Bicycle brakes how to install disc brakes

Selecting and installing road disc brakes

Can I fit the disc brakes on my bike somehow?

In short: no. Disc brake calipers require specific mounting points on the fork and frame, and wheels need specific hubs on which to mount the rotors. Although in the early days of disc brakes there were bicycles (mainly for cyclocross) that could combine these formats, nowadays the chances of you being able to fit disc brakes to a rim frame are practically nil.

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Neither regular road hubs nor frames are disc brake compatible.

If you imagine the whole wheel as a disc, this is already disc brakes.?

In theory, yes. However, the benefits of disc brakes are not rotor size, but how efficiently force is transferred from the lever to the braking surface. The friction coefficients of aluminum and even more so carbon fiber are not as good as steel brake rotors, and the brake calipers of the rim brakes are much more susceptible to bending under load than compact hydraulic disc brake calipers. There are exceptions, such as some specially treated brake surfaces of the rims and their hydraulic calipers, but for the most part they are far from the same thing.

What is the Difference Between Center Lock and 6 Bolt Disc Mount?

There are two ways of attaching the rotors to the hubs. The center lock uses a slotted interface to hold the disc, and a retaining ring (which is usually tightened with a cassette tightening tool, but sometimes with a carriage assembly tool) locks it in place. A classy system introduced by Shimano and now also offered by its SRAM and Campagnolo counterparts.

Six bolts on the left, center locking on the right.

Typically found on cheaper bikes, the 6-bolt disc mounting system is simpler and attaches with a Torx T25 tool.

It is easy to determine the type of rotor mount just by looking at it or at the hub. The central slotted lock is, of course, in the center of the hub, and six bolts. they are six bolts.

Central locking adapter allows the six bolt rotor to be secured to the splined hub.

It is worth noting that six-bolt rotors can be fitted to splined hubs with an appropriate adapter, but the reverse is not possible.

Ice Tech heat management technology is applied to specific Shimano caliper and disc models.

For rotors, Ice Tech has a three-layer design with an inner aluminum layer sandwiched between stainless steel braking surfaces. Since aluminum conducts heat significantly better than steel, this design dissipates heat better during braking than an all-steel rotor. On top models such as the RT-99, this technology is combined with Freeza technology, where the aluminum core also has a kind of “gills” that dissipate heat. Shimano claims that these discs are approximately 50% more efficient in cooling than rotors with Ice Tech alone.

In brake pads, Ice Tech refers to base plates with integrated radiators. As with discs, they help conduct heat away from the braking area and dissipate it into the surrounding air. The disadvantages of such ribbed pads are a little more weight and a rather high cost.

Ice Tech calipers feature ribbed heat sinks to dissipate heat.

While they are not usually fitted to factory-fitted bikes, most Shimano road brakes are Ice Tech compatible. Sometimes brake pad refurbishment. that’s all it takes.

What is the difference between flat-mount and post-mount calipers? Are they compatible?

Example of a post-mount brake attachment.

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Example of a flat mount brake attachment.

The post-mount caliper mount was borrowed from mountain bikes in the early days of highway disc brakes. With this method, the brake caliper is mounted on threaded holes in the frame, with the bolts passing through the caliper. The system made it easy to move and adjust calipers in the early days of road disc brakes.

The newer flat mount is a specific highway disc brake mount that is more compact and lighter than a post mount. With a flat mount, the rear caliper is attached with two bolts to the flat surface of the feather or with an adapter attached to the caliper. the caliper is first attached to the adapter, which is then secured with two threaded holes on the nib.

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The post mount support can be installed on some flat mount frames, but the other way around is not possible.

The road standard flat mount is smaller and therefore requires less frame space.

What is the standard rotor size?

The question is debatable and depends on which manufacturer you ask. The larger diameter rotor provides the system with more leverage and therefore more braking force than the smaller diameter. Plus, a large surface area means more heat dissipation. On the other hand, smaller rotors are lighter, less likely to break in an accident, provide softer braking action and are more aerodynamic.

Most companies, including SRAM and Campagnolo, offer 160mm front rotors for the highway as a conservatively safe option for dissipating heat on extended descents. However, Shimano is confident that riders are safe with a 140mm front disc when equipped with Ice Tech heat dissipation technology.

There is a trend, borrowed from mountain bikes and other disc brake vehicles, with different disc sizes in the front and rear. Since up to 70% of your braking power comes from the front wheel, 160mm diameter is often set to the front and 140mm to the rear.

Regardless of the reasoning, frames are usually optimized for a given size.

What are two piece rotors?

Let’s look at solid rotors first. they are stamped from a single piece of steel. Most inexpensive 6-bolt discs are solid.

The two-piece rotors have a braking surface mounted on a separate holder, or “spider”. This is often done to provide a spline mounting for the central locking, but on higher-end models it can also reduce weight, increase rotor stiffness and help with heat dissipation by cooling the braking surface.

What is the Difference Between Metallic and Organic Pads?

Most brake manufacturers offer a choice of pad material. Usually it is a rubber compound (left) or metal (right).

