Stop disc brake noise on your mountain bike with our video tutorial. Disc brake noise comes from two sources; misalignment or contamination.

Tools you will need

  • Allen keys
  • Tyre lever
  • Rotor truing tool or adjustable spanner
  • New brake pads if existing ones turn out to be contaminated
  • Disc brake cleaner or isopropyl alcohol
  • Paper kitchen towel

CAUTION: when working closely on disc brakes take extra care to avoid jamming your fingers into a moving wheel or disc rotor. It may chop your fingertip off. No really.

Disc brake noise is annoying

Picture the scene, you’ve just climbed to the top of a pine-strewn forest track. You stop for a quick rest and all you can hear is the breeze gently stirring the tips of the trees and the birds singing their mid-morning songs.

Serenity, peacefulness and the sounds of nature are a wonderful part of mountain biking. Why then do so many of us put up with disc brakes that make a noise more jarring than a Skrillex symphony every time the trail turns downwards?

Not only is disc brake noise blinking annoying but it can often lead to a lack of performance, so you may as well get it sorted.

Disc brake noise comes from two sources; misalignment or contamination. Here our mechanic extraordinaire, Al Vines, will talk you through how to spot and, more importantly, how to solve both of these problems.

Thankfully no real mechanical knowledge, tools or even competence are needed to sort out this common mountain bike issue – just a lot of patience and some elbow grease.

One word of advice though, please do be extra careful when working on your disc brakes – you don’t need to look any further than the Old Blokes Who Should Know Better section of our mag to know we’ve seen some very nasty injuries from spinning rotors!