Tips for Taking Good Care of Your Bike’s Brakes

Brakes are a very important item of safety for your bike, but how do you take care of them? Do you remember that they exist and need maintenance? Let us know the most used models and how to do to keep them in perfect working order.

Brake Models

There are different brake models that currently equip bikes. The most used nowadays are the V Brake and disc brakes on mountain bikes, and the side-pull brakes on the rails.Some newer, more modern models of brakes are leaving the factory with hydraulic brakes, some are still side pull, but there are already several models with hydraulic disc brakes. So basically the brakes are divided into rim brakes and disc brakes.

Rim Brakes

The most commonly used rim brakes are the V Brake (usually on mountain bikes and urban bikes), and the side pull (horseshoe) on rails.

The V Brake brakes were an evolution of the cantilever because their “arms” are longer and have a much larger lever, which makes this type of brake very efficient. A great advantage of this system is the low weight and ease of maintenance. Side-pull brakes are widely used on road bikes as they are lightweight, streamlined and very efficient as well.

Maintenance Of Rim Brakes

What you should always observe in this type of brake is the condition of the cables and conduits, the brake shoes, and the alignment of the rims, because as they work very close to the rims, any misalignment may leave the brake shoe bumping into the rim, Leaving the bike slow. Whenever you use your bike, check the cables to see if they show any signs of breakage, if the cable is starting to break it is best to change it.Make sure the cables are not dirty or gripping the conduit as this decreases the braking power, as well as leaving the drive heavier for you, which can cause pain and fatigue on the fingers on long, rugged descents.

You can clean and lubricate the cables at home, simply disconnect the conduits from the frame stops (when the conduit is outside), then just wipe the cables with a clean cloth and then lubricate them with a quality oil, it can be Cross Country or the Finish Line Seco. Make sure that the wheels are aligned, otherwise it is advisable to take them to a specialist garage to perform this service.

The rims should be in contact with the shoes, clean, because over time the rims are “rubberized”, which also decreases the braking power, you can wash this area of ​​contact with soap and water and use the side Abrasive sponge, type scotch brite, or the popular bombril to deboss the hoops. The shoes with time can be “rolled”, that is with aluminum waste from the hoops, in which case you can sand them until they look the original.

Maintenance Of Disc Brakes

Disc brakes can be hydraulic or mechanical (cable). Mechanical brakes need to be careful of cable and conduit conditions equal to the V Brakes, and care must also be taken to wear the brake pads, as this type of brake only one side of the clamp moves when the brake is actuated, and if the brake pads Wear and adjustment is not done, the disc may warp. It is necessary to always check the wear to be able to regulate the distance of the tablet that moves towards the disc, which can be done by turning a adjustment screw, which is on the side of the tweezers that move.

Hydraulic brakes have the advantage of the tweezers moving the two pads towards the disc, so it is only necessary to check their conditions to make the change by time of use. Another great advantage of hydraulic systems is their high braking power with little drive force, and also a much greater modulation control, it holds more the bike instead of locking the wheels, which makes it much safer for the rider . Hydraulic brakes use specific fluids, which can be DOT or Mineral. Shimano brakes, for example, use mineral oil. Never use any other type of fluid on your brakes as this can compromise the entire system.

Always check your bike or brake manual, which fluid it uses. It is recommended to change the DOT brake fluid at least every 6 months and mineral fluid at least once a year. This bleeding service for fluid exchange should only be performed by a qualified professional. If it is not properly performed, it may compromise the operation of the brakes and their safety.

Hydraulic Side Pull Brakes

This type of brake is a novelty that is beginning to be used on road bikes, especially Sram, who soon launched the  Sram Red with this brake option. The  Magura  has a brake of this type for mountain biking, which is widely used by trial bike athletes.

Always keep the brakes of your bicycle in perfect conditions of use because they are safety items. Always take your bike in qualified workshops, your safety is priceless! If you have any questions or want to leave your opinion or suggestion, leave your comment below, your participation is very important. See you next week!

For more information about how to take care of your bike, click here: bicycle maintenance.