Squealing canti brakes
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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002

    Squealing canti brakes

    Hi all -

    This is a topic that I'm sure anyone with a cross bike has had to deal with. I have a cross bike that is my main road ride. The front brake is a cantilever (Avid Shorty Ti) and I find that when I brake, especially on steep descents, it sounds as though the gates to hell have been opened. I find myself riding the brakes all the time while descending, just so that I won't have to hit them hard and make them squeal.

    I've tried the usual solutions:

    I've toed in the brakes. This helps but never eliminates the problem -- when increasing the toe angle the brakes lose stopping power well before the squealing goes away.

    I've changed the brake pads. I'm currently using koolstop salmons. I've tried ceramic-rim pads, but they don't have enough stopping power. The standard black pads that came with the brakes had the same amount of squeal.

    I've heard that the squeal is caused by brake flex: when the brake is squeezed hard, the brake arms twist so that the toe in is canceled out, and then they squeal. Is this correct? And if so, how should I fix it?

    These are the options that I have in mind:
    - Put on a brake booster. Does anyone know if this would work?
    - Switch to V-brakes plus a Travel Agent.
    - Use some expensive cantis like Paul's.

    How have you solved (or tried to solve) the squealing?

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: PsyDoc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004

    I have heard

    That the Avids squeal like the Look pedals squeak; you cannot avoid it. I have not heard of any solutions to fix it, though. Have you tried lightly sanding the brake pads and cleaning the braking surface of the wheel really well (a scotch brite pad works well; the scratch or non-scratch versions).

    I put a pair of the travel agents on a mountain bike with a road bar. In my opinion, the travel agents are a pain in the a$$ to install, and do not work as well as I thought they should. They did increase braking power, but not by much and certainly not enough to justify the time it took to install them. Again, this is all my experience with them and I am a pretty comfortable do-it-yourselfer. These were a gift from a bike mechanic friend of mine and he even said these things were a pain.

  3. #3
    Reputation: PaulNYC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Put on Brake Boosters. They solved the problem for me.
    Catchup contains natural mellowing agents that help you take your mind off the darker side of things. - Catchup Advisory Board

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