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  1. #1
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    That fatbike-in-the-snow brake noise thing.

    Howling is what I'm referring to.

    Every ride at least one person has this happening. Usually all of us do. Doesn't seem to be limited to any brand of brake, or any other single parameter that I can deduce.

    One guy thought that semi-metallic pads would stop it. Nope.

    Another thought that solid (undrilled) rotors were the solution. They held out longer before starting, but ultimately were even noisier.

    Many have suggested that their brand of brakes never do it. Turns out they'd never ridden on snow. Once they did, their brakes howled like everyone else's.

    Anyone have a theory on what causes it? Anyone want to go even further and suggest a fix?

  2. #2
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    I have heard setting up your bb7's so the drag just a little bit will genterate enough heat to keep them from yelling. I have no first hand experience.

    I personally am so annoyed by the brakes that I do my best to not use them. Makes me a better rider I guess.

  3. #3
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    The brakes on my 2014 Maxi did not make the noise. Not sure why.
    It doesn't matter what I ride as long as I ride it Rubber Side Down●~●.

  4. #4
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    My BB7's scream like a banshee. Never thought about it but yes it's worse in the snow. I'm going to try some automotive type disc brake quite on the back of the pads.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Howling is what I'm referring to.

    Every ride at least one person has this happening. Usually all of us do. Doesn't seem to be limited to any brand of brake, or any other single parameter that I can deduce.

    One guy thought that semi-metallic pads would stop it. Nope.

    Another thought that solid (undrilled) rotors were the solution. They held out longer before starting, but ultimately were even noisier.

    Many have suggested that their brand of brakes never do it. Turns out they'd never ridden on snow. Once they did, their brakes howled like everyone else's.

    Anyone have a theory on what causes it? Anyone want to go even further and suggest a fix?

    No fix, but I apply the brake with just enough tension to heat them up and then it quits. I generally do this before heading downhill. Funny thing is that when I was in the snow last year it never happened.
    Dash Pt. State Park (Tacoma), Big Sky Montana during Snowboard Season, Duluth Mn, a couple of times of year incl. Xmas.

  6. #6
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    My fat bike still runs w/ the oem avid brake pads and squeals a lot when riding in snow even w/ kcnc rotors. Cleaning the rotors w/ isopropyl alcohol regularly helped a lot. It may still squeal once in a while when the rotors get wet but quiets down as it dries up.

    On my mtb which also has avid brakes, the organic pads were much quieter than OEM pads but did not last as long. I replaced it with goodridge sintered pads and it has been very quiet.

  7. #7
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    Kool-Stop organics in my BB7s did the trick on my Pugs. Stock pads were incredibly noisy in snow or when wet. Tried some Magura rotors I had laying around - still noisy. Swapped pads to the KS organics with stock rotors = Silent*

    *Road salt seems to be one cause of howling. Only time my KS organic pads howled was when the Pugs got a nice coating of salty water while hanging on the back of the car. I now drive the less efficient SUV so I can ensure the bike doesn't get another bath of that crap. And, my brakes stay silent.

  8. #8
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    Try this......

    Contrary to popular belief it is not the pads that cause squeal, but they can contribute. The squeal is caused by a harmonic resonance between the metal backing of your pad and the caliper material.
    Go to your local Napa auto parts store and buy a product called Silglide in the brake parts area. Remove your pads, put a light coating of the Silglide on the metal edges of your pads and very thin coating on the back using your fingertip. Be careful not to get any directly on your pads. Reinstall your pads.
    I have done this on every bike with disc brakes and it immediately solves the problem. If it starts again, which it seldom does, just repeat the procedure.

    Good luck

  9. #9
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    every disc brake I've owned will make noise at some point when wet, including snow. It's never been a consistent thing, but get 'em good and warm and bake off the water and it usually goes away unless something else winds up contaminating the pads. It's never been a big enough issue for me to care much about doing anything about it, because on dry rides, they're fine again.

  10. #10
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    There was a mod previously posted in the brakes section where you put an aluminum tape on the back/metal side of the pads. This was also supposed to change resonance of the pads. Tried it and it did help quiet down the brakes for a while but somehow it got noisy again though not as bad as before.

    I've tried the automotive brake quiet and it did not work for me.

  11. #11
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    Does anyone think that the resonance/vibration would be eliminated if the brake mounting to the frame was beefier on most bikes? Almost any brake on any bicycle will do it, but I've seldom heard a motorcycle or car do it.
    I've heard trucks do it. It makes me think that the load under deceleration is much much greater than the rigidity of the caliper mounts (like a rider compared to little MTB brakes, or a fully loaded dump truck compared to even those massive truck brakes - yeah, those are prob'ly drums, too).
    I'll bet if you put a sensor on the caliper it would show it to be jumping all over the place - maybe applying slight bending torque to the rotor as well.

    -F
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAM313 View Post
    Contrary to popular belief it is not the pads that cause squeal, but they can contribute. The squeal is caused by a harmonic resonance between the metal backing of your pad and the caliper material.
    Go to your local Napa auto parts store and buy a product called Silglide in the brake parts area. Remove your pads, put a light coating of the Silglide on the metal edges of your pads and very thin coating on the back using your fingertip. Be careful not to get any directly on your pads. Reinstall your pads.
    I have done this on every bike with disc brakes and it immediately solves the problem. If it starts again, which it seldom does, just repeat the procedure.

    Good luck
    ^^^This

    Fixes the same problem with squeaky brakes on cars.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    Does anyone think that the resonance/vibration would be eliminated if the brake mounting to the frame was beefier on most bikes? Almost any brake on any bicycle will do it, but I've seldom heard a motorcycle or car do it.
    I've heard trucks do it. It makes me think that the load under deceleration is much much greater than the rigidity of the caliper mounts (like a rider compared to little MTB brakes, or a fully loaded dump truck compared to even those massive truck brakes - yeah, those are prob'ly drums, too).
    I'll bet if you put a sensor on the caliper it would show it to be jumping all over the place - maybe applying slight bending torque to the rotor as well.

