Brake Squeal

For the past few weeks I was noticing an increasing tendency for the front pads on the LHT to squeal when applying pressure.  Ultimately it got to the point where the front fork would actually shudder a wee bit if I squeezed hard enough.

‘figured it was time for some wrenching.

Both current bikes have Koolstop Salmons I picked up from Pedal Pushers.  The LHT has them mounted on a pair of V-brakes, so the “adjustment” was pretty simple.March LHT Pics 010

I assumed the problem was due to wear.  To keep them quiet and effective, these pads require a fair degree of toe-in.  The rear of the pads have a small piece angled back towards the rim, and you have to pull the back of the pad out far enough so that clears, and the front of the pad strikes the rim before the back makes contact.  This also gives you better modulation to just tap the brakes to slow the bike slightly without things locking up.  To insure this happens, I’ve gone so far as to bend the bolt slightly so it rests correctly in the brake arm.

The other factor is that the model of pads I have on the LHT are the simple nut and bolt type fastener, rather than the more popular, and easier to adjust allen head.  You can see that access to get in the tighten the nut is a challenge.  A deepwell socket would do the trick, but not too many people have a metric deepwell socket set in their kit.

Fortunately, I have a 10mm spanner driver left over from my rowing days.  It’s no more than a deepwell socket with a plastic handle.  Most of the fittings on european made shells are 10mm, and it’s common to have to remove the outriggers from a shell whenever you need to transport.

So it’s taking much longer to tell this story than it took to make the fix.  I just loosened the nut, grabbed the rear of the pad, and pulled it out a smidge.  Then, while holding the rear of the pad, I re-tightened the nut.  Go to the other side, repeat.

A quick test up the street and the bike still stopped, the pads were not rubbing, and the squeal was gone.

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