How To Replace Rim Brake Pads | GCN Tech Basic Road Bike Maintenance

How To Replace Rim Brake Pads | GCN Tech Basic Road Bike Maintenance

– Welcome to another Maintenance Monday. This week we are going to be focusing on how to change your brake pads or brake blocks as they
can otherwise be known. We’ll also talk you
though a few set up tips and help you identify when your pads actually need replacing as well. (metal clashing) If you’re currently riding your bike a lot in the wet, wintry weather or you have lots of steep
descents where you live, or you’re commuting on it daily, you’re going to need to
check your pads for wear more regularly than if you’re just riding in the warm sunshine. That seems like a distant
memory, doesn’t it. At this point you’re
going to need to establish exactly what sort of pads you have. Do you have a brake block where the pad is integrated into the mounting system or do you have a cartridge pad? If you have a brake block, we’ll first address how you change that. To gain easier access to your pad, I would first always
recommend removing the wheel. You’re likely to have
some sort of quick release which will open the caliper up, simply undo your quick release and remove the wheel. I’m going to do the front one just because it’s that little bit easier. Now first off, we’re going
to focus on the brake blocks, the one piece item. Traditionally these will be
removed with either an Allen key or as this one is, with a spanner, an eight mill spanner in this case. These would be mounted
on the side of your pad just like the cartridge pads and they have the adjustability
built into the collar and the washer system. So be careful that these
washers are reapplied in exactly the same
order as they’re removed. You may find it easier
to take pictures of this whilst you’re doing that. Or keep the instructions
to hand from the new set that you just purchased. To help you decide if you need
to replace your pads or not, you should remove them from the bike and have a good, thorough look over them. The pads should have a
good couple of millimeters left for water drainage, a couple millimeters of grooving that is. And you should also check
that there aren’t any small stones seated and
embedded into the pad or little bits of aluminum, as this will seriously
eat away at your wheels and cause faster wear to your rims. Most pads will come with a wear indicator built into them somewhere and if you’re not happy
with how your pads are, then it’s definitely time to replace them. Now, remounting these
is simply the reverse of removing them in the first place and is very easy to do so but the most important thing to remember is to keep the washers
in exactly the same order as these will help position
the pad against the rim and that will help increase, decrease, and alter your braking performance. So what if, like me, you don’t have a brake block like this one? Well then there’s a chance you’re going to have one
of these cartridge pads in which case the removal is
actually that little bit easier because the pad will
remain adjusted in the rim because it’s mounted
separately from the cartridge. Simply find an Allen
key of the correct size, now be really careful
because these do often have a tendency to round off. And unwind it ever so slightly leaving the little grub screw in there. And you should be able to just
pop the pad out quite easily. Just like that. Once you’ve removed the pad from the bike, it’s going to be a lot easier to see just how far the pad is away
from the wear indicator. Now, this is a carbon
fiber brake pad from Zip and that’s ’cause I’m using carbon wheels. These don’t wear quite as quickly as an aluminum brake pad do. Probably because of the lack of friction that’s used in the braking forces. Now, I’ve removed this one from the bike, it doesn’t actually need
replacing ’cause it’s fairly new so I’m just going to repeat the process and slide it back in
to the pad from behind. And then simply finger
tighten the grub screw back up with the Allen key. It’s a two mill Allen key on this one, each system’s going to
be slightly different but they’re generally
two to three millimeters. Excellent, I’m going to do the
same on the other side then and repeat the process. Check the health of the pad, check there are no stones or little bits of shrapnel lodged into it, and as you can see, it
really is very, very easy. Yep, that one looks good as well. Retighten that grub screw, imagine that was a set of brand new pads, and you’re done. The only thing now we need
to do is check over the rim, check that there’s nothing worn on there. Check that that looks like
it’s in good condition and it’s not causing the
brake pads any problems. And then check the alignment
of the pads on the rims. So there’s one more thing to
add about these cartridge pads, and that is because of the
direction of the wheel, it’s constantly spinning
that way through the forks, you don’t really need to worry about these grub screws too much, you don’t need to over tighten them. All they’re doing is just sitting there and they come with a little bit of Loctite or something similar
on the threads already. So the chance of them actually coming out is incredibly small. In some cases, I’ve seen riders ride without these in the past. I would advise it because
if you roll backwards and put your brakes on,
the pads will fall out but in normal use, you’ll
be absolutely fine. Now it’s time to reintroduce the wheel. Make sure the quick release is still open in your front caliper, clamp it up, I’d normally
do this on the floor just to make sure the wheel
sits correctly in the drop outs. Close the quick release up. Now, if you’ve replaced your pads, you may find that you need to undo this and allow a little bit
of cable to slip through. But because my pads
are the same as before, it’s absolutely fine. Now, this is the point where you may need to make some adjustments to the toe in or the toe out of your pad, maybe even adjust the angle. If your pads have been in there a while and they’ve worn right down
almost to the cartridge, you’re probably going to need
to adjust them quite a lot, especially if you’d stayed on
top of that adjustment before. Now what you’d have to do is get a four mill Allen key on this one, unscrew it and the best way to adjust them is actually to hold the caliper on or pull the brake lever gently whilst making those minor
adjustments in there. If you are making adjustments to this, the best way I find to do this is to pull the brake lever on quite hard, unscrew this bolt and then
when it comes to setting it up, it’s best to put a little piece of card in at the back of the pad as that will allow you
a little bit of toe in which will help with modulation and also with correct braking performance. So a credit card or something similar, I’m using my driving license. Make sure the pad hits
the rim nice and squarely so it’s following the same
sort of curvature of the wheel, put it right in the
middle of the braking area and then simply squeeze the lever hard and tighten it up. Do this on both sides and you’ll have perfect braking
performance all the time. The next thing to do is to
make sure your brake pads are hitting the rim squarely, that means they’re both hitting
at exactly the same time. That way you get that nice, satisfying, pounding noise on the rim. These are dual pivot
calipers and because of that, they have this little
adjustment screw on the side which will help angle the caliper
from one side to the next. You’ll quickly see by screwing it one way, you’re skewing the action of the caliper and by unwinding it and
screwing it the other way, you’re reversing that procedure. Put it right in the middle and you’ll have perfect
braking performance for that really satisfying
sound I mentioned before. You’ll also have a lighter lever action and more consistent braking. Now, the final step,
once you’re really happy, is to make sure that
everything is nice and tight. You’ve used these concave washers to make the adjustment for
the toe in and the toe out. And also you’ve made sure
that everything’s aligned with the rim and the braking surface is being met right in the middle. Then squeeze the caliper, make
sure they are nice and tight, there will be a recommended torque setting but you can also do that on feel. But the most important one to get tight is indeed the cable, as
ultimately if that slips, you’re going to be in a spot of bother. I’m pretty happy with that, I’m looking forward to testing it out. So there you have it, it
really is quite simple to replace the brake pads or
the brake blocks on your bike. Just remember, reverse
the steps that you took to remove the pads from your bike when it comes to remounting them and then absolutely nail
that fine tuning at the end as that really is what’s going to improve your braking performance. If you enjoyed this video,
and you found it useful, do give it a thumbs up. And for more Maintenance
Mondays, click just down there.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Pro Tip: Before putting new pads on give your wheel a good clean as the dirt, grease, grime will reduce performance on the braking surface.
    Once done dry the wheels off.

