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Noisy Ultegra drivetrain

Hi I’ve got a 2019 Trek Emonda sl6 disc running ultegra 8000 groupset. I’ve got a mid cage rear derailleur with 11-32 cassette and a 50-34 crank set.
When using the 50 cog and the top half of the rear cassette I’m getting a lot of noise coming from the rear of the drivetrain. When using the 34 cog all gears are quiet. At first I thought it was the chain rubbing on the front derailleur but it’s definitely not the case.
I then thought of the rear derailleur again it’s not this.
Took it to LBS and they checked it all out and no issues with the hanger etc. Apparently this level of noise is normal for this groupset.
I then did a lot of research online and found many others reporting the same problem with the latest dura ace, ultegra and 105 groupsets.

So my question is has anyone found a solution as I clearly have some form of OCD and the noise is driving me insane 🤯

Has anyone tried the absolute black round chainring? Does this reduce the noise?

Thanks
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Posts

  • webboowebboo Posts: 3,841
    What chain are you using.
  • daviescgwendaviescgwen Posts: 40
    edited May 2020
    Shimano ultegra 11 speed CN-HG701. New chain fitted with the new 11-32 cassette.
  • Chain maybe cut too long? I recently took a link out after changing cassette ratios... a bit tighter than before but was surprised what difference it made to noise and shifting.
  • daviescgwendaviescgwen Posts: 40

    Chain maybe cut too long? I recently took a link out after changing cassette ratios... a bit tighter than before but was surprised what difference it made to noise and shifting.

    I was wondering about this. How do you judge/ measure the chain length?
    I think it’s correct as shifting is good but I’d still like to double check this.
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 871
    FWIW I've just got a new bike with Ultegra R8000 groupset & I think it's noisier than my winter bike with 105. Not annoyingly so but still noticeable nonetheless.

    Only ridden it a dozen times so far for about 300 miles, just cleaned & relubed the (KMC) chain so hoping it might get quieter as it beds in.
  • daviescgwendaviescgwen Posts: 40
    ibr17xvii said:

    FWIW I've just got a new bike with Ultegra R8000 groupset & I think it's noisier than my winter bike with 105. Not annoyingly so but still noticeable nonetheless.

    Only ridden it a dozen times so far for about 300 miles, just cleaned & relubed the (KMC) chain so hoping it might get quieter as it beds in.

    Funnily enough this is exactly my scenario. Gone from a silent 105 5800 to a new ultegra bike and can’t believe the difference in the noise made by the supposedly superior components.
    I’ve got about 900 miles on it now and no sign of it improving. 😢
    I’ve read that some on dura ace 9100 had success with a narrower 12 speed chain but I’m sceptical about trying this.
  • Chain maybe cut too long? I recently took a link out after changing cassette ratios... a bit tighter than before but was surprised what difference it made to noise and shifting.

    I was wondering about this. How do you judge/ measure the chain length
    There’s a good video on GCN which details 3 different methods (big/big ring, small/small ring and a simple formula). Luckily they all agreed on the same result!
  • daviescgwendaviescgwen Posts: 40
    Thanks for the advice. Checked the chain length and that’s good. So unfortunately not the source of the problem.
    It’s a chattering sound, could it be the hollow 50 chain ring?
  • singletonsingleton Posts: 2,032
    I'm still fettling a newish tarmac sl6 running Ultegra 8000 and trying to reduce transmission noise.
    Mine is improving, but still noticeable when in the big ring and using the 11-15 range on the rear - which let's face it is right where you want to be on a summer bike.
  • daviescgwendaviescgwen Posts: 40
    singleton said:

    I'm still fettling a newish tarmac sl6 running Ultegra 8000 and trying to reduce transmission noise.
    Mine is improving, but still noticeable when in the big ring and using the 11-15 range on the rear - which let's face it is right where you want to be on a summer bike.

    It’s reassuring to hear that this appears to be the norm. It’s the upper range I’m having issues with the lower range is silent.
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 871

    ibr17xvii said:

    FWIW I've just got a new bike with Ultegra R8000 groupset & I think it's noisier than my winter bike with 105. Not annoyingly so but still noticeable nonetheless.

