SQUEAKY BRAKES! How do I stop the noise?

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5 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

"So I just replaced all four pads on my Trek hybrid's cantilever brakes (...for the first time in eleven years, he admits sheepishly).

Recognizing the potential for my own mechanical ineptitude, I then brought the bike into the LBS to have them adjust th e brakes: center them, set the spacing, tweak the cable tension, whatever the heck professional wrenches do when an idiot like me brings a bike in and says ""Brakes Need Adjusting.""

And they did a fine job, inasmuch as the bike stops firmly, assuredly, a n d decisively. Except the front brake also makes A GODAWFUL CATERWAULING SQUEAL when I use it. I'm talking serious diesel bus/garbage truck kind of brake squealing, a louder, more horrific shreiking than even war-mongering banshees would emit. It's deaf e ni ng, it's embarassing, and it's relentless. Mostly happens when I'm going down hill and/or coming to a quick stop. Once it starts, no matter how gently I try modulating the brakes, it just keeps going, like a siren. People four blocks away are duckin g & co vering.

And the back brakes, which are the exact same pad, are perfectly silent.

Any ideas? I beg of you...my ride partners beseech you...my neighbors implore you.



Anonymous's picture
Bob Ross (not verified)
and by the way, what's up w/ the weird text formatting?

"(I swear those arbitrary spaces weren't there when I typed that message...but as soon as I hit ""Continue"" all sorts of random characters are getting inserted in my message! Like that ""oi"" at the end; that was completely fabricated by the web page. 'cuz if I meant it I would've spelled it ""OY!""

Can't wait to see what happens to this message...

Okay, sorry for the digression, back to the squeaky brakes, please.)"

Anonymous's picture
Christy Guzzetta (not verified)

The brake pads are probably making contact with the rims flat on - sort of like chalk on the blackboard - remember that horrific squealing squeak? Bend the calipers ever so slightly so the pads are making contact with the rims on a very slight angle. Very, very slight will do. And don't be surprised if the squeak disappears.

Anonymous's picture
Neile (not verified)
"""And they did a fine job"""

"No they didn't. Bring it back.


Alternately, here's a link to the Park Tool site on brake adjustment. Note the Cantilever section w/illustrations on pad ""toeing"" and ""shim"".


Anonymous's picture
Rob Marcus (not verified)

"Did they or you clean or sand the wheel rims?

Let them ride the bike before you take it home. Kinda like ""Hey NOW I SEE THE PROBLEM"" first hand.


Anonymous's picture
bill vojtech (not verified)

Clean rim with brillo. Rough up brake pads with emery cloth. Make front ends of brake pad contact rim first.

Cantilever and V-brakes are tough to set up.

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