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  1. #1
    Yen
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    Rubbing sound in front wheel

    About two weeks ago during our Saturday ride I noticed a rubbing sound in the front wheel that kept pace with each rotation. I first noticed it after braking at the bottom of a descent, and the noise continued from there. Last Saturday I again noticed it and that it started after braking in a descent. Since we were passing by the LBS on the ride, we stopped in to have it checked. The guy who fixed it told me that the spring in the brake lever wasn't releasing all the way and also that the brake pad(?) was rubbing on something on the wheel that itself was a little bent (I bought this bike in March and the first tune-up was just last month). He suggested that when it happens, to just "flick" the brake lever a few times until it goes away. Well, as we rode off and started heading for home, I noticed the noise was still there. Last night during my easy cruise around the neighborhood I noticed the rubbing sound again but it is louder now, and flicking the brake lever does not fix it -- sometimes it makes it quieter, and when I press the lever a tiny bit the noise stops but then starts again when I press it further or release it. At one point I made a U-turn in the middle of a street to change direction, and the noise briefly got even louder (perhaps whatever is rubbing in the wheel is affected by sharp turns?).

    I'm planning to take the bike back to the shop and ask them to take another look. Maybe if they don't/can't fix it, I'll take it to the other LBS where Hubby bought his bike (the same one that quickly noticed that the cabling wasn't installed quite right on his road bike at my LBS.)

    Does anyone have any idea what might be the problem?
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  2. #2
    Ride Daddy Ride Jet Travis's Avatar
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    When you spin your wheel, do you notice a little wobble? If so, the rim may be rubbing against your brake pad. If that is the case, you LBS should be able to true up your wheels.
    "Light it up, Popo." --Levi Leipheimer

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    I agree with Jet. I'd suspect this first. It's not unusual for wheels to go out of true enough the you get some brake pad rubbing. If the brake isn't releasing fully, it could be many things causing this (none of them very expensive to fix). I once had a brake housing cable that got gunked up enough that the cable didn't slide back one I released pressure on the brake lever. Why not just go to the other LBS if the first one is making basic mistakes like routing cables incorrectly?
    Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused. But since their wings have got rusted, you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes. But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain, that's when I knew that I could not refuse. And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

  4. #4
    Yen
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    Thank you. Does it make a difference that my bike has disc brakes? I should have mentioned that first....
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  5. #5
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    Thank you. Does it make a difference that my bike has disc brakes? I should have mentioned that first....
    If you stand next to the bike, lift the handlebars, and spin the front wheel, can you reproduce the sound? The primary suspects are the brake pads rubbing intermittently against the brake disc (my vote), the wheel bearings themselves, or, with a very tight-clearance fork, the tire rubbing against a fork blade. If the spoke tension is too low, you could get a rubbing sound only when under load.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  6. #6
    Senior Member skiph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    Thank you. Does it make a difference that my bike has disc brakes? I should have mentioned that first....
    I think disc brakes are sometimes finicky. One of my riding partners has a bike with disc brakes and has had a lot of 'rubbing' problems. He's had them adjusted numerous times by our LBS and they still sometime rub. Sorry, I don't know of any quick fixes. Maybe time do some 'googling'?

  7. #7
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    Yen - do you know which discs you have? If Avid Juicy 5 there is an inherent problem with them. Take it back to the shop and talk to them about the "gobberling". They may have to order another set from Avid.

    Otherwise it might be the spring adjustment is not ready engaged. You do have to push the brake pads back in hard to engage the spring. Regardless, shop should help you out.

  8. #8
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    PS you might want to post your question on the mountain biking forum. Those guys are fairly knowlegable about disc brakes.

  9. #9
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    I bet it's the disk, have one of your friends lookat it. It's pretty easy, you have a knob on the outside and a allen on the inside, just give it a little turn until the noise stops. My wife has the same bike as you and it probably has Hayne's brakes on it. I think that's the way you spell it, if not it's close enough. You might as well learn how to do it, because you will be doing it a lot, good luck.
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    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    I have Avid BB5's on mine. If yours are the same, this applies. If not.... well, you know. There is a red adjustment knob on the inside of the brake. It sets how close the pad is to the disc, it sounds like yours is set a skosh too close. Just turn it out til it stops rubbing. I love the disc brakes. Good luck.
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  11. #11
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    With age and heating from use, the disc rotor will pick up a bit of a wobble. (just a couple of 1/1000's of an inch). This will cause the rotor to rub against one of the pads. Perfect or very good alignment of disc brakes can be as much art as science. To check this, (it will take two of you if you don't have a repair stand) lift the front of the bike off the ground and spin the wheel. Observe the brake rotor where it goes into the slot in the caliper. If it is wobbling even a little, you will be able to see it. If it is, your LBS should be able to fix it, either by adjusting the pads out just a little (this will probably cause you to have to pull a little more on the brake lever for the same braking as before) or by straightening the rotor. There is a tool made for this by Park Tools.

    If you could let us know what type of brake it is I can look up the proceedure and see where the adjustments are.

    Disc brake rubbing is not something that you should have to live with if the mechanic is good.

