How to Check
and Replace Your
You can only ride as fast as you can stop. Since your brakes are the only thing slowing you down as you careen down the mountain, your pads are one of the most critical parts on your bike. They need attention from time to time, and we’re here to show you how to inspect these unsung heroes of your bike to be sure they’re working properly and how to replace them if they’re not.
In addition to your standard toolkit, you should have some clean
paper towels, some isopropyl alcohol and fresh pads. We like to
put the alcohol in a spray bottle to make it easier to use, and there
are a wide variety of stock and aftermarket pads to choose from.
Be sure they’re labeled with your specific brake model on the
packaging before buying.
Using a work stand for jobs like this will always make things easier,
although there are probably some MacGyver types out there
who could do without one. We like to put the bike in the stand
“backwards,” with the drivetrain facing in if we’re only going to be
working on the brakes. This makes them easier to access.
Start by removing the wheel. While it may be possible to do this with
the wheel in, it’s much, much easier without the rotor in the way.
If you’re working on hydraulic brakes, be sure to never squeeze the
lever with the wheel and rotor out. Doing so will push the pads and
pistons out too far, which will mean they will have to be pried apart.