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Noisy Ultegra drivetrain

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  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 1,033
    edited December 2020

    I’ve got both R7000 ( 105 ) and R8000 ( Ultegra ) on my ‘utility road bikes’. There’s a compromise to be had regarding noises on certain ratios. It’s mainly caused by chain line issues. I either get a ( relatively) quiet top end, and slightly noisier low end, or vice versa, depending on how I trim the mechs whilst riding. I find that if I use the mech trim adjusters properly, I can minimise the noise.


    The noise on Ultegra is definitely more noticeable than on 105 which from a more expensive groupset is disappointing.

    I'm back on my 105 winter bike now which to my ears is considerably quieter than my more expensive Ultegra bike with pretty much the same ratio setup.

    I've just learned to get used to it. Plus it gives me an excuse (I don't need) to upgrade to Di2 although Merlin are taking the mickey keep sticking the price of the upgrade kit up. It''s gone from around £700 to £925 over the past 12 - 18 months.
  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 11,644
    all joshing about utility road bikes aside, 8000 was a step backwards from the previous one - hood design and fit, front mech, noise........

    If MF had got excited about having it then lived the reality he would have been disappointed tbh.

    #oh.isthatit?
    .
    The camera down the willy isn't anything like as bad as it sounds.
  • david37david37 Posts: 1,313

    I’ve got both R7000 ( 105 ) and R8000 ( Ultegra ) on my ‘utility road bikes’. There’s a compromise to be had regarding noises on certain ratios. It’s mainly caused by chain line issues. I either get a ( relatively) quiet top end, and slightly noisier low end, or vice versa, depending on how I trim the mechs whilst riding. I find that if I use the mech trim adjusters properly, I can minimise the noise. There’s also the ‘equivalent ratios’ thing to consider. Many big ring ratios will have a small ring equivalent. The small ring equivalent usually has a straighter chain line, and less noise. My ‘A bike’ automatically finds it, and shifts accordingly, on the manual shift bikes it’s down to me to find them.

    Sounds like you need to learn how to set your gears up properly.
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 7,078
    MattFalle said:

    "utility road bike"

    #classic

    I assume the Bianchi falls into that category?
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  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 11,644
    elbowloh said:

    MattFalle said:

    "utility road bike"

    #classic

    I assume the Bianchi falls into that category?
    No - that's heavy and comfy with relaxed geometry as BB has said so more endurancey I'd say. Or touring.

    #comfylikeaglassofred
    .
    The camera down the willy isn't anything like as bad as it sounds.
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 1,033
    edited June 2021
    Just thought I would revive this thread to see if anyone has any further experience / fixes.

    Now got R8050 Di2 on my best bike & I still find it pretty noisy. Not unbearably so but noisier than I'd like but only in the big ring, small is what I'd expect. When I'm in the big ring (52) & 6th cog (so bang in the middle of the block) it's what I'd expect. Not silent but acceptable. As soon as I go up one cog it gets progressively worse. If I go down the block it does get noisier but I'd say not as much as going up the block.

    My setup is R8050 mech, 11/30 Ultegra cassette & KMC X11 SL chain. Chain has about 2000 miles on it, as does the cassette, mech about 750 miles. I use Muc Off dry lube & always have done but I do find it doesn't seem to last as long on this chain for some reason & that's obviously not helping.

    I've read the threads on WW earlier in the thread about folk changing to 12 speed chain & also using older jockey wheels that don't have the pointier profile of the top one but not tried any of that so far. Results seems mixed, a combination of 1 or both has worked for some but not for others. I will probably replace the chain in the near future but not sure whether to go for a DA 11 speed or try a 12 speed.

    Just wondered what everyone's experience? Like I say it's not unbearable & it's not ruining my life, it's just noisier than what I expected.
  • webboowebboo Posts: 5,003
    When I had a KMC chain on my Dura Ace chainset, rear mech and Ultegra cassette it was noisy. Changed to Ultegra chain and it was fine. I put the KMC chain on my other bike with 105 and it fine as well. All 11 speed.
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 1,033
    webboo said:

    When I had a KMC chain on my Dura Ace chainset, rear mech and Ultegra cassette it was noisy. Changed to Ultegra chain and it was fine. I put the KMC chain on my other bike with 105 and it fine as well. All 11 speed.