  12. #12
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    About two weeks ago during our Saturday ride I noticed a rubbing sound in the front wheel that kept pace with each rotation. I first noticed it after braking at the bottom of a descent, and the noise continued from there. Last Saturday I again noticed it and that it started after braking in a descent. Since we were passing by the LBS on the ride, we stopped in to have it checked. The guy who fixed it told me that the spring in the brake lever wasn't releasing all the way and also that the brake pad(?) was rubbing on something on the wheel that itself was a little bent (I bought this bike in March and the first tune-up was just last month). He suggested that when it happens, to just "flick" the brake lever a few times until it goes away. Well, as we rode off and started heading for home, I noticed the noise was still there. Last night during my easy cruise around the neighborhood I noticed the rubbing sound again but it is louder now, and flicking the brake lever does not fix it -- sometimes it makes it quieter, and when I press the lever a tiny bit the noise stops but then starts again when I press it further or release it. At one point I made a U-turn in the middle of a street to change direction, and the noise briefly got even louder (perhaps whatever is rubbing in the wheel is affected by sharp turns?).

    I'm planning to take the bike back to the shop and ask them to take another look. Maybe if they don't/can't fix it, I'll take it to the other LBS where Hubby bought his bike (the same one that quickly noticed that the cabling wasn't installed quite right on his road bike at my LBS.)

    Does anyone have any idea what might be the problem?
    I have a disc brake on the tandem and it can have the same problem i.e. slighlty warper rotor with the pads set too close and hence the rubbing noise. What is strange is that the LBS should straighten the rotor and adjust the pads for you. What he said was okay at the time, but he should have encouraged you to bring it in to get adjusted. FYI...new rotors do warp, but once it is fixed it should be okay. Good luck.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  13. #13
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    Also have you had the front wheel off the bike lately? It's essential that the wheel is bottomed out in the tabs and is running straight before the QR is tightened back up.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  14. #14
    Senior Member OH306's Avatar
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    Are there reflectors on your spokes? Could be they have shifted a little and are flexing with each wheel rotation. Just give them a slight tap toward the rim.

  15. #15
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    I suspect it has something to do with the baseball cards coming out of alignment.
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  16. #16
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
    I suspect it has something to do with the baseball cards coming out of alignment.
    Are they changing their batting order?

  17. #17
    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
    I suspect it has something to do with the baseball cards coming out of alignment.



    Thanks everyone. My bike has Hayes HMX-2 Disc brakes. We tried one of the recommended tests, lifting the front of the bike and spinning the wheel. Hubby rubbed his finger against the brake and removed some residue then said it sounded better. I'm going to rest tomorrow and maybe also Saturday so I won't be riding much this weekend but I'll take it for a little spin and see if I hear it. If so, we'll take it to the shop this weekend. [Edit: First I'll try the other tests recommended above -- thanks again so much for trying to help.]

    I bought the bike in March and it had its first check-up about a month ago. When we picked up the bike after the first check-up, the guy said something about replacing a brake pad because it initially wasn't put on right and was rubbing. Hmmm......

    By the way, is it normal for disc brakes to sound like they are scraping every time I use them? This is not the rhythmic rubbing sound I hear when I am pedaling/coasting, it begins as soon as I apply the brakes.
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  18. #18
    Veni, Vidi, Vomiti SteveE's Avatar
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    You might want to post this on the "Bicycle Mechanics Forum". *sigh*
    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ...'holy *****...what a ride!'"

  19. #19
    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveE View Post
    You might want to post this on the "Bicycle Mechanics Forum". *sigh*
    I considered that and probably should have, but decided I'd start here first.....
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  20. #20
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Clean the residue off the rotor with alcohol (rubbing will be fine). Take the bike up to speed several times and stop hard to reseat the pads. The noise will lessen or go away.

    If the noise (rythmnic rubbing) persists insert a 5mm allen wrench into the hole in the back of the brake caliper and turn it left. There will be detents, turn 1 or two detents and see if noise goes away. Check the brake handle to see if the throw is still ok.

    What you will have done is to back the inner brake pad off a small amount so that it does not touch the rotor while the brakes are off. If this does not help then return the adjustment two turns to the right and adjust the outer pad with the cable barrel adjuster just as for regular brakes (screw adjuster in one quarter turn to back pad off, out to bring pad in). You mentioned hubby was an engineer (he may therefore survive this) and now your both bike mechanics.

    The following link is the hayes MX-2 online manual. It unfortunately assumes that you are a mechanic before you read it but is useful anyway.

    http://www.hayesdiscbrake.com/pdf/MX...EnglishWeb.pdf

    Small adjustments to disc brakes are a good thing to learn as they need feeding and care at all times. There will always be a ballancing act between good braking and noise (brake drag). You always strive to get the pads very close to the rotor without touching. As you have discovered, grime on the rotor can fill this gap. The design of mechanical bike discs is such that only one pad moves. That pad bends the rotor slightly sideways against the inner pad to apply the brakes (true, watch the rotor while applying brakes.....yikes). Thus the gradual bending with use of the rotor from its starting position.

    Have fun, dont be afraid!

    If you read this earlier the please note that I have edited the directions of the barrel adjusters to move the outer pad in or out. The directions are now correct.
    Last edited by maddmaxx; 08-10-07 at 10:04 AM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Thrifty1's Avatar
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    Check the rotor mounting screw torque.......the screws that attach the rotor to the hub.
    My son experienced a similar "rubbing" problem on his MTB......2 of the rotor mounting screws were a bit loose and none were proper torque. Tightening to recommended torque eliminated the "rubbing" noise......
    Last edited by Thrifty1; 08-10-07 at 03:15 PM.

  22. #22
    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
    If you read this earlier the please note that I have edited the directions of the barrel adjusters to move the outer pad in or out. The directions are now correct.
    Got it, thanks.
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  23. #23
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    Assuming the bike isn't white, there's no doubt in my mind that the problem is minor, and will be resolved quickly and inexpensively.

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