This troubleshooting article can be followed to resolve issues that may cause noisy brakes. Keep in mind that new brakes require a "bed-in" process in which the outer layer of the pads and rotor will be worn down over the course of your first several rides on the bike. In the case the brakes are still making noise after several rides, there are several main potential causes which are brake pad contamination, uneven pad alignment/wear, and wet riding conditions.
Note: For this troubleshooting process, you may need to first remove the wheel of the bike, the brake caliper, or the pads themselves. If you are unsure how to complete these steps, please follow the respective links below for guidelines.
Removing or Installing the Front Wheel of your eBike
Bicycle Disc brake Bed-in Procedure:
To be performed on each brake individually: Pedal/throttle your bike up to 17mph/27kph then gradually slow your bike to a walking pace without coming to a complete stop. Do this 10-15 times per brake.
The overall goal here is to produce enough heat in each braking system to allow the brake pad material to be distributed evenly across the brake rotor. This is the main reason that it so important to perform this on one brake at a time.
Brake Pad Contamination (high pitched squealing)
Cause: During the assembly process, it is possible for your brake pads to become contaminated. One reason for this may be if oils from your skin, grease, or other oily lubricants are transferred to the pads or rotor during installation. This will most likely cause a high pitched squealing sound even after the pads have completed the bed-in process. For this reason, we would recommend wearing disposable gloves anytime you are working with brake pads or rotors.
Solution #1: It is sometimes possible to remove the contaminant from the pads. To try this, first clean the surface on both sides of your rotor with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol which can be found at your local grocery store or pharmacy. Remember to wear gloves and use a clean rag for this step. The goal here is to remove any contaminant from the rotor that could be transferred to your pads or vise versa. After cleaning the rotor, replace the wheel and test the brakes. If this proves to be unsuccessful, repeat the cleaning of the rotor and move on to solution #2.
Solution #2: If simply cleaning the rotor does not solve the noisy brake issue, it is possible that your actual brake pad has absorbed a contaminant, which can be removed in some cases. If the contaminant has only been absorbed into the very outer layer of the pad then using a file or medium grit sand paper to remove the outer layer of the pad may also remove the contaminant. Remove the brake pads from the caliper and use a file (sand paper) to scrape off the outer layer of the pads. After filing, replace brake pads in caliper and test brakes for noise. Refer to the photos below for an example.
Note: After cleaning either the brake pads and/or rotor performing the bed-in procedure will be necessary. If you have tried both of these procedures and you are still experiencing noisy brakes, please contact us through our support page. Under certain conditions your pads maybe subject to warranty replacement.
Support Page (call or chat online with us)
Left side of Photo: Unbedded pads with glossy outer layer present
Right side of Photo: Filed pads with removed outer layer
Place brake pad face down and with pressure applied, motion side to side until glossy surface of the outer layer is removed.
Caliper Alignment (scraping or rubbing noise)
Cause: Misalignment of your brake caliper can lead to noisy brakes. Typically, if not aligned properly, the brake pads will be in constant or intermittent contact with your brake rotor, even when you are not applying pressure with the brake lever, which would cause some noise.
Solution: Loosen and adjust/align brake caliper. This should be a relatively simple fix that can be done with just a 5mm Hex key or allen wrench. If you are experiencing this symptom, refer to the photo below which shows proper pad spacing on either side of the rotor. If you notice that there is not proper spacing between the pads and the rotor, please refer to our article Brake Adjustment.
Wet Riding Conditions
All Gen3 bikes will come with mechanical disc brakes which were selected for their strong stopping power and ease of installation and adjustment. Disc brakes can also allow for wider tire clearances compared to traditional cantilever rim brakes. However, when riding in wet conditions disc brakes can be slightly noisier than rim brakes. This is a normal symptom of disc brakes so if you have only ridden your bike in wet conditions, this may explain any experience you've had with excessive noise. Even when wet and although slightly noisy, disc brakes still perform better in wet conditions compared to other styles of brakes which is why we have opted to put them on our bikes. If you experience excessive noise even during dry weather, check to see if your rotor is wet as this could happen after riding through a puddle.