We should replace brake pads for bikes between 5,000km and 10,000km. This article introduces how to check the number of drum brakes and disc brakes. You will have a guideline for when to replace bike brake pads. What happens if you do not replace it at the right time?
1. Brake pads are super dangerous if you do not replace them: Please note that scooters without engine brakes and bicycles with many street rides will wear out faster.
2. We should replace the brake pads after riding for about 5,000 to 10,000 km: The lifespan varies depending on the type of brake pad, riding method, and type of bikes. But we must replace it at this point.
3. During the time, using the bike brake will cause the bike to wear disc brakes during use: For your safety, you must always keep these brake pads in good working order.
Brake Pads: Essential Parts of Your Mountain Bike
The brake pads guarantee your safety and driving comfort by ensuring optimal braking. But through time and use, they degrade and gradually lose their original performance. Wear of brake pads is due to:
- Normal use over time,
- Premature use with potentially icing. It is the consequence of significant heating following prolonged use and constant stress during a long descent.
- Contamination with dirt elements during chain lubrication.
It results in a braking efficiency that drops drastically. So, it is always prudent to change the brake pads as soon as you notice their wear.
Fading, Recovering, and Icing
The fading means fade-off of the braking power because of excessive heat platelets. This state comes from the deterioration of the surface layers of the lining.
It transmits the heat from the pads to the entire brake system. So, their heat dissipation is essential. Cooling will allow the pads to regain their coefficient of friction. This ability to cool down is recovering.
The icing means a change in the surface state of platelets that becomes smooth and exerts more friction. This phenomenon occurs during prolonged braking at low pressure. Instead of the material being torn off, it melts and generates a surface layer that prevents friction. The contamination lorsque happens when the contamination is absorbed by the lining.
It lubricates the friction of the wafer on the disk, almost reducing friction, and thus the brake is empâchant.
Platelets still having a filling but contaminated or icy can be recovered using different techniques:
- For frozen wafers: pass an abrasive cloth to remove the thin top layer and restore bite,
- For contaminated platelets: passage at high temperature in the oven to burn fatty substances.
When to Replace Bicycle Brake Pads
Change the brake pads as soon as you notice a loss of performance and squealing when braking. A lack of bite can also be a sign. Some manufacturers show a wear indicator. You can also check the thickness of the lining, which must be at least between 1 and 2 mm.
The pads can travel between 200 and 300 km for mountain hiking and over 500 km for XC practice. In DH after 5-6 days, it is necessary to control and consider renewing the platelets. Here, we will instruct how to check when to replace the drum brake and disc brake. Please refer to the article below for the difference between drum brakes and disc brakes.
For drum brakes
With drum brakes, you cannot directly see the remaining amount of brake shoes from the outside. Check the arrow in the center of the wheel. Press the brake pedal down and check that the arrow on the brake arm and the triangle mark on the brake panel do not match. If they match, the brake shoes are at the limit of use and need to be replaced immediately.
Even if the marks do not match, if you feel you are slipping smoothly, even if you step on the brake, it is time to replace it. Do not just trust the arrows, make sure the brakes are working while you are driving.
When it comes to drum brakes, it is important to regularly inspect the brake pads for wear and tear. If you notice that the brake pads are worn out, it’s time to replace them. Check out our article on different types of bikes to make sure you’re picking the right one for your needs.
For disc brakes
With disc brakes, you can visually check the remaining amount of brake pads. Except for the brake caliper, it is time to replace the pad when the thickness of the pad is 3 mm or less. If two coins are stacked, it will be 3mm. So, if it is less than this thickness, it needs to be replaced. Be careful if you hear strange noises where metal rubs against metal. The replacement period may have already passed.
What Happens If You Do Not Replace the Brake Pads
It is difficult to know when to replace the disc brake, even if it wears the putt out. By the way, the image above is my brake pad. It rubs some metal due to overuse. It surprised us that the brakes work even in such a state.
Failure to replace the disc or caliper just. It is still stopped and can damage the disc and caliper. It not only makes repairs expensive but can also lead to serious accidents. Let’s replace it at the proper replacement time.
Brake replacement, which normally costs around $50, can be an expensive repair of $275 or more sometimes. Some people in the world continue to run without changing the brake pads and the caliper blows off while driving. If you are using disc brakes, please be careful.
How To Install Bike Brake Pads
Prepare yourself a few items to meet replacing bicycle disc brake pads.
- New disc pads
- Hexagon set
- Flat screwdrivers
- Specialized cleaning tools
Remove bicycle brake pads
Put bike in the repair rack and remove the wheels. If you do not have a perfect bike rack, turn the bike upside down. Then get something to balance it. You can leave a sponge on the mattress to avoid tearing the saddle.
Pull out the brake lever with the hexagon (4, 5, and 6) counterclockwise. Remove the two screws in the brake pad area so that the rubber gasket can be removed. Make sure that you place this retainer where you will not lose it so you can reset it when you finish this task.
