How to Adjust Bike Disc Brakes

How to Adjust Bike Disc Brakes
Disc brakes are typically found on mountain bikes. They provide sure, quick stopping even when wet or dirty and are not easily knocked out of adjustment--important advantages for mountain biking. Checking and adjusting your disc brakes regularly will ensure that they work when you need them most.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Hex wrench (size varies depending upon brand of brakes)
Step 1
Spin the wheel of your bike while looking at it from the front. Observe the brake disc. If it wobbles, it's probably bent or out of true. A bent brake disc should be replaced, and that's a more extensive job than a simple adjustment. Consult with a bike shop for repairs. If the disc spins true, proceed to Step 2.
Step 2
Loosen the mounting bolt that holds the brake caliper with a hex wrench. Engage the brake by squeezing the brake lever firmly, then tighten the caliper with your hex wrench.
Step 3
Tighten the barrel adjuster on the brake caliper (usually on top, where the cable enters) by turning it to the right. Stop when the pads of the caliper come into contact with the disc, then loosen the adjuster one full turn to the left. Turn the stop nut to the right until it locks the barrel adjuster into place.
Step 4
Tighten the barrel adjuster on the brake lever (you'll find this where the cable connects the brake lever) by turning it to the right. As in Step 3, stop when the pads of the caliper come into contact with the disc, then loosen the adjuster one full turn to the left. Turn the stop nut to the right until it locks the barrel adjuster into place.
Step 5
Test the brakes on some flat terrain to be sure they are working properly before taking off onto the trails.

Tips & Warnings

 
Always wear a helmet when riding.

Article Written By Nichole Liandi

Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.

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