Chain noise on a new Ultegra Di2 bike.

Skonk
Skonk Posts: 364
edited September 2018 in Workshop
Howdy.

Looking for some opinions on this very frustrating issue.

I have a Planet X RT 90 that came fitted with Shimano Ultegra Di2 (6800) which I got about a month ago.

After a few rides I started to notice that the chain was producing more noise than I would have expected; sounding a lot like I would expect an old stretched chain or a chain badly in need of lube to sound.

This is with application of lube pretty much before every ride.

The noise is worse when on the large chain ring, I assume because of the increased chain tension; and is especially bad when under a lot of load. When on the small chain ring the issue almost goes away.

I figured it would just bed in but after 700+ miles it's still the same.

Getting the new bike coincided with me trying some new lube (Morgan Blue in this case) so at first I assumed it was that; and switched back to my old lube (Finish line teflon dry) but it was just the same.

I've also tried running with all the varieties of lube I had in my toolbox, with thorough degreasing in between (various wets, drys, waxes, ceramics, oils, synthetics etc) and none of them clear it up.

I had a good look at the hardware and everything looks fine; chain looks spot on, rear cassette shows no issues, there is no play in the cassette or hub, rear mech is dead straight, indexing front/rear is spot on (front cage is not catching, checked, lots of clearance), automatic trim works a treat, shifting is spot on every time, chain never comes off.

The chain is definitely the correct one that comes with the group set, I checked the model number and confirmed it.

I also upgraded the wheelset (from Fulcrum Racing Sport to a pair of Ultegra 6800 wheels) and bought an extra 6800 cassette so I could use the old wheel as a trainer wheel. The chain noise is present on both the old and new cassettes so I can be pretty sure it's not the cassette at fault.

It's got me stumped; it just sounds like excessive noise coming from the chain interacting with the teeth but I cant for the life me work out why.

Any ideas? I'm considering changing the chain but I don't see how the chain could be faulty (I could understand a defect in a single link or bearing but not in the whole chain)... so I dunno :?

Ta.

James.
Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX
Planet X RT90 Ultegra Di2
«1

Comments

  • is the chain rubbing on the front mech cage or rear derailleur cage when in the big ring?
  • Skonk
    Skonk Posts: 364
    is the chain rubbing on the front mech cage or rear derailleur cage when in the big ring?

    No, there is plenty of clearance on both; checked it multiple times.

    It's also not the indexing; again, I've checked it multiple times and the indexing is spot on where it should be.

    The noise is like the noise all chains make when they roll over sprockets and are pulled on and off of the teeth; only it's noticeably louder than I have ever had on a bike before (this is my first 11 speed road bike though).

    It sounds exactly like my previous bikes chain sounded when it was on 0.8 stretch and needed replacing. Only this is a new chain with a stretch reading of 0.28
    Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX
    Planet X RT90 Ultegra Di2
  • i feel your pain, i have the same issue on a brand new setup. Really really annoying, as i was used to ultegra mechanical which was almost silent.

    I am still in search of the reason why! if you find out let me know.
  • trailflow
    trailflow Posts: 1,311
    Things to check

    b-screw adjustment. On my Di2 set up i had to screw it almost fully in to get a quiet drivechain. This is the first thing i would look at. Make sure the b-screw tab is against the tab on the hanger when installing the RD. Start with the screw fully out.

    The limit stops. Are they set too tight ? The low limit screw should be as close to the stop as possible but not touching. If it is set too tight it will drain the battery and shifting will be effected, it could also damage the motor.
    The high limit screw should be turned until it just touches the stop. Then backed off 1 full turn outwards to allow for overstroke allowance.

    You say the indexing is spot on, but have you gone into adjustment mode and done any micro tuning of rear derailleur position ? see page 52 of the installation pdf https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CDYQFjACahUKEwiP0OiG0-XHAhVM6oAKHZkvAOY&url=http%3A%2F%2Fsi.shimano.com%2Fphp%2Fdownload.php%3Ffile%3Dpdf%2Fdm%2FDM-UL0001-00-ENG.pdf&usg=AFQjCNGZNtPkh0Ykf027hegyfvjykxoAIQ&cad=rja


    Chainring bolts. Are they tight ?

    Chain. Is the connecting pin (if used) protruding too much on one side ? Are there any bent/damaged links ?

