How to clean disc brakes on a bicycle

Bicycle disc brake design

In many ways, it is the design of the disc brakes that determines how tuning is done.

All devices fall into two categories:

  • The mechanical device has a cable, due to which energy is transferred from the handle to the executive unit. In this case, a high force can be transmitted.
  • Hydraulics are represented by the line through which the fluid transfers energy to the brake pads.

How to set up and adjust disc brakes on a bicycle

New bicycles are often equipped with rim brakes, or V-brakes, and Soviet bicycles have always been fitted with the only existing caliper brakes. Currently, this is due to the desire to reduce the cost of the design: it is no secret that many cyclists dream of changing the brakes to disc brakes as soon as possible. Often, even when choosing a bike, the costs for changing the brake system are included in the amount.

Below we will show you how to set up disc brakes on your dream bike.

Since the principle of operation of disc brakes is different, it is impossible to adjust them according to the same scheme. Brake disc mechanisms are:

Mechanical disc brakes

Mechanical brakes are more common. Today they are installed on almost all bicycles.

This is due to the points below:

  • They are much cheaper due to design features. Steel with high corrosion resistance is used in the manufacture of the cable. The length is selected depending on the characteristics of the bike.
  • The main elements: cable and sheath, are characterized by higher reliability. The use of steel in their manufacture determines a high degree of resistance to mechanical stress.
  • In the event of a malfunction, it is possible to carry out repairs yourself. All system elements are characterized by a simple design. Therefore, there are no serious difficulties with the repair.

It should be borne in mind that every time after removing the wheel, you have to adjust the system. In addition, the cable has to be lubricated from time to time to ensure the required level of efficiency at the time of operation.

Setting up the hydraulic disc brake

The reason for tuning, as always, is resistance to wheel movement, as well as extraneous sounds, for example, creaking and rustling. Do not forget about a simple check: a suspended and spun wheel quickly stops if the pads touch the brake disc.

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  • We loosen the bolts on the caliper so that it is movable, then squeeze the brake handle so that the pads are pressed against the rotor
  • Now it is worth checking the position of the valves on the pads so that they stand symmetrically and equally from the rotor.
  • Now you need, without releasing the handle, tighten all the screws on the caliper.
  • We release the handle, check the operation of the mechanism. In the best case, the pads from the disc should be at the thickness of the hair, but not touching it.
  • If the pads are still located at different distances, but at the same time the rotor is ideally placed in the machine, then you can do this: press the disc against the pad that protrudes more strongly, and work sharply with the brake handle about 10 times. The unevenness of the valve aligns the pads, and the malfunction is corrected. It is better to do this together: the assistant presses the disc to the block with both hands, and the other squeezes the handle.
  • At the end of the setting, we set the brake lever correctly using the adjusting hexagon. The main thing to remember here is that moving the handle closer to you simultaneously brings the pads closer to the rotor and vice versa.

Let’s say that whatever brakes you choose, you should always be confident in them. And only when all your orders the bike will execute flawlessly, you will get real pleasure.

How to apply disc brakes on a bicycle

Mechanical disc brakes

Mechanical brakes are recommended to be adjusted in case the disc rubs against the pad. In addition, adjustment is required in the event of a weakening of the braking force.

Instructions for setting up mechanical disc brakes are as follows:

  • The brake lever is squeezed out to the stop.
  • The lock nut of the machine is unscrewed, after which the regulator is turned inside out. If you need to unscrew it strongly, then you have to loosen the cable.
  • Determined what the gap between the disc and the pad. If the braking device is crooked, loosen the screws to adjust the position. They attach the device to an adapter or plug.
  • The screws that secure the brake are unscrewed.
  • Having made the caliper movable, the handle should be squeezed out to the end, after which it should be fixed in this position. Next, the correct centering of the machine relative to the disc is carried out.
  • Tightening is carried out with a screw to fasten the brake machine. Twisting should be carried out periodically, since only in this case it is possible to exclude the possibility of shear.
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After that, the handle is released. Compliance with the recommendations specified in the instructions ensures the ideal position of the disc and pad.

