Why Do My MTB Brakes Squeal? (Beginners Guide)

Mountain Bike Brakes Squeal

Bicycle brakes are one of the most critical safety features on a bike, as they allow you to regulate the speed at which you ride your bicycle.

They also bring your bike to a halt when you desire. You will often notice your bicycle brakes squeal; this should not always cause panic.

However, you must take into consideration the reasons why your bicycle brakes squeal.

Bicycle brakes squeaking noise comes off as a very annoying sound to the ear of the rider and, as such, causes discomfort.

So, as you ride your bicycle, one would ask, why do Mountain bike brakes squeal?

Mountain bike brakes squeal because of a very high-frequency vibration due to contamination of the disc brake pads, a worn pad, and also when moisture is trapped between the rotor and the brake pads.

Why Do My Mountain Bike Brakes Squeal?

Mountain Bike Brakes Squeal

Mountain bike brakes squeal for many reasons; although you can sometimes ignore squeaky bike brakes, a stable ride will resolve the issue.

But once the sound becomes persistent, you should be bothered, as this indicates your brakes need to be checked. Excessive brake noise can ruin your ride apart from being very annoying.

You should make deliberate efforts to find out the cause of your squeaking bike brakes once the sound becomes constant and fix it to keep enjoying the high performance of your bike.

Learning various tricks to maintain your bike brakes further and prevent them from squeaking will go a long way in avoiding this kind of situation.

We have mechanical brakes, which use cables to activate the brake system, and hydraulic brakes, which use fluid to activate the brake system.

First, we need to know that disc brakes and rim brakes seem to be the most commonly used.

Both have unique benefits, features, and compatibility when considering specific cycling disciplines.

On a more general note, disc brakes are the best option for many mountain bikers, as they come off much stronger and more durable than most rim brakes.

Below are some of the reasons why most mountain bike brakes squeal.

  • Overnight moisture can cause bike brakes to squeak; when your bike is exposed to either humidity or rain overnight, you may experience a squeaky bike brake. And this particular noise is supposed to go away after some time of riding your bike. This noise could be due to a little rust build-up from wet brake pads.
  • Also, the brake pad material could be responsible for the squeaky noise. Some brake pads are made of semi-metallic materials and could rub against the rotors, causing squealing sounds.
  • It is also easy to bend your brake rotors while in transit, which will lead to squeaky bike brakes. First, check if your rotors are bent; if this is the case, use a disk brake cleaner to clean and straighten it properly. Avoid using general bike cleaners as this could leave other deposits on the rotors.
  • Your braking style can also cause a bike brake squeal. While on a high speed, constantly breaking fast and hard will cause a hard glaze to generate on your brake pads which will cause noise.

What Causes Excessive Brake Squeal?

Many factors are involved in excessive brake squeal; understanding how your bike brakes work is fundamental.

This aids in helping you maintain its durability, but while doing that, you will be sure of enjoying your rides.

Also, adjust your bike’s speed to suit every environment you are riding on and avoid possible dangers you encounter on the road.

  • Worn brake pads are one of the most common causes of excessive brake squeal. Brake pads are designed to have an indicator that gives off a loud warning whenever they get close to their minimum thickness. It is important to note that a bit of rust over your brake pads can make the same squeaky noise, which usually goes away after a couple of brake applications. However, if the noise stays persistent after this, then be sure to check your brake pads to avoid causing more damage.
  • A poorly installed brake system is another reason why there will be an excessive brake squeal. Failure to properly align your brake pads and calipers also other fitments that are not correctly tightened will result in vibrations that give bike brakes squeaking noise. You should note that you must appropriately align both brakes to enable them to work effectively.
  • Contamination of the pads and rotors from dirt or oil leakages will lead to squealing mountain bike brakes. As you ride your bike on the road, it is bound to pick up various contaminants, which will cause the brakes to squeal eventually. It also allows your bike to stay for long without adequately cleaning it up and will allow dust and other dirt particles to settle on the brake pads. With a stable ride, you will experience bike brakes squeaking.

How To Stop Squeaking Mountain Bike Brakes?

The first step in stopping your mountain bike’s squeaky brakes is to find out the cause, and once this is done, you can go on to fix the problem.

You can resolve this by simply cleaning your brake pads with a brake cleaner if the causative agent is dirt, or you can replace the brake pads if there are entirely damaged.

Here are a few points on how to stop squeaking mountain bike brakes. 

  • For your worn brake pads, ensure you get a replacement to avoid causing further damage to your brake system.
  • In a disc brake system, brake dust usually gets trapped between the braking pad and the brake disc, causing squealing noise. Therefore, in cleaning your brake system, you should focus on the rotors and pads, ensuring that you use a specific disc brake cleaner.
  • Some brake lining comes with poor-quality friction materials, which usually wear down easily, and you should ensure to get a break that has high-quality friction material. When getting a brake, you should always consider the power, fade, feel, modulation, and ability.
  • Clean up greasy areas of your brake system, need to know that, in particular, disc brakes offer a high-pitched sequel when they are greasy and prove to be more technical to maintain.
  • Check for misaligned brake pads and adjust them to the proper position.

Generally, you should ensure routine maintenance measures, as doing so will help you quickly notice any changes happening to your brake system and resolve them without allowing it to cause more damage that will incur more cost.


The best mountain bike brakes can also squeal. While it is a very unpleasant experience, you can avoid squealing bike brakes by adequately maintaining your bike.

You can also do this by constantly checking and cleaning your bike and brakes with its components.

Josh Matthews

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