5 Hacks To Get The Most Out Of Your MTB Brakes | Mountain Bike Maintenance


– Brakes are the one thing that are gonna slow you down on your mountain bike, and, if you’re like me
and you like going fast, I like to be really powerful and sharp. Now we’ve got a number of different hacks to get this absolutely dialled in, and I’m gonna share them with you. So follow along. So the first one that we’re going to do is making sure that the
calliper is perfectly centred. Now, if it’s not aligned,
one piston is going to have to do more work than the other, and the fluid is going to have to be pushing them together evenly, which isn’t going to give
you a solid lever feel. So let’s just do that there easy. All you’ve got to do is
come to the calliper itself, and you loosen up the two bolts. Get the first one loosened up, and then you go up to the lever. Pull that lever in. You take a look down, and
then you re-tighten it. And then, once that’s hopefully aligned, it doesn’t always happen first time, it may take a couple of goes, and you take a look once
you’ve got these bolts back. Done tight. We just wanna check and see that they are pretty even but could
be a little bit better. It is running free though,
which is also another one. So I’m just gonna do that again. And this time I’m actually just gonna wobble the calliper around, just to make sure that
it is free and loose. So if you just do that there of play, there it’ll shove around. And, when we come back up,
pull that break lever in, and tighten them back up. And let us see how this one looks. Yeah, that is perfectly centred. Both the brake pads are moving evenly, and let us now check
if it’s rubbing or not. Boom! We’ve nailed one. Now, you might have seen
this trick already done. I think I’ve done it in one video before, but, if you haven’t,
then you’re missing out. And you need to know about this one. It is so easy to get your brake calliper aligned with the desk. So all I’ve gotta get
is two pieces of paper. What I’m gonna do, I’m actually just gonna take them over and slide them in to the calliper. The distance between the
pads and also the rotor, and you just want to use
them to really line up. And they barely fit out the other end. Then, once at the other end, just be careful not to touch too much on that disc rotor itself, because you can get
that oil off your skin. You can always wipe that off later just using some disc brake cleaner. I’m just gonna slide the next one in, give the rotor a spin around, and you can actually just make
sure that they’re aligned. Or you can see, in my case, it’s not quite centred actually, so I’m gonna have to undo the calliper and redo this with the paper. And you can even build up different layers or you could use a pistons card. It’s a great way to get
them perfectly spaced. So bear with me while I get this done. So now that I’ve got the paper in there, it is pretty well perfectly aligned. So now, all I have to do is, I don’t have to worry about
pulling that brake in. I just have to tighten up with
the calliper end right here. Do the two bolts up tight, and then we’re gonna take that paper out. And, all being well,
everything should be aligned and it should be centred, giving us that really powerful
brake that we’re looking for. Perfect! No rub, and again it is perfectly aligned. Both the brake pads are
doing equal amount of work, which is what we’re looking for. Okay, so the first two hacks
have really been centralised about making sure that
you’ve got that calliper absolutely, perfectly aligned
with the disc rotor itself. These next ones are
gonna be sort-of a hack, almost as if you’ve done a bleed already, but you want to get that brake dialled in and feeling really firm. On this one, I’m actually going to push those pistons out
just ever so slightly. I’m talking about one single
squeeze of the brake lever. And what that’s gonna
do, it’s just gonna mean that everything’s closer together. There’s gonna be less sort-of
contact between the pads, so they’re just gonna move
in a little bit slighter. And all you’re gonna get
is a really firm lever. So to do that, we’re gonna have
to take that rear wheel out. So let’s do that. Okay, so I’ve got that rear wheel out. Just looking down, make sure at this point that you do check your brake
pads so they’re not worn. Mine are absolutely perfect. So what I’m gonna do is I’m
gonna come up to that lever and give it a really light pull. Not all the way into the bar, because that’s gonna really
force a lot of fluid. You just want about half a pull in. It’s gonna make those pistons
