Quiet Shifting, is it achievable?



lol168

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Feb 8, 2013
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I wonder if SUPER quiet, smooth gear shifting is achievable at all, regardless of what brand/model of your grouppo? Like the You Tube videos I saw - by just adjusting the derailleur /cable tension? (The quiet ones I saw on the videos are always Ultegra or above, actually)

Currently I don't really have major problems with my shifting, other than sometimes (not always) I may feel the chain jump "a tiny bit" on rear when it shift down from 17 teeth cog to 15 cog while riding.... (or mainly from largest cogs to middle I should say). Up shifting is very quiet already... I spent lots of time fiddle around with the derailleur /cables, but never able to get "perfect" (both ways). I'm really curious to learn if one can tune the bike to completely smooth / quiet shifting at all if following is the gear combo:

Front / Back derailleur: Shimano 105
Shifters: 105 STI
Cassette : Tiagra CS4600 (12-30)
Compact chainring 50/34

If I upgrade to Ultegra cassette, would the (noise/smoothness) situation be improved?

Any comments /advise are appreciated!
 

oldbobcat

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Aug 31, 2003
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If your derailleurs are set up correctly, the loudest noise should be the click from your shifter. Unless, of course, you're using electronic shifting.
 

dhk2

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Aug 8, 2006
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To further what OBC said, your hardwire should enable quiet shifting, providing it's set up and tuned up properly. Chain and cassette condition, lubrication, chain length, alignment of the RD and pulley cage are all important to quiet operation. A good LBS mechanic should have it sorted in just a few minutes while you wait (and hopefully watch and learn). Once it's set, no fiddling with the cable tension is required....just lube the chain regularly, and check (measure) for chain wear as the miles go on.
 

Volnix

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Feb 19, 2011
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I also helps if you change gears into motion with a good cadence speed. If you shift at 90rpm it makes alot less sound then shifting at lower cadence with a lot of force.
 

jpr95

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Oct 11, 2010
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It also depends on what you mean by quiet. If you mean "no sound at all", it's not going to happen. If you mean no grinding, clatter, chatter, etc., during a shift, then that's achievable and desirable.

Like others said, higher cadences help, tighter gear ratios help, well-adjusted cables and derailleurs are a must. Proper cleaning and lubrication is a must, and ramped cogs help as well.

I've found also that it depends on the relationship of where you are in your pedal stroke compared to the alignment of the ramps on the cogs when you shift.

With my Ultegra group, shifts on flat straightaways are generally pretty quiet, occasionally a very light "chunk" sound when the chain drops from a larger cog to a smaller cog in an upshift. That same sound is a little louder if I'm mashing up a hill and downshift, but it's still a quick and reliable shift.
 

lol168

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Feb 8, 2013
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Thanks guys! By quiet I mean no grinding,... or "jumping" feel. Volnix brought out a goodpoint I forgot to mention: cadence speed! Actually that's exactlytly what happens when my bike was on the repair stand - when I rotate the crank arm faster and shift, it's much much more quieter. I suspect that "could be" a factor, now I learned it is indeed. The question is, after the adjustments on the bike stand, the condition is not the same when I ride(again when shifting from large cogs to small) When It's quiet/smooth on the stand, it turn out will jump a little bit (or a bit noisy) while I ride. That makes my own tuning (love to learn/try DIY/experimenting) very challenging, and hence all my questions. Mine is a brand new bike, so no issues with the conditions (yet) so to speak ... And I always maintain my bike clean, and check out the gears,... No misalignment or any situation of that sort.
 

mpre53

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Feb 20, 2013
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Shimano shifting should be relatively quiet. SRAM is louder. I've never had the pleasure of using Campy. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif
 

lol168

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Feb 8, 2013
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jpr95: When you say tighter gear ratio, do you mean the numbers of teeth on each sprocket? My cassettes are: 12, 13,14,15,17,19,21,24,27, 30. Front is: 50/34 And what do you mean by "ramped cogs"?
 

dhk2

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Aug 8, 2006
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Originally Posted by lol168 .

Thanks guys!

By quiet I mean no grinding,... or "jumping" feel. Volnix brought out a goodpoint I forgot to mention: cadence speed! Actually that's exactlytly what happens when my bike was on the repair stand - when I rotate the crank arm faster and shift, it's much much more quieter. I suspect that "could be" a factor, now I learned it is indeed.

The question is, after the adjustments on the bike stand, the condition is not the same when I ride(again when shifting from large cogs to small) When It's quiet/smooth on the stand, it turn out will jump a little bit (or a bit noisy) while I ride. That makes my own tuning (love to learn/try DIY/experimenting) very challenging, and hence all my questions.

