Noisy Brake Whilst Braking (C1, C2, C3)

How to solve the issue: Noisy Brake Whilst Braking (C1, C2, C3)

George from Cowboy avatar
Written by George from Cowboy
Updated over a week ago

How do I know I have this issue?

New bikes: You will hear a grinding/squealing noise on the brakes in your first few rides. This will often happen on new bikes with hydraulic disk brakes, which will always need their brakes "bedding in" to remove this noise.

Older bikes: Your brake pads are rubbing against the disk, creating a squeaking or grinding friction noise and/or resistance while the wheel spins.

What causes this issue?

New bikes: New bikes with hydraulic disc brakes always need brakes "bedded in". This process will transfer material from the brake pads onto the brake rotors to ensure that you have proper stopping power

For older bikes; While braking, vibrations get transferred along the brake disc, which vibrates at an audible frequency and can create noise. This vibration can be linked to multiple reasons:

  • Most common: impurities on the brake disc and/or pads (e.g. water or dirt). Disc brakes are typically louder when the road is wet, and will become quieter as they dry out.

  • Less common:

    • A bent brake disc can vibrate differently and make noise.

    • The material of the brake pad and the brake disc has an effect. Generally speaking, softer brake pads (e.g. resin pads, a.k.a. "green" pads) are quieter but wear out quicker, while harder brake pads tend to be louder but last longer.

Is this issue covered by warranty?

For new bikes that need brakes bedding in, this issue is expected and solved by the rider - see instructions below.

This issue is not covered by warranty, unless it occurs on the first trip,
after this, this issue is caused by natural wear and tear, and is not covered by your warranty. Please see here for further details.

This issue is covered by Cowboy Care, and customers with a subscription can request a service for this directly via their Cowboy App - find information here.

How to solve this issue;

New Bikes: You can "Bed in" your brakes by stopping and starting up to 20 times in a safe place on a flat road. After doing this, you should see the noise reduce and then disappear.

Older bikes

This issue is not specific to Cowboy bikes, so it's quickest to visit your local bike shop who will be able to fix this in a few minutes. You do not need specific Cowboy parts for this, any bike shop will have them in stock.

  • Local Bike shop: We recommend visiting your local favourite bike shop to easily and quickly fix this issue. Just ask them to check your brake calipers, pads and discs and show them the instructions below.

  • Cowboy Certified Bike Shop: If you are near a Cowboy Certified Bike Shop, you can also drop in there. Check our map here

  • Cowboy Care: Subscribers can have this issue fixed by a Cowboy technician - find information here

  • Self repair: If you are handy, you can check the videos below and try it out yourself.

What tools are needed?

5mm or 6mm Allen Key

Remove the front axle

Provided in Cowboy Toolbox

18 mm wrench

Remove the rear wheel nuts

Example (not provided in Cowboy tools box)

Torx 25

Remove the brake disc bolts

Example (not provided in the Cowboy tools box)

Adjustable spanner

Straighten the brake disc

Example (not provided in the Cowboy tools box)

What spare parts are needed?

  • If you need brake pads, you can purchase here

Repair Instructions

  • If your bike is new: New brakes need to be "bedded-in". During this process, the brake pad material is distributed evenly over the brake discs and the noise disappears. Here is a video which explains more and shows how to do this correctly.

  • Step 1: Check the brake discs for dirt: Noise from dirt often happens to bikes with hydraulic disk brakes. To solve this, simply clean the disks with a cloth, dry or with some alcohol - be careful, NO SOAP. 😅

  • Step 2: Check if if the issue is caused by a bent brake disc. Flip the bike over and spin the wheel, and check if the brake disc is 'wobbling'. If yes;

    • Try first to straighten the brake disc - you can follow the step by step solution provided on this website.

    • To replace or remove the brake disc, you can follow the following tutorial.

  • Step 3: If the issue is caused by a misaligned caliper or brake pad

    • To replace the brake pads: use the following tutorial here

    • To calibrate the calipers: follow the following tutorial starting from 2:54

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