Sometimes that brake squeal is your fault. You were an idiot and you used some spray lube on your chain and the overspray touched your rotor. Or worse, maybe you religiously clean your bike with a silicone based bike polish and the overspray touched your rotors. If that’s the case then I’d suggest acknowledging that you may have OCD and go seek professional help. But that’s not what this article is about. There’s lot of information online about torching your pads and rotors to get rid of the bullshit you got on there. This article is about solving that brake squeal when it isn’t your fault.
A customer came to me with a problem. He was a big boy (over 220 pounds) and he was complaining about a harsh topout in his Magura Thor fork. This was a common problem with this particular air spring system. Many people have sent their forks back Magura to get fixed, only to have the same problem return some months later. The system Magura employs is really similar to a Fox Talas cartridge. It’s a travel adjustable air cartridge and like the Fox, it really isn’t known to be reliable, especially under heavier riders that require high pressures. So what’s the solution? A regular non adjustable air cartridge? That was an option definitely on the table but I don’t like air cartridges at all for heavy riders. You have to either have a self equalizing air spring to get the right negative air pressure or a coil negative spring. It’s all doable but heavy riders always mean high pressures and it makes for some highly stressed o-ring seals. Coil is always the most reliable. Perfect, I had a good old Fox Vanilla coil assembly ready for modification. Here it is beside the original travel adjustable air spring below.
We’ve all seen offset shock bushes like the ones made by Burgtec, the folks at offsetbushings.com and that one Polish guy’s company called Proshox. Those offset bushings work great if what you’re looking for is just a small geometry tweak in your frame. They’ll make your shock’s effective eye to eye length about 5mm shorter, which can slightly lower your bottom bracket and kick your head angle out a maximum of 1.5 degrees, but probably more like 1 degree for most setups.
A customer came to me with a tall order. He owned the most basic adult tricycle you could possibly get. Keep in mind that stock, these trikes are driven only by one of the rear wheels (the other wheel just spins freely) and are stopped by a stupid band brake that ONLY works on the driven wheel.
For years Intense Cycles has always had the latest and most progressive frame geometry. Most of their bikes ride great but so many of them had the stupidest quality control and design issues. We’re talking frames that get shipped with water bottle mounts completely missing. Like straight up empty holes in the frame. Frames with rear triangles that are completely misaligned. I mean like the wheel sits visibly crooked in the frame. And it’s not just a few of them that got shipped this way, I mean like up to half of them got sent this way and had to get sent back. Anyway, in this post I tackle a stupid design issue. Let’s see what went wrong.
Digital Unknown made this little film on his iPhone 5S just after I bought my lathe and mill. Check it out.
This is a problem that’s plagued the bicycle industry for years. Single crown forks that creak at the crown. Understandably, there’s a lot of stress in that area of any single crown fork. The longer the fork, the more stress. Oftentimes all it takes is a strong pull of the front brake and you can hear creaking and cracking noises that make it sound like the fork is about to break off the front end of the bike. Sometimes this noise can be heard on brand new bikes with brand new single crown forks. Sometimes it’s a very expensive and high end fork. Fox I’m looking at you. All it takes is a google search of creaky steerer tubes and you’ll get pages and pages of people complaining about their forks. Very often it’s Fox. Sometimes the creaking can be coming from the steerer tube, sometimes its the stanchions. Other lucky people can get a creak from a combination of both.
This is an example of when a customer buys an $8000 Scott Genius LT bike, has a shock fail on him multiple times and none of the distributors have a solution for him. Let’s see what went wrong and how it was corrected.