    Only ridden it a dozen times so far for about 300 miles, just cleaned & relubed the (KMC) chain so hoping it might get quieter as it beds in.

    Funnily enough this is exactly my scenario. Gone from a silent 105 5800 to a new ultegra bike and can’t believe the difference in the noise made by the supposedly superior components.
    I’ve got about 900 miles on it now and no sign of it improving. 😢
    I’ve read that some on dura ace 9100 had success with a narrower 12 speed chain but I’m sceptical about trying this.

    I'd planned to upgrade to Di2 at some point & it's making me want to get it sooner. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing though......
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 871

    singleton said:

    I'm still fettling a newish tarmac sl6 running Ultegra 8000 and trying to reduce transmission noise.
    Mine is improving, but still noticeable when in the big ring and using the 11-15 range on the rear - which let's face it is right where you want to be on a summer bike.

    It’s reassuring to hear that this appears to be the norm. It’s the upper range I’m having issues with the lower range is silent.
    I have 52/36 with an 11/30 on the back. I would say mine is pretty quiet (as it should be) when on the big ring & the chain is bang in the middle of the block. It gets noticeably noisier when moving even 1 cog upwards (easier gear) & progressively worse the further up you go without cross chaining. Not unbearably so but still noticeable.

    Going down the block does seem slightly noisier but that may just be me.

    I haven't really used the little ring much yet so not got much an opinion on that but from what little I've heard that seems fine.

    The shifting does seem a lot smoother & crisper coming from 105 but as you say considering Ultegra is supposed to be step up from 105 the fact that it's noisier & not just to me is a wee bit disappointing.
  • Sutton_RiderSutton_Rider Posts: 480
    I'm running Di2 and find on the big ring (50) and the 2 largest cogs on an 11-28 cassette its still slightly noisy. The answer is don't cross chain.
    http://www.qsl.net/g4gvb
    Ridley Fenix SL Ultegra Di2 - 2020 (Summer Bike)
    Carrera Virtuoso - 2015 (Winter Bike)
    Carrera Zelos - (Turbo Bike)
    ex Focus Cayo Ultegra Di2 - 2016
    ex Giant Defy 1 - 2015
  • daviescgwendaviescgwen Posts: 40

    I'm running Di2 and find on the big ring (50) and the 2 largest cogs on an 11-28 cassette its still slightly noisy. The answer is don't cross chain.

    Unfortunately when I do cross chain it’s even worse and sounds like a tank. 😂
    It wasn’t so bad on an 11-28 but I live in a part of Wales where every ride involves a lot of steep hills so had to go 11-32.


  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 871

    I'm running Di2 and find on the big ring (50) and the 2 largest cogs on an 11-28 cassette its still slightly noisy. The answer is don't cross chain.

    As @daviescgwen says we aren't anywhere near cross chaining.
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 871

    I'm running Di2 and find on the big ring (50) and the 2 largest cogs on an 11-28 cassette its still slightly noisy. The answer is don't cross chain.

    Unfortunately when I do cross chain it’s even worse and sounds like a tank. 😂
    It wasn’t so bad on an 11-28 but I live in a part of Wales where every ride involves a lot of steep hills so had to go 11-32.



    Mine too! :)
  • daviescgwendaviescgwen Posts: 40
    Has anyone tried using an absolute black round chain ring?
    I see a lot of these on photographs of bikes with ultegra. Does this make a difference?
    Ive also heard some people using 12 speed chains which are narrower and this has apparently worked. Does anyone have experience of this?
    Thanks
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 871

    Has anyone tried using an absolute black round chain ring?
    I see a lot of these on photographs of bikes with ultegra. Does this make a difference?
    Ive also heard some people using 12 speed chains which are narrower and this has apparently worked. Does anyone have experience of this?
    Thanks


    Do you think the chainrings are the issue? I was thinking more of the chain / cassette combo but if you're using a Shimano chain & I've got a KMC with broadly the same issue maybe not.

    Either way I'm not faffing about changing stuff this early on a brand new bike I will just put up with it. Maybe when cassette / chain / chainrings need replacing I'll have a look into something that may be quieter.

