Toward the end of last year I splashed a bit of cash on revamping my Kona Kula Supreme hardtail MTB. Apart from an occasional off-road foray the poor thing had mostly been used for commuting and it was showing (visual and vocal) signs of service. It creaked and it clicked, the suspension forks had not a bit of boing left in them and changing gear was a lottery at which I usually lost.

So out came the debit card and I purchased a new drivetrain, derailleurs and shifters, new disc brakes, new carbon rigid forks and a new bottom bracket and headset. A weekend of swearing and grease-smearing and my Kona was re-born. The brakes were dangerously good, the shifting was sharp and, generally, my ‘new’ bike was a blast to ride. Only problem was the rattle. Whenever I rode over any rough ground (which was pretty much always) my new dream bike sounded like my worst nightmare.

When it comes to unidentified mechanical creaks and rattles I’m a bit like the narrator in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Once noted I am unable to leg go, simply must strip the bike down, find the cause and fix it. I eventually narrowed it down to the front end. It wasn’t the hub bearings, the bottom bracket, the headset, and no other miscellaneous nuts or bolts were loose. That left the brakes.

Ugly but simple & effective

Unable to find any faults there I resorted to the tried and tested “just Google it” mechanic’s method.

A search for “Shimano XT disc brake rattle” led me to the forum and a possible solution. I could either ditch my still perfectly usable finned pads for a new set of the non-finned variety or do as Niner_Boy suggested and wrap a small elastic band round the top of each pad. Could it really be so simple? Short answer is yes.

I now purposefully seek out the roughest, most rattly ground to ride over and — not a peep. Thus I will remain happy, in a perfect state of Zen calm. Until the next unidentified noise arises.

Do you have any similar bike maintenance hacks, lo-fi or otherwise, that you’d like to share? Feel free to leave them in the comments below. I might need them some day.