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  1. #1
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    Avid Elixir brakes squealing like cats fighting

    Hello everyone, this is my first post here.

    I was into mountain biking as a kid and just got back into it. I picked up a 2012 GT Sensor 9r Elite a couple weeks ago at a deep discount. Pretty happy with it so far besides the howl of the brakes. I took it back to the shop and they adjusted the brakes and the howl in the rear went away but not the front. I took it back again today and they tried again but it didn't help.

    Are the calipers spaced incorrectly? Did I not break in the pads correctly?

    I searched but couldn't find an answer. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Tons of threads about this topic with little resolution. Different rotors help, other then that not much you can do.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigstr View Post
    Tons of threads about this topic with little resolution. Different rotors help, other then that not much you can do.
    You think rotors are a better solution than pads?

  4. #4
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    What? How could this be. Next you'll tell me the Easter Bunny lays eggs.
    SLX is your best solution.

  5. #5
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    Try taking the rotor off, cleaning the hub and rotor, sand the braking surface with 220 grit paper. Reinstall the rotor and torque the bolts in a crisscross pattern.
    Then, take the pads out of the caliper, lay the sandpaper on a flat surface and lightly sand the pad material until it is flat and uniform.
    Make sure the mounting surface of the caliper adapter is clean and the adapter and caliper is mounted solid.
    If this doesn't work... Yeah... Try SLX.
    I like turtles

  6. #6
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    All the fixes you can do for free are temporary.
    Save yourself some time and headache and start buying parts.

  7. #7
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    I had the best luck with Yokozuno pads and magura rotors. But the squeal would always come back. If you want to get rid of the squeal completely consider selling them on ebay and getting something else. Hopes are super clean and quiet.
    Universal Cycles -- Yokozuna Disc Brake Pads
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Avid Elixir brakes squealing like cats fighting-p1050367.jpg  

    Avid Elixir brakes squealing like cats fighting-p1050368.jpg  

    Avid Elixir brakes squealing like cats fighting-p1050370.jpg  


  8. #8
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    Re: Avid Elixir brakes squealing like cats fighting

    I replaced the Elixir 7s on my cannondale f29 with XT brakes before I took it home. Go SLX or XT, sell the Elixir on craigslist and you'll be very happy

    Sent from my KFTT using Tapatalk 2

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9iron View Post
    All the fixes you can do for free are temporary.
    Save yourself some time and headache and start buying parts.
    What is it about the rear that was able to be fixed that can't be done with the front? The guy at the store changed the positioning of the caliper and the rear noise went away. However, it was a totally different type of annoying sound.

    If I wanted to start buying parts, would I need to get a new rotor or pads? Should it be a different brand entirely? What caused this to happen with my current set, bad break in?

  10. #10
    nvphatty
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    Try taking the rotor off, cleaning the hub and rotor, sand the braking surface with 220 grit paper. Reinstall the rotor and torque the bolts in a crisscross pattern.
    Then, take the pads out of the caliper, lay the sandpaper on a flat surface and lightly sand the pad material until it is flat and uniform.
    Make sure the mounting surface of the caliper adapter is clean and the adapter and caliper is mounted solid.
    If this doesn't work... Yeah... Try SLX.
    I've mentioned this before in other brake squeal threads about the use of sandpaper or emory cloth when it comes to this.....they contain adhesives therefor possible to transfer said adhesive to the pads or disc when doing so which makes matters worse. dbl 00 steel wool for the disc then a wipe down with brake cleaner and a flat file for the pads with alcohol afterwards will avoid any potential issues.

  11. #11
    nvphatty
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    What is it about the rear that was able to be fixed that can't be done with the front? The guy at the store changed the positioning of the caliper and the rear noise went away. However, it was a totally different type of annoying sound.

    If I wanted to start buying parts, would I need to get a new rotor or pads? Should it be a different brand entirely? What caused this to happen with my current set, bad break in?
    in my case the harmonic frequencies were such that both F&R squealed like a stuck pig, tried a 2nd set of new pads, tried organic pads, paid special attention to burnishing them all to no avail.....UNTIL i went up a size in disc diameter, ie 160 to 185 and no squeal at all so far on the front. I'm also going to swap the rear for a 185 to see if it works as well.

    stroker trails / magura storm sl rotors

  12. #12
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    There seems to be a lot of issues with Avid brakes making noise. I've seen Shimano brakes do the same thing, but apparently it's easier to fix on them. One option is just to live with it. My brakes sometimes make a little noise when cold right at the start of a ride, but a after slowing down for the first few turns, they sit down shut up and do their job for the rest of the ride, and that's different brakes on both my bikes. The only thing in common are the rotors.