    Can't say it's spoiling my riding enjoyment anyway & if it gets too much I'll just stick my headphones in (whilst still being able to hear the traffic obviously....... :# )
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 7,312
    My Ultegra is a little noisy - I just put it down to being a Shimano thing. I'd got used to it but recently been using my old Campag chorus/record 10 speed Look and you appreciate the relative silence.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • daviescgwendaviescgwen Posts: 40
    ibr17xvii said:

    Has anyone tried using an absolute black round chain ring?
    I see a lot of these on photographs of bikes with ultegra. Does this make a difference?
    Ive also heard some people using 12 speed chains which are narrower and this has apparently worked. Does anyone have experience of this?
    Thanks


    Do you think the chainrings are the issue? I was thinking more of the chain / cassette combo but if you're using a Shimano chain & I've got a KMC with broadly the same issue maybe not.

    Either way I'm not faffing about changing stuff this early on a brand new bike I will just put up with it. Maybe when cassette / chain / chainrings need replacing I'll have a look into something that may be quieter.

    Can't say it's spoiling my riding enjoyment anyway & if it gets too much I'll just stick my headphones in (whilst still being able to hear the traffic obviously....... :# )
    I’ll get used to it I suppose with time. It’s just such a big difference coming from a silent older drivetrain to this was a bit disappointing.
    I was hoping that someone had cracked the problem and has a fix.
  • plodder73plodder73 Posts: 318
    I had exactly the same problem with my R8000, it was driving me nuts noise from the last 5 sprockets when I was in the 50. I don't mind the last two which I can trim if I can be arsed.
    I fixed it by setting my high stop screw on the FD correctly because it's not done the same as the 6800. I will try and find the link/ video that I used, now I get noise only on the 32t which is easily trimmable.
  • plodder73plodder73 Posts: 318
    https://si.shimano.com/pdfs/dm/DM-RAFD001-02-ENG.pdf

    Page 19

    Basically do it from the top trim and clearance to inner plate not outer.
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 871
    plodder73 said:

    https://si.shimano.com/pdfs/dm/DM-RAFD001-02-ENG.pdf

    Page 19

    Basically do it from the top trim and clearance to inner plate not outer.


    Might be worth a go if it's within my very limited mechanical capabilities.

    I hate with a passion messing with either of the mechs especially the front.

    Don't think I've ever recovered from making a total dogs breakfast of setting up a FD a few years ago & having to take it to a shop :/
  • plodder73plodder73 Posts: 318
    It's very easy, put it in the big trim position, then 2mm hex key in high/top stop screw. Mine came badly set up, I'm sure some mechanics are doing it like the old 6800 which doesn't work. Give it a go, takes 2 mins
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 871
    plodder73 said:

    It's very easy, put it in the big trim position, then 2mm hex key in high/top stop screw. Mine came badly set up, I'm sure some mechanics are doing it like the old 6800 which doesn't work. Give it a go, takes 2 mins


    Worth 5 or 10 minutes, hopefully I can't do too much damage.

    I'm not sure it's the FD though if I'm honest, I think for whatever reason it's just noisier.
  • daviescgwendaviescgwen Posts: 40
    plodder73 said:

    It's very easy, put it in the big trim position, then 2mm hex key in high/top stop screw. Mine came badly set up, I'm sure some mechanics are doing it like the old 6800 which doesn't work. Give it a go, takes 2 mins

    Your right, this was my first thought and for a fortnight I was convinced the chain was rubbing on the front mech. It was setup incorrectly by the online retailer but the LBS mechanic thankfully spotted this and corrected this for me. I am however still left with a chattering sound only in the top gears of the cassette on the 50T crank. It’s definitely not chain rub on the front mech.
    The pdf file on the fd though is very handy, so thanks for that link.
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 2,100
    It is a ‘feature’ as a car dealer would tell you. A bloody annoying one that you do get used to but does grate when you think about it!

    I have two bikes with DA di2, 9070 and 9170 and they are both noisy. Forget the chainring idea as I run Rotor round rings on 3D+ cranks on both bikes.

    It is chain/ cassette tooth design that causes the noise. I’ve got deep section carbon wheels which amplify it even more! They act like a sound box...

