FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions


(See below for more questions.)


How do I reduce brake squealing?

Brake squealing is annoying to you and fellow riders. Here are a couple of tips, courtesy Jim Langley and Roadbikerider.com:

Check the Rims

Squealing almost always is caused by something that makes the brakes vibrate. Because the wheel rims are the largest component of your braking system, check them first.

Start by ensuring that the wheels are fully inserted, centered and tight in the fork and rear triangle.

To check centering, use your index fingers as feeler gauges by slipping them between the rim and the fork blades and seatstays or chainstays. On a centered wheel, the gap will feel the same on both sides. If it doesn\'t, loosen the wheel and make sure it\'s fully inserted before locking it back down.

Next, spin each wheel. Watch the gap between the rim and a brake pad to see if the rim is true and round. If it wobbles sideways or hops up and down, true the wheel or have a mechanic do it.

Clean the rims if you see brake pad rubber on the sidewalls. Put on rubber gloves, apply a quick-evaporating solvent such as isopropyl alcohol or acetone to a rag, and dissolve the deposits. Avoid getting solvent on the tires.

Also check for a related issue -- rim glazing. This is when the sidewall gets too smooth and shiny in spots. The fix is usually as easy as buffing with a piece of fine emery paper (or a green scrubbie for washing dishes). You want the sidewall to be clean but dull all the way around on both sides.

Check the Calipers

Vibration that causes squealing can come from a brake that\'s loose on the frame or that has loose parts.

Check each caliper by squeezing its brake lever to hold the pads against the rim. This ensures that the brake will stay centered as you put a wrench on the bolt that holds it to the fork crown or seatstay bridge. Turn clockwise to make sure it\'s snug.

Next, face the brake and grip each pad. Push and pull to feel for play in the brake arms. Look for a bolt or nut to tighten on a loose arm. Don\'t overdo it. The brake should open and close crisply when you work the lever.

Tip: Brakes need lubrication to work best. Place a rag over the wheel and pads. Then carefully apply drip or spray lube to the brake pivot points, the tips of the brake springs where they rest on the stops, the quick-release mechanism and the cable adjusting barrel. Wipe off any excess.

Check the Pads

Start by making sure they\'re not worn out. Most brake pads have grooves to indicate wear. When the grooves are gone it\'s time for new pads.

It\'s a good idea to replace pads that are several years old even if grooves remain. Rubber can harden with age and this can cause squealing when everything else checks out.

On most modern brakes, pad replacement is as easy as backing out the tiny keeper screw on the holder, then sliding the old pad out and the new pad in (note its proper direction). Retighten the keeper screw.

Tip: Brake pads come in hard and soft rubbers. Going to a softer compound may be all it takes to silence squealing. Ask your local bike shop for aftermarket pad suggestions. For example, I use KoolStop\'s Dura Type pads as replacements for Shimano Dura-Ace.

Check pad alignment. Look from the side as you squeeze the brake lever. Make sure the pads are parallel to the rim and making full contact -- not above or below the rim sidewall.

Sight from above. As the pads contact the rim, see if their front end touches first. This is called \"toe in\" and it can be the solution to squealing.

Not all brakes need to have toed-in pads. But if your brakes are noisy it\'s worth a try. Some brakes let you set toe-in by rotating the pad on a curved washer (made for this purpose) under the holder.

Be careful. Pad position on these brakes is almost infinitely adjustable so it\'s best not to fully loosen the holder. Slightly loosen its bolt, hold it with pliers, gently adjust the pad position, and then tighten the bolt to lock it in place.

Tip: To set toe-in while the pad holder is loose, wrap an elastic around the brake lever to hold the pads against the rim. Slide a short shim cut from a business card under the tail end of the pad and align the pad to the rim. When it\'s perfect, tighten the bolt and remove the shim. Repeat on the other side.

Now the front of the pads will touch the rim first when you brake - and hopefully the noise goes away.