  13. #13
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    Avid Elixir brakes squealing like cats fighting

    I also highly suggest trashing the avids and going to shimano. But if xt or slx isn't your thing, the Maguras that came stock on my stumpy been pretty damn good so far

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    I don't know if it matters but I weigh 250 (I'm 6'6"--not fat)... Does that matter? Would a larger rotor solve it??

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    I don't know if it matters but I weigh 250 (I'm 6'6"--not fat)... Does that matter? Would a larger rotor solve it??
    What do you have on there now? A 160?
    I'm 255 and run a 203 front and 185 rear. It should help.
    I like turtles

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    Drove through yesterday's rain to pre-ride an upcoming race. The bike was soaked, the trails wet, and the brakes squealed like a terrified pig. The rear settled in & became quiet after 5 or 6 hard pulls, yet the front continued to squeal non-stop. Magura Storm SL rotors 180(f) with stock pads, 160(r) with Aztec golds. Seems that the stock pads are the weakest link. Before buying new brakes, it may be wise to replace the factory pads to see if it solves the issue. Do not often ride in the rain, but know that after yesterday, I'll be ditching the Avid pads.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyin_W View Post
    Drove through yesterday's rain to pre-ride an upcoming race. The bike was soaked, the trails wet, and the brakes squealed like a terrified pig. The rear settled in & became quiet after 5 or 6 hard pulls, yet the front continued to squeal non-stop. Magura Storm SL rotors 180(f) with stock pads, 160(r) with Aztec golds. Seems that the stock pads are the weakest link. Before buying new brakes, it may be wise to replace the factory pads to see if it solves the issue. Do not often ride in the rain, but know that after yesterday, I'll be ditching the Avid pads.
    Some of what I've read says it has to do with the initial layer I put on the rotor so I might need to sand it down or replace it and just replacing pads won't do anything. Truth to this?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    Hello everyone, this is my first post here.

    I was into mountain biking as a kid and just got back into it. I picked up a 2012 GT Sensor 9r Elite a couple weeks ago at a deep discount. Pretty happy with it so far besides the howl of the brakes. I took it back to the shop and they adjusted the brakes and the howl in the rear went away but not the front. I took it back again today and they tried again but it didn't help.

    Are the calipers spaced incorrectly? Did I not break in the pads correctly?

    I searched but couldn't find an answer. Thanks in advance.
    I dont believe you actually searched...

    The Juicy brake turkey warble/vibration MEGA THREAD

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    Some of what I've read says it has to do with the initial layer I put on the rotor so I might need to sand it down or replace it and just replacing pads won't do anything. Truth to this?
    I was able to get my elixirs to quiet down using the methods in the mega thread. Dont know which one actually did it.

    I sanded down the pads, sanded rotors to remove any improper bedding. Used the CRC disc brake quiet to stick the pads to the springs and aligned the calipers per standard instructions. I got the brakes to be quiet and not shudder, but then they lost power and I had to start bleeding them. (changing to resin pads didnt really help for me). I replaced mine with XTs and using the avid rotors with the xt brakes works great.

    others have reported using washers on the mounts to move the calipers outwards relative to the rotor so the pad is only touching the correct portion of the braking surface.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodmojo View Post
    I dont believe you actually searched...

    The Juicy brake turkey warble/vibration MEGA THREAD
    I had turkey gobble in the rear and whatever adjustment the shop did made that go away. Now I still have a high pitch screech in the front.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodmojo View Post
    I dont believe you actually searched...

    The Juicy brake turkey warble/vibration MEGA THREAD
    This thread is legendary. I had to post something in it just to be a part of it.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  22. #22
    El CicloPath!!!!!!!
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    When you lift the bike and spin the front wheel, does it rub? Does it squeel while coasting? or only when you apply the brakes? If it does then it might be an alignment issue and/or a piston issue. If you have a sticky piston, you can carefully lube it using whatever blake fluid you are using (dont use anyting else, and then push the pistons back in as far as they will go. Then align the caliper so that it is perfectly centered over the rotor, then set the pads to the rotor.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fachiro1 View Post
    When you lift the bike and spin the front wheel, does it rub? Does it squeel while coasting? or only when you apply the brakes? If it does then it might be an alignment issue and/or a piston issue. If you have a sticky piston, you can carefully lube it using whatever blake fluid you are using (dont use anyting else, and then push the pistons back in as far as they will go. Then align the caliper so that it is perfectly centered over the rotor, then set the pads to the rotor.
    Only when braking.

