How to replace pads on bicycle disc brakes

Advantages and Disadvantages of Disc Brakes

Many consider disc brakes to be a progressive step in the bicycle industry. The design is similar to that installed on a car. The use of discs eliminates the likelihood of rim wear.

Other benefits include the following:

  • The eight of the rim does not affect the efficiency of the braking system.
  • It is possible to use the system in harsh conditions.
  • Clear modulation.
  • Longer service life.
  • Disc design does a good job with a lot of dirt.
  • Modulation stable, no periodic maintenance required.

In many cases, the structure can last for several seasons, but even with careful treatment and inactive riding, maintenance will be required.

The disadvantages of the design include the following:

  • The entire system and individual components are expensive.
  • The design cannot be called universal in application.
  • Most of the options are not DIY repair.
  • Heavy enough weight.

How to change disc brake pads on a bicycle?

The design of the bicycle has been improved over a long period. Particular attention was paid to the creation of a braking system, which must be reliable and effective in use.

replace, pads, bicycle, disc

Disc brakes are a common design with a combination of control levers, drive and brake pads. Timely maintenance can significantly extend the operating life of the brake system, eliminate the likelihood of its damage.

Replacing rim brake pads on a bicycle

Over time, rim pads (like any other bike part) fail. And any self-respecting bike enthusiast, not to mention professionals, should be able to replace them. over, this is easy to do with v-brakes. The main thing is to do everything slowly, clearly observing the technological stages in the required sequence:

  • Open the brake. bring its levers together and remove the iron tip of the “shirt” from the groove formed (the cable comes out of it).
  • Remove old pads, remembering in which sequence the fasteners were used.
  • Install new pads, sequentially collecting all mounting shims and washers.

It’s even easier when it comes to cartridge pads! It is only necessary to replace the rubber gaskets. remove the locking pin, remove the old one and put a new gasket, and then secure it with the same (or new) split pin.

Care must be taken when changing v-brake pads as they can be left or right (the markings are directly on the pads). Then in no case can they be confused.

In addition, it is not enough just to change the pads, you also need to adjust them. And before that, check the brake cable for wear or breakage. He must be absolutely intact and easily move around in a “shirt”. It is also necessary to check the shape of the wheels so that there are no “eights”.

The brake pads must be properly pressed against the wheel rim. And the pressure can be adjusted (configured) using the shoe fasteners. It is not difficult to get the desired angle if you hold down the brake and loosen the nut on each of the pads.

The v-brake cartridge pads should be located strictly horizontally, touching their entire surface to the rim, but not touching the tire. And when the required position is reached, you should fix it with a shoe nut. Regarding conventional brake pads, the rear of the pads must first come into contact with the rim horizontally.

How To Change Disc Brake Pads on Mountain Bike

During the tuning process, it is also necessary to ensure that the brake levers come together equally. Position adjustment is possible with a Phillips spring tension screw. If the lever barely moves, then the screw should be tightened, and when the lever moves too easily, unscrew.

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Instructions for setting up the V-brake system. in the video review:


The hydraulic system is much more complex.

It consists of the following elements:

  • Tank with special fluid.
  • Hydraulic line. It is represented by a special tube with increased tightness. Air intrusion causes reduced efficiency.
  • Drive cylinder.
  • Brake piston, which creates pressure.

The procedure for changing the pads is quite simple. The instructions for carrying out the work are as follows:

  • The caliper is removable, thereby simplifying the task.
  • It is necessary to carefully straighten all fasteners: retaining rings, wiring, small adjusting bolts.
  • The next step is to remove the old pads and install new ones.
  • Next, the pads are fastened, after which everything is installed in the old place and the reliability of the fastening is checked.

When do you need to change disc brake pads??

It is important to choose the right moment when you need to replace the pads.

Among the features, we note the following:

  • Most versions can last no more than 15 thousand kilometers.
  • Expensive structures serve about 30 thousand kilometers due to the use of special alloys.

The above information defines what is important to keep track of mileage.

The wear rate depends on the following points:

  • Riding style. Difficult ascents and descents negatively affect the life of the braking system.
  • External influence. Shocks and other impacts can cause defects that reduce the service life.
  • Improper adjustment of the device also negatively affects the condition of the pads.

How to change brake pads on a bike

How to properly change brake pads on disc brakes

How do you know if your components are already worn out? And what is the correct way to change the brake pads? The answer is waiting for you in our article.

Factors due to which it can be determined that the brake pads are already worn out:

  • when braking, they behave louder than usual, “squeal”.
  • the thickness of the pad will become unacceptably small (usually manufacturers indicate the factory thickness. so you have something to compare with).
  • braking becomes too smooth (the cause of this factor may be an incompletely tightened cable. recheck).

Types of material from which brake pads are made:

  • semi-metallic. they work louder, but are more durable and brake better;
  • organic. brakes softer and quieter, but quickly wears out in mud.

Learn to change brake pads yourself: it will save you time and money

Change the brake pads

  • narrow pliers;
  • a screwdriver for removing fasteners (or a hex wrench. in different models in different ways);
  • a box for small parts (if they are, then “they are not immediately available”, so it is better to put them in a separate place);
  • rag and cleaning fluid.

Prepare your workplace. The surface where you will unpack new pads should be free of dust, sand, dirt and loaf crumbs.

We change the pads. The whole process can be done in 7 steps:

  • remove the caliper from the fork or frame (caliper. brake machine);
  • unscrew the mounting bolt or remove the cotter pin (on many models, especially expensive ones, in addition to the bolt, there is also a retaining ring, it must also be removed and must not be lost);
  • part the pads in the caliper housing (to sink the pistons and make room for new, unworn pads), use a flat screwdriver;
  • remove the pads: on some brakes, they are simply pulled out through the top or bottom of the caliper, on some they are held by a springy plate. Some pads have a special spike with which they cling to the piston, and some have a magnetic base and simply stick to the piston;
  • clean the caliper. This should be done at every opportunity, and removing the pads is a very convenient case (all fasteners should also be wiped off);
  • put new pads in a clean case (so that the spring does not dangle between them, feel free to unbend it if necessary);
  • collect the structure to its initial state.

A good example of how to properly change brake pads on disc brakes:

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Checking the completed task

Take the caliper installation seriously. Incorrectly “planted” in its place, it and the entire braking system will not work correctly, and in general will be useless. The pads should slide freely along the rotor, while the rotor should rotate exactly in the center of the gap between the pads. Notice that this is not the case. center the rotor. Only after the rotor has been centered, check operation by clamping the brake lever.

The final stage is a check in action. Get on your bike away from people and cars, accelerate and apply the brakes sharply. Repeat this several times. Do not brake easily and smoothly. this can “glaze” the pads, which will increase the “grinding” period and cause extraneous sounds when braking.

Test brake pads away from society and the roadway

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Question: when to change the friction linings

  • On the V-Brake, the friction pads must be urgently replaced at the time of erasing the transverse slots (when the working side of the pads already looks solid). Cross grooves are necessary to drain dirt from the working area of ​​the pad. When the retraction is broken, the rim wears out quickly.
  • On disc brakes of any type, the friction layer must not be erased to the metal base attached to the caliper. Therefore, with a critical approach of the working layer to the base (about 0.5 mm), replace the set with a new one.

V-Brake Service

The linkage system can be in one of two states: working or maintained. We are interested in the second, when the levers are disengaged, that is, one of them is not connected with the cable. It is in this position that it is convenient to change the pads. Actually, the change process itself is simple, if you keep a few important points in focus:

  • Unscrewing the bolt securing the old pads to the lever, remember the sequence of the washers. It should be similar to the one shown in the photo. The main emphasis in the scheme is made so that the block can be rotated in all directions. This is exactly what spherical washers can do together with 3 and 6 mm concave washers.
  • When setting up a new friction lining, try to ensure that it follows the circumference of the rim and does not touch the tire. When viewed from above, the front of the garment should be closer to the rim than the back. This will give the brakes a smooth deceleration pattern, which means that the ride comfort will be increased.

Little life hack. When touching the front of the shoe, the rear must be within 1mm from the rim. For the convenience of adjusting this gap, it is convenient to use automotive dipsticks to adjust the valves or ordinary A4 paper, rolling it into a couple of layers.

How To Replace Your Disc Brake Pads

After installing new friction plates, it is necessary to loosen the brake cable, since the old pads were probably thinner, which means they were located closer to the rim.

Replacing pads on a bicycle

The construction of a bicycle today must certainly be of high quality and durable, so that every rider has the opportunity to 100% enjoy the ride or walk. The most extreme versions of bicycles are considered BMX, because with their help you can really perform tricks and various variations in the air. The main prerequisite for complete comfort and confidence in riding are the brakes of the bike. Indeed, their serviceability, functionality and efficiency will prevent the occurrence of unpleasant situations and incidents during the movement of the cyclist.

Principle of operation

Disc brakes are traditionally mounted on the left side of the bike. Some bikes have two disc brakes, one on each side of the front wheel, but the added weight may not be desirable in this case. One-sided mounting results in an unbalanced load on the plug, which can lead to handling and safety problems. The load on the fork is heavy because the braking torque is taken at a relatively short distance from the hub. As noted, the front caliper disc brake in the normal position behind the left fork blade exerts a strong force to push the hub axle out of the dropout. Alternating upward force from the weight and downward force from the brake can weaken the quick release of the front hub.

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The front suspension fork and disc brake work well because the fork needs to have large diameter sliders (the bottom of each fork blade) and the left slider can easily transfer the load from the disc brake. However, a lateral front hub (one where the axle is mounted in holes rather than slots) is still needed to avoid the possibility of losing the front wheel.

Why disc brakes?

There are many types of brakes. For example, mountain bikes used cantilever brakes first and then straight traction brakes, which avoided the risk of snagging the cross cable on the knobby tire. But racing bikes are often wet and dirty, which creates problems with any rim brakes. Disc brakes are becoming more popular on mountain bikes and are gaining in demand for other models.

For bicycles used on the road, the benefits of disc brakes are not so compelling. To some extent, they are a fashion statement that mimics automotive practice. It is worth noting that disc brakes cannot be upgraded without changing the frame. The front disc brake puts a lot of stress on the fork and can pull the front wheel out of the dropout unless a dedicated hub and fork is used.

Replacing disc brake pads

The ability to periodically repair and maintain brake discs can significantly save.

Due to this, you can also:

  • Eliminate the possibility of damage to the system.
  • Reduces the risks of active skiing.

How to replace brake pads on a bike?

The prospects for V-brake can be judged by the configuration of the budget segment of bikes from the rating of bicycles by brand. Returning to the subject of discussion, the technique for changing the friction pads on the V-Brake and Disc systems is different. The approach to post-installation adjustment is also different, which, by the way, is required in all cases.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Disc Brakes

Like every design, disc brakes have their own pros and cons. Among the advantages, it is worth noting the following:

  • Disc brakes with large rotors are strong.
  • Low leverage with superior disc brakes.
  • Disc brakes must not flex over the tire, so no design compromises are required for wide tires.
  • They are little affected by wet conditions.
  • They are not clogged with dirt and snow.
  • Not susceptible to rim damage.
  • Brake pads won’t damage the tire or dive under the rim without locking the wheel.
  • External to the hub, they do not impose any special lubrication requirements, which prevents the hub from overheating on long steep descents.
  • Dissipates heat without overheating the tire, which is especially important when used as a downhill brake or cargo bike.
  • They have no rims, which is important when driving in sand and mud, or with carbon fiber composite wheels. They do not leave black dust (particle wear) on the aluminum alloy rims, making replacement parts a clean job.
  • Allows modifications that do not work with rim brakes such as reflective tape on the sides of the rim, tire chains wrapped around the rim and tires.
  • Allows you to switch wheels with different rim sizes to the same frame, so you can switch from skinny road tires to rough off-road tires while maintaining the same bottom bracket height.
  • Hydraulic disc brakes eliminate cable friction “stickiness”.
  • Some hydraulic disc brakes self-adjust to compensate for rotor wear.
  • The rotor can be easily replaced when worn or damaged. Adapters allow replacement of most calipers, even those types that are no longer produced.
  • Some bike frames must use rim brakes as there are no presets for mounting rim brakes.