    I've always liked KMC chains & usually replaced a worn out Shimano with one but the bike came with the KMC SL so I've never tried a DA.

    Interesting it was noisy on the Ultegra but not 105 though. I've got a KMC on my winter bike with 105 & that's not noisy at all.
  • bam49bam49 Posts: 158
    try some Fenwicks 'stealth' lube for silent running, it might help to mask it a bit. I have been using this for years now on my best bike and on the commuter and it works great.
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 9,675
    As far as KMC and Shimano chains are concerned, it’s worth pointing out that KMC make Shimano chains.

    I run KMC on Dura Ace (7900) and there is a slight increase in noise in the smaller cassette cogs. But it’s barely anything.
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  • webboowebboo Posts: 5,003
    I’ve just put a new Ultegra chain so I will report back whether this is quiet as well. Re Fenwicks lube, I bought some of their wet weather lube which is great on my winter bike. However I also got some of their professional lube which looks fine when you put it on but my chain after about 5 dry rides was the blackest, gunkest mess.
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 1,033
    webboo said:

    I’ve just put a new Ultegra chain so I will report back whether this is quiet as well. Re Fenwicks lube, I bought some of their wet weather lube which is great on my winter bike. However I also got some of their professional lube which looks fine when you put it on but my chain after about 5 dry rides was the blackest, gunkest mess.


    Would be interested in the results. It does seem pot luck though.

    I've bought a 11 speed DA chain so tempted to give that a go to see if there's any difference.
  • webboowebboo Posts: 5,003
    edited June 2021
    When I got my bike it had a DA chain on it and I can’t remember it being noisy. When it needed replacing I used a KMC chain as that’s what I’d always tended to use and that’s when it got noisy.
    I was discussing this with Kev who has my local bike shop. He used to be an Aircraft engineer so knows it abit about mechanics. He said that if they do a run of a thousand chains at the manufacturer’s the tolerances will be different on the first chain and the last as the tools making them will wear over the process. They will both be within the tolerance to pass quality control but the latter chain will on the limit.
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 1,033
    webboo said:

    When I got my bike it had a DA chain on it and I can’t remember it being noisy. When it needed replacing I used a KMC chain as that’s what I’d always tended to use and that’s when it got noisy.
    I was discussing this with Kev who has my local bike shop. He used to be an Aircraft engineer so knows it abit about mechanics. He said that if they do a run of a thousand chains at the manufacturer’s the tolerances will be different on the first chain and the last as the tools making them will wear over the process. They will both be within the tolerance to pass quality control but the latter chain will on the limit.



    As per earlier in the thread mine has been what I think is noisy right from day 1 on mechanical & now on Di2.

    Hoping that a DA chain will quieten it down. If not older style jockey wheels seems to be the next thing to try.

    Does seem strange re KMC though. I've always used their chains (not this SL model though) & I've never had an issue but the chain is the constant here (apart from the cassette & I can't imagine it's that) as I've obviously changed the mech when "upgrading" to Di2.
  • singletonsingleton Posts: 2,319
    I've had the same experience with noise and have struggled to remove or reduce it, but over the past month it has got better.

    I fully cleaned and lubed the drivetrain - using nothing more exotic than muc-off - and then I reset and reindexed the rear mech setting upper and lower limits, and I also adjusted the B screw a bit to move the mech away from the sprockets and slacken the chain angle round the top pulley - and it is better. I now clean and relube it every couple of weeks (about 200-250km) and it is still quieter and better than it was.

    I was always fairly good at cleaning it anyway so maybe this is just coincidence and the drivetrain "bedding in" - I cannot be sure.
  • webboowebboo Posts: 5,003
    Shimano chains are now directional and so are the quick links, from memory I don’t think KMC are maybe that’s why they are quieter.
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 11,493
    webboo said:

    Shimano chains are now directional and so are the quick links, from memory I don’t think KMC are maybe that’s why they are quieter.

    I think Shimano dropped that idea pretty quickly. Besides, if you flipped one of those Shimano chains the "wrong way" around, I would defy you to notice the difference.
  • webboowebboo Posts: 5,003
    I bought a Shimano chain on Tuesday and it’s directional.
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 11,493
    webboo said:

    I bought a Shimano chain on Tuesday and it’s directional.

