Tune Up Guide - Mountain Bike Disc Brakes Tips & The Best Techniques
Mountain bikes have come leaps and bounds in technology over the past decade, and modern disc brakes provide more stopping power than ever before. Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast; sometimes slowing yourself down at the opportune moment can be crucial to dropping the gnarliest descents successfully. If your disc brakes are not feeling their plushest, or do not provide the stopping power desires it may be time for a brake system service.
Disc Brake Pads
Brake pads are one of the many consumable components on a bicycle. They wear as you use your bakes, and unlike rim brakes which feature a wear line, disc brakes can be harder to notice when the pads are wearing thin. If you run your disc brake pads thinner than 0.5mm you run the risc of the metal contacting your rotor and damaging the rotor surface.
Disc Brake Rotors
Applying the brakes erodes material from your break rotors as well and rotors generally will last through the consumption of two or more sets of brake pads. When a brake rotor wears thin it is time to replace the rotors. When swapping out new rotors always install a fresh set of brake pad as well to ensure the most effective stopping power and longevity of parts.
Hydraulic Disc Brake Fluid
The brake lines on hydraulic disc brakes are filled with fluid that connects the lever to the caliper. The hydraulic fluid system is responsible for translating the minimal force used to squeeze the lever into the tremendous power used to halt the rotors with the caliper. Debris including brake dust and dirt will sneak its way into your braking system, dirtying the fluid over time. Dirty brake fluid will negatively affect the brakes performance as well as expose the seals to risk of damage leading to leaks and even failure. The process of bleeding hydraulic brakes is crucial to the efficiency of your brakes as well as the longevity of your parts. Cleaning and lubricating the piston in the caliper is an important step to complete the brake bleeding service. This ensures the seals are pristine and the pistons are moving in proper fashion for max stopping power on your next descent.
Bedding in New Hydraulic Disc Brakes
When installing new disc brake pads and/or rotors it is crucial to bed in your brakes properly before your first time. This also applies when taking your brand new bike out for the maiden voyage. Please take the time to bed in the brakes before you go after that juicy KOM or drop your favorite gravity trail. Check out this video where our Guest Ambassador Jeff breaks down the basics of bedding in your breaks in a fun and easy format for anyone!
Brake System Service
Come visit us at any of our stores for a FREE detailed inspection. It gives you peace of mind knowing what your bike needs so you always have a great ride.
Preventative maintenance is recommended every 12 months for all of your systems (based on regular riding once a week).
The best way to ensure precise and maximum stopping power and longevity of your braking system components.
- Inspect all brake parts
- Clean all brake parts
- Adjust all brake parts
- Install new brake cables and housing or fluid
Service Department Info
In 2013 we launched our "Bike Tech Center" in response to the growing sophistication of bike technologies and their needed maintenance and repairs. Our techs are no longer just mechanics. They are technicians dealing with electronics and compatibility of materials and components. It requires lots of training, schooling, and certifications to work on today's bicycle.
Our BTC has over 60 years of combined experience with seasoned and certified bike techs. We brought them all together in a central facility allowing us to train and stay current on all new developments.
The best part is we can ensure the highest level of quality work with a three level QC (quality check) process. Everything is checked and checked again to make sure we do it right the first time. We also have our "LOVE IT" guarantee which means we’ve got your back. We will always make it right whatever it takes
This guide was written by the team at Bicycle Warehouse with the help from our friends at Shimano!