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Old 06-13-06, 03:30 PM   #1
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V-Brakes - Not created equal??

My Cross-Check has Avid Single-Digit 5 V-style brakes on it. They were taken off of my Trek 520 so they aren't new, they are about 3 years and 3,000 miles old. They shouldn't by any means be worn out with that much use.

The front brakes in particular chatter and squeal horribly, not always but maybe half the time I am braking from any speed. I have tried different pads, I have adjusted and re-adjusted for toe-in, cleaned the rims, mount-post is properly greased etc. The relief is temporary at best before grabbing the brakes and having everyone within a block looking to see who's making that awfull screeching noise. They also have a some play in their bushings, about 3 to 4mm of fore&aft movement at the ends of the arm. I don't know if this is typical or normal.

So, the question is: Are these brakes just crap, or what? Should I just buck up for a decent new set of brakes? They still stop just fine but boy, it's embarrasing when they howl like that.
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Old 06-13-06, 04:03 PM   #2
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Avid V brakes are very good quality. I am generally a Shimano guy for both my MTB and roadie. When I replaced the Shamano LX brakes, the new versions did not fit well.

I got the Avids and like them better than the Shimanos. More powerful, easy adjustments.

3 yrs on a MTB can wear everything out. In 3 yrs I wore out my brakes, front shocks, a suspension seatpost, several chains, cassette, middle and small chainring.

What pads are you using? You may need to get more aggressive than just cleaning the rims. Use a Scotchbrite pad or even some medium grit sandpaper. Also hit those brake pads with sandpaper. Also, Shimano MTB pads are not that great. Koolstop pads last a lot longer and are more friendly on your rims.
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Old 06-13-06, 07:04 PM   #3
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We have a mix of brakes on the department mountain bikes. I have found the Shimano items (mostly LX) to be superb, smooth, reliable, easy to work on.
We have some upper-end Avids, pretty much ditto.

However, we have a couple of sets of cheapo Avids, and they are no fun. The tension springs are weak, and they are forever in need of adjustment and tweaking. I've had to manually bend the springs to get enough tension to return the brake arm.
Also, the cable-securing clamp is really cheesy; frequently slips.

I've examined all manner of knock-off V-Brake copies; some are surprisingly good, some just junk.
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Old 06-13-06, 07:37 PM   #4
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I'm sure you checked the angle of the brake pads to be sure they're angled inward from the front of the pads. I only mention it because I was having the same problem with one of my bikes. I didn't believe the angle of the pad would make much of a difference. But after correctly adjusting the alignment to toe them inward, all the screaming and screeching stopped, I mean right now! It might be worth a check.
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