These materials have different characteristics and the choice should depend on your riding style, sport discipline, terrain and whether you are riding in bad weather.

Rubber compound disc brake pads, also known as “organic”, provide better modulation and quieter braking. Some brands, such as SRAM and Campagnolo, also claim to dissipate heat better than metal ones.

In turn, metal pads, also known as “sintered” pads, are made of harder materials and have more metal than organic pads. As a result, metal pads provide more stopping power and last longer than organic pads, albeit at the expense of louder performance and faster disc wear.

For mountain bikers, a long-standing choice. metal pads, because they provide greater reliability. Because there is less (much) sand on the highway, less emergency braking, and a quieter brake is desirable, most disc-braked road bikes prefer rubber compound pads.

Note: Some low-cost bikes with Shimano equipment only come with rubber pads and “less durable steel alloys” discs. If you decide to use metal pads, you need better discs.

Saw premium pads offered with aluminum or titanium. What’s the matter?

It’s all about weight loss. Disc brake pads are usually attached to steel backing plates, but using aluminum or titanium will save a few grams. In general, premium rubber pads are often placed on aluminum plates, while metal ones are usually placed on titanium ones. Of these two, aluminum is lighter, but, you know, more flexible and less reliable.

This should not be confused with the Ice Tech for the pads detailed above.

My bike looks like a bird’s nest. Is it possible to cut the hydraulic brake hoses?

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Yes. Ability to shorten brake hoses. characteristics of all systems on the market. However, this can be quite a tricky job.

At a minimum, you will need to carefully cut the reinforced hose, and push the replaceable sealing “studs” and “olives” (even if you have no idea what this is about. seeing them, you will immediately understand) push to the new end of the hose. They create airtight seals wherever the hose is attached. While it is possible to cut off most hoses without leaking the system, it is likely that leaks will occur one way or another.

The brake hoses use metal “studs” and “olives” that are squeezed for a tight fit. If you cut the hose, you will need to install new.

Can I use different brands of brake components?

As with the use of transmission components, disc braking systems officially have very limited compatibility with each other, but there are some exceptions.

Compatibility of different components is one of the key benefits of mechanical disc braking systems, and mixing and matching different levers and calipers is not only possible, but often part of the design. Keep in mind, however, that not all brake levers pull the same length of cable with the same amount of pressure, and some combinations will work better than others. Shimano tend to have tighter levers with more pad clearance but less power, whereas SRAM and Campagnolo levers tend to give excellent power, but with less pad clearance and softer leverage.

Hydraulic systems are much more limited in this regard. The fluid reservoir, brake fluid types, piston diameters and hose fittings correspond to the manufacturer of the calipers and levers. There are some cases where you can mix different generations of equipment from the same brand, but again, manufacturers rarely provide this option.

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Brake rotors. it’s a different story and while you’ll probably get more efficiency by putting discs and brakes from the same manufacturer (especially high-end Shimano models), mixing brands in this case rarely leads to any major problems.

Is it easy and quick to change wheels on a bicycle with disc brakes?

If the wheels you are changing have the same hubs, or maybe you are lucky and there is no difference in rotor placement, then you can easily change wheels. But with such a small gap between the brake pads and enough variability among different brands and models of hubs and wheels (and sometimes even within the same make and model), brake rotors can often be positioned differently in relation to the dropouts. If you rarely change wheels, the obvious answer is to tweak the caliper. However, if you want to change them regularly, then it is worth taking the time to set the wheels so that all the discs are in the same plane.


When choosing a bike, a very common question is the choice of the brake. Since there are several types of them (rim, pedal, disc, etc.), the problem arises: “What kind of brakes to choose for a bicycle?” In this article, we will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of disc brakes on a bicycle, how to choose and install them correctly.


  • such brakes are definitely the best for mountain bikes (they are practically useless for city leisurely walks);
  • they are not afraid of the dirt that flies from the wheels, and you can also vouch for their reliability in any weather and temperature;
  • these brakes are not subject to eights, the wheel rim does not wear out;
  • the hydraulic brake does not require adjustment, and also has a fairly long service life;
  • there is no heating of the rim when you brake on a long downhill.


Of course, such brakes have their disadvantages and advantages.


  • all disc brakes are expensive;
  • there is a load on the spokes and bushing;
  • a special tool is required to service the hydraulics;
  • their weight is quite heavy;
  • often interfere with the installation of the trunk.

An important issue when installing disc brakes will be the choice of the rotor size. It can be of various sizes. from 140 to 220 mm. Rotor size for brake efficiency (the larger it is, the more efficient it is).

If you are not going to use your bike for extreme riding, then you can safely take a rotor in sizes 160 and 180 mm. If you need a more powerful brake, then the rotor sizes 203 and 220 mm are suitable for you.

Let’s talk about brake pads. They differ in their content (metallic or organic). As a filler in metal pads, metal sawdust is used, which provides them with greater wear resistance, they rub for a long time.

Organic pads are softer, smoother when braking, grinding in quickly, resulting in better braking.


The most relevant braking system at the moment is disc brakes on a bicycle. How to choose and install them, which bikes are suitable for, the advantages and disadvantages of such a braking system, we’ll talk about this now.

