Garage Files: How To Regain That New Brake Feeling

How To Capture That New Brake Feeling Again

Brakes can be a real drag, literally. Over time, the hydraulic pistons that were once snappy and responsive can become sticky and sluggish, resulting in everything from noise to brake drag to uneven pad wear. If you’re one of the millions of riders who has suffered from this condition, we can offer some help. There is a quick and easy procedure that can breathe new life into those tired old stoppers, and it doesn’t even require a bleed, any special tools or even much time. It’s called the “brake reset.” This, according to the Shimano multi-service crew, is the most common repair they do for riders and racers when they’re at an event. We can teach you how to do it by yourself.

For this job you will need the following:

• 5-millimeter Allen wrench
• 3-millimeter Allen wrench
• Plastic tire lever
• Isopropyl alcohol
• Handful of Q-tips
• Brake-pad spacing chip (specific to your make/model of brake)
• Rotor truing tool, or crescent wrench in a pinch
Shimano mineral oil (if working on Shimano brakes)

1-If you have a repair stand, start by putting your bike in with the drivetrain facing in. Normally, this is the wrong way to put the bike in a repair stand; however, if you’re only working on the brakes, this orientation allows much easier access to them.

2-Remove the wheels from the frame. It’s best to work on just one brake at a time, but removing both wheels will prevent your work stand from becoming unbalanced and toppling over.

3-Remove the retainer pin, pads and H-spring from the caliper. This Shimano XT brake required a 3-millimeter Allen to remove the retainer pin.

4-With the pads removed, use the plastic tire lever to hold one piston back and pump the lever a few times.

5-Pumping the lever will expose one piston slightly. Do not pump too much, as the piston…

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