go out ever so slightly. You can just watch it. So, if I just pull that brake lever in, I’m gonna watch it over, and I’m just gonna see that they come out. And then release it, and I’m gonna see. It’s moved a tiny bit once more, and we’ve got absolutely (mumbles). So it’s just pulled out
like a tiny, tiny amount, but that is just gonna really allow this sort-of reservoir. So I’ve almost pushed the brakes in, so it’s just gonna take
less fluid to push them in. And that’s what gonna give the brake lever a super rock hard feeling, which, if you’re like me, then
I really like that. You pull on the brake, and
you know that it’s gonna work. So let’s gonna put that
back wheel back in now, and we’re gonna test it. It’s feeling good. The brake lever is actually
really, really solid. There’s no movement at all in the square when you pull it into the bars. And the good thing is,
it’s already centred. It’s good to go, so I can take it out for a ride now if I want to. But we’ve got some more hacks for you. Okay, this next hack is
one of my favourites. It’s a great one if you’re racing, and you’re brakes aren’t
feeling quite that great. You can just do it
overnight and leave it be. We also do quite a lot
with our own shoots, or just if you’re out riding back home. All you need it two zip ties. And what you’re gonna do is just put them around the grip of the lever, pull that lever tight, and now you get behind this. If there is any air in the system, it’s actually gonna come up to the lever. That’s one on, and we’ll
get the next one on. Now I’ve also got a pro tip for this one. So you’ve got it in that position. What you actually want to have is you want to have the calliper, both of them, right down at the bottom. So the lever is the highest point, and there’s no points enclosed, for example, where the
air could get trapped. So if we just pop this
into the stand, like so. There’s still a slight kink, even though the calliper is below the lever, But what we can do is
just twist it around. And you can see that it’s pretty much a horizontal line right there. The lever’s at the highest point, and any air bubbles that are in there are gonna make they’re way to the lever. You’re gonna leave this for a couple of hours or ever overnight, so we’ll see you in a little jiffy. Okay, let’s see how this is doing. Let’s take the stand back down, and we’ll just cut away the zip ties. One, and two. Feel the brakes, whoa! They’re feeling really solid. This has got to be my
favourite brake hack. Okay, so the hacks so far, they haven’t really required any tools, equipment, et cetera. But for this one, you’re gonna need a little bit of your hydraulic fluid. This is your manual brakes,
so you use mineral oil. All I’m going to do is put the lever flat, Step one done. And then we’re gonna take
this little grub screw, which is where the
hydraulic fluid sits at. Step two. Step three, you’re gonna
need this little cup. It’s the bleed cup you get with the Shimano bleed brake system, and it’s got some mineral
oil already in there. We’re just gonna screw that into the top. And what we’re gonna do now
is just a little lever bleed. This will work similarly
for a Sram or other brakes, just check on the manufacturer’s
guidelines for their tips. And all you’re gonna do is
basically just pumping the lever, and already I can actually see that there’s some bubbles coming out. Okay, so just look into it, I can actually see that the bubbles are starting to come to an end, but I’m just going to double check. The best way to do this is just take the allen key, use the end of it, and just tap on that
cable ever so slightly. Make your way throughout the whole lever. Just make sure that no
more bubbles are coming up. And that is looking pretty good. So I think I’m gonna call it a day. And stop right there, and then we’re just gonna push this plug back in. We’re gonna unscrew this,
get rid of the mineral oil. It’s still actually really clean, so the brakes been bled quite recently. Pop that to the side,
and the finishing step is just to put that grub screw back in. Okay, so all that remains is just using my formula allen key, gonna tighten that brake
lever back into position, and I’m ready to ride it. If you guys have got any
more hacks about brakes then please do leave them in the comments section down below. Be sure to check them out, and I look forward to
seeing what you’ve got. Do you want to watch
more videos from GMEN, then make sure you subscribe. You’ll never miss one again. And if you want to know
how to bleed a system, then click just up there. And if you want to know how
to make them really powerful, really strong, then click down there. Don’t forget to give this
video a thumb upright.