The disc braking system is quite simple in design. A steel disc is taken, which is fixed next to the spokes on the wheel hub on the left. Then the pads on the right and left are pressed against this disc, and the braking force will be the greater, the more they are pressed.

Installing a disc brake system: basic steps

Before you start adjusting the brake system, which has already been in operation for some time, it is necessary to carry out preparatory work. inspection of components and parts. After that, you can start setting up the system (below are the main steps of a mechanical and hydraulic disc brake).

How disc brakes work on a bicycle

The operation and device of a disc brake on a bicycle is based on the transfer of force from the handle to the pads, during which it is pressed against the rotor, which is placed on the wheel hub. This contributes to more reliable and predictable behavior of the bike in bad weather conditions, as well as movement in snow or mud.

The main steps for adjusting a mechanical brake are:

unscrewing the bolt that fixes the brake cable in order to remove the tension;

loosening the bolts fixing the caliper (there is no need to unscrew very much, since it is enough to achieve the ability to slightly change the position);

tightening the bolt that pushes the stationary brake element (in the process, you need to find contact with the disc, but you should not press hard on it);

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pressing the brake by hand (when performing this action, the brake must be kept pressed against the disc, and then the bolts must be tightened);

opening a few turns bolt of the movable shoe.

Upon completion of these steps, it is necessary to check the performance of the bicycle brake system. It is necessary to spin the wheel, during which it will be clear if the disc is rubbing against the wheel. In the event that everything is fine, you will need to tighten the brake cable, which will make it possible to check the effectiveness of the brakes.

Key advantages of a disc brake over drum options:

Our experts, if necessary, will consult each visitor of our Internet resource, comprehensively and competently answering all the questions posed. This will make it possible to competently and quickly carry out all the necessary actions aimed at setting up and adjusting the bicycle disc brake system.

The main components of the disc brake system parts:

Correctly assembled and adjusted bicycle braking system will provide an opportunity to achieve high comfort and safety while riding. That is why it is extremely important to approach the issue of adjusting the brake with great responsibility.

How to set up disc brakes on a bicycle?

The braking system on a bicycle is the most important component of every bike, since such a design provides not only comfort of movement, but also helps to avoid all kinds of injuries. In some cases, brakes can even save a person’s life.

There are two main types of braking systems currently marketed by bicycle manufacturers: mechanical (cable) and hydraulic. Each of the presented designs has its own characteristics, advantages and disadvantages, as well as the device.

Disc brakes

For the first time, disc brakes were installed on bicycles of extreme sportsmen. for freeriding and descending from the mountains (downhill). Now such systems are becoming more common, displacing v-brakes even from entry-level bikes. Disc brakes consist of a steel disc (or rotor), which is attached by a hub to a bicycle wheel, as well as a caliper, a special device for compressing the disc with brake pads.

There are 2 types of disc brakes. mechanical and hydraulic. In the first case, the cable is responsible for the transmission of the braking force, in the second it is transmitted through the hydraulic line by the fluid.

Let’s turn to the advantages of disc brakes:

very effective and fast braking;

the possibility of smooth regulation of the braking force;

performance in all weather conditions;

resistance to dirt and moisture;

unpretentiousness in relation to curvatures, sizes and eights of the wheel;

on long descents, it is not the rim that heats up, but the rotor. In general, disc brakes will not wear out the rim;

no need for frequent maintenance;

Let’s move on to the disadvantages of disc brakes:


The V-brake system is the most popular type of rim brake developed by Shimano and is renowned worldwide for its reliability, light weight and excellent performance. The mechanism consists of two levers that are located opposite each other. Each lever is equipped with a rubber brake shoe, and the braking force is transmitted through the attached cable.

As a result, the braking process looks like this: the cyclist presses the brake lever on the handlebars, the pads simultaneously squeeze the rim, and the wheel stops. An extremely simple and convenient system. Over the past 10 years, bicycles have mostly been fitted with this type of brake.

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The main advantages of v-brake brakes are:

powerful braking force, perfect for easy city driving.

Nothing in this world is perfect, so v-brakes have disadvantages. Namely:

the pads can damage the wheel rim. Of course, this requires a lot of time and the “help” of dirt and water with abrasive particles, but problems are not excluded;

Bicycle brakes: disc or v-brake

Few would doubt that brakes are the most important part of a bicycle. It is on them that in some situations the health and life of the cyclist himself, as well as the people nearby, depend. When buying a new two-wheeled friend, special attention should be paid to choosing the brake model that is right for your riding style and conditions. In this article we will look at disc and v-brake brakes, their advantages and disadvantages.

Disc and v-brake brakes have their own advantages and disadvantages. The choice of this or that type completely depends on the personal preferences and riding style of the cyclist. For beginners and those who are not going to ride in mud and damp or conquer mountain peaks, v-brake brakes are perfect. This option will allow you to save a lot and get what you want. Athletes who want to ride in any weather, and extreme lovers of fast driving, it is better to splurge on disc brakes. The choice is yours!