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How to change bicycle brake pads

Cycling safety is paramount, and one of the key aspects of maintaining it is making sure your bike's brakes are in perfect condition. Changing brake pads is an essential task that, although it may seem challenging, can be easily accomplished with the right information and some basic tools. Here at sdt brakes. We have put together a guide, in which we will take you through the detailed steps of changing the brake pads on your bike, whether you have disc brakes or rim brakes.

Steps to change bicycle brake pads

Step 1: Brake Type Identification

Before diving into the process, it is crucial to identify the type of brake your bicycle is equipped with. The two main types are disc brakes and rim brakes (V-brakes or cantilever). This distinction is essential since changing procedures vary depending on the type of brake.

Step 2 – Wheel Removal (Disc Brakes Only)

If you have disc brakes, start by removing the wheel from your bicycle. Use the Allen wrench to loosen and remove the bolt holding the brake caliper. This step will make it easier to access the brake pads.

Step 3: dismantling the old pads

Disc brakes: slide the old pads off the caliper. Take into account the position of each pad to be able to place the new ones properly.

Rim Brakes: Use a screwdriver to release the brake lever. Remove the old pads from the brake brackets.

Step 4: cleaning the caliper and supports

An often overlooked but essential area is cleaning the brake caliper and brackets. Use a clean cloth to remove any residue that may affect the performance of the pads.

Step 5: installing the new pads

Disc brakes: Gently slide the new pads onto the caliper, making sure they are properly aligned. Use the Allen wrench to lock them in place.

Rim Brakes: Place the new pads into the brake brackets and secure them securely.

Step 6: Adjusting the Pads

Adjust the position of the pads so that they make uniform contact with the disc or rim. Make sure there is no rubbing when you are not braking and that the pads are properly aligned.

Step 7 – Reinstalling the wheel (if necessary)

For disc brakes, put the wheel back into position. Make sure everything is properly aligned before tightening the bolts.

Step 8: Brake Test

Before hitting the road, perform gentle braking tests in a safe area. This will ensure that the pads seat properly and that the brakes respond effectively.

What is the function of brakes on bicycles?

The primary function of brakes on a bicycle goes beyond simply stopping it. Brakes are the essential component that allows the cyclist to have full control over his ride and ensure his safety in various situations.

First of all, the brakes are the key tool for stopping the bike when necessary. Whether at an intersection, approaching a curve, or simply arriving at your destination, the ability to stop in a controlled manner is essential. This not only ensures the safety of the cyclist but also that of those who share the road.

On steep descents, brakes are equally essential to control speed. They allow the cyclist to modulate the speed of the descent, avoiding dangerous situations where speed could become a risk factor.

In addition, the brakes contribute to maneuvers and changes of direction. By reducing speed at the appropriate time, the cyclist can make turns and lane changes safely, without compromising the stability of the bicycle.

In emergency situations, the brakes are the first line of defense to prevent collisions. Stopping quickly can make the difference between a minor incident and a more serious situation.

Adapting to road conditions is also a crucial function of brakes. On wet or slippery surfaces, braking in a controlled manner prevents skidding and loss of traction, keeping the cyclist balanced.

Beyond technical considerations, brakes contribute to compliance with traffic regulations. Stopping at signs, traffic lights and pedestrian crossings is not only a matter of regulations, but also of road safety.

Finally, proper brake maintenance is essential for the cyclist's personal safety. Brakes in poor condition significantly increase the risk of accidents. Therefore, regular inspection and timely replacement of brake pads are essential practices to ensure a safe and smooth ride.

Types of brakes

Not all brakes are created equal, and the choice of brake type depends on a number of factors, including the type of bike, riding style, and the rider's personal preferences. Here is an overview of common types of brakes on bicycles:

Rim brakes (V-Brakes or cantilever):

- They are common on mountain and hybrid bikes.

- They use pads that are pressed against the rim to brake.

- They are easy to maintain and adjust.

- They offer good stopping power in dry conditions.

Disc brakes:

- They can be hydraulic or mechanical disc brakes.

- They use discs mounted in the center of the wheels for braking.

- They provide excellent stopping power and consistent performance in various conditions.

- They are common on mountain bikes, cyclocross and many modern road bikes.

Drum brakes:

- Less common on conventional bicycles.

- They have an internal mechanism that is activated when the brake is applied.

- They are more resistant to adverse weather conditions and wear.

Coaster brakes (coaster pedal):

- Commonly found on cruiser bikes and some city bikes.

- Activated by backing off the pedals.

- Easy to use but may require adaptation for cyclists accustomed to other types of brakes.

Band brakes:

- Seen on folding bikes and some city bikes.

- They use a band that wraps around the rim to brake.

- They are simple but may require more maintenance.

Linear or side-pull brakes:

- Used on some cargo and cruiser bikes.

- They operate similar to rim brakes but with a different design.

In short, changing the brake pads on your bicycle is a task that, with a little knowledge and the right tools, can be done without problems. In addition to ensuring safe driving, this process also helps keep your brakes in optimal condition.


Remember to follow the recommendations of the manufacturer of your bicycle and brakes for safe and effective maintenance. With these guidelines, you will be ready to face any trip with confidence and security. Pedal with peace of mind!


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