V-Brakes squealing?

If you’ve got a bike that uses V-brakes and it’s making some noise here’s a quick tip you can do to get rid of that annoying sound.

So what you do is grab one of these green scouring pads, cut off a small section that’s wide enough to fit on the rim.
bike commuters tips

Then make sure you do a better job in placing it behind the pad than I did. Just to let you know, I did re-position the pad so it would be just right. Now press the v-brake arm in so you are essentially pushing the brake pad into the rim. Then rotate the wheel a few times.
bikecommuters.com v brake

Now check out the green pad. See all that muck…well that’s a combination of grease/oils and other contaminants that are getting in between your pads and your rims. If you have all that muck, it’s basically preventing your pads from making a solid contact patch, which causes vibration/noise.
bikecommuters.com tech tips

So the next time your brakes are making noises, try this!


  1. WillyC August 29, 2014 3:06 pm 

    Perfect timing and great tip! I usually only try to clean the brake pad and give the rim a good rinse. Something gritty will definitely do the trick!

  2. Raiyn August 29, 2014 8:21 pm 

    Another trick you can do while you’re working on your brakes is to take an emory board (easy to get cheap at any drugstore’s nail polish section) and scuff the shiny glaze off the brake surface of your pads.

    Also make sure that your pads are “toed-in” properly
    To align brake shoes with spherical washers:

    1.Install brake shoes in rough alignment. Tighten the nut on one brake shoe post with the wrench, while holding the brake shoe by hand. Tighten the nut on the other side only finger-tight, roughly aligning the brake shoe. (or when you’re not replacing the pads loosen each to finger tight)
    2. Place a calling card or similar thin item behind the back end of the brake shoe that is finger tight. Clamping the brake will align the surface of the brake shoe with the surface of the rim, setting set the roll angle and toe-in.
    3. While still holding the brake lever to clamp the brake lightly, loosen the nut and slide the brake shoe post up or down in the slot of the brake to adjust theight. Twist the brake shoe on its post to adjust the pitch angle.
    4. Hold the brake lever tighter and use the wrench to tighten the nut as much as possible without twisting the shoe out of alignment.
    5. Hold the end of the brake shoe with a small adjustable wrench to prevent it from rotating while completing tightening of the nut.
    6. Repeat, starting with the second step, for the other side.

    In restless dreams I rode alone
    Narrow streets of cobblestone,
    ‘Neath the halo of a street lamp,
    I turned my collar to the cold and damp
    When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a traffic light
    That split the night
    And touched the sound of silence.
    (apologies to Simon And Garfunkel)

  3. Ken Sturrock August 31, 2014 10:19 am 

    Thanks Guys! I know that V-Brakes are simple but I’ve never gotten on with them. All tips appreciated.

  4. Raiyn August 31, 2014 2:54 pm 

    No worries Ken, while I can eventually dial them in, traditional cantilevers have never been fun for me.
    Everybody has something that fights them, the secret is to keep punching.

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