Weird Di2 noise, and a clue

I’m trying to help a mate out here (and solve an apparently baffling puzzle). Apologies for the long post but the devil may be in the detail.

After my positive experience, he has fairly recently taken delivery of a new Mason with Di2. He loves the bike but noted quite soon after it arrived that the Di2 was noisier than he expected. It has worsened in the last couple of weeks.

He asked me to help, so I went round to his last night for a beer and to have a look (as almost last chance in the UK pre lockdown no.2). Over the course of an hour, I reindexed the gears, checked high and low limits, adjusted the B screw, and checked for wear; everything seemed in order. It actually shifts perfectly.

But the drivetrain is certainly noisier than I’d expect and noisier than my own Di2. The noise seems to be coming from the jockey wheel area of the rd, and improves when you manually gently pull on the rd to reduce tension.

It is worst in the 50/11 or 50/12 combinations, and the noise is almost absent in the 34/30, and better in the little ring in general.

The only other thing that is possibly relevant I can think of is that he has been regularly riding the bike on his trainer (direct drive) and the noise is (according to him) worst on there. As it was dark when I went round, I haven’t been able to ride the bike outside, just worked on it on the trainer and in the stand.

The only clue google has come up with is a thread here https://road.cc/content/forum/are-you-better-my-local-bike-shop-278381

where someone appeared to have a similar issue with 105 which they fixed by putting a mini-spacer behind the cassette.

The best local LBS IMO is booked up for 3 weeks, and another good one has just announced that during lockdown they are prioritising maintenance and repair on bikes bought from them. Mason have said they are happy to have a look themselves, but it’s a 2 hour drive, which he will struggle to do without taking a day’s holiday. There are obviously other places to try, but I’m irritated I can’t fix it myself (especially after persuading him it’s worth the extra not just for the shifting but as it’s so low maintenance :man_facepalming:).

Grateful for any advice/a last thing or 2 to try before admitting defeat and calling in the pros.

Is the chain definitely running freely between the two jockey wheels, not the wrong side of the little bit of metal that is part of the cage? Very easy to thread the chain the wrong side of it, which causes extra noise (& drag)

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Done that myself and was wondering “wtf is that?!”

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There is a long thread about issues like this on shimano drivetrains on the weighweenies forum which appears to be caused by noise from the big chain ring. I’ve posted on there multiple times user this same handle. I would look through that one just to see if it is the issue. I thought it was the RD too but turns out it was the front big chainring causing the noise.

Search for the Ultegra 8050 noise thread and I think you’ll find it.

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Pretty sure not but I’ll get him to take a pic and send it to me.

Thanks for that - I’ll have a look.

Ok, so I just found the thread and read through most of it. In a nutshell, it’s just that ultegra big rings are noisy? It seems odd that his is noticeably noisier than mine.

If that’s the case, that’s a bit of a miss from Shimano. One of the reasons I’ve always advocated them over SRAM is that their stuff always ‘just works’. :frowning_face:

My front big chainring was quiet when new but has gotten louder over time. Seems quite par for them

I have two bikes with Di2.
Best bike is a Rose Xlite six with R8000 groupset with hydraulic discs. This has a direct mount RD.
2nd bike is a Van Nicholas with R6800 groupset with rim brakes. This has a “coventional” RD.

The Rose is noisier than the Van Nich which is attributable (I think) to the different mount for the RD. The gear changes on the Rose are noisier, particularly when moving down the cassette i.e. to the smaller cogs. Up shifts are not so bad.

Both groupsets work well and change absolutely spot on. New chains on both makes no real difference.

Yeah that was the result in my opinion. I had a canyon with ultegra di2 with the crankset. I built a new bike with di2 but used an easton crankset and gravel rings and it was dead silent comparably. The thing that made it obvious is that it was quiet in the small ring but loud in the big ring. Your friend could swap the rings so see if that fixes it. There could be a chain lube issue, worn chain or rings, etc. that might make his a little louder. Also could have a slightly different chainline to the hub as well which could cause more noise. Agree on shimano stuff. I was really surprised at how loud it was for that level of crankset. I now run a Power2max gravel crank, red 22 chain, ultegra cassette, and clutch di2 ultegra RD, with praxis chain rings. Night and day quieter than the ultegra full group.

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Cheers. I’ve got an old rotor big ring knocking about somewhere so swapping that on might be diagnostic.

I’d be interested where you’d stand if you had just bought a Di2 bike, discovered the noise, then said to the seller ‘nah I’m not having that’? He’s too late for that IMO but is p1ssed off to put it mildly.

I can’t see how drivetrain noise has any correlation to mechanical vs di2 shifting at all. The derailleurs aren’t moving when you’re pedaling and the noise happens

No, I wasn’t implying it was down to mechanical vs electronic, more that if you’ve spent that kind of money, I can understand you being annoyed at having a drivetrain that sounds like it hasn’t seen lube since the Beatles last played live.

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My experience would lead me to believe the rings get louder as they wear, my Ultegra was initially very quiet, when I put on a fresh Dura ace chain it got louder.

I guess depends on who it was bought from. Bought new from a shop they should help with warranty related items on the bike, but even in that instance this is an issue across the board with Ultegra chainrings. It really isn’t their fault if Shimano has a problem with loud drivetrains. For me it was a Canyon and I do all our mechanic work on 10 bikes including suspension work so I knew that a shop wasn’t going to have any answers for me on a fix. I just decided to deal with it and when the rings wore out just replace them with something that was quieter. Absolute Black makes some pretty cool round rings that fit that crank. For me it was a time/benefit thing. I’d rather just spend $100 bucks and fix the problem then have a number of fights over the phone and most likely not have them do anything about it. I have far better things to do than fight over a $100 chainring.

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I had the same issue after winter of indoor riding with di2. Take off the crankset and remove chainrings. Clean every bolt and any sweat build up that you see, grease up boots and where chainrings attach to the crank. Reassemble. It’s weird but that sweat inside makes the nosie especially when at higher power. Also if you can take RD pulley wheels apart and clean them, that might help too.