Removing the gasket with the spring system with the needle-nose pliers. You can use a thin flat screwdriver to thread in and out. It can be the good ideas and timing inside. The caliper unit as well as the rotor comes with a handful of specialized degreasers and paper fabrics to remove any dirt.
When it’s time to change your bike’s brake pads, take the opportunity to check your seatpost size as well. This section explains how to measure your current seatpost diameter and types of seat posts available in the market. Choosing the right seatpost is necessary for proper fit and comfort, avoiding problems like knee pain or back pain.
Brake replacement and finishing
Clean the inside of the brake clamp using a dedicated spray and paper towel, discover 9 easy step to clean your bike. Spray a small amount of degreaser in the center of the caliper to remove dust, dirt, and other accumulated contaminants. On the mechanical disc brake, one brake pad is right next to the engine, and the other moves and presses it all together.
Install the new gaskets with the holders and clamps, then return the wheel. Try to avoid using the brake lever. We should perform stricter checks on the rotor. The rotor will run parallel to the center if it is deflected. You should remove the bolts so that the disc can be adjusted to the center of the center.
When you are sure that the rotors are running in the correct center, turn the wheel and perform a squeeze of the lever. It may take a few seconds before the pads bite into the brake disc. If they do not apply to the rotors, you will need to make repeated adjustments.
When you adjust the gaskets correctly, the wheel will stop at the right time. You should test immediately after replacing it by going down a slope and braking hard. Repeat this process a few times and your bike are ready to go.
What Criteria to Choose the Right Pads?
Make your choice according to your braking habits, short or prolonged, and according to the type of activity, you practice. The type of terrain on which you operate is a determining factor.
Do not forget to bet on a model compatible with your brake discs to benefit from a balanced and compact braking system. To guarantee the good resistance and longevity of your braking system, pay special attention to the quality of the material with which the brake pads have been manufactured.
The Different Brake Pads: Advantages and Disadvantages
Choosing the right brake pads for your cool road bike is difficult. In addition, the choice must be sure to take advantage of effective braking. These pieces are available in different versions on the market: organic, metallic, ceramic, and semi-metallic. In this section, we zoom on the specificities of each model.
Organic Brake Pads
Designed with fibers, resin, and organic materials like Kevlar and rubber, this type of lining also known as resin offers exceptional cold braking. From the first braking, its bite is immediately felt. This model is quiet, softer, and less expensive than its counterparts.
This type of pad is especially perfect when you need powerful braking, brief and at moderate speed. It is effective for traveling abruptly descents. The speed of its break-in also deserves to be pointed out. Many manufacturers equip their bikes with organic brake pads as original equipment.
However, this platelet has some drawbacks. We do not dedicate it to too long descents because its performance is low in brief braking. Compared to metal pads, the wear of these parts is also faster, especially on muddy or sandy terrain. In addition, the organic compound promotes the increase in temperature on the baking surfaces. It could reduce the endurance of these platelets that do not withstand high temperatures.
Metal Brake Pads
Made up mainly of metallic materials such as iron, steel, copper, and bronze, this type of pad works thanks to the rise in temperature because of the friction of the pads on the discs. As being more progressive, the performance and endurance of these parts are proven in long descents. They easily capture heat for a rapid rise in brake fluid temperature. Despite their bite less appreciated than organic pads, these models keep stopping power long enough because overheating is significantly delayed.
Their long lifespan also makes them an attractive choice. However, they require a long enough break-in and heating time to provide maximum bite and to deliver all their performance. It is also advisable to check the type of brake disc carefully because we cannot use these metal pads on all discs. If it says: “Resin pads only”, it is not compatible with metal brake pads.
Ceramic Brake Pads
Similar to metal pads, these parts resist overheating well which limits heat transfer to the hydraulic system. Its bite at low temperature and its resistance to fading remains their chief characteristics. Dedicated particularly to competition, ceramic brake pads are more expensive.
Semi-Metallic Brake Pads
This filing contains an organic and metallic mixture. It has the advantages of these two types of brake pads for bicycle disc brakes.
The ventilated pads arrived on the market in 2011. Fins that come above the caliper and serve as a radiator to dissipate heat more efficiently extend the metal support. By optimizing heat dissipation to keep the pad lining temperature at a lower point, stopping power is maintained. We recommend them for All Mountain, Enduro, and Downhill disc brakes.
Carbon Fiber Pads
The French company All Mountain Project has developed brake pads for mountain bikes made of steel and carbon fiber support. The steel acts as a heat sink and helps dissipate heat into the airflow. Besides, carbon fiber prevents heat from dissipating in the brake caliper and disrupting the rider’s braking sensations. The thermal conductivity of carbon fiber is around 38 times lower than steel and 280 times lower than aluminum. Carbon fiber acts as a heat shield.
The advantage is to get a caliper temperature comparable to that obtained with ventilated pads, with weight almost identical to non-ventilated pads with aluminum and titanium support. It is a type of pad that is mainly intended for cross-country (even road and gravel) practitioners, where weight gain is never negligible.