    Chain length. Could the chain be too short or too long ?

    Chainline. Are there any or too many spacers fitted to the driveside that shouldn't be there ? Is the right crank side pushed fully into the frame ?

    Large chainring. Is it bent ?

    Rear derailleur. is it tight on the hanger ?

    The hanger. Is it tight on the frame ?
  • Skonk
    Skonk Posts: 364
    Things to check

    b-screw adjustment. On my Di2 set up i had to screw it almost fully in to get a quiet drivechain. This is the first thing i would look at. Make sure the b-screw tab is against the tab on the hanger when installing the RD. Start with the screw fully out.

    The limit stops. Are they set too tight ? The low limit screw should be as close to the stop as possible but not touching. If it is set too tight it will drain the battery and shifting will be effected, it could also damage the motor.
    The high limit screw should be turned until it just touches the stop. Then backed off 1 full turn outwards to allow for overstroke allowance.

    You say the indexing is spot on, but have you gone into adjustment mode and done any micro tuning of rear derailleur position ? see page 52 of the installation pdf https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CDYQFjACahUKEwiP0OiG0-XHAhVM6oAKHZkvAOY&url=http%3A%2F%2Fsi.shimano.com%2Fphp%2Fdownload.php%3Ffile%3Dpdf%2Fdm%2FDM-UL0001-00-ENG.pdf&usg=AFQjCNGZNtPkh0Ykf027hegyfvjykxoAIQ&cad=rja


    Chainring bolts. Are they tight ?

    Chain. Is the connecting pin (if used) protruding too much on one side ? Are there any bent/damaged links ?

    Chain length. Could the chain be too short or too long ?

    Chainline. Are there any or too many spacers fitted to the driveside that shouldn't be there ? Is the right crank side pushed fully into the frame ?

    Large chainring. Is it bent ?

    Rear derailleur. is it tight on the hanger ?

    The hanger. Is it tight on the frame ?

    Most of these I've checked but a few I havn't; I'll run through the list tomorrow and let you know if I find anything.
    Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX
    Planet X RT90 Ultegra Di2
  • norvernrob
    norvernrob Posts: 1,447
    I noticed my mates Di2 was never as quiet as my Red mechanical, there was always a bit more chain noise than you'd expect.
  • 964cup
    964cup Posts: 1,362
    Don't bite my head off, but you have checked how the chain is threaded through the RD cage, and that it's not running the wrong side of the pin between the jockey wheels?
  • Skonk
    Skonk Posts: 364
    Don't bite my head off, but you have checked how the chain is threaded through the RD cage, and that it's not running the wrong side of the pin between the jockey wheels?

    Yeh I did check :)

    It's really not that sort of noise too (nor is it the sort of noise you get from the chain catching a cage or the indexing being out).

    It really is just like riding an under-lubed or worn out chain; basically the normal sound of a chain riding over sprockets.. just louder than would be expected. Loud enough to notice it when going full-crank into the wind.
    Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX
    Planet X RT90 Ultegra Di2
  • I know exactly the noise you mean, I liken it to a springy kind of noise. It's bizarre. I can only assume that the tolerances are smaller so therefore more noise.
  • rafletcher
    rafletcher Posts: 1,235
    It may just be a chainline issue, and there's not a lot you can do about that.
  • Skonk
    Skonk Posts: 364
    I know exactly the noise you mean, I liken it to a springy kind of noise. It's bizarre. I can only assume that the tolerances are smaller so therefore more noise.

    Yeh.

    Looking at the back end; the chain only just fits between the adjacent sprockets on the cassette. It has a fraction of a mil wobble either way when pushing on it so the clearance is very small.

    I may just be as you said, that the tolerances are smaller and if you drop on a combination of parts that are all swaying to one side of the tolerance scale then they make a bit more noise or something.

    It could also be exacerbated by the frame amplifying the noise I suppose; this is a new frame to me also.

    I've got it up on the stand anyway and checked everything over again and it all looks perfect; so unless someone comes in with some sort of revelation then I think this is just how it is. Although I am still tempted to whack a highend KMC chain on and see if it's any different.

    As it is now on the stand, freshly lubed up again (I end up doing it every day pretty much, to try to mitigate some of the noise) it doesn't sound too bad. The noise is higher than I'd expect but it doesn't sound too odd other than a bit of a strange ticking. But I know when I get it on the road and crank it the noise will get worse again.