  2. Can u tell me how to remove a wheel with a bolt easily .beacuse my wheel tends to get misaligned pls pls pls pls pls gcn

  3. Do you have to toe in pads? I have done on mine but only because I read that you should 😂. Wondered if it actually makes a difference if you just line up flat against the rim?

  4. Hi!
    I want to change my old Shimano 7900 130 bcd 53/39T crankset on my bike to a modern compact 50/34T. Will an newer 11 speed crankset work with my 10 speed system or do I have to look for a used Shimano 7900 110 bcd?
    Thanks Nypan!!

  5. Hi Chris. Thanks for the great shows. I was advised by Easton to use acetone to clean my carbon rim brake tracks , with the caveat to keep it away from the decals. any thoughts ?

  6. Using the credit card to toe-in the pads is a great tip. I used a 2mm feeler gauge in the past, but really like the idea of using plastic on carbon rims.

  7. Sorry Chris, but Zipp carbon brake pads don’t last longer than those used for aluminium rims. The Tangente pads are awful. They’re made of a substance similar to cheese, and last about as long.

  8. I love the disk brake performance on my newest bike, but the fact that this video is half the length of the disk one back in November speaks for itself.

  9. I almost didn’t watch this as I’ve had and adjusted rim brakes for awhile now. I’m glad I did though because I still learned something new with the drivers license trick!

  10. Some pads dont have the grub screw, Campagnolo for instance. Otherwise its like removing teeth. wiggle wiggle and pull.

  11. have you looked into having on-screen graphics in your tech videos, similar to park tool's channel?
    A graphic showing how the washers work on the brake block would be useful for any novice mechanic out there.

  12. year long fan of GCN, but please add subtitles to the videos. I have a mate who is hearing impared and he would appreciate this. Also for non English speakers that could help. Just helping to make an awesome channel even better

  13. Hey GCN! There have been a number of new puncture mitigation tech that have popped up recently. Maybe you could do a video about them?

  14. I'm building a classic 80s road bike with modern Sram Rival 11 speed groupset and 700c wheels. I have the chance of buying a set of beautiful early 80s Shimano 600 Ax parallelogram calipers that have the correct drop. Do you know if they will work reasonably well with Sram 11 speed levers and do they actually stop the bike well. New Kool Stop pads are still available.

  15. Isn’t it preferred for the pad initial contact to occur from the direction of rotation, thus cleaning the wheel surface of any debris, similar to a squeegee, before the pad contacts the remaining surfaces?

  16. Hi Chris , Ken here . I started cycling 4 yrs and ago so far I'm up to 3 bikes . Even though all have disc brakes , I did enjoy seeing how simple rim brakes are maintain , cool video .

  17. Why didn't you make a video with a bike that really did need its pads changed?

    And shocking lack of precise detail about the wheel remover cable release lever. At 7:00 its still in the up position when you should only adjust the cable when in the down wheel secured position. And no mention of the cable barrel adjuster and how you should turn it all the way clockwise and then back off a half turn. Really a half assed video this one and I normally love GCN for their great work….

  18. It's easy when you check new brake blocks on a surgically clean bike.
    When I change my blocks, after a couple of thousand miles, the little screws invariably round off and the worn blocks have to be forced out. Those screws are made of cheese.

  19. So, I did check my pads when mounting a new set of wheels recently and found bits of metal stuck in the pads themselves; picked them out and smoothed the pads with sandpaper, then a vigorous cleaning.

    #AskGCNTech: Where does do these shards come from and is there any way to prevent them?

  20. My new bikes never came with toe in pads. Tried toe in and braking performance is worse. I dont think it's necesssary

  21. Have pros ever thought of putting small brake levers on the top of bars beside the stem. Would really aid braking especially when there is a sudden crash in the peloton.
    If found that having to move hands quickly from top of the bars to the drops takes a second at least.

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