    Oh. I should have read the label. Doesn't seem to make any difference though.

    FWIW I use KMC chains and I've also used Sram ones. I have never noticed a blind bit of difference between any chain level quality of manufacturer. I think the OP is just hearing the noise from cross chaining.
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 1,033
    edited June 2021
    webboo said:

    I bought a Shimano chain on Tuesday and it’s directional.


    How do you know, does it say on the packaging?
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 1,033
    singleton said:

    I've had the same experience with noise and have struggled to remove or reduce it, but over the past month it has got better.

    I fully cleaned and lubed the drivetrain - using nothing more exotic than muc-off - and then I reset and reindexed the rear mech setting upper and lower limits, and I also adjusted the B screw a bit to move the mech away from the sprockets and slacken the chain angle round the top pulley - and it is better. I now clean and relube it every couple of weeks (about 200-250km) and it is still quieter and better than it was.

    I was always fairly good at cleaning it anyway so maybe this is just coincidence and the drivetrain "bedding in" - I cannot be sure.


    I think this is the case. I'm pretty sure that when I took the bike off the trainer from over the winter it was quieter.

    I took it out for a quick spin before I had the Di2 put on & I swear it was better although it could just be my imagination.
  • webboowebboo Posts: 5,003
    ibr17xvii said:

    webboo said:

    I bought a Shimano chain on Tuesday and it’s directional.


    How do you know, does it say on the packaging?
    Yes and there is a picture to show you both for the chain and the quick link.
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 1,033
    webboo said:

    ibr17xvii said:

    webboo said:

    I bought a Shimano chain on Tuesday and it’s directional.


    How do you know, does it say on the packaging?
    Yes and there is a picture to show you both for the chain and the quick link.

    Cheers. Will have to check mine.
  • webboowebboo Posts: 5,003
    Ben6899 said:

    As far as KMC and Shimano chains are concerned, it’s worth pointing out that KMC make Shimano chains.

    I run KMC on Dura Ace (7900) and there is a slight increase in noise in the smaller cassette cogs. But it’s barely anything.

    As I understand KMC chains are made in Taiwan and my Ultegra chain came in a box saying product of Japan.
  • webboowebboo Posts: 5,003
    Just been for a ride and it’s fairly quiet, the tyres and deep rims make more noise. Couldn’t get the new quick link to work, it was stiff and causing the chain to jump when in the little ring and a small sprocket. Put the one from the old chain on and it’s fine.
  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 1,033
    webboo said:

    Just been for a ride and it’s fairly quiet, the tyres and deep rims make more noise. Couldn’t get the new quick link to work, it was stiff and causing the chain to jump when in the little ring and a small sprocket. Put the one from the old chain on and it’s fine.



    Good to know cheers. Think I'll have to try a different chain & see what (if any) difference that makes.

    Incidentally the DA chain I have is directional. There's a pink sticker at the top of the inner packaging showing which way it's supposed to go.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 20,049
    Shimano directional chains are noisy if fitted the wrong way and I don’t think KMC make their chains anymore

    I had horrible chain noise until I swapped my Ultegra for KMC sl I now have a noisy KMC with Ultegra and absolute black oval rings a new noise I can’t trace
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  • ibr17xviiibr17xvii Posts: 1,033
    itboffin said:

    Shimano directional chains are noisy if fitted the wrong way and I don’t think KMC make their chains anymore

    I had horrible chain noise until I swapped my Ultegra for KMC sl I now have a noisy KMC with Ultegra and absolute black oval rings a new noise I can’t trace


    Similar to my experience.

    It just intrigues me why KMC chains don't appear to play nice with DA & Ultegra in the majority of cases yet with 105 they seem OK.

  • darkhairedlorddarkhairedlord Posts: 7,178
    Ep90 gear oil.
  • shortfallshortfall Posts: 3,288

    Ep90 gear oil.

    What I use. Quite a bit thicker than 3 in 1 so isn't as prone to fly off but in all honesty I don't think it matters too much what you use, the important thing is regular cleaning and reapplication.
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