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I took my bike in recently for the usual periodic overhaul. One set of brake pads was replaced, brake cables (relatively new) were lubed, all that good stuff.

Since then, both front and back brakes (so, one with brand-new pads, one with older) have developed a periodic once-a-pedal-cycle squeak... but only when it's cold out (roughly, freezing or under). I took the bike inside today, and it didn't squeak at all on the start of my ride afterwards, but was just starting to squeak again as I got home.

On the back brake (worse squeaker, new pads), I can stop the squeak while riding if I squeeze the brake just a tiny bit -- not quite enough to engage it.

Bike has non-hydraulic disc brakes, carbon drive with Alfine IGH. Brake effectiveness is fine.

Ideas for what's causing this and how I can make it stop? It's maddening.

Similar but not identical: How do I get rid of the noise on my Hayes Stroker Trail brakes

  • Could be a number of things, The new cables could need bedding In?Are your wheels seated in dropouts correctly? Have you reset the pistons when installed new pads? The once a rotation squeak could indicate your rotors may be warped, or the rotor bolts loose? – Hitchmo Mar 17 '17 at 12:02
  • Could you clarify, is the squeak happening when you're not even touching the brake levers? The first asnwer belows seems to assume you're experiencing typical "brake squeal" when actually braking, but I'm reading this as the brakes are making noise when you're not even touching them. – SSilk Jun 16 '17 at 20:28
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    Also, I once dialed in my cantilever brakes so close to the rim that at home they were fine, and not rubbing, but when I took the bike outside at around 5'C, they started rubbing after a few minutes due to changes in flex of the frame and/ or cables tightening up from the cold. Had to back them off a bit. You could try the same. – SSilk Jun 16 '17 at 20:30
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    The new pads will need bedding in, so that's 30 hard stops from speed to still. Can you confirm if the squeak is once per pedal rotation or once per wheel rotation ? Does it squeak while you're coasting? – Criggie Jul 16 '17 at 7:20
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From my experience, different brakes work in different condition. Some might scream like mad in certain weather. My brakes scream when its raining while my friends bike's brakes scream everyday everytime. If this is not the case with your brakes, give it some time to break in or check if there is any oil substance on the contact surface.

Hope it helps !

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It is likely the temperature change combined with imperfections in your rotor. No rotor is perfectly straight, all will have a slight deviation from centre. The colder weather can make metal contract, which can exacerbate any imperfections, and could cause the rotor to start interacting with the brake pad as you ride. The squeak can come from an on/off interaction that can happen if only one part of the rotor touches the pad.

Since then, both front and back brakes (so, one with brand-new pads, one with older) have developed a periodic once-a-pedal-cycle squeak

The "once-a-pedal-cycle" is consistent with a single on/off interaction.

On the back brake (worse squeaker, new pads), I can stop the squeak while riding if I squeeze the brake just a tiny bit -- not quite enough to engage it.

By applying the brake the brake pad likely starts interact with more of the rotor surface so it's less of an on/off interaction and the noise subsides.

Ideas for what's causing this and how I can make it stop? It's maddening.

The squeak can often resolve on its own as the brake pad wears more thereby increasing the distance between the pad and the rotor. You can try to get the same result by adjusting the brake caliper, either by backing off the pad with the pad adjuster or potential he re-centering the caliper so that there is more space. I will typically inspect the bike in the stand and see which side of the caliper and rotor will hit and make adjustments accordingly. If the rotor is significantly out of true it can be realigned there's a special tool for that but you can also use a large Crescent wrench. This can take some practice because it is easy to make the problem worse than rather than better.

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I had an issue with with my front brake. It wasn't so much a squeak but a click once per rotation. I tightened my thru axle and it went away. Could be that you aren't quite seated in the drop outs. It could be that your disc is ever do slightly warped. It could be a little contaminant on the discs (a drop of grease). And, it's possible that this will disappear after a few good rides.

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