Bike brakes are a critical component of your bike that help you control how fast and how far you go. If they start squeaking, it can be frustrating- especially if you don’t know the cause or solution! This article will discuss both why your bike brakes might be squealing, as well as give solutions for fixing them.
So why do bike brakes squeak? The most common reason for bike brakes squeaking is contamination on the brake pad from extended periods of use with sand, dirt, and grease. There are of course other reasons such as painted rims, an incorrect setup and more.
Contamination on the brake pad
This is by far the most common reason for squeaking brake pads . To fix this issue, you should remove the brake pads from your rim and clean them with a rubber brush, degreaser (like this one right here) or compressed air.
This will help loosen any dirt that’s on top of pad for easy removal when scrubbing it down aggressively against an abrasive surface (e g concrete).
So what causes this? Not keeping your bike clean will introduce dirt, grease, and more to the brake surface, that then ends up on your brake pads.
To keep this from happening , you should wash and clean your bike regularly to avoid this problem.
Less expensive bikes have painted brake surfaces
One of the quickest checks, especially if you have an entry level bike, is to check what surface your brakes are in contact with. Rim brakes have this issue a lot, where the manufacturer will paint the rim with a black paint coat.
This layer of paint gives a very different surface for braking than a shiny metal surface and results in the brake pad getting stuck on this layer of paint, causing the squeak.
If you have a bike with rim brakes and it starts to squeal then take your bicycle into any reputable shop where they can remove that black coating from around them – once done these problems should be gone! If not- read more below for some other options.
Brakes are not set up correctly
Another big reason for squeaking brakes comes down to an incorrect setup . If your brakes are not set up correctly, then they might be rubbing against the rim of a wheel. This can cause them to squeak while you ride or brake and is generally caused by an incorrectly positioned front fork (the part that holds on both wheels).
The culprit here could also just as easily have been something simple like improperly positioned pads, or maybe an alignment issue with your calipers.
Brakes can be a difficult item to adjust for beginners, which is why I recommend to take them to a mechanic.
A quick search for local bike shops in your area should give you plenty of options, but it is worth noting that some are better than others and can usually be gleaned from testimonials or comments on the website’s page (official reviews don’t lie).
Your brake pads are brand new
If there were ever a best case scenario for your bike brakes squeaking , it is this. With new brake pads on your bike, they tend to have a coating that just needs to be worn off by use, and then that should be it.
If they are still squeaking after a while, you might have bought some cheaper pads, and you will either want to live with it, or buy a bit nicer pads moving forward. Thankfully, brake pads are not exactly an expensive component, but can go a really long way.
Your brake pads are wet
Brake pads also will squeak for the simple reason that they are wet. This might seem like a strange reason, but after you have been riding in wet conditions for some time and not wiping down your bike afterwards. This is because water is a lubricant that results in squeaking.
If this is the case with yours then it’s really easy to fix! Simply take out whatever towel or rag that’s on hand (or ask someone nearby) wipe off the brake surface and pad until they are dry.
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Frequently Asked Questions
While squeaky brakes may be annoying, they aren’t necessarily dangerous because they stop your bike just fine. If you find that they are making the squeaking sound even after a few pumps, then this is an indication of other problems like rust and dirt buildup on them which should be addressed as soon possible. The only time when having squealing brakes can actually become dangerous for riders occurs if it leads to brake fade or brake failure.
While most reasons for bike brakes squealing are similar between the two different types of brakes, it is important to understand the difference. The difference between the two is that rim brakes have pads that clamp down on the rim of the wheel, while disc brakes have pads that clamp down on discs that you find near the center of the wheel.
Some riders might not like the sound of squeaky brakes, but they are a normal occurrence that will go away after some time. However, if you start to find that it goes past a squeak, and is now affecting the performance of your bike, you should get to a mechanic ASAP.
So now you know why your bike brakes might be squeaking, and what you can do about it. It is important to keep the brake surface as clean and dry, while also keeping your pads in good shape with regular maintenance so that they are ready for use anytime if necessary .