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Can the Sturmey Archer 3-speed IGH clicking sound be reduced or eliminated?

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    Can the Sturmey Archer 3-speed IGH clicking sound be reduced or eliminated?

    Hello,

    I recently read one of your articles on the IGH hubs and decided that I really would like to build a ebike around this concept and create a single chainring with single cog drive train so I can enjoy more of the natural sounds of the forest and mother nature, as opposed to a rattling and slapping chain and derailleurs. And get out on the dirt roads and forest service roads with less things to break.

    However in the article it says that a new IGH, like the 3 speed Sturmey Archer has a loud annoying clicking sound that may or may not go away. So, I was thinking of ways I might be able to silence it some with the below ideas. Let me know what you think and if you have any ideas of your own.

    1. Spraying the outside casing with a rubber coating?
    2. Adding a different oil or grease to the inside?
    3. Asking SA to develop a noise canceling version? Lol
    4. Wearing headphones and playing my own "Sounds of Mother nature" tracks?
    5. Adding a super large mudguard between me and the wheel? Lol
    6. Oh and maybe rubberizing the seat stays and chain stays as well?

    ​​​​​​It's a serious question folks (with a wee bit of humor thrown in) as I really wonder if anyone has made these hubs quieter yet. Or is it a necessary evil. Thanks

    Rod
    ​​​​​​
    Last edited by SkOrPn; 05-27-2018, 09:17 PM.

    #2
    Not all IGH hubs click while engaged or freewheeling - for example, my Shimano Nexus and Alfine 8 hubs are silent. Similar to the Rohloff, they do make a very slight whirring noise engaged, depending on the gear you're in.

    I think the Nexus 3-speed does click, however.
    BBSHD / BBS02 IGH Builds: Nexus / Alfine 8: 1 2 3 4 5 6, Rohloff: 1

    Comment


      #3
      Yeah I apologize because I actually knew that was the case, yet I still somehow made it sound like all hubs made the sound. Sorry about that.

      I had chosen the SA SX-RK3 because of the strength and the more inexpensive cost of the hub. I however have not looked for a source or cost for the other's. The SA also matches my 36H aluminum rim so that was a plus already. Not sure what other 36H 170mm hub I can find at this price point but I will try. Thanks

      So no comments on the quieting it down ideas?

      Comment


        #4
        This is probably no help as well, but did you see Karl's comment, "I’ve heard that this clicking goes away after a while, but mine hasn’t yet"? If the click is "ringing out" from the hub body, I'd be tempted to try wrapping a couple of layers of electrical tape around it - easily removed if ineffective.
        BBSHD / BBS02 IGH Builds: Nexus / Alfine 8: 1 2 3 4 5 6, Rohloff: 1

        Comment


          #5
          Sturmey Archer 3-speed internal gear hubs are quietest in 2nd gear.

          (3rd gear is loudest of all. When it is sitting on the bench, it is in 3rd).

          Though not my reason for using them, I do know saddlebags can also help muffle the ticking some. I believe the electrical-tape idea might be worth trying too--nothing to lose, easy to remove, as described.

          But good grief. I just can't shake the whole over-riding feeling of "Give me an effin' break! You're worried about ticking? Ticking? Really?!?" Sorry...

          That article had a ton of awesome info on the various types and a variety of brand-names, and was very thorough--so yeah. I think it's one hell of a great piece! Look: The ticking is notable--and on essentially silent pedal-powered bikes, the clicking can seem fairly pronounced.

          But that article was specifically over internal-gear-hubs, paired with powerful mid-motors. And powerful mid-motors aren't exactly known for "silent operation" per se. So, while I feel it deserved mentioning, I also think the attention paid to the clicking in the article was overdone.

          In my real-world experience, that clicking sound is usually drowned out by the sound of the wind rushing in my ears. Along with that, when under power, the Cyclone's whine and chain-noise are both louder than the clicking as well--just for comparison's sake. The noise from my three Schwalbe Big Ben Plus tires drown out the clicking depending on the road-surface I'm riding on. Seriously. I just don't think you need to worry about it.

          When the clicking is loudest for me, is when I'm coasting down, power off. But even then, when I hear the ticking from my Sturmey Archer XL-RD3 (oversize drum-brake variant) the sound doesn't annoy me. It says to me--with clockwork precision, "I'm Going To Outlast This Bike. I'm Going To Outlast This Bike." I can dig that beat. Music to my ears! I actually like the sound of the SA's clockworks back there. It doesn't sound plinky, like some IGH's, but more like an actual engineered mechanical part.