    -F
    Based on my completely non-expert opinion, I think this absolutely has a bit to do with it. The addition of moisture is sorta like wetting your finger when you draw it across the rim of a wine glass to create resonance. I would suspect that rotor vibration plays a larger role than the mounts, but I could see the mounting being part of the equation, too. I recently saw the wacky rear caliper mount/adapter on the new Cannondale road bikes and it is a REAL PITA, and one I could see vibrating.

  14. #14
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    Car disc brakes will willingly howl when wet.

    I'll try the Silglide, but will temper my enthusiasm in the mean time. I know of no true answer, and am accustomed to group rides that are essentially a chorus of banshees.

    I drag my rear brake constantly, which is a sh!tty solution to the problem.
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  15. #15
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    This just now occurred to me. Maybe someone with better engineering chops could weigh in.

    You know how when you correct toe-in a cantilever pair of brake pads, the howl greatly diminishes?

    There is no such control with disc rotor pads. What if there were such control?

    You'd need a four piston brake with some fancy controls to it. Would it work? I dunno.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    This just now occurred to me. Maybe someone with better engineering chops could weigh in.

    You know how when you correct toe-in a cantilever pair of brake pads, the howl greatly diminishes?

    There is no such control with disc rotor pads. What if there were such control?

    You'd need a four piston brake with some fancy controls to it. Would it work? I dunno.
    Close to the right idea. But disc brakes need to be as square to the rotor as they can be in order for them to work right. I have had the same thought as you Drew, but after more thought I knew it would be trouble because they would not contact the rotor in the right position.

    In your example, we are using rubber brake pads that have some give before they make contact with the rim surface. And I think that give helps a little.

    I'm just going off what I have been taught and told about disc brakes. Maybe it could work or maybe not.
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  17. #17
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    More thinking aloud, and I'm pretty sure this has also been done before in cantilever brake land: wipers?

    Like... a shore A25 grommet mounted rear of your calipers, the surface would be composed of little chevrons in order to both wipe and scoop out. Much like a rain car tire tread.

    You'd need some alignment and adjustment scheme as you'd be wearing them out constantly... like a low-friction brake that is always applied.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAM313 View Post
    Contrary to popular belief it is not the pads that cause squeal, but they can contribute. The squeal is caused by a harmonic resonance between the metal backing of your pad and the caliper material.
    Go to your local Napa auto parts store and buy a product called Silglide in the brake parts area. Remove your pads, put a light coating of the Silglide on the metal edges of your pads and very thin coating on the back using your fingertip. Be careful not to get any directly on your pads. Reinstall your pads.
    I have done this on every bike with disc brakes and it immediately solves the problem. If it starts again, which it seldom does, just repeat the procedure.

    Good luck
    This +1. Seriously, any car mechanic who knows how to do brakes properly should know this. Silglide works fantastic. Take note that the squeal doesn't really change with wheel speed.

  19. #19
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    Agree witht the premise of this post. Every ride I'm on, every time, every brand, we have a ton of squeeling before each hill. By the bottom of the hill, it's usually gone, only to return again at the top of the next hill. I'll try the Silglide.
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  20. #20
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    This stuff works really well for me. I apply once a month

    Disc Brake Silencer | SwissStop

  21. #21
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    Hey;

    I have always used Hayes brakes. One bike has Nines, and it is much less prone to squawking, although it does do it to some extent. The other bike has Strokers, and they are HO-FREAKING-RENDOUS. I attribute the difference to the surface area of the pad, the Strokers being quite a bit larger than the Nines.

    I have tried various pads including organics, to no effect, other than not stopping for shite. I have tried different rotor shapes, thinking this would break the cycle of resonance, so far to no effect. I currently have two different experiments ready to go. One is a new set of Alligator Windcutter rotors, with their radical shaping. The other is a set of custom beveled pads with chamfered leading edges and opposing (not mirror image) bevels in the pad surface. All of this in an effort to not present a uniform surface that might trigger a resonance. We shall see.

    A friend with BB7s uses the preloaded caliper trick to good effect. I had never thought to try it, as it goes against the honored convention, and we all hate drag, but it might work on hydros too, if there is sufficient adjustment. I know it takes a TON of heat to "dry" my Strokers, but it does not last long.

    It seems that the newer Shimano and SRAM brakes are pretty quiet, as friends with these on new machines are running quiet so far. This may only be temporary.

    I have come to the opinion that moisture is glazing the surface of the brake pad with dust and other debris. I have noted the shiny glaze, sanded it off, had the squeal go away, only to return very quickly again with the first wet brake application. I believe what is causing this is a phenomenon similar to that which machinists refer to as stick-slip. With machines like lathes and mills that have heavy assemblies gliding on machined ways, there can be a repeated sticking and then jumping motion in the travel of the assemblies. Regular oils do not alleviate this. Special lubricants (way oil) are used that are formulated to resist this phenomenon.

    Sil Glyde is nothing but silicone grease, with other additives I'm sure. It likely acts as a dampening agent. I would imagine any grease that did not harden, thicken, stiffen, or dissolve might act the same. It is certainly worth a try. Automotive anti squeal compound basically glues the pad to the caliper piston, but also provides some damping quality.
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  22. #22
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    Hope floating sawtooth rotors 140/160, Shimano xtr 2014/2015 and clark's resin pads have been quiet, so far, riding 90hrs this month all on/in snow, slush and rain. I've also crashed and tipped over a few times but have yet to hear them howl/squeal yet. My BB7/BB7s and various avid rotors always made noise when wet, the Mechs, however always worked @ -20f, we'll see about these. I don't know why this setup is quiet but it is.

  23. #23
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    Seems to happen to me right after they salt roads and walkways. A few hours later and it usually goes away on a ride and if it hasn't snowed in a while I usually don't seem to get it.
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  24. #24
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    Local automotive store didn't have silglide but I picked up a bottle of CRC brand Disc Brake Quiet. Applying it now per the instructions on my Avid XX brakes. I'll follow up tomorrow afternoon with the results. I should know immediately if it worked or not.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in southwest Utah

  25. #25
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    That fatbike-in-the-snow brake noise thing.