  24. #24
    El CicloPath!!!!!!!
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    DOes this occur with both light and hard braking? As already mentioned, it most likely is some kind of contamination. Check the piston seals for leaks. Use a flash light. Also check the hose caliper junction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fachiro1 View Post
    DOes this occur with both light and hard braking? As already mentioned, it most likely is some kind of contamination. Check the piston seals for leaks. Use a flash light. Also check the hose caliper junction.
    Anything more than a feathers weight and it'll squeal... Haven't tried REALLY hard but anything short of that squeals too. Concerning lube, the brakes have squealed since before I even lubed the chain for the first time (the bike only has like 40 miles on it)

  26. #26
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    say NOOOOOOO to sandpaper/emory cloth...sheeesh.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    say NOOOOOOO to sandpaper/emory cloth...sheeesh.
    What do you suggest?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    What do you have on there now? A 160?
    I'm 255 and run a 203 front and 185 rear. It should help.
    180 front

    would be happy to go to a 203 front if it's a simple swapout without needing to replace calipers and **** too... don't really want to dump much money into a brand new bike
    Last edited by Alias530; 04-02-2013 at 06:48 AM.

  29. #29
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    You need to know the first rule of Avid hydraulic ownership when any problems arise, bleed them….if that doesn’t work, repeat.
    Most of the time it requires a 3 tier approach to get rid of the avid squall. New rotors, organic pads, and bleed them. I bought some alligator rotors, some misc. organic pads and bled my brakes. Quiet as a church mouse and that has been almost a year ago. Air in the lines will contribute to squalling and it is hard to get the air out of avid brakes….it is more of an art than a procedure. The metallic pads will also contribute. The rotors will contribute as well...which is why it is so hard to stop the squawking. But it can be done. I will say that everything is a distant second to Shimano brakes but no need to pony up like that as what you have is fixable for a lot less than a new set of brakes. There are 3 choices here.
    1. New organic pads, rotors, and bleed.
    2. New brakes all around.
    3. Learn to live with it.
    Everyone in our chapter that has run Avids, with problems, has ended up swapping them for Deore XT brakes except for me. Everything I did was temporary, and I tried it all. I had alcohol cleaned them, scrubbed them, scuffed them, used squeal out, bled them, prayed over them, etc. I lived with it until I used up the Avid pads. I thought the Alligator Serration rotors looked cool… so new organic pads, new rotors, a fresh bleed and bam…..no more noise.

  30. #30
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    I too fixed my Avid brakes by changing to XTs...

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bailey44 View Post
    I too fixed my Avid brakes by changing to XTs...
    Not really a "fix" IMO

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrmas View Post
    You need to know the first rule of Avid hydraulic ownership when any problems arise, bleed them….if that doesn’t work, repeat.
    Most of the time it requires a 3 tier approach to get rid of the avid squall. New rotors, organic pads, and bleed them. I bought some alligator rotors, some misc. organic pads and bled my brakes. Quiet as a church mouse and that has been almost a year ago. Air in the lines will contribute to squalling and it is hard to get the air out of avid brakes….it is more of an art than a procedure. The metallic pads will also contribute. The rotors will contribute as well...which is why it is so hard to stop the squawking. But it can be done. I will say that everything is a distant second to Shimano brakes but no need to pony up like that as what you have is fixable for a lot less than a new set of brakes. There are 3 choices here.
    1. New organic pads, rotors, and bleed.
    2. New brakes all around.
    3. Learn to live with it.
    Everyone in our chapter that has run Avids, with problems, has ended up swapping them for Deore XT brakes except for me. Everything I did was temporary, and I tried it all. I had alcohol cleaned them, scrubbed them, scuffed them, used squeal out, bled them, prayed over them, etc. I lived with it until I used up the Avid pads. I thought the Alligator Serration rotors looked cool… so new organic pads, new rotors, a fresh bleed and bam…..no more noise.
    I'm surprised that bleeding the brakes has anything to do with it... rotors and pads are super cheap, so if that was all it took I would rather spend the $60 or whatever and move on... but I don't really want to replace the whole system on a bike with 40 miles on it. I'm going to let the shop I bought it from sort it out.

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    I bought f/r xts for 200 from bluesky and jenson. I sold my elixers for 100 on craigslist. It is worth it.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    I'm surprised that bleeding the brakes has anything to do with it... rotors and pads are super cheap, so if that was all it took I would rather spend the $60 or whatever and move on... but I don't really want to replace the whole system on a bike with 40 miles on it. I'm going to let the shop I bought it from sort it out.
    Good luck with that.

    Seriously - I do hope your shop can sort it out.

