I have rim brakes on my fairly new bike which I ride to work every day. An issue I have with this bike is that the front rim brake starts squealing as soon as the conditions are slightly wet. There is no reduction in performance for my purposes.

I looked at other questions in the forum and they all address rim brakes squealing all the time (How do I make my rim brakes stop squealing?) or disk brakes squealing in rain. (Why do my disc brakes squeal when wet?). Nothing I found addresses rim brakes which only squeal in the rain.

Should I just accept the fact that since I have decently powerful rim brakes, they will always squeal in the rain or can I do something?

Please be gentle, this is my first question.

  • 2
    Changing the pads may help assuming you've toed the existing ones in without much benefit. What pads do you have at the moment? As the bike is fairly new I assume you've got aluminium rims, or are they carbon? I've got some kool stop dual compound pads that are easy to adjust and stay toed in. This is partly because they have what I'd call a "squeegee tip" but the manufacturer calls a "plow tip" that removes a lot of the water but also supports the pads at a good angle when you're setting them up
    – Chris H
    Apr 1, 2018 at 18:13
  • 4
    Consider it as an advantage. Squealing brakes startle pedestrians better than any bell if you need braking because they're in the way and even drives dogs away because the squeal is partly ultrasonic. You can reduce the squeal by toeing the pads in so that the front of the pad touches the rim first. Normally the rear end of the pad should be 1mm away from the rim when the front touches.Some discs are almost impossible to silence.
    – Carel
    Apr 1, 2018 at 19:28
  • 1
    Startling people is not really an advantage, unless you are a psychopath.
    – ojs
    Apr 1, 2018 at 20:52
  • 1
    Are your rims made of chromed steel or aluminium or something else? Could be the brake pads are slightly hardened with age, and a new set could help. You could first also file the braking surface a bit to see if exposing new pad material could help. Yes I noticed its a "new" bike but the pads may be older than expected.
    – Criggie
    Apr 2, 2018 at 4:04
  • 2
    @ojs near work plenty of pedestrians step into the road without looking for bikes (even dashing across the road cutting it fine for the car behind a cyclist) . They wouldn't notice a bell at all. A shout is more effective but still of limited effect. Squealing brakes are much more useful, to the extent that I considered an electronic noise maker with a squealing brakes sound
    – Chris H
    Apr 4, 2018 at 6:30

1 Answer 1


Brake pad squeal when wet is not unusual. If they do not squeal in dry conditions, the brake pad is the most likely suspect. Some brake pads perform better in wet conditions and some are much quieter. I like Kool-Stop pads ... the Salmon or Dual compound pads would be a good choice.

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