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  1. #1
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    Upset 2012 Epic Carbon 29er - brakes suck

    Has anyone else had this problem? The shop told me last Friday they have to break in. Fine. So the squealing is getting worse and worse. Yesterday was so embarrassing I had to walk it in some places to now scare the shee shee out of people -
    Today I may wear ear plugs.
    Again, mechanic at shop said, "that's the way they are" ??? Are you serious? With price tag of 5800.00, after upgrades 7K - the response is "they are all like that" -

    I have several mountain bikes and ridden for years and, yes, I have had issues here and there, but usually the bike shop at least tries to look at it and do something?
    Should I try organic pads? Should I get new brakes? If that's the case, I should have just bought the S-Works.


  2. #2
    davidcarson48
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    If SwissStop makes pads for your brakes, go for them. They fixed my Avid squeal.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidcarson48 View Post
    If SwissStop makes pads for your brakes, go for them. They fixed my Avid squeal.
    SwissStop pads Worked wonders for my avid brakes too. They're expensive, but worth it.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by stenogrl View Post
    Has anyone else had this problem? The shop told me last Friday they have to break in. Fine. So the squealing is getting worse and worse. Yesterday was so embarrassing I had to walk it in some places to now scare the shee shee out of people -
    Today I may wear ear plugs.
    Again, mechanic at shop said, "that's the way they are" ??? Are you serious? With price tag of 5800.00, after upgrades 7K - the response is "they are all like that" -

    I have several mountain bikes and ridden for years and, yes, I have had issues here and there, but usually the bike shop at least tries to look at it and do something?
    Should I try organic pads? Should I get new brakes? If that's the case, I should have just bought the S-Works.

    If you spent $7 after upgrades on an expert... you really should have just gotten the S-works. You should have been able to get one for not a whole lot more than that and it would have been a good bit lighter.

    Anyway... on the the brakes. They shouldn't make an excessive amount of noise. Have you tried clearning the rotors with rubbing alcohol or brake parts cleaner (much better)? Do that and see if it improves anything. Also, take the pads out and sand/file them a bit, then clean them with the brakes parts cleaner as well. They might be glazed up a bit on you, contributing the the noise.

    Organic pads should quite things down a bit.... always an option. But, I'd try the other fixes first.

    Oh... and find a new LBS

  5. #5
    g3h6o3
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    Bloody hell you are quick at jumping to conclusions...

    The Formula brakes are not known for squealing but all brakes can. Try centering the rotor in the caliper, this is the usual/most common solution.
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  6. #6
    transmitter~receiver
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    align then toe-in your calipers a hair.
    clean your rotors with alcohol.
    take your pads out and bake them at 250 for 15 minutes.
    if all that doesn't help, organic pads are your next step.
    if you're not happy with the bike, lean harder on the shop you bought it from. they should know all these tricks and more. "they are all like that" should not be acceptable. ask for a manager if you get that response again. be courteous and polite and calm.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  7. #7
    Ben-Jammin
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    Could be contaminated pads.

    Also, did you properly bed-in the brakes before you took your bike out on the trails?

  8. #8
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    thanks - the bike was 5800 and 1100 for the Roval wheels - out the door it was 6860 with upgrades to XX - still the sworks was 10,500 - holy cow -
    I am sort of still the girl in a man's world as far as mt biking... ;-) lol - so i need to find another LBS to try these suggestions. If I had someone to sit in my garage and watch me play by play sand my brake pads, i would be in heaven - but on my own, that would be scary - so i do count on the LBS - i have to. guys with whom i ride are pretty busy, so i hate to ask them. - maybe easier to get the swiss pads and have new LBS change them.
    Otherwise my 4th ride was yesterday and i nailed a climb i have been trying to make for three years!
    Have a lot to get used to from 26 to 29 - but i am kicking it so far and going out now!!! my office is wondering "what happened to our boss?" - "ahh she got a 29er" and she is gone!
    i love you all for your suggestions, believe me, i need your help.

