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Why are a lot of mountain bikers looking to get hubs that make loud sounds? Does it have an advantage or use on the trails?

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    Basically, 10-15 years ago one of the manufacturers (Shimano?) made their hubs click much louder than others, and this came to be associated (for reasons that are unclear) with better quality. So others started mimicking the sound. I find it annoying. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 8 '16 at 20:09
  • I thought Hope started it but a stronger spring means louder click and less chance of the pawls not engaging – Chris Dec 8 '16 at 22:09
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    @Chris - Actually, a louder click means a thinner, less robust freewheel body, and pawls that are banging themselves to death more rapidly. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 9 '16 at 2:40
  • Loud hubs doesn't mean that it is far more superior than the other (cricket/silent) hubs.It's always on price and brands/quality that matters. – Vladz Jun 16 '18 at 22:05
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As the other answer indicated its more about the quality of hub than sound. It just so happens that many higher end hubs have a more distinct click to them. This is present for multiple reasons. The spring tension on the pawls tends to be higher than cheap mass produced hubs, letting them "snap" down onto the step for instant engagement. They are also more finely machined than standard entry level components allowing very fine tolerances and clean crisp operation.

The materials used can sometimes effect this as well but the alloys 6061 and 7075 are common in higher end hubs. Steel would have less of an audible click as it would muffle it some and generally steel hubs are not the same quality.

With that said there are silent hubs, generally used for police bikes so that they can be a little sneakier when rolling up on a perpetrator. There are also high end hubs that make less than standard amounts of noise.

I also think a big part of why people are drawn to them is the fact that it makes them feel like they have something nice, sense a lot of people now a days do associate it with higher end hubs.

The only real benefit relating solely to the sound i can think of would be for mixed trail use where it may help alert others to the fact you're barrelling toward them.

  • But do loud sounds equate to quality? Or not really? – dork Dec 8 '16 at 16:51
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    Rate of engagement is the other piece. – Nathan Knutson Dec 8 '16 at 17:38
  • Kind of a hard question to answer, a lot of times yes, but not always. I have heard low level hubs that were quite noisy but the clarity or sound of the click is different if that makes sense. It can also have to do with how much and what type of grease they are packed with to some extent. I've heard very expensive hubs that were super audible, and others that were relatively quite. I wouldn't go as far to say that it is a indicator of a high quality hub by any means, but it is present in many that are. – Nate W Dec 8 '16 at 18:54
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    Almost -1: While many quality hubs are loud, many are not. You cannot tell from the sound volume the quality of the hub. I have however observed some MTBers wear like the noisy hub the same way some people like to wear Prado - because it gets them noticed. – mattnz Dec 8 '16 at 18:55
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    That's the point i was trying to make, while many high end hubs do have a loud click, not all do, and it is not a direct indicator of quality. – Nate W Dec 8 '16 at 18:57
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I'm sure greater knowledge will make itself known here, but for me it's more about the quality of the hub rather than the noise which draws many bikers (roadies included) and 'quality' hubs tend to be louder when freewheeling.

I'm thinking specifically of Hope and Chris King hubs here, I think the noise is a side effect of the components, but I have no idea why they are louder!

  • That's not true; there are lots of high-quality hubs that are quiet. Shimano hubs, in particular, can be almost silent. – Will Vousden Dec 8 '16 at 15:47
  • They make silent hubs for police use actually. they are silent when freewheeling – Nate W Dec 8 '16 at 15:48
  • Also, this doesn't really answer the question – it should probably be a comment. – Will Vousden Dec 8 '16 at 15:49
  • Thanks Will, this certainly wasn't saying 'all quality hubs are loud' at all. I have a range on my wheels, including Shimano 105, a few Mavic and a Hope and in my (admittedly limited) experience, the most expensive 'higher quality' hubs are louder. I don't know why this is a trend though! – Drew Dec 8 '16 at 15:52
  • Actually, @Drew, there's a Facebook group I've seen where they sell really cheap hubs and they just market it as something that sounds expensive. And a lot of people buy it :| – dork Oct 9 '17 at 6:04

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