Question List

Choosing Your Waterford

Do you want a racing bike, recreational bike or both?
What kind of maintenance does my Waterford need?
How big a tire do you want to fit on your bike?
How do you go about choosing your Waterford?
What if my seatpost slips during rides?
How versatile do you want your bike?
What kind of handling do you want?
What do I need to do to prevent rust and corrosion?
Why do we measure our seat tubes 'center to top'?
What do you want to carry?
How big a load do you want to carry?
If I'm a 180 pound rider, why does it matter whether my load is 15 pounds or 25 pounds?

Geometry and Fit

How does Waterford perform factory fittings?
What is toe-clip overlap and why do we avoid it?
My Fit Kit recommends a 538mm top tube. Nobody offers stock geometries in these sizes. What's my best fit?
Can't you just build a bike based on Fit Kit® measurements?
Why are your seat angles so steep on small frame sizes?
Why is there toe clip overlap on track geometries?
Why does Waterford recommend 650C or 26" wheels on selected sizes?
Why does Waterford sometimes recommend 650C or 26" wheels?
What if I want to change from a steel fork to a carbon fork or vica versa?

Materials & Construction

Retrofitting S&S Couplers?
What makes Waterford's Tubesets so Special?
Why Steel?
How much do color choices affect durability?
Lugs vs. TIG - Which is best?

Paints and Finish

How do I apply touch-up paint?
Why don't we Chrome Plate all Waterfords?
How do color choices affect durability?
Why not internal cable routing?
Wouldn't clearcoat over bare metal work?
Why not clearcoat only?
What's wrong with a matte finish?
Why can't I just give you a paint code to select custom paint?
Choosing a Finish

Upgrading Your Waterford

What kind of composite fork can I install on my Waterford?

General Information

Where do I find my serial number?
What does my serial number mean?
What is the difference between Gunnar and Waterford
What is the difference between 14-, 22- and 33-Series models?

Assembly & Care

What common dimensions are there for Waterfords - threading, bolts etc.?
My head tube is somewhat out of round. What kind of problem is it?
Which clamp diameter should I use to for my front derailleur
Clamp-on or braze-on front derailleurs.
What kind of care do I have to give my Waterford to prevent rust from forming?
How do I prevent my composite (carbon fiber) seatpost from slipping?
How long a seatpost do I need?
How do I get a good fit when installing downtube shift adapters?
How do I apply touch-up paint?
How do I apply replacement decals?
How do I remove my chainstay protector?
Should I use my Waterford on my Windtrainer?
Why did we go from 27.4mm to 27.2mm seatposts?
Why don't we install dropout adjusters on bikes that have adjuster holes?
I have an older model 1400 or 2400 off-road frame. What kind of front deraileur do I need?
What if I want to install a 1" for on a 1 1/8" head tube frame?
Threading: What is it for eyelets, rack mounts and so on?

Repair & Restoration

Why can't I just have Waterford touch up my frame instead of completely repainting it?
Is it worth it to restore my old Paramount, Raleigh or other classic road bike?
Can Waterford spread my dropouts on my old bike?
What does it take to retrofit my bike with S&S Couplers?
Will Waterford put its decals on a Paramount restoration?
Can I change the geometry on my existing frame?
I have a dent in my top tube, should I be concerned?
I have a chrome Paramount with damage to the chrome. Can you re-chrome it for me?

Buying / Selling a Waterford

How can I sell my Waterford?


Can I order a 1 inch steerer disc brake fork?
How can I get a disc brake fork with the ride of my classic steel rim brake fork


Does Waterford provide Warranty Coverage?


What do I do for a stuck seatpost or bottom bracket?
What should I do to prevent high-speed wobble and shimmy on my bike?
What do I do about brake chatter or shudder?
How do I reduce brake squealing?
How do I prevent my rear wheel from pulling under heavy climbing or sprinting?
What if I experience chain suck on my Off-Road frame.

Log in and Using this Web Site

Does my Waterford Login connect me to the Forum?


What's the fork threading on the 1960's Paramounts
What do the markings mean found on the bottom bracket of Paramounts from the 50's to the 70's?