  9. #9
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    If you aren't ready to take the pads out and sand them, then just try the brake parts cleaner. Spray it on a rag and wipe the rotors down really well (both sides). Then spray a little in the caliper at the pads. If there is some surface junk on them it could help take it off.

    If it still does it... then take it back to the shop and be more insistent that it isn't right and that you aren't happy with their service after dropping $7k in their business.

  10. #10
    g3h6o3
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    You love me???

    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  11. #11
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    I got a set of Avid Elixir 5s for my old Trek 6000 which came with metallic pads. They're pretty noisy but they do stop really well.

    My 2011 Specialized Camber Expert came with Elixir 5s with the same rotors I have on my Trek, but with the organic pads; They are nearly silent. A little noise on occasion but nothing like the ones on my Trek. I'm pretty sure everything is aligned on both since I'm pretty anal about centering so the rotor doesn't get hit by either pad first and they're straight. I can only assume the organic pads are quieter.

    -Eric

  12. #12
    g3h6o3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rccardude04 View Post
    I got a set of Avid Elixir 5s for my old Trek 6000 which came with metallic pads. They're pretty noisy but they do stop really well.

    My 2011 Specialized Camber Expert came with Elixir 5s with the same rotors I have on my Trek, but with the organic pads; They are nearly silent. A little noise on occasion but nothing like the ones on my Trek. I'm pretty sure everything is aligned on both since I'm pretty anal about centering so the rotor doesn't get hit by either pad first and they're straight. I can only assume the organic pads are quieter.

    -Eric
    Avid brakes are reputable for their noisiness.
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  13. #13
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    Being a 2012 should have the new HS rotor...that was supposed to be the fix. I'm on a 2011 and was looking to upgrade to the HS rotor but it looks like they still haven't ironed out the problem. My LBS said there is a lot of heat being put on avid right now about the squealing so hopefully there will be a solution soon.
    Here's a paddle...looks like we're in the same boat. The only temporary solution I've had was a good cleaning with simple green degreaser...seems to lessen the squeal for a ride or two.

  14. #14
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    You have to bed them in before riding!!! Try and bed them, if they don't get better you'll have to clean the rotors then bed them.

    6860 for the Expert with carbon rovals, WOW.
    Was your shop not willing to budge from MSRP on the bike?

  15. #15
    g3h6o3
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    To the OP, did you get decent power from the brakes after following people's advice?
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  16. #16
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    Your brake pads are not aligned or evenly spaced around your rotor or you have a sticky piston. I have owned Juicy 5 (i.e. J5), J7, Elixir 3 SL (i.e. E3) and BB7s and all of the Avid hydraulic brakes I have used developed a sticky piston after about 2 months of service. A sticky/frozen piston does not extend out when you pull down on the brake lever so what happens is the opposing piston's brake pad pushes the rotor across the wide gap to the frozen piston's brake pad. Instead of the rotor being squeezed-clamped evenly on both sides by the brake pads it is pushed from one side and clamped against the stationary pad. The one sided push causes the rotor to deflect or bow slightly where the edges of the pushing brake pad protrude into the rotors slots causing the rear end to vibrate, which manifests into the dreaded turkey gobbler noise. Case and point I purchased a 2011 Specialized Camber Elite 29er about two and a half months ago and last weekend I repaired a sticky piston in the rear E3 caliper, which was starting to gobble. Generally, LBS mechanics are not schooled in hydraulic brake repair so they don't know what to look for or how to repair brakes.

    Caliper pistons will start to stick when dirt and brake dust works its way in-between the piston and seal. Since all bicycle disc brake that are currently on the market do not protect their piston seals from dirt with dust shields, they all will all develop sticky pistons. Riding on trails with dry loose dirt or gravel roads with dusty road base will accelerate this process--especially on the rear brake where a lot of dust and dirt is kicked up by both tires. Sanding the sharp outer edges off your brake pads or installing non-slotted rotors will decrease some of the vibration; however it will not fix the root problem. Note; automotive and motorcycle disc brake manufacturer's all went through this same learning curve with sticky pistons until they incorporated dust shields into their calipers. For example, a modern automotive disc brakes are very durable and can operate for hundreds of thousands of miles before their hydraulic circuits need to be rebuilt. If a piston in an automotive caliper seizes it is usually caused by a torn dust shield or an old routed-out dust shield, which exposed the seal to dirt and brake pad dust.