          I also wonder if perhaps the longer barrel on the fat-bike version amplifies the SA's ticking--versus the standard-dropout version I have. I've never simultaneously held the two in my hands to compare, but if so--and it turns out to be actually a LOT louder--then maybe it makes more sense to think about finding ways to "deaden" it.

          If for whatever reason, you fear the clicking is going to drive you bat-tastic--then you definitely need to take measures. Headphones (if the law allows) are a darn good hold-out option for sure. But try not to be too disappointed if you find your e-bike generates other noises which drown out "nature's soundtrack"--at least when you're travelling at a reasonable speed.

          Now--it's your call of course. If you wanna bust lots of "quiet" wimpy IGH's--I'm sure somebody'll be happy to keep selling them to you. ;-)

          Best of luck with your project!

          Take care,

          Tklop
          Last edited by tklop; 05-23-2018, 02:47 AM. Reason: for clarity

          Comment


            #6
             

            Comment


            • tklop
              tklop commented
              Editing a comment
              Awesome!

              That'll certainly drown out the SA's ticking.

              Well played, sir. Touché!

              Take care,

              Tklop

            #7
            Haha, thanks tklop that was a good bit of reasoning. Yeah, I don't like listening to music much, so I doubt I will on the trail, lol just the sounds of nature is important to me and approaching faster bikes. Like you tried to get across the clicking may or may not be a problem. I may get used to it very quickly anyway. So good point.

            I am removing the derailleur, trying to setup the perfect longlasting chainline and installing a DMR tensioner (rubber wheel) just because I want the ride as quiet as possible, without the loss of some kind of gears. I'm still not sure I can get the gearing low enough for trail riding yet, but that's another issue altogether.

            Ok everyone, I will consider this a non issue until it actually becomes an issue, so thanks for pointing that out. Hints taken.... ;)

            Comment


            • tklop
              tklop commented
              Editing a comment
              I like the sounds of nature. I like the sounds my bike makes too.

              It is open for debate, I suppose. But I've always liked cars too--where you could "feel" the road in the foot-pedals and through the steering-wheel. Know what I mean? I want some "feedback" from my driving experience. I have found it helps me be a better driver. For one small example, when driving, when you "feel' the pavement go from decent-smooth to ancient-rough, that can alert you--if you're wise--to slow down, 'cause there may be some rather large chunks missing in the road ahead--potholes, or worse. At night, or in heavy rain, this road-surface transition might be visually very hard to pick up, though you may still hear a sound-difference in your tires. In contrast, I believe that the isolation of too much comfort, can cause complacency instead of heightened alertness. I think if you're riding on some "couch-cloud on wheels", in total silence, with power-assisted feedback-free everything, perfect climate-control, etc; that you can get lulled into complacency. You might miss that transition entirely, and lose a tire, and/or a wheel, to a nasty hole-in-the-road. I've not been so unlucky, but I've been caught a little "off my guard" in some Lux-O-Mobile like that before.

              Through the sounds and feel of my bike, I feel like I get a lot of "feedback" there too. But I must admit, it's not always so "quiet".

              Look: I like hearing the faster bikes coming too. Though I don't consider my bike to be "loud" exactly--I'm glad that I (generally) still make enough noise to alert the slower ones I'm catching up with as well. I could use a bell, but half the time people don't hear it, the other half it startles them. Whereas the gradually growing whine coming from my bike--that's a clear signal something is approaching, and the steadily increasing loudness could potentially give them some idea of my closing-speed as well.

              So, I get what you're saying, but it works both ways--hearing, and being heard. In any case, I can assure you, it's my Cyclone 4KW motor--not the SA IGH--that alerts others to my approach.

              Now, when I want to get all pastoral and stuff, I can set the "Cruise Control" to sub-walking speed, and just creep along the trails too. At that speed, my motor is audible, but I still can't hear the IGH. Yet I can also hear birds, frogs, kids, etc. And they hear me too, but they don't panic and scatter, they mostly just amble aside as I approach. So, I feel I'm not ruining the nature-experience for myself, in any case, with either my bike or its IGH. So, I think you may be alright.

              Anyways...

              Take care,

              Tklop
              Last edited by tklop; 05-25-2018, 11:46 AM. Reason: to fix typos
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