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Low-Noise Freehubs Explained

Low-Noise Freehubs
Explained

Here at HUNT, we’re always seeking to take on the feedback of our riders and use it to continue improving our wheels. Something that often came up in discussion was the noise of our freehubs. 

The noise was not something designed into our hubs, but a biproduct of an engineering decision which prioritised rapid & reliable freehub engagement. When the individual leaf springs push the multi-point pawls into the ratchet ring once every 7.5 degrees that the wheel turns (which is 48 times every full rotation!), the resulting sound at high speed is quite pronounced. This is particularly the case when the sound resonates through deep carbon rims.

Some riders are big fans of a noisy hub; however, we understand that others like things a little easier on the ears. So, since late 2021, we have been offering a low-noise freehub option. Initially we tried to achieve this by reducing the tension of each leaf spring underneath the pawls. We were able to reduce spring tension by around 35% without compromising engagement, however we found this did not have enough of an impact on the freehub sound to warrant making the change. 


So, we went back to the drawing board, and found the answer was in the profiling of the teeth on the pawls themselves. Where the standard pawls had a pointed trailing edge on each of the three points, the new low-noise variant features a slightly rounded trailing edge. As the sound is resonant, a minor change in profiling can have a much larger effect on the noise than you might expect.

HUNT Low noise free hub infograph

Speaking on the change when he tested the different freehubs back-to-back, Dave Rome of CyclingTips said “these new low-noise freehub body parts made a world of difference. They immediately transformed these wheels from something that was obnoxious to even walk and one that screamed at speed, to something that now hums loudly and is more than tolerable by today’s standards. I measured the stock freehub at 83 dB (indoors, measured at 50 cm from freehub), while the new low-noise optional freehub clocked in at 70 dB, and while those numbers don’t seem all that different, I can assure you the perceived difference is significant.” 

 

We now offer these freehubs as standard on all wheels equipped with HUNT Sprint (including Sprint SL and Sprint SLC) hubs, although if you missed the angry bees then please do just ask and we can supply your wheels fitted with the noisier version! 

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