    Embrace it. I love hearing that shriek echoing through the hills in the dead silent winter.

  26. #26
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    The noise is what was mentioned before, a harmonic vibration. More easily even, a vibration. A vibration is usually nothing more than two objects slipping and sticking to each other rapidly, which then causes the noise we hear.

    I think the BIG reason we hear it so much on bicycles, is because of weight. I think the majority of the noise is rotor related, not brake related. Bicycle rotors are SO light and thin, that it is stupid easy to cause a vibration in them. Water causes a slip/stick scenario which makes a major noise. Soon as the lubricant (water) is gone, the pads and rotor make a nice solid contact, and no noise.

    I would bet if our rotors were thicker, with much less cutout, a lot of noise would stop. I know I silenced my Maguras on my Cannondale F29 by flipping the rear rotor (to the opposite of the rotation stamped on the rotor), and putting a Hayes Vcut 203 rotor on the front.

    Instantly, the noise was gone. Same bike, same brakes, just different rotor and flipped rotor.

    Now my Farley with the Avid DB3 brakes is vibrating badly in the rear. I already swapped the front rotor to a 203, so that one stopped. I will flip the rear rotor and see what happens on it!@

  27. #27
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    Harmonic vibration? Uh.... maybe. Weight of the bike... hmmmm, could be a factor. I suspect there could be multiple causes. In my limited experience I've noticed (duh) that my bb7s are noisy when they are wet, winter or summer, don't matter. Summertime on hard trails I go faster, brake longer, harder, heat 'em up, dry 'em off and they quiet down... until the next puddle or stream crossing. Rinse and repeat. Wintertime on snow I suspect the pads and rotors are always a little wet from the small snow and ice particles kicked up by the tires. At slower speeds, the brakes don't get used enough to clear the ever present moisture. On the few occasions that they do, they quiet right down for me. Explains why the brakes are noisier on snow, and why the problem, for most riders anyway, seems to occur regardless of brand or pad composition.

    One thing I know for certain... doesnít bother me much. I've come to accept it one of those fatbike thangs.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    You know how when you correct toe-in a cantilever pair of brake pads, the howl greatly diminishes?

    There is no such control with disc rotor pads. What if there were such control?
    On my motorcycle there's a shim between the piston and pad shaped like this:

    The circular part matches the piston, and you can clearly see that it doesn't make a full circle - this makes the piston effectively push the pad only with the front part - just like a toe-in adjustment on canti- or road brakes.

    Sure the pads should be square to the rotor as Majack said, but because of a bit of flex here and there (caliper spreads apart when the pistons are pushed in, pistons are able to move in the caliper), adding some pressure to the front of the braking surface of the pad could really help.

    I've been toying with the idea of fabricating such shims from beer cans. My brakes are Avids so they should be a good candidate - if they can be quiet, any brakes can.

  29. #29
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    Ok, the follow up. NO, the anti-squeel compound DID NOT WORK. Save your dollars.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in southwest Utah

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Ok, the follow up. NO, the anti-squeel compound DID NOT WORK. Save your dollars.
    Thanks for guinea pigging, and following up with results.

  31. #31
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    I ride in cold. No squeal.
    I ride in warm. No squeal.
    I ride in rain. Squeal
    I ride in snow. Squeal.

    Wet brakes squeal.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiniTrail View Post
    interesting. sound is vibration so you basically glue the pad to the piston/caliper and it made no difference?

    don't understand
    Silicone likes to adhere to itself, generally. It's meant as a lubricant. He was trying to get it to do the opposite of sticking.

    I think what TrailMaker posted is correct analysis. For a microsecond, the pad and rotor makes a full and complete stop with respect to one another, breaks free, and repeats.
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  33. #33
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    More annoying than the sound is that the brakes don't work as well. Getting rid of the resonance is like treating the symptoms instead of the disease.
    Seems like a new pad compound and/or rotor material is needed. I've had better luck with sintered pads. As for rotors, the only alternative material I've seen is Titanium, and those rotors make steel seem quiet by comparison. Ceramic, maybe?

  34. #34
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    SiCCC rotors do exist for bikes, I've no experience with them.
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  35. #35
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    I think what causes disk brake noise has already been brought up on this thread, there is a stick-slip interaction between the rotor and the pad and that can drive the rotor to make noise. The rotor has a lot of surface area so it can generate quite a bit of sound. With the way that resonant systems work, the main factor in how much noise is generated is how well the natural resonance of the rotor matches the frequency that the pad-rotor interface drives it at. The reason that changing things like the brake pads works isnít that the new pads are magically better in some way, they just do the same thing at a different frequency which doesnít drive the rotor at its frequency. Things like cleaning the rotor which only works for a little while are doing the same thing, changing the frequency of the pad-rotor interaction so that it doesnít drive the rotor effectively. And it isnít just the pad-rotor interface that is involved, but the caliper and the brake piston and anything else that gets stressed when the brakes are applied. Since the brake piston-pad interface is involved that is why adding something there can change the resonant frequency of the stick-slip action. Once the rotor starts vibrating its resonance also feeds into the system, similar to how that works with a microphone experiencing feedback.

    I only started running disc brakes on bikes after I moved to Santa Barbara where it doesnít rain anymore, so I havenít really had to worry about noisy brakes. So Iíve never really had to deal with the problem. But it seems to me that since nicer brakes have less of a problem than cheap ones, if they are quiet it is because the resonance frequency of the rotor is below the resonance of the pad-rotor interaction. Nicer rotors are thinner, they have more slots, and sometimes they even have a floating mounting system. All of those things would lower the resonant frequency. Nicer calipers are made of better materials, have better design, and sometimes have cooling fins, all of those things would raise the resonant frequency. They also tend to have less material, which would lower the resonant frequency, but the most important thing for good brake feel in a caliper is that it doesnít expand when it is in use, so a good brake that does that will have a higher resonant frequency.