    I'm on my second bike with Avids, and I have to admit that part of me wants the satisfaction of chunking them in the trash. But since I already own a bleed kit, and 4 pairs of Clark's organic pads are in the mail, what the hey I might as well buy some rotors.

  35. #35
    nvphatty
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    What do you suggest?
    from pg1

    I've mentioned this before in other brake squeal threads about the use of sandpaper or emory cloth when it comes to this.....they contain adhesives therefor possible to transfer said adhesive to the pads or disc when doing so which makes matters worse. dbl 00 steel wool for the disc then a wipe down with brake cleaner and a flat file for the pads with alcohol afterwards will avoid any potential issues.

  36. #36
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    Switching to organic pads is what solved it for me. But now, the brakes are super-weak and wear down too quickly.

    My 10-year old Deores are way more responsive. Time to switch to XT.

  37. #37
    El CicloPath!!!!!!!
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    A proper bleed is important because it influences piston movement and retraction. Too much fluid, the pistons dont retract enough and you have rub that may lead to noise. Air in the system, and you lse performance and eratic piston action.

  38. #38
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    When you take the rotors off to clean them, swap them front to rear...
    Who let that bike leave the store with the bigger rotor on the rear?
    I like turtles

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    When you take the rotors off to clean them, swap them front to rear...
    Who let that bike leave the store with the bigger rotor on the rear?
    Whoops, I was running on low sleep yesterday. 180 front / 160 rear

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    from pg1

    I've mentioned this before in other brake squeal threads about the use of sandpaper or emory cloth when it comes to this.....they contain adhesives therefor possible to transfer said adhesive to the pads or disc when doing so which makes matters worse. dbl 00 steel wool for the disc then a wipe down with brake cleaner and a flat file for the pads with alcohol afterwards will avoid any potential issues.
    Sorry didn't remember it was you who said that

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    I'm surprised that bleeding the brakes has anything to do with it... rotors and pads are super cheap, so if that was all it took I would rather spend the $60 or whatever and move on... but I don't really want to replace the whole system on a bike with 40 miles on it. I'm going to let the shop I bought it from sort it out.
    Air compresses, hydraulic fluid doesn’t. So when there is air in the lines the pads sort of bounce off the rotor surface(for lack of a better description) and make the “turkey gobble” Avids are so known for.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrmas View Post
    Air compresses, hydraulic fluid doesn’t. So when there is air in the lines the pads sort of bounce off the rotor surface(for lack of a better description) and make the “turkey gobble” Avids are so known for.
    The rear made a gobble and the bike shops adjustment fixed it. The front is like a little girl screaming. Does that change your thoughts?

  43. #43
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    Try centering the caliper by loosening the bolts and putting a business card on each side between the pad and rotor, pump the lever a few times with the bolts loose, then pull the lever in and hold it while you tighten the bolts. There is a good video over on the hope support page "Centalize Pistons", try doing a similar procedure to your avids.
    How To Video's - Hope How To Video's

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigstr View Post
    Try centering the caliper by loosening the bolts and putting a business card on each side between the pad and rotor, pump the lever a few times with the bolts loose, then pull the lever in and hold it while you tighten the bolts. There is a good video over on the hope support page "Centalize Pistons", try doing a similar procedure to your avids.
    How To Video's - Hope How To Video's
    Thank you for the help guys. I'll give this a try and see if it helps.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    The rear made a gobble and the bike shops adjustment fixed it. The front is like a little girl screaming. Does that change your thoughts?
    No. Unfortunately, more times than not, it will be temporary. I got the air out of my wifes and it helped tremendously but hasn't stopped it completely and she just doesn't care so....good enough. I have heard of examples that they eventually broke in and quit squawking. All the headache aside, when Avids are on, they are pretty awesome. Best of luck as I have been right where you are and it is aggravating.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrmas View Post
    No. Unfortunately, more times than not, it will be temporary. I got the air out of my wifes and it helped tremendously but hasn't stopped it completely and she just doesn't care so....good enough. I have heard of examples that they eventually broke in and quit squawking. All the headache aside, when Avids are on, they are pretty awesome. Best of luck as I have been right where you are and it is aggravating.
    Isn't it kind of the bike shops problem at this point? I mean I have a brand new bike that is imperfect in kind of a big way.


    I don't want to be spending hours or dumping money on a brand new bike. I bought new to avoid issues like this.

  47. #47
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    Unless it has to do with my weight and an 180mm rotor just not being able to stabilize me... Then I'd be fine putting larger brakes on. Just don't think I should have to spend money on an issue like this when the bike is so new.

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    So I went out again yesterday and found out that the noise is only during moderate braking. Light or really hard braking is silent.