    I can get two seasons of service out my brakes before the pistons start to stick by applying silicone brake prep grease to the seals before I press the pistons back into their cylinders. The excess grease that is squeezed-out in-front of the seal, blocks the dirt from entering the seal directly. Eventually, the dust will work its way through the layer of grease and get lodged between the seal and piston.

  17. #17
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    I have used four different avid models over the past 8 years - BB7, Juicy 7, Elixir 5 and Elixir CR. It was a painful lesson - the Avids are just not worth it. IMHO - ditch the Avids (sell on e-bay or CL) and get a set of the new Shimano XT or XTR trail brakes + ICE rotors. I have both sets on two different bikes - night and day difference from any Avid. Save yourself the pain and anguish (and money) that the Avids bring all of us. I'm sure you have read all the negative comments about Avid here in the forums.

  18. #18
    g3h6o3
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    Quote Originally Posted by moediff View Post
    I have used four different avid models over the past 8 years - BB7, Juicy 7, Elixir 5 and Elixir CR. It was a painful lesson - the Avids are just not worth it. IMHO - ditch the Avids (sell on e-bay or CL) and get a set of the new Shimano XT or XTR trail brakes + ICE rotors. I have both sets on two different bikes - night and day difference from any Avid. Save yourself the pain and anguish (and money) that the Avids bring all of us. I'm sure you have read all the negative comments about Avid here in the forums.
    The OP has Formula brakes...
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  19. #19
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    my bad...

  20. #20
    ebnash
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    I would have to say you have some kind of contaminants on the rotor/pads. Clean them both with brake cleaner and re-bed the brakes. Make sure calipers are centered, rotors and calipers are properly torqued and spend the time to properly bed them.

    Now, if you had Shimano's you don;t have to do anything. Just ride the crap out of them

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil View Post
    The OP has Formula brakes...
    Are you sure? The 12 Epic comp carbon 29er comes with Elixir 7 SL's with the new HS-1 rotor which was supposed to be the fix to the Avid brake howling and shuttering problems they've been having. My LBS bedded in a set on a brand new test bike according to Avid's instructions and it shutters badly too.

    The problem is with Avid, their pads and their rotors or a combination of them all.

  22. #22
    ebnash
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    Quote Originally Posted by brandonrol View Post
    Are you sure? The 12 Epic comp carbon 29er comes with Elixir 7 SL's with the new HS-1 rotor which was supposed to be the fix to the Avid brake howling and shuttering problems they've been having.
    OP specified that he purchased an EPIC Carbon 29er that MSRP'd for $5800. This means he has an Expert which came with Formula brakes per Specialized spec sheet.

  23. #23
    g3h6o3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebnash View Post
    OP specified that he purchased an EPIC Carbon 29er that MSRP'd for $5800. This means he has an Expert which came with Formula brakes per Specialized spec sheet.
    Exactly, except "he" is a "she" I believe...
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil View Post
    Exactly, except "he" is a "she" I believe...
    10-4 Didn't realize it was an expert...my bad.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by moediff View Post
    I have used four different avid models over the past 8 years - BB7, Juicy 7, Elixir 5 and Elixir CR. It was a painful lesson - the Avids are just not worth it..
    exactly, avids just plain suck. On my beautifull sworks stumpy the xx brakes didn't last more than a month before the pistons began to stick.

  26. #26
    GoCyco
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    She is not alone

    Just got my Epic Expert and the first ride was going great until the first really steep downhill. Then the Formula brakes squealed like crazy. Never had this issue my juicy ultimates.