    So if you have brakes that are quiet when they are dry, and they start to make noise once they are wet, the most likely cause is that the water has lowered the resonant frequency of the pad-rotor interaction, and this frequency is now close enough to the rotorís resonant frequency that it is now driving the rotor to vibrate. Because of the way this system works changing things could work under some conditions and not others. If you could find a change that kept the resonant frequency of the pad-rotor interaction above the rotorís that would probably be pretty reliable, but if you tried one that managed to get the pad-rotor interaction below the rotorís frequency I think that at some point they will match up and make noise.

    The best way to deal with a resonance is to dampen it instead of move it. The anti-squeal compound that is put in car brakes works because it dampens the pad when the brakes are just lightly applied, which is a common application of car brakes. I donít think that much is going to be able to dampen the pad-rotor interaction when the brakes are applied heavily. If your brakes are only howling when they are lightly applied then an anti-squeal compound might work.

    I think the best way to try to stop it is to lower the resonance of the rotor.

    Once I get back to work Iíll post some Simple Harmonic Oscillator graphs so you can see what a resonance looks like plotted and learn about Q and what it means in your life.

  36. #36
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    My BB7's on my Moonlander don't squeal and have worked well for me. I had a Framed Minnesota 2.0 with BB5's and they didn't either. I set them up to engage quickly and as firmly as possible initially. Maybe since I like more of an on-off brake, and don't set them up to modulate as well as they could I am avoiding the squealing?

  37. #37
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    I had great success with the swiss stop product. I get at least 3 weeks with no squeal then just re apply. I use avid xx brakes with swiss stop pads.

  38. #38
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    Huh, I've gotten 4 or 5 rides on my new Farley 8 (so Avid DB 3 hydraulics), and all of them at least a little damp or on thin snow. No squealing, until yesterday when I rode on packed snow in freezing rain. The bike and I were pretty wet, and instantly the brakes howled like one of those annoying little horns you get at Christmas time. REALLY loud. At least it let the few people walking the trails know I was coming.

    Interestingly, the front and rear had a slightly different tone. Not surprising, really, considering how the noise is caused (stick-slip vibration causing resonance, as already described here).

    I dragged my rear brake a lot and that dried it off, so it mostly didn't howl. The front, though, was really loud, all the time.

    We haven't had snow here in over 10 days, and have had some rain in between, so there was no salt on the roads. So I can safely say the bike did not get a coating of salt on the way to the trails.

    The vibration was bad enough that it was making the frame of the bike "sing" a bit. I wonder if carbon bikes are less loud because of this?

    I'll have to try the dampening stuff...
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  39. #39
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    On rim brakes pressing the pads against the rim causes friction, which becomes greater as lever pressure is increased. Things flex and the pad no longer faces the rim square - friction is reduced, flexed things spring back - pad is square again, friction increases, and so on. Adjusting the pads to toe-in a little bit allows the friction to start small, and when flexing happens it only increases the contact surface between the pad and rim.

    I think resonance in disc brakes is caused according to the same principle. The piston is positioned more towards the front of the pad instead of dead middle, probably to decrease howling and improve braking performance. I guess it just needs to be taken a bit further. I don't see why a shim (such as the ones in my motorcycle brakes) wouldn't work the same way as a toe-in adjuster.

    Comments?

  40. #40
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    Heat them up. I find that my big-ass Hope V-4's are under used in my riding. So, the never really get to heat up (making noise)(especially in winter-cold & wet).

    There is one good downhill in my area, and when I purposely brake down the entire hill, they warm up and all noise goes away.

    Don't bother spending $ on items that are supposta stop noise, just warm them up with a long downhill.

    Works fer me.

  41. #41
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    Cleaning the pads as well as the rotors with IPA (isopropyl alcohol) helps but does not cure the situation for good. I found the pads with metal are way less noisy than the resin ones.

  42. #42
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    My brakes only squeal on my bikes (Avids on one, Shimano on the other) when I drive to the trailhead and there's wet, salty crap on the roads following a snowfall.
    The bikes are on a T2 on the back of the truck. When I arrive, the bike is slightly damp and salty. The brakes squeal on the beginning of the ride. Once I've braked a few times, it always goes away.
    I like turtles

  43. #43
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    Organic pads reduce squeal, but they also wear out faster.

    I have never found anything to stop brake squeal, it was the same problem with rim brakes; for those who remember

    I was driving my wife crazy the other day, she was on XC gear, I was riding around her in circles making up songs with my brake squeal

  44. #44
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    Follow Up;

    I may be able to claim some success. As mentioned, I beveled the pads on my howling Hayes Strokers. I chamfered the leading edge, and I also cut an angled chamfer into the middle of the pad. These chamfers are opposite each other in mirror, not mirror images. Thought being to interrupt any possible pattern causing a resonance.

    It was a rather warm day at 28F or so, but dry, as in low humidity, with a couple of inches of fresh powder. My brakes were SILENT until the very end of the ride when the rear started barking again. No explanation as to why, but there it is. The front remained quiet and still is. I even rode through a creek and things stayed quiet until about the last 100yds.

    I can come up with two possibilities as to why this worked. Either it was dry enough to keep the pads from glazing, making it a humidity thing, or I actually did manage to interrupt a resonant frequency by presenting the rotor with an irregular, non linear surface.

    The next test will be to try the Alligator Winductter rotors, which are severely relieved and irregular in their braking surface.

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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonshonda View Post
    I have heard setting up your bb7's so the drag just a little bit will genterate enough heat to keep them from yelling. I have no first hand experience.

    I personally am so annoyed by the brakes that I do my best to not use them. Makes me a better rider I guess.
    what he said.

    I love it when I realize mid ride that I am actively staying off the brakes simply to quell the noise.

  46. #46
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    Anyone thought about using some 'plastidip' on the inside area of the rotors to dampen the resonance of them? You could paint the stuff on in the area between the braking area and the bolt pattern...And if it doesn't work you can scrape it off.

