As I was pounding along last weekend I suddenly realized something was missing from my usual ride experience – noise! My MTB has a Hope hub that sounds like angry bees making love when I coast. It used to make a lot of noise from chainslap as well, but I cured that with a clutch derailleur – although I still get various shifting noises when changing up gears on the Nomad.
My 29er bikepacking bike has an Alfine 11 IGH in it and horizontal dropouts. That means the chain is tight all the time and can’t really move around or make any noise. The A11 coasts and pedals silently. Even the shifts are accompanied by only a very soft click.
I’m so used to my bikes making a lot of noise that it’s a bit of a surprise to experience the peacefulness of a silent drivetrain.
That silence leaves more room for me to hear what’s going on around me and let’s me get lost deeper in my own thoughts.
There are times when making noise to give bears notice I’m coming through is a smart move. However, I’d rather attach a $4 bear bell to my bike when needed. It makes noise anytime I am moving – rather than just when I am coasting and I can take it off when I don’t want to make a racket.
There are loads of good reasons to use an IGH and specifically an Alfine 11, but at the moment silence is what I am appreciating the most.