  27. #27
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    I really don't think Avid hydraulic brakes are any better or worse than any of the other bicycle brakes currently on the market. As stated in my earlier post, dirt and brake dust is the root cause of the vibration problem. Case and point, when I removed the brake pads out of my Elixir 3 SL rear caliper a few weekends ago (which were approximately 2 months old at the time) both pistons and the inside faces of the caliper body were caked with fine dust. It took two paper towels and lot of rubbing alcohol to remove the dust off the inside surfaces of the brake. Luckily, I was able free up the sticky piston by pushing it back into it cylinder/bore. Normally pushing the pistons back into their cylinders does not free them up because the dirt is still lodged between the seal. Unfortunately there is no way to clean the piston bores, the pistons or the seals without disassembling the caliper and rebuilding it.

    My point is that dirt and dust will work its way in between the seals and pistons on all the makes and models of bicycle brakes because none of them have dust shields. Dirt and dust does not discriminate between the brake manufactures. Aside from quality control, materials and marginal differences in design, all disc brakes use the same hydraulic mechanism.

    To get back to Stenogrl's problem, make sure 1) your rear wheels does not have any free-play in it. 2) Your quick release is not too tight or too loose. 3) Your rotor is not warped and evenly torque down to the rotor. 4) Next verify that both of your pistons are pushing the brake pads informally to the rotor. And 5) that your brake levers have enough throw. Or simply take the bike back to your LBS and have them warranty the brake--Avid has very good customer service and will send out replacements parts quickly.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwalton View Post
    My point is that dirt and dust will work its way in between the seals and pistons on all the makes and models of bicycle brakes because none of them have dust shields. Dirt and dust does not discriminate between the brake manufactures.
    sorry that is just not true. My 5 year old maguras have suffered abuse in the form of dust and grime build up and every time i go into clean with hydraulic fluid ,q tip and paper towel they are back to new basically. Pistons have never stuck and only occasionally get sluggish. Contrast that with the endless reports by people of avid elixir failure that just does not respond to simply cleaning and pressing the pistons out. Avid is new to hydro i believe, and what separates it from companies like magura that have many years experience with hydro motorcycle and bicycle brakes is design. sorry

  29. #29
    GoCyco
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    Don't know why Avid is discussed so much when the issues are with the Formula brakes.

  30. #30
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    So I have similar bike 2012 Epic 29er Comp. and had serious Turkey gobble, squeal, and serious shudder when trying to stop.. I took back to LBS and said it's bad and they want to do pads first but I'm riding too much to leave for a few days. So I set about trying to do my own fixing and I did resolve it! here's how.

    Cleaning rotors, sanding & baking pads did nothing at all. Sanding & re-bedding did nothing. I was leaning toward bad system but I wanted to check the lines. and that fixed it! What it came down to was a SERIOUS amount of air in the system that was not visible. proper brake bleeding using vacuum pressure produces massive amounts of air! I have never done brake bleeding or used DOT 5.1 fluid but it was a chemistry miracle what was occurring. When I used vacuum pressure I could watch the fluid turn into boiling seltzer... It's clear now that the shop just filled the brake system without using the proper bleeding proceedure.

    I got home from my ride, sanded pads and cleaned rotors, then tested with still noise, I then realigned the calipers and tested but still having noise. I lastly did the brake bleed and it was instantly gone, much better stopping performance, no more shudder and not a peep, silent as could be. All this in the course of 60 minutes.

    So the fix for this is to do a proper & professional bleed following Avid's instructions and you MUST MUST MUST use the vacuum method by pulling the syringes which causes the air to expand and bubble to the top... you will be amazed at how much air comes out of the brake fluid!!