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  47. #47
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    I think that plastidip would have a hard time making any difference. The difference in stiffness between the rotor and the plastidip would be too great. The stiffness has to match up in order to make a difference. It's similar to a fork where you have to bump up the dampening when you increase the spring rate. Between the plastidip and rotor the difference is probably at least two orders of magnitude.

  48. #48
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    So what material do you think? Derlin, poly? For recoil pads I've used a limbsaver, which helps, obviously frequency is a lot higher in this application but I did find something that might be cool for the bars.
    Comfort-Tech Grip Wrap | LimbSaver - Products That Work | Archery | Firearms | Hunting Compound Bows | Limb Dampeners | Bow Stabilizers | Recoil Pads | Arrow Quivers

    (also they have something for weed wacker shafts as well...)
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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by DethWshBkr View Post
    ...

    I think the BIG reason we hear it so much on bicycles, is because of weight. I think the majority of the noise is rotor related, not brake related. Bicycle rotors are SO light and thin, that it is stupid easy to cause a vibration in them. Water causes a slip/stick scenario which makes a major noise. Soon as the lubricant (water) is gone, the pads and rotor make a nice solid contact, and no noise.

    I would bet if our rotors were thicker, with much less cutout, a lot of noise would stop....
    If you want to talk weight...
    Our tandem has not been ridden hard in awhile, but it has a 203mm Aztec front rotor that I bought specifically because it was thicker (in consideration of heat dissipation, not any thought of squeaks or howls). I can't remember it ever squeaking (even with 2 adults and 80# on the tag-a-long = ~460# total). So maybe the heavy rotor idea has some merit.
    Our tandem has a BB7 front caliper and still has rear V-brakes.

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  50. #50
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    If you do a search for "Dampening Material" you find some things that might make a difference. Mostly sheets of material meant to be applied to sheet metal in a vehicle to make that quieter. It would be more effective in its intended use since a big piece of sheet metal is so prone to vibration and the sheet would be applied to the whole surface, instead of just the area between the center of the rotor and the braking surface. But I think it at least would stand a chance of doing something.

  51. #51
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    This isn't rocket science....

    You guys are making this much more complicated than it is.
    The squeal is not created by your rotors or pads moving left or right, your brake pistons clamp the rotor and eliminate this. The squeal is from the pads moving front to rear or slightly up and down in that dimension.
    I mentioned the Silglide previously as that is what I have used on countless cars, motorcycles and bikes and have NEVER had squealing brakes. This is readily accepted in motor sports circles and the solution to this problem. I saw that Silentfoe used some other product without success and just because of this I would not write off the procedure. Try the Silglide, it is more important to get it on the edges of your pads than on the back.
    To do the job completely , unless your bike is new, deglaze your rotors and pads by scrubbing lightly with a Brillo pad.
    If you follow the same procedures on your bike as you should in your vehicle, of lightly applying your brakes after traversing water your rotors will stay dry. If your rotors are wet and you suddenly brake hard.......water doesn't compress, your pads will oscillate and yes, you will get squeal. Just occasionally drag them lightly to remove the surface water and you will be good.
    I will stake all one squares of my reputation on this

  52. #52
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    So far what I've gleaned from this thread:

    + Some riders have success with certain brake rotor additives and good behavior
    - Some riders do not have success with additives
    + Some riders have success with controlled abrasion
    - The positive effects are temporary

    As far as making this more difficult than it needs to be, sometimes it can yield a surprise result that is better than anything available prior, via a group effort.

    Not very often. But sometimes.

    I sketched this up a while ago after being inspired from reading this thread. I slept on it regarding sharing this stupid drawing, and I stashed it away in The Pile.

    I stumbled on it today. It's going to be all wet soon. Disclaimer, I have not yet tried the silglide. I have not yet tried it because I haven't been doing all that much dirt at all this summer because cough variety is the spice of life and I've learned to appreciate road riding a little. The high speed surfaces all will vanish before too long.

    With that in mind, below is just more thought exercise. Not even relevant to what I'm doing currently.

    TrailMaker convinced me that the only way to really prevent squeal from happening is to avoid fouling the pads in the first place.

    I want a brake configuration that can solve brake squeal regardless of rider wisdom and input. There is a limitation to this because ice is a b****, but I wonder how far it could go.

    The main problems with the idea of a wiper are:

    1) There would need to be some pause before actual braking occurs where a portion of wiping happens first (otherwise what is the point).
    2) This pause would likely have to be solved mechanically, which presents problems to the pads being torqued in ways they are not currently designed to tolerate.

    How to determine wheel RPM mechanically?

    Yeah, not an easy answer in sight.

    That fatbike-in-the-snow brake noise thing.-wet_brake_squeal.jpg
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  53. #53
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    Just saw this. Some wrong premises here. Brake squeal in vehicles is caused by the excitation of an out of plane mode of the rotor being closely coupled to an in plane mode. The pressing of the pads excites the OOP mode which then excites the IP mode creating noise. The noise is the bane of automotive manufacturers as it is one of the most expensive warranty fixes done to cars.

    The cure for the auto manufacturers is to design a rotor and pad combination. The rotor is designed geometrically to minimize the closely coupled modes and the pad interface to not excite the ones that are close. Of course this is further complicated by the fact that these modes and excitation can shift with changing thickness of pads/rotors, temperature and stuff that sticks to them be it corrosion, dirt or water.

    What I would first do is ask that everyone who doesn't have squeal to post up what brake rotor, what pad, and what caliper they are using. If there are none then starting to look for bandaids that either dampen the resonance mode or excitation would be the next step. I'd prefer a solution to a bandaid though.

  54. #54
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    Holy. Look at the big brain on Brad!

    Seriously though, Deephaven are you talking about pad shape or composition? Because after market pads are so prevalent it would seem replacing pads with non OEM would exacerbate the problem which I don't believe is the case.
    "At least I'm enjoying the ride"

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  55. #55
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    Some rotor designs are more robust making pad choice less of a concern. In the case of cars some pads make it worse some don't.

    I will clarify I've never looked at this for bike brakes but have literally done measurments for every OE supplier for automotive.

