How To Care For Your Disc Brakes | Road Bike Maintenance

Published on January 22nd 2018


Disc brakes give super reliable braking performance, in all weathers. Come on rim brake die hards, that much is a fact… What is talked about less though is the maintenance required to keep them in tip top condition. 

The good news is that it’s not difficult, these three simple tasks will get your discs back to as-new condition. Cleaning, basic caliper service, and bleeding. 

Cleaning your pads and rotors is a reasonably straightforward job, but is a great way to get your disc brakes working well (and silently). You’ll need a dedicated disc brake cleaner, some lint free shop towel, nitrile gloves, and some isopropyl alcohol and some good medium grit sandpaper. Remove your pads and drop the wheels out so that the rotors are out of the caliper too. 

SRAM recommend just cleaning parts with soapy water, and it’s easier now the pads are out to really get in there. 
Take a look firstly to see if your pads have any life left in them. Replacing them saves you half a job so it’s not all bad if you need new ones. The rule of thumb is to replace them when you have about 1.5mm of pad left, similar to rim brake pads really. You could use them for longer but you risk causing damage to more expensive parts like rotors and pistons.  

If you are keeping your old ones Place them on some shop cloth and give them a good spray with the cleaner, and wipe away any dirt. Then give both the pads and the rotors a good scrub with fine sandpaper until you can’t see any marks on them. 
Also, whilst the pads are out give the inside of the caliper a spray with some isopropyl alcohol too and wipe it away with a clean cloth.

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