There is one downside to my switch from the stock wheels to the new schmick Woody’s wheels. My front brake has gotten loud. Sounding like a dump truck loud at slow speeds.

This isn’t the typical brake squeal. This is something else.

Brake squeal is when the brake pad is interacting with the calipers and you get an annoying high-pitched sound from a vibration that gets set up there. The solution to that is, somewhat ironically, to lubricate the brakes. Well, lubricate in the right places — like where the brake piston interfaces with the brake pad, the pad to the caliper, and the pad to the guide pin.

This I’ve done.

It howls, not squeaks.

The interesting thing is that I had exactly the same problem with the wheel mounted to my old bike. The key takeaway there is that everything has been changed between. The brake disc. The pads. The caliper. The tires. The entire bike. Interestingly, from memory, this is the same annoying “note” that I was getting on the 2007 R1200GS. On the 2009 R1200GS it’s just about the the same pitch.

The only common thing is the front wheel.

My guess is there’s a resonance that’s set up between the brake disc/pad and the wheel itself. The build of the new wheel is, while stronger, is a lot lighter than stock. It’s also, I’m quite certain, a lot more flexible in the lateral direction since there’s a lot less meat on the wheel hub. This difference is key in that the additional flex can then amplify the right set of frequencies.

So, what now?

I have a set of different brake pads I can slap in and see if that changes anything. Another thing I can do is swap out the brake disk for a different one. All I’m looking for is something to shift away from the resonant frequency and I think I’ll be set.

As an added bonus I’d be just an ABS sensor away from being able to swap wheels with nothing more than pulling the axle and swapping wheels. Maybe I can put a set of street tires on the stock wheels… hmmm…