  56. #56
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    when you don't hear anything is the time to worry.

  57. #57
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    About 4 months I took some high grit sand paper to my rotors and pads. Squeal went away and hasn't returned.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    About 4 months I took some high grit sand paper to my rotors and pads. Squeal went away and hasn't returned.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
    That was called "summer" around these parts.
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  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    That was called "summer" around these parts.
    My brakes were squealing all of last winter and this past summer. The sandpaper did the trick so far.

    I did like shown here but skipped using the brake cleaner.

    Tech Tuesday - Silence That Squeaky Disc Brake - Pinkbike

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    My brakes were squealing all of last winter and this past summer. The sandpaper did the trick so far.

    I did like shown here but skipped using the brake cleaner.

    Tech Tuesday - Silence That Squeaky Disc Brake - Pinkbike
    Haven't had any bike brake squeaking but I've done this to almost every rotor/pad I've ever owned. Pre season maintenance item for my snowmobiles etc.
    "At least I'm enjoying the ride"

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  61. #61
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    When my pads get noisy, I swap them front to rear. The hard spots on the pad, and the imperfections on the rotor are renewed and everything gets quiet again. There's lots of stuff in a brake pad, that affects how the pad behaves.

    Cleaning the rotor (alcohol or sanding) of brake material only restarts the bedding process.

    Seriously, try swapping the pads out front to rear and see what happens.

    Even swapping pads from inside/outside will have similar effects. The pad will grain and have a direction to them after a long period of use...
    Todd

  62. #62
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    So rear brake howls & vibrates/shakes whole bike when I grip a lot of brake until they warm up, yet front brake is always quiet no matter how hard I pull. So the front is connected to carbon fork while rear connected to aluminum frame. The squeal/howl doesn't bother me as much as the whole bike vibrating. Could a the carbon front vs aluminum rear have anything to do with it?

  63. #63
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    Subscribed to try and learn.
    This is my second season on my fat bike. Brakes are SRAM Guide, 180 mm rotors. The fattie is my winter bike and the few times I rode on dirt when new, the brakes were silent. The first time they hit snow, they began to howl and oscillate. Dragging the brakes to heat them up did not solve anything. I dealt with it all winter and decided I'd swap pads in the fat bike off season. Summer rolled around and the squealing went away, so no need to swap pads and the bike was basically stored for the summer. This fall I brought the fattie back out and the pads were quiet in the beginning. First time through snow though and the howling and oscillating returned. I decided to swap pads and initially they were quiet as well. But then the howling returned and like before, I can't get rid of it. I wondered if it was just these SRAM brakes, but it sounds like it is more universal. I'm interested in trying the silglide.

  64. #64
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    Rode last week in the snow, brakes started squealing. Haven't added silglide since last Winter. Added Silglide, rode Saturday in the snow= no squeal. It's a simple fix and has worked with every pad/ rotor combo I've used. Works on my vehicles too, not that complicated. A little on the rear of the pad and then do the edges without getting any in the pad surface and you'll be good.
    And no jokes about the snow in Moab

  65. #65
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    I'd love to have my brakes howling in the snow, but since there's none to be found in northern Illinois I'll just have to drop in on this discussion.....

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAM313 View Post
    Rode last week in the snow, brakes started squealing. Haven't added silglide since last Winter. Added Silglide, rode Saturday in the snow= no squeal. It's a simple fix and has worked with every pad/ rotor combo I've used. Works on my vehicles too, not that complicated. A little on the rear of the pad and then do the edges without getting any in the pad surface and you'll be good.
    And no jokes about the snow in Moab
    Just ordered some, I'll post Monday with the results.

  67. #67
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    I tried this product it had no effect. Maybe I didn't get the application right.

  68. #68
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    My theory - brakes get hot during use then in the cold, damp air moisture condenses on the rotors as they cool then howl next time they're used.
    No moss...

  69. #69
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    Nope, complete fail, Silglide made absolutely no difference on either brake.

    I got a tube for sale if anyone wants to try it

    Quote Originally Posted by SAM313 View Post
    Rode last week in the snow, brakes started squealing. Haven't added silglide since last Winter. Added Silglide, rode Saturday in the snow= no squeal. It's a simple fix and has worked with every pad/ rotor combo I've used. Works on my vehicles too, not that complicated. A little on the rear of the pad and then do the edges without getting any in the pad surface and you'll be good.
    And no jokes about the snow in Moab

  70. #70
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    I've had squealing with all brakes I've used but one set. SRAM Guide Ulitmates. They are the only 4 piston brakes I've used, and I think that the calipers delivering more force to the trailing edge of the pads (larger pistons than the leading edge) helps prevent and dampen the harmonic.

    These are Guide Ultimates with the Centerline 6 bolt rotors mounted to DT Centerlock adaptors.

    Sets that have squealed.

    XTR Trail
    XTR Race
    BB7
    Sram Level T (Loud)
    Avid X0
    Avid DB5
    Avid Elixer R (Loud)

    Any body else have experience with Guides, or any other 4 piston brake?

    I also think that flexy and light seat stays can amplify the resonance.

  71. #71
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    My sram guide r brakes with centerline rotors do not squeal at all. Even when wet.

  72. #72
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    My fat bike brakes that squeal and resonate crazy loud once snow season hits are SRAM guide with 180 mm centerline rotors. Current model year of my bike says it comes with the SRAM Guide RS which I believe was the case for my previous year version as well. I rode this bike a couple times this summer they were quiet, but once snow hit them they began squealing again. New brake pads did not cure it.

    I rode this weekend on my 29er MTB with Shimano XT brakes. They squealed once they got wet, but the squealing largely went away with pad heating.

  73. #73
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    FWIW... my SRAM Guide Ultimates howl when they're wet. I drag them a few seconds and they dry out & stop howling.

  74. #74
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    I must admit, my experience is quite limited; however, I can say that the Magura MT5s on my phattie are quieter than a church mouse; whereas, the BB7s on my wife's phattie howl like colicky newborn.

