Shudder judder at speed when braking

by peted76   May 6, 2014  

Hi guys,

I'm back on a bike after a a long period off with a busted elbow, got myself a spanking new TCR Composite with ultegra brakes/groupset (all the gear and truly no idea)

I tackled my first proper climb on Monday for a year and I think reasonably cautiously wanted to use my brakes on the way down... however at speed upon approach to the first corner, put on the front brake and experienced a judder which came up the fork like I've not known before, while it was happening (through the terror) I thought it could be a loose headset, front brake and it even crossed my mind that I may not have tightened the front QR skewer !

While my mate fearlessly swept around the corners and crept up to 47/48mph I 'juddered' down in sheer terror at 44mph for the (0.5mile @ 12% avg) decent.

I've read quite a lot of this shudder and most people say it's the brakes, my question is what should i do about it? it's a new bike is it a warranty issue? setup issue? could it be that my headseat which don't appear to be loose..

Or is it a technique thing?

6 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Is the wheel true?

Degrease the brake block and the rims, just sounds like it's grabbing at something, then you get a death grip on the bars and it gets worse.

Mate just got the top of the range Defy and both wheels more or less fell apart in the first 100 miles, local wheel shop spent a bit of time on them getting the tension up and level and they've been fine since.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [901 posts]
6th May 2014 - 18:30


In my experience usually either loose headset or brake toe in.

Tacx make a brilliant jig for getting your brakes toed in correctly. Pads will wear to be parallel to the rims after a while so it needs re-doing occasionally. While you're there clean your rims and roughen up your pads as they could be glazed.

Could also be a problem with your rim or the wheel being out of true - give it a spin and see whether there's a wobble.

If you have disc brakes it could be a dirty disc.

posted by Pauldmorgan [211 posts]
6th May 2014 - 18:48


I'd have thought that an out-of-true wheel, at that speed, would tend to cause a wobble regardless of whether the brakes were being applied or not? Likewise for a loose headset.

It sounds definitely like a brake set-up issue. Pauldmorgan's suggestion of the Tacx brake jig is a good idea, else take it back to the shop you got it from and ask them to check the brake pad alignment.

posted by Gordy748 [105 posts]
6th May 2014 - 19:49

1 Like

Brill, I'll take a look at the brakes, bit scary thinking the wheel may need tension looking at
Cheers !

posted by peted76 [97 posts]
6th May 2014 - 22:10


Definitely sounds like the headset to me. One of the scariest moments I've had a on a bike was descending when my headset hadn't been tightened properly.

You probably already know this but the easiest way to check the headset is to hold the front brake on and watch the fork crown as you try to move the bike back and forth. See if there's any movement at all.

posted by pirnie [221 posts]
7th May 2014 - 9:30

1 Like

I had the problem of a very sharp knocking it turned out to be a faulty headset after i'd replace that I was getting a slight Judder still
After cleaning the rims/breaking surface with alcohol wipes it eliminated the problem

If someone's faster than you there obviously not going as far

Charliegr555's picture

posted by Charliegr555 [17 posts]
7th May 2014 - 12:02

1 Like