Diagnostics of the brake system

As with the human body, which functions as a whole, before fixing brake problems on a bicycle, diagnostics should be carried out to determine the extent of brake damage. After all, if the block is worn out, from which the impact on the disc becomes much worse, and there is no stopping effect (due), then only it needs to be replaced, and not the system as a whole. So, below are some of the diagnostic steps you need to take to identify the causes of your bike’s “ailment”:

How To Clean Your Disc Brakes | Mountain Bike Maintenance

  • Deformation of the rotor can be one of the reasons for the malfunctioning of the braking system. Therefore, removing it is a top priority. When you unscrew the clamps and remove the rotor, it must be placed on a flat surface, such as a mirror. Carefully inspect how tightly and evenly the rotor adheres to it, and if you notice irregularities, it means that they need to be corrected.
  • We dismantle the brake pads to carry out a visual inspection for damage. This action is as follows: find the extension on the caliper, and then turn the pads until they are removed. It is not difficult to visually determine the wear on their surface. So, the figure shows that the block on the right is already completely worn out and requires immediate replacement.
  • Figure: Determining Pad Wear
  • The next “candidates for close inspection” are cables and shirts. This item is suitable for those modes of transport where mechanics are used. It is necessary to check the cable for fiber breaks, deformations, and so on. As for the shirts, remember that their function is to protect the cable from negative factors (accumulation of dust, moisture). Therefore, cracks or breaks simply should not be present here. Both elements must be lubricated before installation / replacement.
  • For hydraulics, there is also a test exclusively inherent in this type of system. the condition of the hydraulic line for leaks. It is important to understand that if there are leaks in the hydraulics, the proper pressure may not be exerted on the pads, which automatically disables the system. Damage to the hydraulic lines is quite likely, which are revealed by visual inspection. over, it does not matter at all whether this damage is strong, or insignificant. It is also necessary to check the junction of the brake line, caliper and master cylinder. A rod extends from the brake lever to the piston. another potential place from which fluid can be vented in case of mechanical damage (on the cuffs). After dismantling the brake pads, it is necessary to check for leaks on the caliper itself.
  • The rotator, like the pads themselves, can get dirty while using the bike. Both oil and dust accumulate here, forming solid layers that interfere with the operation of the system. Adjusting the brakes without cleaning the rotor and pads from dirt is a mistake. Cleaning can be done with fine-grained sandpaper. But for this you need to dismantle both parts so that the cleaning is done as efficiently as possible.
  • The final is wheel adjustment. It should not be skewed to the side in any way. You can check this simply by placing the bike on a flat surface and performing a visual inspection. If the wheel is tilted to the side, it must be aligned (loosen the eccentric, then adjust the wheel).
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A set of such activities is required. All this can be done quickly enough if you have all the necessary tools (screwdriver, wrenches). Next, we go directly to the processes of adjusting and installing the brakes.

How to adjust disc brakes on a bicycle

Adjusting the brake lever travel

This adjustment allows you to adjust the position of the handle when the brake engages. There are no specific recommendations on this matter. Someone is more comfortable for the bike to brake at the slightest push on the handle, someone more like the presence of a small idle and a dead grip in the middle of the lever path.

clean, disc, brakes, bicycle

This adjustment is carried out using a screw located in the brake lever housing. The final adjustment of the severity of the brake engagement is made by the cable tension thumbscrew.

Attention! After completing all adjustments, check that the pads are equidistant from the rotor. It is possible that the fixed friction lining will have to be readjusted.

How to set up disc brakes on a bicycle

Running a bike is one thing, but fixing it is another. Even skilled and experienced cyclists are faced with the problem of incorrect / defective disc brakes. You can deal with this phenomenon if you clearly know the principle of operation and the structure of the system. And you should start with these main points.

How to pull

Proceed in the reverse order of loosening the cable and you will get the desired result.

Mechanical disc brakes

Mechanical brakes are more common. They are installed on almost all bicycles today.

This is due to the points below:

  • They are much cheaper due to design features. Steel with high corrosion resistance is used in the manufacture of the cable. The length is selected depending on the characteristics of the bike.
  • The main elements: cable and sheath, are characterized by higher reliability. The use of steel in their manufacture determines a high degree of resistance to mechanical stress.
  • In the event of a malfunction, it is possible to carry out repairs yourself. All system elements are characterized by a simple design. Therefore, there are no serious difficulties with the repair.

It should be borne in mind that every time after removing the wheel, you have to adjust the system. In addition, the cable has to be lubricated from time to time to ensure the required level of efficiency at the time of operation.