    Could be a hydraulic vs. mechanical thing, but I also noticed some comments about 4-piston (hydraulic). The Magura MT5s on my bike are 4-piston and seem pretty kick-butt.
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  75. #75
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    yeah I have SRAM Level TL on my new fatbike, quiet the first 3 rides but they are now noisy. Since I hear every fatbike here in the snowy trails squealing as well, I was wondering if changing them for XT would help or not. I have new XT brakes with Ice-tech rotors on my summer ride, haven't heard any squealing yet. But never tried them in the snow.

  76. #76
    Thin Man on a Fat bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Nope, complete fail, Silglide made absolutely no difference on either brake.

    I got a tube for sale if anyone wants to try it
    I guess being a Nurse you would have to clinically look at why one cure works for one patient yet not for another with the same symptoms? There are other tactics for braking in the wet that you must also adhere to, such as drifting your pads on the rotors to remove water before hard braking. Water doesn't compress and if you suddenly grab a handful of brake, yup you'll get squeal. I would urge you to try different braking styles in conjunction with the Silglide and hopefully you'll have the same results as I have.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAM313 View Post
    I guess being a Nurse you would have to clinically look at why one cure works for one patient yet not for another with the same symptoms? There are other tactics for braking in the wet that you must also adhere to, such as drifting your pads on the rotors to remove water before hard braking. Water doesn't compress and if you suddenly grab a handful of brake, yup you'll get squeal. I would urge you to try different braking styles in conjunction with the Silglide and hopefully you'll have the same results as I have.
    Yeah dude, you got me, I have no idea how to use brakes, modulation you say, pad rotation, glide the brakes to warm em up, clean the pads, hah!

    Unlike you poor earthling, this nurse simply waves a hand like so (hand flourishes over the brakes), and whammo, problem solved

    BTW, you need to give up your square, three big neg reps on your product from silentfoe, sbsbiker, and this guy. Just saying.

  78. #78
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    My brakes used to squeal. Not any more. Took the rotor and pads off summer of 2015 and sanded them down with 400 grit sand paper.

    No squeals last winter, no squeals this past summer. No squeals this winter.



    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

  79. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Yeah dude, you got me, I have no idea how to use brakes, modulation you say, pad rotation, glide the brakes to warm em up, clean the pads, hah!

    Unlike you poor earthling, this nurse simply waves a hand like so (hand flourishes over the brakes), and whammo, problem solved

    BTW, you need to give up your square, three big neg reps on your product from silentfoe, sbsbiker, and this guy. Just saying.
    My Camaro brembo brakes had big roller-skate looking weights on the pads because they detected a resonance issue on some of the early models. When changing, they also came with grease to add to the back of the pad, but that's pretty standard in auto brakes. My BMW brakes will make a little noise at slow speeds, seems pretty similar to my fatbike actually. At high speeds on the fatbike, the brakes don't make nose, but at low speed, they sometimes do. I have had it so bad on the fatbike that the thing wouldn't provide any significant braking (due to just vibrating back and forth). That seemed to be a contamination issue and sometimes an alignment issue. Standard decontamination process and realign fixed. Because mountain bike brakes are so much more susceptible to contamination, I hesitate to put any kind of grease on the back of the pads, as the film of grease tends to "flow" around the backside and edges of such structures.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Yeah dude, you got me, I have no idea how to use brakes, modulation you say, pad rotation, glide the brakes to warm em up, clean the pads, hah!

    Unlike you poor earthling, this nurse simply waves a hand like so (hand flourishes over the brakes), and whammo, problem solved

    BTW, you need to give up your square, three big neg reps on your product from silentfoe, sbsbiker, and this guy. Just saying.
    No reason to get nasty, just trying to help people. It's pretty simple, my brakes don't squeal, I found a solution that works. If you bring your bike to Moab I'll fix your brakes for you for free........As long as you don't call me "dude" can't get into that generational term

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAM313 View Post
    No reason to get nasty, just trying to help people. It's pretty simple, my brakes don't squeal, I found a solution that works. If you bring your bike to Moab I'll fix your brakes for you for free........As long as you don't call me "dude" can't get into that generational term

    Where in Moab? I'm on my way

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAM313 View Post
    No reason to get nasty, just trying to help people. It's pretty simple, my brakes don't squeal, I found a solution that works. If you bring your bike to Moab I'll fix your brakes for you for free........As long as you don't call me "dude" can't get into that generational term
    I'm just giving you shite, I bought that crap in hopes it would work. I'm a bike guy, worked in shops, been working on bikes for forty years, squealing brakes are sometimes a fact of life, esp in the wet and cold. If I cant fix a squealer at this point in my life, then it's probably not fixable. Nothing personal, dude

  83. #83
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    If you all stop squeezing those levers on the front of your bars, the squeeeeling will go away !

  84. #84
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    I deglaze my rotors with sand paper or a scotch pad, then isopropyl. Ill torch my pads to burn off any oil or whatever then soak them in brake clean. If they still squeal after that its new pad time. Im going to kill these pads then only run metallic going forward.
    Fatbike, XC bike, Gravel Bike....

  85. #85
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    My Motobacane didn't have as much squeal as my Beargrease. The Moto had cheaper Shimano hydro brakes and rotors, the Beargrease has XT. I wonder if the heavier rotors on the cheap brakes helped diminish the brakes squeal? Thoughts?

  86. #86
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    Okay, I have been reading these posts for a little while and every time I think "what are they talking about, I ride in the snow and cold everyday and have never had any squealing". Then yesterday on my ride my rear brake started to squeal in a tiny vibration type noise. As I read through the posts I think I caused it to happen by riding a night on salty roads. Since that salty road night I have a weird vibration squeal on my rear rotor that is not impacted by heating the pads up, in fact I store my bike inside and when I go to wheel it out it squeals a little. How can I clean the salt or whatever is causing the vibration noise?

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1spd1way View Post
    If you all stop squeezing those levers on the front of your bars, the squeeeeling will go away !
    I'm working on that, but it's been a process. It's been okay until I get to the turns where there's not enough snow bank to sliw me down.

