How to silence your disc brakes

Many cyclists who have disc brakes complain of a common problem that their brakes are rubbing. Rubbing disc brakes creates irritating noises, and reduces the speed of your bike. It also shortens the lifespan of your brake pads and rotor. The primary cause of this problem is bad calliper alignment. This isn’t a major issue and it’s really quite simple to fix and silence your disc brakes. 


Silence your disc brakes

Perfectly aligned disc brakes should be spinning freely and if it for some reason rubs against the brake callipers, it means the callipers are misaligned.  This is causing the disc pads inside the calliper to rub on the rotor which creates an annoying sound.


Silence your disc brakes: How to correct misaligned callipers


Most bikes have callipers that are positioned in a post mount style, so the frame has two posts which are actually integrated into the frame. The positioning of the callipers differs from manufacturer to manufacturer.

For instance, brake callipers from SRAM use a set of conical washers as well as having a lateral slot which allows left to right movement. The conical washers also allow a little tilt movement to the right and left.

We already said in order to silence disc brakes; you need to align the callipers. In case of SRAM callipers, you can simply slacken the two bolts off very slightly. Remember not to loosen them too much.  When you loosen the bolts, you’ll see that the calliper automatically readjusts to being centrally positioned. It appears that the callipers probably want to correct itself.

If the disc brakes are still rubbing, look down the slot from the top of the calliper. If you’ve got a different model, you can look down at the back of the calliper against a white floor or background. It will help you to see the gaps between the brake pads and the rotor.

The aim is to get a nice even spacing between the pads and the rotor, so we don’t need them screamingly tight. Only tighten them just a fraction. Spin the wheel for any further noise, it always better to do this as the process isn’t actual science.


Silence your disc brakes: Other reasons disc brakes may rub against the callipers

Above we’ve attended to the mechanical issue of a calliper of not being aligned with the rotor. But it’s worth noting that occasionally there are other reasons why your disc brakes might be rubbing with the brake pads.

You see disc brakes are rotational devices and they can pick up all kinds of dirt, muck, mud, little bits of leaves and even which can get banged up in the in the calliper. These elements can get behind the brake pads, which can cause the pads to get closer to the rotor. As a result, the pads may not be positioned at a perpendicular angle. This can cause the brake to rub against the rotor again. 

So, the next time, you hear your disc brakes squealing, perhaps it’s a good idea to remove the rear wheel out and take a close look inside the calliper to ensure that it’s clean and free from obstruction.

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