How to Change Bicycle Brake Pads

How to Change Bicycle Brake Pads
When pulling a bicycle brake lever, you begin a chain of actions that ends with the brake pads gripping the surface of the wheel. This, in turn, slows the bicycle. Maintaining these pads and replacing them when necessary helps keep bicycle brakes working effectively. When brake pads become too worn (the grooves on the pad surface will have disappeared) it's time to remove the pads and replace them.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need:
  • Set of allen keys
Step 1
Open the quick release lever to relieve tension on the brakes and to get easier access to the brake pads. The brake release will be either on the brake arm or near the brake lever. If there is no quick release, relieve tension on the brakes by loosening the brake cable anchor bolt. This bolt is found where the cable attaches to the brake.
Step 2
Remove the small allen screw from the brake shoe. The brake shoe holds the brake pad in place. If there is no allen screw, remove the anchoring screw that attaches the brake shoe to the caliper arm. The caliper arm is one side of the brake and resembles half of a claw.
Step 3
Slide the pad free of the brake shoe. Some pads come as a pad/brake shoe unit. If replacing the brake pad, the whole unit will need to be replaced.


Step 1
Insert a new pad into the brake shoe. Ensure it is fully seated.
Step 2
Tighten the allen screw on the brake shoe that holds the brake pad in place. For models that required the removal of the brake shoe unit, replace the anchoring screw that attaches the shoe to the brake caliper arm.
Step 3
Close the brake quick release lever.
Step 4
Check the alignment of the pads against the rim. When braking, the pads should rub the rim evenly. If this is not the case, loosen the brake shoe anchoring screw and align the pad correctly. Retighten the screw.

Article Written By Matthew Ferguson

Matthew Ferguson is a writer living in Savannah, Ga. He has been writing for over 10 years and his work has appeared on various online publications. A collection of his short stories was published in spring 2010. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.