    Also, Another thing I noticed that helps. The caliper alignment is important and I identified that it's not easy to do at all.. the auto-align feature doesn't work unless you do two key things. First, thoroughly lube all the mounting points, the screw, the fork, all the washers and spacers. The reason for this is that I found that while tightening one piece tends to grab and then slide out of alignment... it doesn't matter how hard you squeeze the brakes it will pull slightly if it's not lubricated and you end up having one pad grab the rotor first rather then at the same time, you can see that it's open enough to spin free, but as soon as you apply the brakes one pad touches and it warps the rotor to the other pad. The second part is to very very very slowly tighten the bolts. here's the steps:
    1.) loose both bolts completely, lube everything, careful not to get on rotors and pads
    2.) Squeeze the brakes firmly and hold throughout the process
    3.) Tighten both bolts just until they touch but where you can still move the caliper
    4.) Begin tightening each bolt by by only 10 degrees at most and alternate bolts back and forth. this is key because it prevents the grab and slide knocking it out of alignment. think that you will need to make 40 ever so slight turns until it reaches the proper tightness.
    5.) Release the brake lever
    6.) Give one more tightening to ensure that you are at the correct torque setting for the bolts
    7.) Now visually look down the caliper and rotor to see the gap between the pads and rotor, slowly apply the brakes and they should now both grab without any flex in the rotor.
    8.) Thoroughly clean up any mounting point lube
    9.) use rubbing alcohol to clean rotors, caliper, mounting point etc...
    10.) Go enjoy properly aligned brakes with no more turkey warble, squeal, shudder and fantastic brake feedback and stopping power.

    It's clear to me now that there is a skill in proper brake setup, and these are great brakes that do not perform properly unless all the above is done with precision.
    Last edited by Kring; 10-06-2011 at 08:41 AM.

  31. #31
    GoCyco
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    Epic with Formula brakes

    My first few rides with the Epic Expert were pretty noisy events as the Formula brakes squealed like crazy. I read others were having the same experience with their Epic/Formulas and I read about all kinds of "fixes".

    Well, here's something interesting. I recently swapped wheels and forks with another bike. The other bike had Avid Ultimate calipers and rotors. I only switched the wheels, along with the rotors, and the forks (cause one is a 20mm TA). Now the Epic has an Avid rotor and a Formula caliper, and the other bike has a Formula rotor and Avid caliper.

    Conclusion: The Formula rotors are generating the squeal. The Avid rotor on the Epic with the Formula caliper is now quiet, and the Forumla rotor with the Avid caliper now squeals (it was quiet b4).

    Hmmm.....Warped rotors? My back brake squeals as well with the Formula rotor. Is it possible that they both are faulty?

  32. #32
    GoCyco
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    Epic with Formula brakes

    other experiences?

  33. #33
    g3h6o3
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    An off center rotor can cause squealing. Both wheels don't have the exact same rotor spacing so maybe your wheel with Formula rotors puts the rotor off center in the caliper.

    Not saying that's the case but did you try swapping rotors instead of wheels?
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  34. #34
    GoCyco
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    [QUOTE=
    Not saying that's the case but did you try swapping rotors instead of wheels?[/QUOTE]

    Nope

  35. #35
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    I know your frustration. I have been dealing with the same issue on an Orbea Alma carbon frame. The bike came with XT brakes and front brake is fine, but the rear one had very bad noise and vibration. I tried everything. Baked pads, tried 4 brands of pads, expensive ceramic grease for back of pads, hub check, spoke check, post facing, pad centering, new rotors, anti-squeal spray, etc.

    What I found in all of these attempts (beyond draining the bank account), was that while the dynamics of the vibration changed, it never went away. The vibration would run all through the bike and up the seat post. I finally just got a new rear brake (Hope mini X2) and the vibration is gone. No trace of a problem. I then moved the problem XT brake from the Orbea over to my steel framed single speed Gunnar 29er. No problem with vibration. Same pads, same rotor, etc. Works perfect.

    Conclusion. What I was dealing with was a harmonic vibration between the brake and bike. For whatever reason, there was an incompatibility with combination of the XT rear brake and the carbon frame.

    I would recommend doing the easy stuff (pad centering, etc.) However, if that does not work, I would really think about just getting a new brake. Based on my experience, it may actually be cheaper in the end...

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