but hub brakes.
Accessories: Racks are out. Fenders are iffy, but removable is best, noise doesn't matter much in the rain! Of course an item to make noise for when I need it :).