    The straighter the chain line the quieter it is, but as the chain line deviates either way from straight the noise builds. Avoiding cross chaining helps at the extremes and with di2 you can set it to not use the two most extreme cross chained gears at either end.

    You will just have to accept it if everything is set up and adjusted correctly.

    PP
  • daviescgwendaviescgwen Posts: 40

    It is a ‘feature’ as a car dealer would tell you. A bloody annoying one that you do get used to but does grate when you think about it!

    I have two bikes with DA di2, 9070 and 9170 and they are both noisy. Forget the chainring idea as I run Rotor round rings on 3D+ cranks on both bikes.

    It is chain/ cassette tooth design that causes the noise. I’ve got deep section carbon wheels which amplify it even more! They act like a sound box...

    The straighter the chain line the quieter it is, but as the chain line deviates either way from straight the noise builds. Avoiding cross chaining helps at the extremes and with di2 you can set it to not use the two most extreme cross chained gears at either end.

    You will just have to accept it if everything is set up and adjusted correctly.

    PP

    Thanks for the reply, it’s more or less what my LBS mechanic said as well. I hadn’t thought of the carbon rims as the noise dod get worse when I swapped the wheelset to carbon rims and I swapped the rd and the cassette at the same time. As I did all of this on one go this may be why it was a lot more noticeable
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 871

    It is a ‘feature’ as a car dealer would tell you. A bloody annoying one that you do get used to but does grate when you think about it!

    I have two bikes with DA di2, 9070 and 9170 and they are both noisy. Forget the chainring idea as I run Rotor round rings on 3D+ cranks on both bikes.

    It is chain/ cassette tooth design that causes the noise. I’ve got deep section carbon wheels which amplify it even more! They act like a sound box...

    The straighter the chain line the quieter it is, but as the chain line deviates either way from straight the noise builds. Avoiding cross chaining helps at the extremes and with di2 you can set it to not use the two most extreme cross chained gears at either end.

    You will just have to accept it if everything is set up and adjusted correctly.

    PP

    Having done just over 500 miles now & so everything should be bedded in this absolutely my experience. If I'm in the big ring & bang in the middle of the block it is what I would consider to be acceptably quiet. As soon as I move 1 cog away from that it gets noisier. Not stupidly so but certainly noticeable.

    It's not ruining my life (or my ride) but it is irritating to say the least when you "upgrade" from 105 & it's noisier. Guess I'll just have to keep on top of the maintenance & make sure it's cleaned & lubed regularly.

    @pilot_pete has inadvertently answered my next question about Di2, if DA is noisy I hate to think what Ultegra sounds like. Was looking at getting the upgrade kit next year but might have to rethink that now. Although I really want Di2 I'm not sure I want to pay £600-£700 for the privilege of a noisy electric drivetrain. I'd rather stick to mechanical noisy one.

    Incidentally thanks to @pilot_pete , it's not the 1st time he's helped me on here.
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 871

    It is a ‘feature’ as a car dealer would tell you. A bloody annoying one that you do get used to but does grate when you think about it!

    I have two bikes with DA di2, 9070 and 9170 and they are both noisy. Forget the chainring idea as I run Rotor round rings on 3D+ cranks on both bikes.

    It is chain/ cassette tooth design that causes the noise. I’ve got deep section carbon wheels which amplify it even more! They act like a sound box...

    The straighter the chain line the quieter it is, but as the chain line deviates either way from straight the noise builds. Avoiding cross chaining helps at the extremes and with di2 you can set it to not use the two most extreme cross chained gears at either end.

    You will just have to accept it if everything is set up and adjusted correctly.

    PP

    Thanks for the reply, it’s more or less what my LBS mechanic said as well. I hadn’t thought of the carbon rims as the noise dod get worse when I swapped the wheelset to carbon rims and I swapped the rd and the cassette at the same time. As I did all of this on one go this may be why it was a lot more noticeable
    I'm running carbon rims as well but only 42mm so they aren't that deep. Not tried with anything else I don't have any other rim brake wheels.

    The deep section may well amplify the noise & make it worse but for my money the problem is inherently in the chain / cassette. For whatever reason it's just noisier. If the noise wasn't there there would be nothing for the wheels to amplify.

    I guess it's just one of those things. Irritating nonetheless.
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