    I'm thinking of wearing an extra large shell that I can deploy like a parachute.

    The anchor thing is kinda sketchy when you ride with a buddy, it also takes too much reeling in the chain.

    I thought about wearing knee pads, pressing them into the tire to slow down, but it seems akward.

  88. #88
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    I've had squealing brakes in the summer- rotors had gotten muddy. Cleaned them up, noise gone.
    Fat bike howls sometimes, and I wipe down the rotors, does 90% of the job. Drag brakes while pedaling for a little, backing off before the howl, and clean them up that way. Works for me.
    Thinking about it, I had a poorly aligned caliper causing a howl, had to re-face the I.S. mount on the seat stay. This bike had never had disc mounted before, and the angles were way off.

  89. #89
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    New pads...Buffed rotor with some emery cloth...cleaned with rubbing alcohol.

    Quiet.

  90. #90
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  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geek View Post
    Does not work.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in southwest Utah

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    Heheh I did a 600+ mile drive on salty slushy roads a few days ago with the bikes on the back of the car and they got coated with all sortsa nastiness. Think they're going to be noisy today

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    I have followed this thread because I hoped that someone has figured out what to against the noise when riding in the snow. On the mountains around here, braking is not optional. When the rotor got in touch with snow, the brake (Guide RS) would make a loud noise until it became hot enough to dry. I have experienced this with the stock pads and rotor as well as other combinations of pads and rotors.

    Last week, I had my bike at a friend's place and he sprayed his cross country skis with something next to my bike. I suppose some of the spray got on the front rotor because the dry front brake squealed like crazy from the start. After the ride I cleaned the rotor with brake cleaner and gave the front wheel to a friend to try the Bud tyre. The rotor had a short descent (only approx. 1200 feet) on this other bike with SLX brakes. I rode it again yesterday in conditions from 4 inches of perfect snowball making type snow to slush. In the end the bike felt 3 lbs heavier for all the snow and slush sticking to it. Everything was wet, but there was not a single brake noise the entire time. Not even when I began the descent with a cold and wet rotor. I have no idea if it was due to cleaning the rotor, the different pads or the combination of both.

  94. #94
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    I have a feeling a lot of the problems people are having in this thread are related to not properly bedding your pads, which causes some sort of hard glazing on them. Most people are able to fix the problem by sanding and/or using brake cleaner.

    If you have squealing try sanding the pads and rotors and then bed them in properly on a dry riding surface. Try not to get the brakes wet when bedding them in or you may have to start over.

  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAM313 View Post
    Contrary to popular belief it is not the pads that cause squeal, but they can contribute. The squeal is caused by a harmonic resonance between the metal backing of your pad and the caliper material.
    Go to your local Napa auto parts store and buy a product called Silglide in the brake parts area. Remove your pads, put a light coating of the Silglide on the metal edges of your pads and very thin coating on the back using your fingertip. Be careful not to get any directly on your pads. Reinstall your pads.
    I have done this on every bike with disc brakes and it immediately solves the problem. If it starts again, which it seldom does, just repeat the procedure.

    Good luck
    you nailed it, at least on my Farley. Thanks!

  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by shoots View Post
    I have a feeling a lot of the problems people are having in this thread are related to not properly bedding your pads, which causes some sort of hard glazing on them. Most people are able to fix the problem by sanding and/or using brake cleaner.

    If you have squealing try sanding the pads and rotors and then bed them in properly on a dry riding surface. Try not to get the brakes wet when bedding them in or you may have to start over.
    I don't think so. I always bed in my pads and rotors. My brakes only squeal when riding in the snow....which is what the OP is talking about.
    It's definitely water related, goes away after a couple heat generating applications of the brakes.

  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by KThaxton View Post
    I don't think so. I always bed in my pads and rotors. My brakes only squeal when riding in the snow....which is what the OP is talking about.
    It's definitely water related, goes away after a couple heat generating applications of the brakes.
    ^^^This.

    There isn't a fat bike in the snow I have seen yet that doesn't have squeaky brakes at some point.

  98. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by shoots View Post
    I have a feeling a lot of the problems people are having in this thread are related to not properly bedding your pads, which causes some sort of hard glazing on them. Most people are able to fix the problem by sanding and/or using brake cleaner.

    If you have squealing try sanding the pads and rotors and then bed them in properly on a dry riding surface. Try not to get the brakes wet when bedding them in or you may have to start over.
    Meh, I don't think so. My brakes squeal only in the snow and it goes away after a number of seconds of the brakes being applied. Like most others here, the squeal occurs only in the snow. Show up to a fat bike race and the roll out sounds like a flock of geese.

  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCheesehead View Post
    Meh, I don't think so. My brakes squeal only in the snow and it goes away after a number of seconds of the brakes being applied. Like most others here, the squeal occurs only in the snow. Show up to a fat bike race and the roll out sounds like a flock of geese.
    I think all brakes do this. The problem many people in this thread are having is squealing brakes that does not go away once warmed up or after the first initial few times the brake is applied.

    I've always just sanded my brakes when they squeal and it solves it.

  100. #100
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    Mine squeaks a little when it's wet, like above 32 degrees and the snow has turned to slush/puddles and that makes it into my brakes a bit. Until it "burns off" with some braking, they howl a bit. I'm totally fine with this because when things are frozen, they are dead silent.

    There is a different resonance problem that occurs when the frequency of the caliper and rear frame members allows the vibration to propagate, causing turkey-warble and loss of control while riding when it's bad enough. The basic issue is similar, but the "system" allows it to keep going. There's a good thread in the specialized forum where the users seem to have the best understanding of the issue that I've seen so far. One of the bike companies has even installed a harmonic damper on their brakes to address this and a few variations of this are shown that people have done themselves. If you have this problem, it's not as simple as changing pads or rotors. Those might work, but they might not, there's no way to tell if it will be successful, but addressing the resonance by putting some kind of damper on there or changing the frequency (see the inner tube trick) can be much more of a sure-shot to address it.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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