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The clicking sound of the freewheel on my singlespeed when it's coasting is annoying for me, so I flipped over my back wheel and rode fixed for a few months in blissful silence. But having to pedal all the time even when going downhill, over bumps and around corners, was probably even more annoying - so today I am flipping it back again to the freewheel. Then I wondered, is there any such thing as a silent freewheel hub that I can buy? If so, what's the search term I'm looking for?

  • 1
    What type of bike is this? – cutrightjm Jan 25 '13 at 4:30
  • It's a single speed/fixie. Reid Harrier – wim Jan 25 '13 at 5:27
  • Some brands click worse than others. I gather Shimano tends to be fairly loud. – Daniel R Hicks Jan 25 '13 at 16:56
  • 3
    And I kind of like a noisy hub. It drowns out the clicking in my bones. – Daniel R Hicks Jan 26 '13 at 18:18
  • I noticed, that Trek MTBs aren't clicking. – Alexander Oct 4 '14 at 17:28

11 Answers 11

11

As already said, Shimano used to manufacture Silient Clutch rear hub. But that has been stopped a few years ago, so if you manage to source one - you are lucky man.

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I used to have one of them and it was truly silent. It was heavier than standard shimano LX hub, but it was silent and with instant engagement.

Also I used Chris King hubs. If you put a lot of grease in their mechanism - they also become silent. Pretty much with most of the freewheels, if you put a lot of thick grease in them, you'll silent them for some time. Unless you ride Hope hubs -)

I've heard about Stealth hubs - they are claimed to be silent, but I never had a chance to try them out.

You might as well read this thread about silent hubs for further information.

  • 1
    Too thick of grease, however, will stick the pawls and you will end up either wearing out the ratchet mechanism unevenly or just freewheeling forward (which would also be silent.) – WTHarper Jan 25 '13 at 16:37
  • @WTHarper this is a possibility, but I never had that (freewheeling or wearing out) happening to my hubs. – trailmax Jan 25 '13 at 16:43
  • I've seen more pawls sticking than wearing, but it would follow that if not all pawls are engaging it will increase wear on the remaining pawls. – WTHarper Jan 25 '13 at 16:57
  • I'm pretty sure they still make some variation of these, i think its the R085, they are used by law enforcement. – Nate W Aug 19 '16 at 19:33
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    @WTHarper I disagree with your premise that forward freewheeling will be silent. When it happened in the middle of a busy intersection on one of my bikes there was a definite "WTF!" sort of noise.Not sure what part of the bike it emanated from... – Penguino Sep 12 '17 at 23:34
6

Police / Law Enforcement bikes often have a quiet freehub. This Cannondale Law Enforcement bicycle refers to it as a "Silent Clutch Rear Hub" and specifically mentions "R085" as a model number (further googling suggests it's a Shimano).

4

Single speed hubs with coaster brakes don't click, at least I have never seen one that clicks over here in Europe.

  • Correct. Coaster brake hubs and freecoaster hubs do not click. – cherouvim Apr 27 '13 at 22:51
2

I don't know about other bikes, but in BMX there is a type of hub called a freecoaster - you can coast backwards and forwards without pedaling, and it is silent.

Apparently they have them for mountain bikes as well.

  • They are a totally different beast to ride and maintain. Really only good for freestyle riding unless you're a glutton for bike maintenance and replacing/rebuilding wheels. – joelmdev Jan 26 '13 at 4:46
  • @Jm2 Okay, but the type of bike was not specified in the question. – cutrightjm Jan 27 '13 at 15:31
  • That's fair, but you could take the chain off of the bike as well and you'd have a totally silent hub. That doesn't make it a good solution to the problem at hand. – joelmdev Jan 27 '13 at 15:52
  • Plus we're talking about freewheels here, not freehubs, though the OP wasn't very clear about that originally. – joelmdev Jan 27 '13 at 15:53
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    Taking off the chain is not a solution because the bicycle will be unusable then. Using a coaster or freecoaster is. Most probably not a good one for that specific use, but it is a solution whether you like it or not. – cherouvim Apr 27 '13 at 22:51
2

Shimano R085, 8/9 speed, 36H $100

QBike.com 2595 N. Federal Highway , Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305

800-390-2122

http://store.qbike.com/shimano-hub-rear-fh-r085-36-cl-8-9s-black-bulk.html

this is the only thing i've been able to find. been searching since new years 2013.