Diagnostics of the brake system

As with the human body, which functions as a whole, before fixing brake problems on a bicycle, diagnostics should be carried out to determine the extent of brake damage. After all, if the block is worn out, from which the impact on the disc becomes much worse, and there is no stopping effect (due), then only it needs to be replaced, and not the system as a whole. So, below are some of the diagnostic steps you need to take to identify the causes of your bike’s “ailment”:

  • Deformation of the rotor can be one of the reasons for the malfunctioning of the braking system. Therefore, removing it is a top priority. When you unscrew the clamps and remove the rotor, it must be placed on a flat surface, such as a mirror. Carefully inspect how tightly and evenly the rotor adheres to it, and if you notice irregularities, it means that they need to be corrected.
  • We dismantle the brake pads to carry out a visual inspection for damage. This action is as follows: find the extension on the caliper, and then turn the pads until they are removed. It is not difficult to visually determine the wear on their surface. So, the figure shows that the block on the right is already completely worn out and requires immediate replacement.
  • Figure: Determining Pad Wear
  • The next “candidates for close inspection” are cables and shirts. This item is suitable for those modes of transport where mechanics are used. It is necessary to check the cable for fiber breaks, deformations, and so on. As for the shirts, remember that their function is to protect the cable from negative factors (accumulation of dust, moisture). Therefore, cracks or breaks simply should not be present here. Both elements must be lubricated before installation / replacement.
  • For hydraulics, there is also a test exclusively inherent in this type of system. the condition of the hydraulic line for leaks. It is important to understand that if there are leaks in the hydraulics, the proper pressure may not be exerted on the pads, which automatically disables the system. Damage to the hydraulic lines is quite likely, which are revealed by visual inspection. over, it does not matter at all whether this damage is strong, or insignificant. It is also necessary to check the junction of the brake line, caliper and master cylinder. A rod extends from the brake lever to the piston. another potential place from which fluid can be vented in case of mechanical damage (on the cuffs). After dismantling the brake pads, it is necessary to check for leaks on the caliper itself.
  • The rotator, like the pads themselves, can get dirty while using the bike. Both oil and dust accumulate here, forming solid layers that interfere with the operation of the system. Adjusting the brakes without cleaning the rotor and pads from dirt is a mistake. Cleaning can be done with fine-grained sandpaper. But for this you need to dismantle both parts so that the cleaning is done as efficiently as possible.
  • The final is wheel adjustment. It should not be skewed to the side in any way. You can check this simply by placing the bike on a flat surface and performing a visual inspection. If the wheel is tilted to the side, it must be aligned (loosen the eccentric, then adjust the wheel).
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A set of such activities is required. All this can be done quickly enough if you have all the necessary tools (screwdriver, wrenches). Next, we go directly to the processes of adjusting and installing the brakes.

Working with a caliper

Adjusting mechanical disc brakes on a mountain bike is a two-step process: adjusting the caliper and adjusting the brake lever. To adjust the caliper means to align the pads symmetrically with respect to the disc, while the gaps should be minimal.

When adjusting the caliper, it is important to follow the sequence of actions:

  • Center the clipper. Loosen the bolts securing the caliper to the adapter and, moving the caliper, find such a position in which the pads will be equidistant from the disc and completely parallel to it. After centering the machine, pull it to the adapter, observing the rule of uniform tightening: turn one bolt ¼ turn, then the other also ¼, and repeat the described procedure again with the first and second fasteners.
  • Align the clearance between the fixed pad and the disc. Any grade of mechanical disc brake caliper has a bolt or adjusting wheel to move the fixed pad closer / away from the disc. Here the task is to use this adjustment in order to bring the block as close to the rotor as possible, while maintaining the clearance. The easiest way to do this is to move the friction pad close to the disc, but so that it does not bend it, and loosen the bolt a little to get a small gap.
  • Adjust the clearance between the rolling block and the rotor. On serious kits, a special adjustment is provided for this. a bolt that moves the block regardless of the tension of the cable. On cheap bikes, this setting is combined with the cable tension. The task is to set the same gap as between the fixed friction lining and the disc.

Advice. Adjust the clearance so that the friction linings grip the disc tightly in the middle of the brake lever travel. To do this, you will need to adjust the tension of the cable using a wing and the position of the fixed shoe (in order to maintain symmetry about the rotor).

For your information. Caliper centering can be skipped if this operation was performed earlier and the wheel was not removed.