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Hi all -

This is a topic that I'm sure anyone with a cross bike has had to deal with. I have a cross bike that is my main road ride. The front brake is a cantilever (Avid Shorty Ti) and I find that when I brake, especially on steep descents, it sounds as though the gates to hell have been opened. I find myself riding the brakes all the time while descending, just so that I won't have to hit them hard and make them squeal.

I've tried the usual solutions:

I've toed in the brakes. This helps but never eliminates the problem -- when increasing the toe angle the brakes lose stopping power well before the squealing goes away.

I've changed the brake pads. I'm currently using koolstop salmons. I've tried ceramic-rim pads, but they don't have enough stopping power. The standard black pads that came with the brakes had the same amount of squeal.

I've heard that the squeal is caused by brake flex: when the brake is squeezed hard, the brake arms twist so that the toe in is canceled out, and then they squeal. Is this correct? And if so, how should I fix it?

These are the options that I have in mind:
- Put on a brake booster. Does anyone know if this would work?
- Switch to V-brakes plus a Travel Agent.
- Use some expensive cantis like Paul's.

How have you solved (or tried to solve) the squealing?
 

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I have heard

That the Avids squeal like the Look pedals squeak; you cannot avoid it. I have not heard of any solutions to fix it, though. Have you tried lightly sanding the brake pads and cleaning the braking surface of the wheel really well (a scotch brite pad works well; the scratch or non-scratch versions).

I put a pair of the travel agents on a mountain bike with a road bar. In my opinion, the travel agents are a pain in the a$$ to install, and do not work as well as I thought they should. They did increase braking power, but not by much and certainly not enough to justify the time it took to install them. Again, this is all my experience with them and I am a pretty comfortable do-it-yourselfer. These were a gift from a bike mechanic friend of mine and he even said these things were a pain.
 

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Slow-poke
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Put on Brake Boosters. They solved the problem for me.
 
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