Mine is a brand new bike, so no issues with the conditions (yet) so to speak ... And I always maintain my bike clean, and check out the gears,... No misalignment or any situation of that sort.
Since it's a new bike, if you bought it from an LBS, take it back to them and explain to them what it's doing. The mechanic can do a quick test ride and tell right away if something isn't right, or if the noises you're getting are normal. If you bought it online, or from a discount store with no service, that's all the more reason to have a real mechanic look at it. If it's giving you a "jumping" feel when riding, something isn't right.
 

jpr95

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Oct 11, 2010
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Originally Posted by lol168 .

jpr95:
When you say tighter gear ratio, do you mean the numbers of teeth on each sprocket?
My cassettes are: 12, 13,14,15,17,19,21,24,27, 30. Front is: 50/34

And what do you mean by "ramped cogs"?
12-30 is a pretty wide-ratio cassette. 12 is a pretty high gear, 30 is a pretty low gear. A 12-23 cassette would be a "tight" cassette, and easy to shift quietly--older riders call it a "corncob" since the teeth on the cogs make kind of a spiral pattern. Probably you'll experience the most noise in the shifts from 21-30 than from 12-15, where it's only a one tooth difference per cog.

If you look closely at the cogs in the cassette, there will (may/should) be some odd-shaped indentations at various points just below the teeth. These actually help guide the chain up onto the teeth during a shift. Those are called "ramps". The front sprockets should also have those, along with a couple pins to aid in hoisting the chain up to the larger sprocket, and to keep it from making a wild drop onto the smaller one (and potentially coming off).
 

Volnix

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Feb 19, 2011
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Originally Posted by dhk2 .

Since it's a new bike, if you bought it from an LBS, take it back to them and explain to them what it's doing. The mechanic can do a quick test ride and tell right away if something isn't right, or if the noises you're getting are normal. If you bought it online, or from a discount store with no service, that's all the more reason to have a real mechanic look at it. If it's giving you a "jumping" feel when riding, something isn't right.
A visit to the LBS sounds like a good idea. New bikes usually suggest that you have them periodically checked by a mechanic. The adjustment of gears might even be for free. After having everything adjusted, cleaned and lubricated you can check how the system produces the less noise. Shifting from a stand still gear makes a lot of noise...
 

lol168

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Feb 8, 2013
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jpr95 said:
12-30 is a pretty wide-ratio cassette.  12 is a pretty high gear, 30 is a pretty low gear.  A 12-23 cassette would be a "tight" cassette, and easy to shift quietly--older riders call it a "corncob" since the teeth on the cogs make kind of a spiral pattern.  Probably you'll experience the most noise in the shifts from 21-30 than from 12-15, where it's only a one tooth difference per cog. If you look closely at the cogs in the cassette, there will (may/should) be some odd-shaped indentations at various points just below the teeth.  These actually help guide the chain up onto the teeth during a shift.  Those are called "ramps".  The front sprockets should also have those, along with a couple pins to aid in hoisting the chain up to the larger sprocket, and to keep it from making a wild drop onto the smaller one (and potentially coming off).
Thanks for the explanation! As a matter of fact, I am very tempted to swap out my current cassette to ULTEGRA 10 speed..... Since I really have no use for the lowest 3 (to 4) gears for I'm riding pretty flat road.
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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Originally Posted by lol168 .


Thanks for the explanation! As a matter of fact, I am very tempted to swap out my current cassette to ULTEGRA 10 speed..... Since I really have no use for the lowest 3 (to 4) gears for I'm riding pretty flat road.
Yeah, if you're not using your lowest gears and don't expect to need them for the riding you do then you might as well go to a tighter cluster like a 12-25 or 11-25 or even tighter so you have more gear choices for the kind of riding you'll actually do.

A couple more thoughts on the grinding, chattering noises.

- You might just need an adjustment and as mentioned your LBS can help there. It's not always obvious exactly how to adjust a rear derailleur and as little as a quarter turn on the barrel adjuster can help a lot in some situations.

- It's also possible to have things like a slightly bent rear derailleur hanger that makes it impossible to correctly adjust things. There are tools your LBS should have to check derailleur hanger alignment and to correct slightly bent hangers. If you have that sort of issue which can happen from something as simple as the bike tipping over and falling on the hanger then you can get really frustrated trying to get a perfect adjustment that just won't happen. If the LBS can't easily resolve the issue then get them to check your derailleur hanger with the tool, not just an eyeball estimate of whether it is straight as it's really hard to eyeball it accurately in both essential planes.

- Nothing magic happens at the Utegra level, especially for rear cassettes. They get a bit lighter but a 105 cassette will shift just as cleanly and just as quietly on a well adjusted, clean and lubricated drive train. Sure if it's in the budget, Ultegra is nice but don't expect any noticeable performance jump over 105 level cassettes.

-Dave
 

lifeonbicycles

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Apr 3, 2013
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As others have said, properly tuned components should be relatively quiet (besides the **** bikes you buy at big box stores which I hope none of us have /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif). The derailleur on my 2013 Specialized Sirrus Elite is VERY smooth and quiet- By far the loudest sound is the click of the trigger shifters on the handlebars.
 

lol168

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Feb 8, 2013
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lifeonbicycles said:
As others have said, properly tuned components should be relatively quiet (besides the **** bikes you buy at big box stores which I hope none of us have /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif ). The derailleur on my 2013 Specialized Sirrus Elite is VERY smooth and quiet- By far the loudest sound is the click of the trigger shifters on the handlebars.
I'm pretty happy with my bike shifting now... After all these DIY tuning, it's pretty quiet and smooth. As some of you have mentioned,... I tried to roll easy when I want to shift the gears, and it certainly helps to achieve the "perfect" shifting condition.