Bicycle brakes are crucial to the safety and functionality of a bicycle. Broken or ineffective brakes can lead to an accident and even death. Luckily, replacing bicycle brakes is not difficult with the right tools. If you have a bike that needs new brakes, this article will show you how to replace them with ease.
Step 1: Remove the Brake Pads
The first step in the brake swap is to remove the old brake pads. This is a good time to clean the pads, too. You can use a brake cleaner if you want to, but I prefer to use a brake cleaner that contains brake dust. It’s a lot easier to keep the surface clean if you change pads before you clean. The brake pads can be stored in the leak-proof container that came with them.
Step 2: Replace the Brakes
After you remove the old brake pads, you will need to install new ones. You can either buy a pair of disc brakes or hydraulic brakes and swap them out yourself. If you want to do it yourself, take note of how your existing brakes work so that you can correctly replace them when replacing the wheels and rims.
Step 3: Install Brake Cables
In order for your new brakes to work properly, they will need to be connected to the brake cable. Brake cables are typically made of steel and come in different lengths depending on your bike’s application.
Step 4: Install Rims
Next, you will want to install new rims that match the size of your brakes. This is an important step because it gives you a chance to check for clearance issues between the rim and brake pad before you try riding with them installed. If there is too much space between the rim and brake pad, you will need to install spacers. Spacers are cheap and easy to find at any bike shop.
Step 5: Install Brake Pads & Cables
Finally, it’s time to reinstall your brakes! This is an important step because it ensures that your new brakes work properly. If you didn’t clean the pads before installing them, now would be a good time to do so if you can. Also, make sure that the brake cables are connected properly and that the brakes work as they should.
Step 6: Check for Brake Pad Wear
One of the best ways to ensure your new disc brakes work correctly is to check them after a few rides and see if there is any wear on your pads. You can do this by applying pressure to the pedal with your foot while holding down both brakes at once (i.e . while coasting). If there is any excessive wear on your pads, you will need to replace them.
Step 7: Adjust Your Brakes
Once you have made sure that your brakes work properly, it’s time to adjust them for proper fitment and feel. First, make sure that the brake levers are at their lowest position by pushing down on the lever with your thumb while lifting up on the lever with your other hand. Then push the brake lever all the way down. This should feel like it’s almost touching your foot, but not quite. If you don’t have an adjustable-reach handlebar, then move the brake levers forward until they are just barely touching your foot and release them to reset the reach of your brakes. Now push down on both brake levers with one hand while lifting up on the other so that they touch each other at their highest point (i.e . just barely touching your foot). This should feel like it’s almost all the way down, but not quite. If you don’t have an adjustable-reach handlebar, then move the brake levers back until they are at their lowest position and release them to reset the reach of your brakes.
Step 8: Adjust Your Brake Lever Height
The final step is to adjust the height of your brake lever(s) so that they touch each other at their highest point. If you have an adjustable-reach handlebar, then this is a simple matter of moving the brake levers back or forward until they are in the right position. If you don’t have an adjustable-reach handlebar, then use your thumb to push down on one side of the brake lever and lift up on the other so that they touch each other when they are in their lowest position (i.e . just barely touching your foot). If you find that the brake levers are still too high, then make small adjustments to their height until they touch each other at their highest point.
Step 9: Clean and Lubricate Your Brakes
Now that your brakes feel right, it’s time to clean them up and apply a little lubrication for good measure. If you’re using cable-actuated discs (like Shimano or SRAM), then this is a simple matter of removing the cable from the brake and pulling it through a small hole in your housing. Then, with a rag or sponge, wipe off any excess dirt or grime that may have accumulated on your cables. Make sure to remove all grit from inside the cable as well. If you’re using hydraulic discs (like Avid), then this is also a simple matter of removing the hose from your brake lever and pulling it through another small hole in your housing. Then, with a rag or sponge, wipe off any excess dirt or grime that may have accumulated on your caliper and reservoir. Make sure to remove all grit from inside the hose as well.
Step 10: Put Your Brakes Back Together
Once you’ve cleaned up your brakes and applied some lubrication, it’s time to put them back together again! First, re-install the cable into its hole in your housing. Then, re-install the hose into its hole in your brake lever. Finally, re-install the caliper and reservoir back onto their respective mounts on your handlebars or frame. You’re done!
Working on your bike is a sure-fire way to keep it in top shape, and with this tutorial, you’ll be well on your way to being a pro in no time!