    I'm finding myself riding on the small chain ring for absolutely as long as possible before going to the big ring too just to avoid the increased noise.
    Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX
    Planet X RT90 Ultegra Di2
  • Certain models of Shimano chain are directional. Quote:-

    In order to obtain good gear shifting performance, the CN-HG900-11 / HG700-11 / HG600-11 have a forward side and a reverse side, and the sides are marked so that the CN-HG900-11 / HG700-11 / HG600-11 will face the correct way when installed.

    If you have one of these chains the writing should be on the outside (readable when standing next to the bike).
  • Ive read that the springy noise can be due to the rear hanger being slightly bent - the tolerances for 11sp are pretty tight and with some manufacturers the supplied hangers are made of cheese and the extra stress that di2 can put on it is enough to bend it very slightly, even if you havent hit or crashed it.

    I was recommended to replace the OEM hanger with one from wheels manufacturing although i havent got round to fitting it yet as i havent had the noise.
  • Skonk
    Skonk Posts: 364
    Yeh it's a HG-700 chain and the writing is on the outside.

    Hanger looks pretty straight to me:
    2015-09-08%2011.00.04.jpg?raw=1
    Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX
    Planet X RT90 Ultegra Di2
  • chris_bass
    chris_bass Posts: 4,913
    I have the same thing with mechanical 6800, everything is set up fine but in the large chainring it sounds like I haven't lubed the chain for about a year (i have!) i've tried everything but nothing seems to get rid of it.
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
  • DKay
    DKay Posts: 1,652
    My 6870 Di2 set-up is quite a bit noisier than the 5800 on my other bike. In certain gear combinations (not cross-chaining) I was getting some ticking noises, even though I'd set up the indexing exactly as per Shimano's tech docs. It sounded as though the chain was getting slightly caught on the ramps of the next largest sprocket up.

    So, I put the rear mech into micro-adjust mode and moved it outwards by two clicks. This seems to have almost eliminated any ticking.
  • I found Ultegra 6800 really noisy on an old bike once the factory grease wore off.

    The only thing I found that worked on quietening the drive train was to apply squirt wax lube on the Ultegra chain. When dry, hang the chain up and warm it up with a hot air gun. When warm enough the liquid wax absorbs into the chain by capillary action. Leave to dry, then refit to the bike. A lot off faff, but worked for me.

    I have a pal who has 6800 on his bike with a KMC chain. He's probably lubed his chain less than five times and is quiet as a mouse. Bastard.
  • Skonk
    Skonk Posts: 364
    I found Ultegra 6800 really noisy on an old bike once the factory grease wore off.

    The only thing I found that worked on quietening the drive train was to apply squirt wax lube on the Ultegra chain. When dry, hang the chain up and warm it up with a hot air gun. When warm enough the liquid wax absorbs into the chain by capillary action. Leave to dry, then refit to the bike. A lot off faff, but worked for me.

    I have a pal who has 6800 on his bike with a KMC chain. He's probably lubed his chain less than five times and is quiet as a mouse. Bastard.

    I have a large bottle of squirt; It's was my lube of choice for a long time but for some reason on this new bike, I found it to be forming clumps of dirty wax on the jockey wheels.

    I still use it on my MTB though. Could give it another bash on the road bike.

    But I defo think I'm going to order a KMC chain (the SL model probably) and give that a go; it's what I had on my previous bike and it ran with no issues.
    Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX
    Planet X RT90 Ultegra Di2
  • Skonk
    Skonk Posts: 364
    I've just ordered a KMC X11-SL chain (I used the 10 speed version on my previous bike) and it should arrive tomorrow; so I'll let you all know how I get on with it.

