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I've been having this issue for about 3 months. The front V-Brakes squeal extremely loud when i fully engage them. This problem randomly started one day when i took my bike for a ride. At first it wasn't that bad, but after a few days it started getting worse and worse. I replaced the brake pads and the issue was still there. The squeal was somewhat loud only when i fully engaged the brakes. I left it like that for about a month and it was getting proggressively worse.

A week ago while i was riding my bike i noticed that the squeal was getting noticeably louder while i was pulling the brake softly. I decided to hit the brakes hard and it was so loud that everyone who was around turned and looked at me. It was SUPER loud. I left it like that for a week and today i decided to try and find a way to fix this issue. I tried adjusting the toe of brake pads like in this website, but with no luck. The squeal didn't change much.

A went for a ride and the squealing was still there and i had no idea how to fix it, but close to the end of my ride, while i was playing with the front brakes, i noticed that the squeal was slowly going away. I hit the brake with like 3/4 of my power and the squeal was not there. It had magically dissapeared! I was super confused at this moment. When i came to a stop at my house, i used the front brakes to slow down and as i was coming down to a low speed, the squealing was progressively coming back up. So at high speed there is barely any squealing, but at very low speed(jogging speed) the squeal is still there(not as loud though).

I am super confused and i have no idea how to fix it! I seriously need help because i am scared that the squealing will fully come back again. I basically have no front brakes because if i use them at low speeds when riding through the town i will scare everyone shitless.

UPDATE: The squealing when braking at high speeds sadly came back.

Thanks.

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    Slight toe-in usually helps. I.e. adjust the front part of the brake pads so that it hits the rim first. Also make sure everything is tight, no loose quick release lever, no hub bearing play, no excessive brake play.
    – Michael
    Oct 12 at 17:03
  • @Michael i did the toe-in thing. I added a link to the website that i saw how to do it Oct 12 at 17:30
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    Some brake pad brands simply squeak. I'm actually quite happy about some squeak from the brakes as it has the tendency to alert pedestrians in a way no bike bell can. Especially when they suddenly move in a dangerous way and you need to perform an immediate emergency stop. This can stop some sorts of accidents from happening. Oct 12 at 18:36
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    If those replacement pads were new and of the same brand as the old ones, i.e. the problem came without change of material and persists through the material change, I'd definitely check the fork's crown, now. Because that strongly suggests a slow material change somewhere else in the flexing area. Look for small forming cracks. - Rim brakes put a lot of torsion stress on the fork blades, which needs to be handle by the crown connecting them to the steerer tube. I have two forks that broke in that place in my chamber of horrors, and they are not the only ones I produced. Oct 12 at 20:01
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    @Carel guys why do you keep saying that the squealing is a good thing. Its crazy loud and it deafens you. It becomes annoying and everyone is staring at you Oct 13 at 9:48
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I'm working around the assumption that you are on a aluminium rim.

My opinion is that as long as there's no loss in braking power / consistency, then your braking componentry should still be fine.

  1. Cleaning of components
    I would clean my rim and brake pads with warm soapy water. It gets rid of any surface oils or residue from the roads. An inconsistent braking surface from such residue can cause localised vibrations, and hence the noise. Brake pads can easily collect minute pebbles that kisses your rim whenever you brake. (don't use degreasers that leave an oily film i.e. WD40)

  2. Condition of components
    I want to reference Ali Clarkson's YouTube channel. As a trials rider, he require extreme braking control and showcased during some of his builds, he have to roughen up the rim braking surface and brake pad to increase friction when applying brakes. But the sound is horrendous when braking. So with reference to that, I would check if my rim brake surface is worn down, concaved, or generally observed to have any surface burrs or scratches.

  3. Compatibility of components
    Looking as disc brake pads, a metallic sintered pad and metallic disc rotor gives off a squeal that echos painfully through everyone's brains. I would probably try softer pad compounds, like cork. Softer compounds will absorb vibrations more and emit less noise. However, assuming you are using an aluminium rim, softer compound brake pads will need frequent replacements.

Edit: Hard to tell why the squeal went away and came back, but probably there was a residue that was knocked off but picked up again in the brake pad?

Hopefully my 2cents can bring joy to your ears! Cheers!

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  • The previous brake pads were super worn down and i didn't change them. The metal bolt that is used to hold the brake pad onto the braking mechanism was scraping on the rim and was scratching it. Could that be the issue? Oct 14 at 9:06
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    I would say yes. But depends on how deep / wide / long the scratch is, it definitely could be a contributing factor! Edit: I hear you, noisy brakes sucks
    – Yuxuan
    Oct 14 at 11:21
  • My brake pads started squealing as well after some difficult downhills, but it seems to be the contamination of the pads. Some pads are really good at collecting all sorts of dust and dirt, they might sometimes even collect tiny metal particles from the rim and this could be the reason why they squeak. Medium grit sandpaper for the pads and some fine grit sandpaper or isopropyl alcohol for the rim could do the job, if contamination is causing this problem.
    – Sherwood
    Oct 14 at 12:25
  • @Sherwood how fine the sandpaper should be? Oct 15 at 21:08
  • Depends on the pads and rims really. Rubber brake pads are not too expensive (usually), so you can use medium grit without problems. For the rims I would start with a good cleaning and degreasing with alcohol.
    – Sherwood
    Oct 22 at 21:48

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