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Old 02-08-07, 09:29 AM   #1
Banzai
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Screaming Shorty 4s

There's a parallel thread to this in the cyclocross forum right now, but I wanted to see some other opinions. (I don't frequent the cyclocross forum anyway...)

So. Avid Shorty 4 cantilevers on my commuter. I have them set up properly, pads and posts perpendicular to the rim when engaged, good parallel arms when engaged. The toe in is painstakingly "textbook". I have set these up as methodically as I can, and I've spent a great deal of time doing mini-adjustments to get them near perfect.

All in an effort to get rid of that front brake squeal. It just won't go away!

After my meticulous tweaking, I got them to the point where they at least won't squeal when gently applied. Anything else has ear piercing potential.

As an aside, they are mounted on an aluminum fork with a cro-moly steerer, if that matters.

Do I just need different/better pads?

Any help is appreciated.
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Old 02-08-07, 09:35 AM   #2
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Yeah, they squeal. Might check Sheldon Brown's article on cantilevers; there's a section there on squeal.

Different pads might help, but don't get your hopes up too high. I've tried the standard Avid bits, Kool-stops, and Jagwire M/P/S, and they all squeal to some extent. Probably had the best luck with the Kool-stops (salmon -- not red -- colored ones). I usually end up using a fair amount of toe-in. That is, not "textbook".
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Old 02-08-07, 09:43 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by 'nother
Yeah, they squeal. Might check Sheldon Brown's article on cantilevers; there's a section there on squeal.

Different pads might help, but don't get your hopes up too high. I've tried the standard Avid bits, Kool-stops, and Jagwire M/P/S, and they all squeal to some extent. Probably had the best luck with the Kool-stops (salmon -- not red -- colored ones). I usually end up using a fair amount of toe-in. That is, not "textbook".
Same here. Even when toed-in more then they should, they will start to squeal as soon as more of the pad wears and flattens out. I got rid of mine. It's a shame too because Avid usually makes pretty good products.
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Old 02-08-07, 09:57 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Same here. Even when toed-in more then they should, they will start to squeal as soon as more of the pad wears and flattens out. I got rid of mine. It's a shame too because Avid usually makes pretty good products.
Yeah, I'm not sure it's entirely an Avid problem; all cantis seem to scream to some extent. But it seems like the Avids are more intense, harder to tame. Out of curiosity, what did you switch to? Vs or some other kind of canti?
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Old 02-08-07, 01:34 PM   #5
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The Shorty 4s came highly recommded...they're on my commuter bike, which sports drop bars/brifters as well, so I obviously won't be switching to Vs.

I like the cantis for the stopping power and fender clearance...but man, that squeal drives me bonkers sometimes.
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Old 02-08-07, 02:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by banzai_f16
The Shorty 4s came highly recommded...they're on my commuter bike, which sports drop bars/brifters as well, so I obviously won't be switching to Vs.
It is possible to use an adapter ("Travel Agent") in order to use Vs with drop-bar brifters. But, I don't know if Vs are necessarily an improvement over cantis in terms of squeal.
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Old 02-08-07, 05:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 'nother
Yeah, I'm not sure it's entirely an Avid problem; all cantis seem to scream to some extent. But it seems like the Avids are more intense, harder to tame. Out of curiosity, what did you switch to? Vs or some other kind of canti?
Shimanos on one bike and IRCs on another. The Shimanos are work well and never squeal. I haven't had a chance to use the IRCs yet because of the weather. They seemed to work well enough in the alley test drive.
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Old 02-08-07, 05:34 PM   #8
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I had this problem with shorty 4s also. I ended up toeing them backwards (i.e. back of pad contacting rim first). noise was gone and the bike still stopped.
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Old 02-08-07, 07:01 PM   #9
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That's unorthodox tlupfer...or at least contrary to conventional wisdom on the subject.

Anyhow...I ordered a set of the dual compound Kool Stops from my LBS. They should be in next tuesday. We'll see how they work.
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Old 02-08-07, 07:14 PM   #10
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I had the same issues with a set of Avid cantis. I tried everything - the only way I could get rid of the squeal was to use kool stop salmon pads with an unorthodox amount of toe-in (which killed the pads really quickly), but then as soon as the pad wore down a bit after a couple of ride, the squeal was back. Drove me nuts.

Pulled 'em off and put on a set of Shimano BR550s. Comparatively easy to set up, and no squeal.
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Old 02-10-07, 09:56 PM   #11
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I just setup a trek 750 with some shorty 4's I had swapped off my Jamis (I upgraded to shimano BR550's). They squealed, & had the whole bike shaking in the front. The solution turned out to be pretty simple. In combination with more toe then I like (this is why I pulled them off my Jamis) and some Koolstop Salmon (Not red) pads they are now quieter then the Shimano's I have on the Jamis, & stop on a dime with no issues. I'll probably upgrade my Shimano pads when I go through the current ones. There's room here for some comment about Shimano Equipment, & Fish, but I'll leave that to the Campyphiles.
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Old 02-11-07, 06:17 AM   #12
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Brake Squeal

Brake squeal. That's a good subject since it comes up a lot. I even gave it a titie so, hopefully this post will respond to the search function. Nothing that I've tried eliminates squeal 100% of the time.

1. My first shot is to dress up the brake pads with a fingernail emery board. I like the emery boards because they are cheap and easy to find, and they have a nice flat surface and just the right grit. I'm guessing that by itself works around 85 or 90% of the time.
2. Cleaning the rim brakeing surface is the second thing that I try. I usually use lacquer thinner but I've been known to use the wire brush on my bench grinder.
3. Toe in comes next. I've tried everything from lots of front toe to lots of rear toe. I'm frequently surprised at what works. Incidentally, if I'm setting up a new bike with V-brakes, I try for no toe.
4. I attack the brake mounting points. Remove the brake, clean and grease the mounting posts and reinstall.
5. New pads. The only reason this is so far down the list is because it costs money. If I'm buying pads I'm buying KoolStop.
6. New caliper time. I couldn't get the LX V-brake on my tandem to quiet down so I bought a set of Avid SD-7's. They were noisy at first too but #1 did the job with them.
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