    My only real worry is that in around 800 miles of use of the current shimano chain, it has never fallen off the chain rings. I hope the KMC chain will perform the same; because on my old bike (which was mechanical gears, not electronic) the chain would drop off from time to time if I happened to hit a bump as I was shifting.
    Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX
    Planet X RT90 Ultegra Di2
  • Ive got mechanical 6800 on my 2013 Venge and its unexpectedly noisy in the big ring in the smallest 4 or 5 cogs , its better just after lubing the chain but comes back after 50 odd miles, in the small ring its not so bad but still noticeable on the smallest cogs , I thought it might get better after a bit of use but 2400 miles in its just as bad ,by contrast my 2006 Scott CR1 with 6600 drivetrain that has done 8000 miles is quieter overall.
  • I also run a 6800 chainset (albeit with a 10 speed set up) and have noticed the noisy drivetrain. There's no doubt there is more noise when running on the big ring and I think it's perhaps just down to the fact the big ring is hollow, which is possibly amplifying the noise as chain and teeth merge?
    Scott Addict RC
    Scott Foil Premium
    Trek Emonda Disc
    Scott Solace 10
  • Skonk
    Skonk Posts: 364
    I also run a 6800 chainset (albeit with a 10 speed set up) and have noticed the noisy drivetrain. There's no doubt there is more noise when running on the big ring and I think it's perhaps just down to the fact the big ring is hollow, which is possibly amplifying the noise as chain and teeth merge?

    Yeh that's a good point; I was thinking it could be the frame of the new bike amplifying the noise more than I'm used to but I'd totally for got about the hollow chain ring.
    Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX
    Planet X RT90 Ultegra Di2
  • I have 105 5800 mechanical and a planet x frame and basically have the same issue, it can be silky smooth and quiet in the small ring but loud and a bit rough in the big ring, I assumed it was just sub-optimal chainline maybe caused by the chainstay length, but it's just a guess, I don't know really

    the hollow chainring amplifying the sound is an interesting idea but not sure if it's right as the 5800 chainring is open and I still have the issue, I also wonder if the tighter tolerances of 11 speed cause the problem - I've found 11 speed doesn't run or shift as smoothly as 9 speed did, I think the larger gaps at the cassette just gave things a bit more room to work back then
  • chris_bass
    chris_bass Posts: 4,913
    I put an old 5700 chainset on mine (mechanical 6800) and it was much quieter, even though the chainset had seen much much better days! I'm thinking of getting an old 6700 chainset and swapping that over.
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
  • Skonk
    Skonk Posts: 364
    SO my KMC X11 SL chain came today and I've been out and done 30-odd miles (admittedly at a slow "recovery ride" pace).

    Sounds like a totally different bike.

    There are still a few little ticks and clicks but the overall noise level has changed dramatically and the big chain ring was a pleasure to use.

    Now.... is it the chain or the sticky grease that new chains come with that's caused the change?

    I reckon it's probably a bit of both. My next job is to totally degrease the chain and put some standard lube on and see if it remains quiet.

    But either way; the fact that it made any difference at all kinda confirms to me that it's not an issue of bad setup or something out of alignment.

    I'll get back with a report again once I've ridden it after degreasing.
    Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX
    Planet X RT90 Ultegra Di2
  • yeah this is interesting as I'm getting close to new chain time, if a kmc one is quieter then by defintion it must be more efficient
  • I have ordered the same chain already so hopefully will be in the same boat. Be interesting to hear your views after degrease! Just glad it wasn't just me
  • Skonk
    Skonk Posts: 364
    Not done the degrease yet but I gave it a clean and stuck some oil on and todays ride was still nice and quiet.

    I'll probably give the bike a wash tomorrow and do the chain then.
    Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX
    Planet X RT90 Ultegra Di2
  • Skonk
    Skonk Posts: 364
    Ok so had a few rides now with the new chain, so time for a report :)

    First ride with the new chain, I left it as it came out of the pack and the bike sounded like it had an entirely new drive train. The underlying "problem" noise had gone; there were a few little clicks and ticks but I put that down to the close tolerances and bumpy roads.

    I then gave the chain a wipe and oiled it (Finish Line "Extreme" synthetic wet lube) and did 2 more rides. Chain sounded just like it did on the first ride. Relatively quiet and a million times better than the ultegra chain did.

    Then I degreased the chain and put the same lube on and I just did 26 miles or so, and again the chain sounded great.

    So I'm pretty happy that the new chain seems to have sorted it out.

    Still no idea why the Ultegra chain was so noisy though.
    Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX
    Planet X RT90 Ultegra Di2
  • chris_bass
    chris_bass Posts: 4,913
    Interesting, I didn't want to say earlier but i switched to a KMC chain and it made no real difference!

    Glad yours did the trick!
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes