A Guide To Changing Brake Pads on Bikes

A Guide To Changing Brake Pads on Bikes

Created - February 11, 2020

The most common reason to replace your brake pads is if they are worn and braking performance is diminished, but you may also need to swap them over if you rotate between carbon and alloy wheelsets. You’ll know it’s time to change your brake pads if it takes a long time to slow down, braking becomes unresponsive and there is a screeching sound when the brakes are applied forcefully. As well as these signs, the grooves in brake pads are wear indicators and will show you when they need to be replaced. Riding in adverse weather conditions will wear your brake pads quicker, as will riding in groups where you tend to brake more as a result of being reactive to the person in front.

changing disc brake pads bike

If your brake pads started to lose their grip it’s time forchanging brake pads on bike. You don’t want to wait too long as the bolts or the cartridge can damage your rim. However, find the best bike brake pads usually hide in the rather long list of currently available products. This guide brings you the top 10 deals you can get. Besides providing you with 10 amazing brake pads will also take a look at the top 5 products and analyse them thoroughly. Deciding what brake pads to buy can’t get easier than this.

The brakes on your bicycle go unnoticed most of the time. Until they stop working so well, that is. One of the common causes of poor brake performance is worn out brake pads. Here’s everything you need to know about replacing and upgrading your disc brake pads. How long will my brake pads last?.

Driving habits: how hard a driver pushes their brakes greatly affects how long the brake pads last. Some drivers ride the brakes and stop abruptly, while others gently coast to a stop. Smooth, gradual braking increases pad lifespan, but of course it’s important to brake abruptly when safety calls for it.

New brake pads will have more tread than your worn pads, as a result the distance between your wheel and the pad will change when they are replaced. There may not be enough room between the wheel and pads (which will be the case if you have adjusted the cable tension along the way) so you will need to adjust your brakes to provide a little more space. Small changes can be made via the barrel adjuster on the relevant cable, larger changes will require the cable tension to be adjusted.

How long you can expect brake pads to last is like asking how long a piece of string is. Different compounds impact the durability of a brake pad. Then there is the type of riding, the terrain, the weather conditions, the rider weight, these are factors that influence how long the brake pads last. Generally, you can expect disc brake pads to last longer than rim brake blocks, part of the reason they have become popular in the UK.

The two main categories of pads are sintered and organic. Sintered brake pads are made of metallic particles (primarily copper) fused together under heat and pressure. They are long lasting and perform well under hard use. Most brake pads, oem and aftermarket, are sintered. Organic brake pads are a newer technology, and have gained a huge following across different segments due to their unique “feel”, which is more progressive. Instead of metallic particles, organic pads use materials like aramid, carbon or kevlar, bonded with a resin.

Road bikes apply v-brakes or the cantilever for most conventional bikes stopping systems. Pads don’t lie to be glued with the narrow rims. Some manufacturers like Hasa and Diamondback make road bikes for regular or casual bikers. At present, they have added mechanical disc brakes along with cantilever or v-brakes. Therefore, think about the necessity and the demand of the people of the road bikes. We give more emphasis on the brake pads which fits with the v-brakes and cantilevers.

Everything you need to know about disc brakes when to consider changing brake pads on bike if you ride frequently, it’s a sensible idea to visually inspect your brakes on a regular basis. While brake pads can last a very long time, the last thing you want is to get caught out miles away from home with ineffective brake pads because you’ve let them wear down dangerously. Brake pads will wear more quickly in the winter so it’s critical to pay them close attention at this time of year.

All you need to know about changing brake pads on bike

Replacing your brake pads is one of the most common bike maintenance tasks, right up there with fixing a flat. It’s a simple procedure, but if you’ve never worked on your brakes before it can be intimidating.  The process isn’t much different for v-brakes or cantilever brakes which also use rubber pads to contact the rim.

changing bike disc brake pads

A traditional road rim brake uses the rim as its ‘rotor’. Whereas a road bike rim brake traditionally attaches to a hole in the frame or fork, and then uses the wheels circumference as its braking surface, disc brakes are a little more complicated. Placed at the centre of the wheel, disc brakes earn their name from the disc rotor that is attached to the hub of the bicycle wheel. This rotor is what the brake pads clamp onto, creating friction and slowing you down. Typically 140 or 160mm in diameter and just a few millimeters wide, this disc rotor sees some tremendous force and so needs to be attached securely to the hub. This is the first key difference, disc-brake road wheels feature hubs with a disc brake mounting point designed to handle the forces. Likewise, the spokes attached are typically in higher numbers and are designed to oppose the rotational forces.

Brake pads need replacing from time to time, especially over winter, as they pick up more grit and grime from wet roads. There are two main classes of brakes: rim brakes and disc brakes. Rim brakes – which can be v-brakes or cantilevers – are often found on road or hybrid bikes and the pads clamp onto the rim to bring you to a stop.

Which disc brake pads do i need? with the increased amount of bikes coming with disc brakes, many riders will soon be puzzled by the many different type of replacement pads available to purchase. This guide is designed to make it easier for you to get the correct pad for your bike and style of riding.

Disc brakes are commonly found on mountain bikes, some hybrids, and more recently on road and cyclocross bikes. These have brake pads which clamp onto a disc in the centre of the wheel to stop you. In both cases, the pads wear down over time and will need replacing, probably a couple of times a year but this will be dependent upon use.

Not replacing brake pads when they are due could lead to damage to your rims or worst, yourself. If you are swapping between wheelsets which have alloy and carbon braking surfaces, different pads are required and will need to be changed each time.

Shape the most important thing to choose is the shape of the pads. Every disc caliper makes use of different shaped pads, and ways in which they are held in place to stop them dropping out. Most manufacturers of pads will list which brakes they are compatible with, but if you are unsure which you need, a visual check of the pads will confirm you are ordering the correct ones.

Placed at the centre of the wheel, disc brakes earn their name from the disc rotor that is attached to the hub of the bicycle wheel. This rotor is what the brake pads clamp onto, creating friction and slowing you down. Typically 140 or 160mm in diameter and just a few millimetres wide, this disc rotor sees some tremendous force and so needs to be attached securely to the hub. This is the first key difference, disc-brake road wheels feature hubs with a disc brake mounting point designed to handle the forces. Likewise, the spokes attached are typically in higher numbers and are designed to oppose the rotational forces.

When your foot pushes the brake pedal down it pushes against the master cylinder. This is basically a piston surrounded by brake fluid. The fluid moves down the brake lines where it forces the caliper to squeeze a pair of brake pads against a brake disc. This, in turn, slows the wheel down. The energy released from stopping your car’s motion is converted into waste heat, which has to be dispersed. As the disc has a relatively quick cooling time, this type of brake offers a better stopping performance than drum brakes and is widely used in current cars.

Why should you replace your brake pads?

changing bike brake pads

Inspect all of your brake pad surfaces and carefully trim away any wear ridges with a razor blade. Resurface them with rough sandpaper to clean up road grime. You should consider changing brake pads on bike if they are worn past the indicator line, or if you can see metal poking through the surface. Watch the brake tutorials.

How to: replace the pads on a Hayes sole brake how to: install v-brakes on a mountain bike the complex way how to: put new pads on a Hayes caliper brake how to: install the rear brake hose on your mountain bike how to: set up post-mount brakes on an is mount for your bike.

V brakes, and mini-v brakes, are common on many mountain and hybrid bikes. Whilst the replacement is fairly simple it is tough to get the alignment just right and it can take time to tinker with it. You’ll need a new pair of brake pads that are similar to your current ones and an allen key.

If your rim brakes have become a little unresponsive, take a look at the rubber on the pads – if you can’t see any indents at all in the pads, it means the top layer of rubber has worn away and you need to replace them. If you have disc brakes, you will need to remove the wheel and pull the brake pad out of the calliper to be able to see how worn they are.

How to: set up an international standard (is) brake caliper how to: cut and install sram avid juicy brakes on your bike how to: perform a pad replace on avid caliper brakes how to: adjust a Hayes sole brake how to: install tubeless tires on a mountain bike how to: replace bicycle brake pads how to: install the front brake hose on your fork.

It may take a while before the brake pads reach their full braking potential. Cycle slowly to work them in at first. You should also test the brakes a few times after replacement to be sure they are tightly fastened and working correctly. It is also worth wiping down the rim surface to be sure they have a good braking surface. You should aim to always have a pretty clean brake pad and rim surface as otherwise both will wear prematurely.

Brake pads will have wear indicators, usually circles or lines. If these have disappeared from the pads wearing down, it’s time to consider changing brake pads on your bike.

Procedure for changing brake pads on bike

Brakes are an important safety mechanism on any bicycle so making sure that they are properly maintained and working is essential, but thankfully changing worn brake pads is an easy procedure. Jon uses Shimano’s hydraulic brake calliper to demonstrate, and the theory is much the same across other manufacturers and brands so long as the brake pads are compatible.

Many road brake calipers have a quick release lever used to quickly increase the clearance between the pads and the wheel so that removing the wheel is easier. If your calipers have this quick release mechanism as shown in the image above, rotate or slide it to the open position.

The problem is easily avoidable by removing the wheel and brake pads before starting the bleed process. By removing the wheel and brake pads and using a bleed block instead, you’ll not only keep your brake pads free from destructive brake fluid, you’ll also avoid over filling the brake system with brake fluid too (see #5).

Removing your old brake pads is a snap, all you’ll need is a 5mm allen wrench ! insert your wrench into the bolt on the outside of the brake pad and give it the old lefty-loosey until the pad is free. Repeat on the opposite side. And now you’re ready to swap in some new pads!.

To replace your disc brake pads you’ll need a pair of needle-nose pliers, a clean dry cloth, some rubbing alcohol, and a flat-sided tool like a 10mm wrench. For this demonstration i’m using Shimano hydraulic disc brakes but the procedure for most makes and models will be roughly the same. First, remove the wheel.

Adjusting the brake caliper for new pads

Usually brake pads have grooves cut into the braking surface. Once they’re worn down past the grooves, it’s time to consider changing brake pads on bike. Start by loosening the brake cable and opening the caliper. This will allow room to slide the pads in and out between the brake arm and the rim. Most calipers have a quick release lever which opens them up wide enough to work (the silver lever in the photo above). You can also loosen the pinch bolt holding the brake cable to the caliper. This will allow the brake arms to open to their maximum width.

changing brake pads on bike

Brake pads come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but there are three basic rim brake pad systems: road, threaded stud, and smooth stud. Road, threaded stud, and smooth stud pads in the smooth stud system, the post extends from the pad and is pinched by a mechanism in the caliper arm. There are no threads on the post. The smooth stud pad is found largely on cantilever brakes.

Check the brake pads. The first thing you will need to know is if the brake pads are too worn to work effectively. There should be at least 1⁄4 inch (0.6cm) of rubber (the brake pad) between the clamp and the tire when the caliper is engaged to brake the bike. If the pads are worn out, you will need to replace them.

Smooth stud pad in a cantilever brake the road brake system and the threaded stud system look similar. They are both fastened to the caliper arm at the end of the stud. The best way to differentiate between road pads and threaded stud pads is that the threaded stud pads have a series of two convex and two concave spacers. A road brake pad will have a thin washer, and maybe even a spacer, but typically lack the pairing of the two convex and two concave spacers.

Keep your braking up to scratch by making sure your pads are in good condition – these two little areas of contact are essential to giving you control and keeping you safe. We stock pads for all the different systems, such as Shimano brake pads , disc brake pads, rim brake pads, v brake pads , and road caliper brake pads , as well as top brands including avid and much more. Take a look at our brake blocks and brake shoes, or browse through our road bike brake pads if you’re looking for something a little more specific.

Standard on road bikes for decades, this system is light, easy to adjust and doesn’t require much maintenance. Activation is simple: pull the lever to increase cable tension, so the caliper makes contact between the brake pads and the rim.

On rim brakes more money will get you a lighter brake and a brake that flexes less under power. Less flex equal more power and more feel. It’s surprising the difference between a stiff, strong caliper and a not-so-stiff one. A lot of riders who think that caliper brakes aren’t very good (and are considering moving to a disc brake bike) are often just using low quality calipers, often with poor quality brake pads too.

Threaded stud pads use different width spacers to position the brake arm relative to the rim. Inspect the bike on one pad for a wider spacer and a narrower spacer. Wide and narrow spacers on threaded stud system threaded stud pads use a pair of narrow and a pair of wider spacers. These are moved inboard or swapped outboard to position the arms to the rim. Ideally, the caliper arm is close to vertical as the pad strikes the rim.

There are two main types of disc brakes: mechanical, which works with cables (just like rim brakes), and hydraulic, which replaces the cables with hydraulic fluid in a fully sealed line. When you brake, the pressure forces the fluid to move into the caliper, pressing the pads against the disc.

Tips on changing your brake pads

changing brake pads bike

Choosing the correct brake pads depends on the type of brake system you have, the compound of the brake pad.

Again expensive, but their performance makes a strong case for them being worth it. Noticeably more powerful than cheaper alternatives, they’re also kinder to your rims. 9/10 buy now from wiggle for £19 but none of that is any good if you don’t take care of them so follow our handy tips below to get the most out of your brake pads, whatever the brand.

Today’s brakes need little in the way of maintenance save for periodic fluid bleeding and occasional pad inspection and replacement. Changing pads is an easy afternoon job, and if you choose high-spec replacements you’ll even get improved performance in the bargain.

Why bother replacing your pads? obvious really, but knackered brakes can put you in a hedge. Pad wear is inevitable and, on top of gambling with your safety, worn out pads will also wreck your discs and can end up costing a small fortune. Besides, regularly checking your pads takes just a few seconds and changing them yourself is pretty simple and will save you some cash.

How can i tell if they need changing? most brake pads have a wear indicator groove moulded or cut into the surface, so even those of zero mechanical nous can tell. Once the pad is worn down so much that this groove disappears, or the pad itself is down to about 2mm, you’ll need to whack some new pads in.

Brakes can come in many shapes and styles, from side-pull to cantilever, v-brakes to disc brakes and more in-between. One thing they all have in common? brake pads. Brake pads are an easily serviced part of your bike and are designed to abrade away during normal use, so need to be replaced multiple times during the life of your bike. One of the often overlooked parts of changing your brake pads is making sure you buy the correct type of replacement parts. Each brake type shown below requires a different style of brake pad.

Reading bicycle blogs always increase our knowledge about the bicycle, like how to change road bike brake pads, cleaning the bicycle, repairing parts and more. In different forums, we get a common question about brake pad changing. Thus we decided to write a step by step guide to help you repairing bicycle brake pad. This is basically five to ten minutes job and this can save your twenty to fifty dollar if you go in bicycle repair shop. Thus we decided to write details instruction, how you can repair your road bike brake pads in your home.

Repairing most of the parts of the bicycle is super easy. You just need basic technical knowledge and repair tool as well. If you practice properly, this will increase your knowledge and help your quick fix of any parts easily. In this post, we will discuss the process to repair road bike brake pads. You need some tools and accessories to do that. If you follow our step by step instruction, you are going to be an expert of changing road bike. Most of the bicycle repair mechanic are doing this work professionally, but believe me, when they start learning, they are alike you. Remove the fear and take a look at your bicycle brake.

How to replace and adjust brake pads

As the brakes pads are worn out with the passage of time to some points- there need to wear grooves. The other indications of the pads tell you that the time is up. You need to replace a new one. However, at the time of replacing a new one, you need to consider the type of brakes which has rim type, riding condition and lastly break manufacturer.

Now reinstall the wheels and reconnect your brakes. Adjust the brake pads and cable tension as needed. Clean the chain , check for chain wear, and then lubricate it with chain oil. Then adjust the rear derailleur first, and the front derailleur second. Now place the bike on the ground and adjust your handlebar and seat position if needed.

If your brakes don’t feel as good as they did when the bike was new, it might be a sign you need some new brakes. With mechanical (cable operated) disc brakes, you can start to tell when your brake pads are wearing down as the brake lever will pull closer to the handlebar. To remedy this, you can take out the slack in the system by using the barrel adjuster on the lever or caliper to adjust the cable tension. Hydraulic systems automatically adjust the pad clearance.

There are two ways to check for brake wear on disc brakes: by looking and by listening. First, check for wear by looking at your brake pads through the spaces between the wheel’s spokes. The outside pad will be pressed against a metal rotor. Generally, there should be at least 1/4 inch of pad. If you see less than 1/4 inch of pad, you may want to have your brake pads inspected or replaced.

How often I need to replace my disc pads on a bike?

To see if new pads are needed simply check to see if the grooves have disappeared (see image below). If you haven’t replaced your pads in a couple of years then it is a good idea to get some new ones. If you are pulling an old bike out of the shed, it is also worth replacing the pads as they can dry out. Changing the pad cartridges is the easy part, getting them in position is where you need to spend some time tinkering.

A mechanical disc brake clearly has a cable connecting it to the lever. Hydraulic systems, such as the one pictured in the lead photo at the top of the page have a sealed hose to house the fluid. The majority of rim brakes on the market are mechanical in nature, using a braided cable to attach the lever to the caliper. While such a system is regularly used for disc brakes too, suitably called ‘mechanical disc brakes’, the trend is toward full hydraulic systems. These full hydraulic disc brakes replace the braided mechanical cable with a fully sealed hydraulic hose that sees fluid pressure transferred from the lever to the caliper – it’s a miniature version of the technology commonly found on modern motor bikes and cars.

2020’s hottest disc-equipped road bikes it’s a little tricky to do a quick visual inspection of disc brake pads. While you can peer closely at the caliper and see how much pad material is remaining on the metal backing plate, sometimes it’s easier to remove the wheel and inspect the brake pads without the disc rotor inserted between the pads.

Inside you’ll find some pointers to make the job easier, as well as a video guiding you through the process. Along with your drivetrain and tires, your bike’s brake pads are considered to be a consumable item. That is, they wear out while doing their job and require replacement over time. If allowed to wear too thin or even completely out, you will not only end up with a bigger repair bill that could also include rotors, but you’re also putting yourself in danger. Some riders put off replacing their brake pads so long that they end up using the backing plate as pad material, and once that happens it can take only a few minutes of use to completely destroy a rotor. I’ve personally witnessed rotors being worn so thin from this that they fail catastrophically, folding in half in the blink of an eye and instantly pitching the rider. Scared yet? long story short, inspect your brake pads often and replace when necessary for better performance, to save yourself money in the long run, and to prevent injury. Keep reading to get the lowdown on how to do this repair job.

If you’re interested in buying a disc brake–​equipped bike for less than £1000, you’re probably going to end up with mechanical brakes. This lower-cost option will allow you to spend less and still own a bike with reliable, all-weather stopping power. Apart from price, some riders prefer cable-activated disc brakes because they’re easier to work on at home, and they’re compatible with most mechanical brake levers. But more bikes are coming stock with hydraulic disc brakes. This pricier option is generally more difficult for the home mechanic to maintain. We suggest having a shop mechanic bleed your brakes (the old hydraulic fluid is flushed and replaced with fresh fluid) because you need to use the right fluid, which is matched to your brake for proper heat management. While this costs more than replacing cables, it only needs to be done every six months. (SRAM recommends bleeding hydraulic disc brakes every six months. Shimano’s official user manuals do not specify a service interval but does say to replace the fluid when it becomes discoloured. ).

Brake levers are attached by the brake lines to calipers located on both the front and rear discs. Calipers contain opposed pistons that sit on either side of the rotor; pressure from the brake line engages these pistons, which push the brake pads inward to contact the disc. The resulting friction slows the bike.

Common on mountain bikes, disc brakes use a metal rotor on the wheel’s hub, and a fixed caliper to compress the rotor. They function either mechanically or hydraulically. Mechanical disc brakes are similar to rim brakes – you use a lever to increase tension on the cable to compress the pads on the rotor. Hydraulic systems are a little more complicated. Brake fluid housed in the master cylinder in the lever body pushes out into the system via a hydraulic line. By pushing fluid toward the caliper, the pads powerfully compress onto the rotor.

The users of rim brakes need to see the rim to wear frequently as the road grit, or brake pads will erode the surface of the metal to the place where new wheels or rims need to be set.

A chattering sound while braking may result from sticky brake-shoe deposits on the rim, or from a loose or flimsy brake. Chattering is common with cheap brakes that have thin, stamped-steel brake arms, and may require replacement of the brake. A rim with angled sidewalls promotes chattering, as the flexibility of the brake assembly allows it to ride upward toward wider part of the rim, closer to the tire — and grab; then downward toward the hub, and loosen.

The amount you depend on your brakes is determined by weather and terrain. Riding in the wet will churn more minerals from your rim and into your pads – which means you’ll have to check them for wear more regularly than riding in the dry. And if your journey has lots of hills, your brakes will wear quicker than if you ride on the flat.

Pads (sometimes called “brake shoes”) are what rub against your rims to provide stopping power when you squeeze the brakes. This rubbing action means that the pads require occasional maintenance to function optimally. And also, that the pads will wear out after a while and need.

Mostly i feel sorry for the mechanics, because if you think (or you’ve already been told) that they’re maintenance free… think again. Discs take a lot of fettling to get right, and out of sight out of mind means that they can go wrong without warning. The callipers have to be perfectly in line (this helps prevent the noise) and the pads need to be perfectly lined up and spaced away from the disc equally on either side. The rotors are subject to wear and smaller rotors wear out faster than the big ones. When they do wear out and the pads fail, you’re braking ability will, pretty much, end. This is not so much of a problem with rim brakes, because you can see how much life you have left in the pads and the rims can be easily checked. And don’t get me started on brake fluids and bleeding brakes….

Many road (racing) bikes make use of cartridge based brake calipers in order to make replacing the brake pads very quick and easy. If your brake pads are worn down to the point where the channels in the pad are gone, or they are making noise due to bits of rock and metal embedded in the pad material rubbing against the wheel, it is time to replace them. Note, never replace only a single brake pad for a given wheel — always consider changing all brake pads on bikes at the same time.

Centre your brakes. Ensure the distance between each side is equal from the rim. You can often tell this by eye- squeeze the brakes and make note of whether the brake pads meet the rim at the same time. If one of the pads pushes the rim to the other pad, then your brakes are not centred. To adjust this, loosen the bolt at the back, realign the brake for equal distance and tighten the bolt to secure.

Weight: usually made of lightweight aluminium, rim brakes are substantially lighter. Maintenance: rim brakes are easy to maintain. Other than brake pad wear and slight adjustments, they are very reliable. Aesthetics: this may be subjective, but many committed roadies appreciate the timeless aesthetic of rim brakes, (as well as riding without socks, using handlebar tape that matches the saddle colour, and so on. ).

If you have a mountain bike, hybrid, or city bike, you’ll notice that there are screw-like adjusters on your levers where the brake cable housing meets the lever. If you have a road bike, you’ll notice a similar adjuster on the brake itself, again, where the cable housing meets the brake. These are called barrel adjusters, and they allow you to take up cable tension, which brings the brake arms closer to the rim of the bike (or the pads closer to the rotor in the case of disc brakes).

When replacing disc brake pads, the first thing to consider is what type of pads you are using. Always consider changing brake pads on bikes with the same type of pad material, unless you plan on replacing both the pad and the rotor. Pads can be organic (resin) or metallic (sintered). Metallic pads tend to last longer and are a good choice if you are riding steep roads or trails in adverse conditions. Organic pads are very responsive, but they will need to be replaced more often. If you live in an area that is flatter and you ride in mostly dry conditions, organic pads could be a good choice. Also, make sure you purchase pads that are compatible with your caliper. The make and model of your brakes should be listed on the replacement pad packaging. Here’s how to you’ll replace those pads:.