Brake squeal: you hate it, I hate it, we all hate it. We thought we left brake squeal behind when we moved from rim brakes to disc brakes but instead, we just embraced it and brought along many other problems - air bubbles, pad contamination, phantom pad migration "I swear I didn't pull the lever while the front wheel was out," and brake levers that somehow feel the desire to get closer to the handlebar though they're purposely spaced apart. Then there's the grab the brake, "Where'd the brake go?" moment of panic and frantic brake pumping as one tries, seemingly hopelessly, to gain some sort of pad contact and action while the bike inevitably gains speed. I love disc brakes and I'll choose them any day of the week over rims brakes, even having habitually lived through each of the actions described above, mostly attributable to my deferred maintenance plan.
WTB really could care less for brake squeal, so much so, that in 1994 a "Silence the Squealing Banshee" guide (pictured below) to all thinkable culprits and cures to brake squeal was written. It is borderline embarrassingly exhaustive, WTB really hated brake squeal. Upon completing reading it, if you can, you will be crowned a Brake Squeal Scientist, capitals used for title usage. This accompanied a STOP YOUR SQUEALING ad campaign focusing on the 4-way adjustment of 1993 SpeedMaster™ Cantilever brakes as well as the 1994 GripMaster™ brake pads, which were available in 3 different compound varieties. The idea behind the GripMaster™ Dual-Compound pads was that the abrasive material following the sticky soft compound front would act as a broom, cleaning up the mess from the rim and eliminating squeal. See a trend here? No squealing allowed. So, next time your disc brakes sing out a cacophony of metal upon metal detest when you grab for them frantically, just think, life could be worse, you could be riding cantis.
1993 SpeedMaster Cantilever Brakes featuring 4-way adjustment - yup, 4 ways to eliminate brake squeal.
Enjoy the following guide and be thankful for those disc brakes you find yourself cursing, they're great.