How To Care For Your Disc Brakes | Road Bike Maintenance

How To Care For Your Disc Brakes | Road Bike Maintenance


– Disc brakes offer
reliable braking performance in all weather conditions. Even those die hard rim brake fans of you, you need to admit this too. What’s talked about less though, is actually the maintenance required to get them working in tip top condition. The good news is, with
these three simple tasks we can have your brakes
working like new again. So we’re gonna be doing cleaning, a basic calliper service,
and finally bleeding. (pop music) So cleaning your rotors
and pads is a reasonably straightforward job and it’s also a great way of actually making sure
that your brakes work well as well as silently. So what you’re gonna need is a
dedicated disc brake cleaner, some medium coarse sandpaper,
some nitrile gloves, some isopropyl alcohol, and
some lint free shop towel. So what you’re gonna need to do is actually remove the
pads from the calliper and also remove the wheels so the rotors are away from the calliper, too. So Sram actually recommends just using soapy water to clean the calliper. But do check with your manufacturer
on what they recommend. Now that you’ve actually removed the pad, it is much easier to
clean out that calliper. First up, take a look
at the pads themselves and check if there’s any
life remaining in them. Anything less than 1.5
millimetres, which is similar to that of a rim brake pad, then it’s time for new ones. I mean, you could carry on using them but then you run the
risk of possibly damaging pistons or rotors themselves. Now if you’re keeping the existing pads, then the best thing to
do is put them on top of a cloth and give them a good
spray with a dedicated cleaner. Then finally, give them a rub
down as well as the rotors with some medium coarse sandpaper, making sure that you remove
any marks or scores from them. Also, whilst the pads
are out of the calliper, spray around inside of
the calliper with the isopropyl alcohol and then wipe that away. Helps clean it. So the piston’s job is to
actually move those brake pads in centrally to the rotor. Sometimes they can become sticky, or in a worst case scenario, even stuck. Meaning to pull brake in. Now the telltale sign of
this, other than looking down and seeing only one of the pads moving, is that you could well
get rotor rub or a bigger track than normal, or
one of the pads is simply not wearing out in
corresponding to the other one. So very carefully, with
the brake pads removed simply pump the brake lever a few times until you see about four
millimetres of the pistons advancing out of the calliper. Don’t go any further than this as you may well actually
pop the pistons out. Right, so now just give
those pistons a good clean with some isopropyl alcohol,
and then with some light grease, so for these
SRAM models I’m actually gonna use some Avid Dot Grease. Simply give those pistons a light coating and then push them back in
place with the tie lever. Now advance them again,
and push them back. And do this about three or four times. This is actually something
which I normally do when replacing my pads, anyway. It’s just a good bit of
preventative maintenance. Now if one of them is
actually stuck in place I suggest holding the
freely moving one in place with a tie lever, a plastic one please, and then give that lever
a pump a few times. And then with a satisfying
pop, that piston’s gonna move out. And then simply grease
it and push it back in. So hopefully now that
you’ve done your piston’s service, your brakes are
working nice and smooth and you’ve got yourself some
nice pad movement in there. However, sometimes your
brakes feel a little bit spongy, or there’s too
much pull in the levers. In that case, what we’re gonna need to do is bleed the system. Basically over time, air can actually get into your brake lines. And the air can be compressed,
but the fluid in there can’t. So that compression that you feel, that’s what gives you the crappy brakes. So the process of actually
bleeding the brakes puts in fresh new, clean oil and removes those pesky air bubbles
that are causing the issue. So each manufacturer has their own process for actually bleeding the brakes. So make sure you do check in with them. Sram themselves, they use
a silicone based dot fluid. And Shimano uses a mineral oil. Neither of them are
particularly good for you so make sure you are
using some protection, so make sure you’re wearing those gloves and also dispose of any waste
fluids safely and responsibly. Now it can feel like
quite a daunting process, actually the first time that
you do bleed some brakes. But however, just follow the instructions, make sure you’ve got all
the correct tools there and you’ll be all right. Now we’re not actually
gonna take you through the process of doing it because each manufacturer is different. But in essence, what you
are gonna use for the Sram model is one shyinge 50 percent full and one 25 percent full. It’s not quite simple as that though. So, insert a bleed
block into the calliper. Not having the pads in
place actually prevents any contamination as well as
not over filling your system. Now remove the bleed port
screw at the calliper, and thread that half full syring on there and then do the same on the lever itself. You are gonna have to check
with your manufacturer, though, and follow their process. And it really is pretty simple to do. I hope that now your
disc brakes are working like new again. Let us know your tips and bits of advice, little bits of tender love
and care for disc brakes in the comments down below. Also, remember to like and share this video with your friends and subscribe to the GCN Tech channel, click on the logo on the screen right now. And for two more great videos, how bout down here for
five hacks for less flats and down here for Peter Sagan’s pro bike.