1

Bought a pair of wheels from Neuvation. I have to say, their hub is dead silent.

1

I seem to remember a hub type that used ball-bearings in a tapered recess rather than pawls, as you pedalled the balls tightened (oh er) and on the overrun they release. This is of course silent. Or did I dream this?

Edit. I knew I was awake! It's called a slipper clutch.

Further Edit: The link above is for a specific implementation of a bearing clutch referred to as a slipper clutch. It is used with motorcycle clutches and used to prevent skipping/locking of the rear wheel when an aggressive downshift would result in too much engine braking - it basically de-clutches the engine when the plate holding the bearing clutch is over-driven, causing lateral movement and so forcing the bearings to press against the clutch mechanism.

In general ball (and roller) bearing clutches (free wheels) operate by having bearings sitting in a series of ramps on the inner driven race, and lightly sprung against the smooth outer race (which accepts the drive). As the inner race rotates forward, the bearing, which is already lightly pressed into the narrow face of the ramp and against the outer race, locks, and so engages the drive. When the wheel over-runs the pressure on the bearing is reduced as it is pushed out of the narrow channel, and so disengages the drive (as would back pedalling)

The main advantage of such a clutch is that it is silent as there is no ratcheting, and since there are no dogs, the effect is instant, with engagement at any position around the outer race. It should be noted that the greater the pressure from the drive, the greater the locking of the drive and driven races. Dirt can cause these devices to lock and so become a fixed hub!

  • 1
    Good memory - can you add a few points about the pros and cons of this slipper clutch? Its very unlikely wikipedia will go away anytime soon, but its best to have answers that are self contained. Welcome to the site too! – Criggie Aug 12 '17 at 7:42
0

Short answer is get used to it. The clicking of freehubs/freewheels is like a fine wine- it's an acquired taste.

That said, the drier the hub is of lubricant, the louder it will become. You can squirt some grease in there to quieten the freewheel down if it's getting dry. The heavier the grease, the quieter it will make the clicking. Some freehubs actually require a very light grease due to the low spring tension acting against the pawls; too heavy of a grease will actually stop them from catching when you pedal forward. However, I'm not aware of a freewheel with this problem.

I'm sure some brands of freewheels are quieter than others, but I can't make any suggestions for you in that department.

Finally, it's important to note that freehubs and freewheels are two different creatures, which is why I edited your original question slightly. Explaining the differences is a fairly easy but different conversation.

0

Check out the Stealth Hub from True Precision Components; as opposed to using pawls these hubs use a roller clutch. They are completely silent when the coast, the engagement is instantaneous and the cost is astronomical ;) I recently built myself a new rear wheel for my singlespeed mountain bike using one of these and really enjoy coasting in silence.

http://www.trueprecisioncomponents.com/

Although, now that I think about it, the bike is probably spaced at 120mm; it could be spread out to 130 to use a standard road hub, or axle spacers could be added to the BMX version.

As for silent clutch being dead, it would appear not as it's featured on Shimano's Disc version of the Nexus 3speed and I've found new wheels thru J+B imports that are build with silent clutch hubs.

  • Astronomical cost made me curious: the Stealth MTB front hub is listed with USD 185.00 – surfmuggle Aug 27 '18 at 20:54
0

My 1996 Trek 950 has a silent clutch. Maybe some other year models do as well... Maybe the 1997 950 and maybe some years of the 520. If anybody has info on how to overhaul the hub without damaging it (R085) please let me know.

  • It has kind of a mushy feel, though, and I have been told that the hub body is different and it cannot be replaced with a normal freewheel. – Red Oak Oct 31 at 12:41
  • What matters here is the model of the rear hub. Can you provide some more info on that? If I read the correct Trek catalog, it looks like you might have a Shimano Deore LX 8 speed hub. Is that correct? If so, as asked elsewhere: is the freehub just quiet, or is it actually silent? – Weiwen Ng Oct 31 at 14:43
-3

I have on my Kona Unit 2013 the stock "Formula DC52" - it's very quiet.

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