    I went out and did about 20 really hard stops using front brake only (right before the wheel locked each time) and the sound got a little better.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    Not really a "fix" IMO
    Yes it fixed the AVID turkey gobble. The AVIDs are quite as they can be- in a box, in my garage.

  50. #50
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    Just ordered Shimano XT's

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    Just ordered Shimano XT's
    SO it seems the fix is, put them in a box on the shelf.

  52. #52
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    Avid Elixir brakes squealing like cats fighting

    I've had Elixirs since they first hit the market. Maybe I got lucky but never had any bad squeal problems. Run avid G3 and Clean Sweep X rotors, along with Shimano XT Ice Tech rotors... All without issue. Back in the Clean Sweep X rotors at the moment. They are quiet. Haven't tried the HS1 yet.

    Santa Cruz Hightower LT


  53. #53
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    Running XT's on my bike. On the 2nd set of pads. Loads of stopping power / quiet / excellent brakes !!! Just converted another riding buddies bike to the XT's. He love them... Avid makes great stuff. There brakes are not one of them.

  54. #54
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    What else does Avid make?
    I like turtles

  55. #55
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    HA! I too have a 2012 GT Sensor 29r.......my 180mm rotor/avid squeals like crazy at moderate to light braking, but is silent when really mashing em. I've noticed that the inboard pad contacts the rotor before the outboard pad does. I've tried centering the caliper on the rotor, but it always seems to end up with the inside pad contacting first. Weird! This situation obviously bends the whole rotor, and I have to believe that this contributes to the squeal under moderate braking.....I'm going to try place a thin piece of plastic, or paper between the inboard pad/rotor, and do a caliper centering adjustment - hopefully this will center the pads equidistant from the rotor surface. Stay tuned.

  56. #56
    El CicloPath!!!!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokermtb View Post
    HA! I too have a 2012 GT Sensor 29r.......my 180mm rotor/avid squeals like crazy at moderate to light braking, but is silent when really mashing em. I've noticed that the inboard pad contacts the rotor before the outboard pad does. I've tried centering the caliper on the rotor, but it always seems to end up with the inside pad contacting first. Weird! This situation obviously bends the whole rotor, and I have to believe that this contributes to the squeal under moderate braking.....I'm going to try place a thin piece of plastic, or paper between the inboard pad/rotor, and do a caliper centering adjustment - hopefully this will center the pads equidistant from the rotor surface. Stay tuned.
    When I ran into that problem with one piston moving unevenly/before the other, I removed the pads, removed the caliper. Thoroughly cleaned the caliper and pistons. I then squeezed the lever a bit to push them out and lubbed them. I pushed the pistons in, then actuated the lever to test to see if the pistons were moving evenly.

    The pistons need to be lubbed/cleaned, especially if brake dust/dirt gets in and around the seals.

    Also, before you install the pads, make sure the pistons are properly spaced.

  57. #57
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    Try g3 rotor. More silent than g2.

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    mine squealed until i got the caliper centered.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by michihir0 View Post
    mine squealed until i got the caliper centered.
    I've been trying to center mine for a couple of weeks now. I feel like the pads on my avid 3's are stuck in engage mode. I've tried resenting the pads back in but they budge. There's zero room between the pads and rotors. Will never buy a bike with avids again, they have have been nothing but a pain in the ass since day one.

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    I had the same problem. I borrowed a trick the automovtive world and it seems to have stopped the chattering noises, about 3 good rides since I tried it and still quiet.

    look at the back of your pads and you will see where the piston has worn the pad where it contacts the piston. This is from the vibration, which also causes noise.
    Fix the vibration and you fix the noise....
    Use emory cloth to get the glaze from the pads.
    Give the back side of the pad a quick sanding also.
    Clean the entire pad, front and back as well as rotor with alcohol and let dry.
    DONT touch the pad surface or the rotor with your fingers, your fingers are oily!!
    Just before putting the clean pads back in the caliper, put a light coat of the girlfriends fingernail polish on the BACK of the pad. This is where the pad and the rotor meet up.
    CRC Brake Quiet is used in the auto industry, but the fingernail polish seems to work well for me.

    Install the pads while the polish is still tacky, squeeze the brakes for a minute or two to let the polish dry.
    Follow the procedure from the Elixir web site to wear-in the pads.
    Your done!

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    What else does Avid make?
    Avid doesn't make anything
    SRAM makes Avid as well as RockShox, Truvativ etc.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffgre_6163 View Post
    Avid doesn't make anything
    SRAM makes Avid as well as RockShox, Truvativ etc.
    Kinda my point.
    I like turtles

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