My V brakes make a lot of noise when I brake! I am annoyed by such noise, not to mention the pedestrians. My mechanic said that it will not make this noise after using it for couple of days, but it is not happening, it's already been about a month.

Should I grind the pads and then use it (I don't want to do this, it's a expensive set)? Or there is some other way?

I did see this question but the answer was not quite helpful.

  • If it makes a difference, I am using V brakes.
    – Starx
    Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 4:35
  • Two words: Kool Stop. No squealing for me since I switched to their pads, even in rain.
    – fideli
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 6:55
  • I have salmon kool stops, they were squealing like crazy after a bit of wear, had to re-adjust the toe in as suggested by Moz, which eliminated the squeal. If the squeal is also accompanied by shuddering in the fork / handlebars, you may also want to make sure your headset is tight.
    – Benzo
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 16:33

5 Answers 5


I suspect the pads are not correctly toed-in. This problem will not correct itself over time.

If the pads are parallel to the rim then when you brake the leading edge of the pad bunches up a little and bounces off the rim. Fast. So you get squealing.

To avoid this you should adjust the pads so that the trailing edge is very slightly closer to the rim. Most packaged brake pads have this explained on the package, and conveniently the thickness of a bit of cardboard is a good distance to have the leading edge out from the rim. So the instructions usually say "use the package as a pad".

The easy way is to put something under the leading edge of the pad, squeeze the brake lever slightly, then do up the mounting bolts slightly. Hold the brake pad with one hand (to stop it rotating), the spanner or allen key in your other hand, and the brake lever with your gripping hand. If you're disadvantaged in the hand department I find that doing up the brake pad lightly while holding the brake lever, then releasing the lever and holding the pad to tighten it works.

The Park Tool website has an extended description.

brake pad toe-in

  • 1
    I will definately check this.
    – Starx
    Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 5:06
  • @Starx there are a few important details in @moz's answer. My technique is almost the same: For me the 'put something under the leading edge of the pad' is normally the cardboard backing from the brake-block packaging folded in half and put right at the back. (i.e. double thickness.) To reiterate important point two, with the brake lever pulled on tight you can get the block to sit on the rim squarely, with the correct toe-in and it not move around when you begin to tension the bolt. (No need to directly hold it at this stage.) I suggest your mechanic was fobbing you off, b.t.w. Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 9:24
  • @Мסž, I did it, but no luck. After the adjustment it's just squeaking a lot more. However, riding during rain, or when the rim is wet, the squeaking is slightly minimised !!! Got any more ideas.
    – Starx
    Commented Jul 1, 2011 at 10:49
  • 2
    @Starx: are you really sure you did it the right way round? The gap needs to be where the rim enters the brakes, which is toward the back of the bike. It will help if you clean the rims (soapy water and a plastic scourer pad from the kitchen is fine), also the brake pads (dig out any chunks of metal, then sand or file off the dirty top layer). Also, what @Karl said below - if the pivots are worn and that's causing the squeal, you need new ones. Thick grease might help a little, but replacement is what you need to actually fix that.
    – Мסž
    Commented Jul 3, 2011 at 22:57
  • 4
    Moz, the use of terms leading and trailing in your answer is a little confusing. I understand you're trying to make it relative to the approach of the wheel, but referring to front and back relative to the bike would be clearer. Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 14:54

Squealing can also happen if the brake calipers are a little loose from wear and tear. Toeing in will still help but may not completely eliminate the squeal.

  • I dont understand "Toeing in Will" and by brake calipers, do you mean brake pads?
    – Starx
    Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 8:39

My v-brakes squealed when applied and moaned when riding slow. I tried all of the toe in and out and different pads to no avail. One day I had the front wheel off and notice a very tiny bit of play in the axle. I tightened the bearing cup to snug but the wheel still spun freely. No more noise. Next day I did the same for the rear wheel and now my bike is stealth quiet.


Had the same problem, used a pot scrub cleaner for stainless steel on the rims - got rid of the squeak.


I got a new wheel/rim and new brake pads and they had a terrible high-pitch squeak/squeal when braking. Tried all of the options suggested first - alcohol cleaning, toe-in - none helped much. Last option I read on some other web site is to use a wet rag with some commercial dish/pot cleaning powder - like Comet (US) or Vim (UK, Africa, elsewhere) - sprinkled on the rag; tried that - just a few dabs of the damp paste on either side of the wheel rims where the brakes would contact and the squeak went away.

  • 4
    I don't think I'd use Comet -- it is specifically marked not for use on aluminum or rubber.
    – Batman
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 22:02
  • Welcome to Bicycles @Dave. I see you've said like Comet. Was it actually Comet? If so, does it recommend against use on Al, and is there any visible damage? Perhaps you could edit your answer to respond to the criticism. Also please take the tour, so you can learn more about how this site works.
    – andy256
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 23:49

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