PROCEDURE: BRAKE PADS REPLACEMENT
LAST UPDATED: MAY 9, 2023
Disc brake pads are a consumable component of your bike and it is important to keep them in good condition in order to maintain a good braking capacity. Brake pads must be replaced if they are worn out or have become contaminated.
This video gives you step-by-step directions to perform any maintenance procedure for your brakes easily.
How to know when your brake pads have worn out?
The brake pads sit inside the caliper. Each caliper has two brake pads in a pad holder installed they are held in place with either a retaining bolt or a cotter pin depending on your bike model.
Generally, the pad material must be at least 1 millimeter thick: replace them if they fall below one millimeter in thickness or become contaminated.
Brake pads can become contaminated by oil grease or brake fluid and can potentially contaminate the rotor in the process. Contaminants such as brake fluids, oils or grease can ruin your pads, and they're not always easy to see. Contaminated pads might make your brakes squeal, it might take extra effort at the lever to slow you down, and the rotor and pads might appear darker, with oils that can be smeared.
How to replace brake pads
⚠️ Be sure you are purchasing the pads that correlate to your specific bike and brake model as different models employ different-sized brake pads and materials.
You can find the reference for your current brake system and brake pads in the Handbook for your bike. Make sure you only use brake pads that are compatible with your brake system.
SUPER73 will not be held liable for any damages that occur due to the improper handling of the bike.
- 5mm Hex Key
- 3mm Hex Key/ wrench
Step by step
- First, remove the two bolts that fasten the calipers to the frame with a 5mm Hex wrench.
- Once the caliper has been removed, remove the retaining bolt or cotter pin keeping the pads.
- Hydraulic Brakes: You may need to remove a small booklet before you can unscrew the retaining bolt, which can be unscrewed with a 3mm Hex wrench.
- Mechanical Brakes: Carefully bend the cotter pin until a straight with pliers then pull the pin out of the caliper.
- Once the retaining bolt or cotter pin has been removed push down on the pad holder and the brake pads will come out.
- Once removed, dispose of the old pads and pad holder (your new pair of brake pads will come with a new pad holder).
- Place the pads onto the pad holder and reinstall on the caliper;
- For hydraulic brakes, reinstall the retaining bolt.
- For mechanical brakes, reinstall the cotter pin and gently bend the end back into the locked position with pliers.
- Carefully place the caliper back into position and loosely tighten the two 5mm Hex bolts to the frame, so the caliper still moves freely.
- Squeeze the brake lever and hold it down while tightening the two Hex bolts on the caliper.
- Once tightened release the brake lever and check that the pads are properly aligned on the rotor.
- If you hear any rubbing or squeaking check the rotor and adjust the caliper position as necessary for a balanced brake pad.
Breaking in new brake pads
Brake pads that are not broken in yet may cause a screeching noise when you brake. This is normal and will disappear once the brake pads break in. This can happen naturally, with usage, or be provoked. This may take around 30 stops. This way the rotor will embed itself into the pads and create an optimal brake surface.
Need more help? Check this article about bedding in your brakes!
Glossary of Bike Parts and Terms
- Dropouts: The slotted section of the frame and fork where the wheels attach.
- Pistons: In a disc-brake system, this is the flat, cylindrical element inside a caliper that presses the pads against the rotor when you pull the brake lever.
- Brake caliper: A metal structure attached to the bike frame that straddles the braking surface and contains the pistons and brake pads.
- Disc rotor: A flat steel disc attached to the hub that is the braking surface in a disc brake system.
- Brake track: The section of the disc rotor (or wheel rim, for rim-brake systems) where the brake pads make contact.
- Brake shoe: The metal holder for the brake pad.