Hydraulic disc brakes are one of the most effective components on your mountain bike that will help you to stop safely promptly but did you ever wonder how to adjust hydraulic disc brakes on a bike?
Nowadays, hydraulic disc brakes are a very popular introduction to road cyclists too.
Even though they have many more advantages and are way safer than other brake types – they still require a bit different maintenance.
But having to visit your bike repair shop every time your disc brakes need to be maintained is ridiculous. Maintenance is a very simple process and once you learn how to do it – you’ll be able to get it done all by yourself!
That’s exactly what we’ll teach in this article so keep on reading to learn how to save money and maintain your own bike!
How to Adjust Hydraulic Disc Brakes on a Bike
1. Mount the Bike
The first step is to mount the bike on some stand. The purpose is to make the disc brake adjustment easily.
2. Check the Brake Lever
The second step would be checking the brake lever. Many road bicycles have the disc brake similarly to the bicycles’ non-hydraulic brakes. It would help if you placed the brake lever in a horizontal position in comparison to the handlebar. This way it would be easy to each it.
However, in case of a crash, do not tweak the lever of the bicycle. Instead, rotate the lever down and adjust at the back of the pivot of the lever. This is to mention that the handlebar and brake lever need not be at the same level, rather a little below. To do this, utilize a hex wrench for loosening bolts while you position brake levers near the handlebars and give it a suitable position.
3. Align Brake Calipers
The third and important step after giving the proper position to the brake lever would be aligning the calipers of the brake. Accurately aligned calipers are very crucial for the disc brakes. This would prevent the calipers from striking the moving and spinning rotors. If brake calipers hit the rotating rotor, this leads to drag. It will impact the performance of the bike brake.
Luckily, it is not that difficult to spot the brake caliper’s defect as it produces a rubbing or howling sound if the alignment of the caliper is off.
4. Positioning the Rotor
In the case of any brake system with a disc, and more specifically, any hydraulic disc brake system, it is not easy to see the rotor to pad alignment. That is why you must make sure that you put a white rage or white paper at the back of the area you want to view while spinning.
While you are spinning the wheels, you must focus on the spinning of the rotor present among the calipers. In an ideal scenario, it must be at the center and in exact alignment. If by any chance, it is rubbing, you must use a hex tool to loosen the bolts present at the center that hold the brake caliper and the mounting bracket. If the rotor is not easily centering, then add or slip some thin business car between pads.
5. Tighten the Bolts
Tightening the bolts is the next step after pulling the lever of the brake slowly.
6. Confirm the Proper Alignment of the Rotor
To check the rotor alignment properly and to make sure that it is not going to rub, you need to rotate the eye disc and the wheel.
7. Test the Brake
The last step would be taking the bike for a good test spin.
To break the rotors, slowly apply brakes and repeat it several times. Make sure that all the components of the braking are in the proper place and the bike you have is efficiently performing the braking system.
Common Issues in Hydraulic Disc Brakes and Their Solution
The braking method of the bikes has been revolutionized these days. The reason is the better reliability and braking offered by the manufacturers. However, there are still some challenges that are bound to be encountered.
Disturbing Noise Produced by The Brakes
In this case, you may hear some metallic sounds generated, which mount in the amplitude with time. There can be numerous reasons behind it. The pads of the break may be misaligned or worn out. The brakes might be dirty. You need to examine the brakes, the condition of the rotors, or the pressure on the brake pads.
Loose or Spongy Brake Lever
In case the brakes seem loose, or the levers won’t pull close to brake bars, then there may be some air present in the brake system. This problem needs a bleed solution for solving.
Bleeding means the removal of bubbles process, which removes air bubbles of the fluid of the brake. You may also need to remove the old fluid of brake and entirely and replace the fluid with a new one.
The brake parts can get contaminated when using the brake fluid. Materials like oils, grease, WD-40, degreasers, dust, and other such debris can accumulate in the disc brakes. Such materials restrict the system of brakes and slow it down ( the process of minimizing the speed and stop). Regular cleaning can help with this issue.
If the parts of disc brakes experience breakage due to wear and tear or pressure, then the only reliable solution is to find spare parts and quickly replace them.
If you thought that this process is going to be complicated, you were wrong and this is exactly what you needed to learn to know how to adjust hydraulic disc brakes on a bike.
From there, you can keep re-checking your hydraulic brakes regularly and applying the adjustments when needed.
It’s not a very hard process to learn and yet it would cost you a decent amount of money to maintain in the bike shop.
Not only you’re going to save time now, but you’ll also save money.
But what if you could maintain almost everything on your bike, how much time and money would that save you?
If that’s something you’re interested in learning – I highly recommend you checking out a video step-by-step DIY bike repair course that helped me learn everything I know today.
It’s a source of information that has everything from the simplest to the most advanced repair and maintenance techniques.