Brake squeal that could wake the dead!
I have a weird break problem on my Giant Cypress DX bicycle and was wondering if anyone may be able to provide tips/suggestions regarding it. This problem has been kind of bad lately and getting worse. Back in early January I had the bicycle overhauled at a LBS and when they overhauled it they put a new front wheel on. For several weeks after that the rims were squeaking. I asked them if that was normal and they stated that it was probably just the rims needing to get some break padding worn into them.
Break pads were / and still are fine. Probably at least 50-60% life left on them as they have only had a maybe 500 miles on them. Visually inspecting them shows they are not torn up or anything from road grit.
Fast forward about 3 weeks I had a nasty spill on the bike - wasn't hurt too badly due to the fact it was 18 and I had 2 layers on everywhere - but did get a sore hip for a week or so. Regardless - when the spill occurred it's almost like my front breaks "stuck" (The breaks are not getting stuck inside the cable housing - I am sure of that.) when I briefly squeezed them, causing me to lose control as I had 100% front breaking power but 0% rear breaking power going on. After getting the bike checked out I was on my way - but the squeeling was getting worse. To the point where cars could hear me and I could tell they were looking at me even though it was 15 and they had their windows rolled up!
I was going to go to the LBS to return the wheel and demand for them to give me a full refund on it and take it to another LBS, but I ended up wrecking the wheel by accidentally backing into my bicycle in the garage. (Oops!) Either way no harm done because the end result was the same just a bit more $.
Had the 2nd new wheel put on mid February. It worked great for about 2 weeks and then started squeeling again. Wednesday the squeeling was terrible to where even lightly pressing on the breaks caused it to do the "wake the undead" style screeeeeeech! Oddly enough, when I got back to the bike about 5 hours after my ride my front tire was completely flat. I put a new tube in and aired it up to 55 lbs - no squeaking. Aired it back up to the recommended 75-80 lbs when I got home to the floor pump, now it's squeaking again.
I can somewhat mitigate the problem by using the rear breaks 70/30, but unfortunately I still have to use the front breaks to fully stop and they still squeak no matter what. I'm also concerned whatever caused the squeaking caused the flat, and could potentially cause a front blowout which would be bad considering my average is about 15 MPH.
Going to take it to the bike shop for the 6th time for this problem on Monday (2nd time to the different bike shop.) - but this is getting old and I'm starting to wonder if there's something else wrong. One thing I have noticed is it seems when I press the breaks the actual metal cantilevers in the front have quite a bit of play - they move up the rim about 1.5-2 cms to the front of the bike when I break before locking out in that position. The rear breaks don't seem to do that as badly - maybe only half as much. I'm wondering if that could be the problem? Or maybe cheap wheels (they are StaTru brands - never had a problem before now with them though.) Or maybe the bike is starting to age - it has 5,500 miles on it now.