Cleaning Squeaky Brakes
Brakes are a pretty important part of your Pedego bike, so we thought we’d take a moment to properly introduce them… and explain why they sometimes make a lot of noise!
HOW DO MY BRAKES WORK?
Pedego bikes are equipped with mechanical disc brakes. When you squeeze the levers on your handlebars, you pull on a thin cable that in turn brings together two pads located inside the brake caliper. These pads sandwich a metal disc called the brake rotor, which is bolted onto your wheels.
A side view of a Pedego brake caliper. The brake pads are located in the centre slot. The left image shows the pads at rest, while the middle image shows how the pads come together when you pull on your brake lever.
WHY DO MY BRAKES SOMETIMES MAKE NOISE?
Brakes get noisy for a number of reasons. More often than not, squeals are caused by oil, dirt or dust on the rotor. These contaminants stop the brake pads from getting a quick, solid grip on the rotor.
To eliminate this, simply use a clean cloth and some automotive brake cleaner, isopropyl alcohol or any other non-oily solvent to wipe down the disc rotors. Be careful to not touch the rotor with your fingers as the oil from your hands is just as bad for your brakes as oil from the road. You might have to wipe the rotors down several times for a complete clean.
Cleaning the rear rotor with a clean cloth.
If the squeal continues immediately after a thourough cleaning, however, your brake pads could be dirty as well. This issue is fixable, but it is a bit fiddly; so, we suggest you bring your bike into the Pedego shop at this point.
If you hear a loud grinding noise coming from your brakes, you need replace your brake pads as soon as possible. That noise usually means your pads, which are either made of a resin or a metallic-based compound set on a metal backing, have worn all the way down.
However, you want to replace your pads BEFORE they wear down completely as the metal backing can damage your rotor. A good time to come into the Pedego shop to have us put new pads in is when the resin is about the thickness of two business cards.
A side view of some brake pads. The left pad has worn all the way down to its metal backing, while the right pad is brand new. Note this is the same view you would get when checking the pads as described in the blog.
To view the pads on your front wheel, stand in front of your bike and look into the brake caliper; to view the back pads, stand behind your bike.
If you need any help at all assessing your brakes, or tuning them up, be sure to set up some maintenance time with us. We’re here to help!
By Jessica Skelton – Pedego Qualicum Beach Mechanic