How To Adjust Hydraulic Disc Brakes In Just 6 Easy Steps.

Shaan R.
Shaan R.

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What are Hydraulic brakes? 

Adjust Hydraulic Disc Brakes to Improve Their Performance Bicycle brakes are essential for slowing and stopping a bicycle. There are different types of brakes, but the most common for mountain bikes and other bicycles is the hydraulic disc brake. 

How To Adjust Hydraulic Disc Brakes

These brakes consist of two pads that grip the disc rotor mounted to the wheel. When the brake lever is squeezed, hydraulic fluid is forced through a small hole, or port, in the lever to a cylinder located near the caliper. This action pushes the pistons outwards, causing the cal

1. Introduction

Adjust Hydraulic Disc Brakes – You don’t have to be a bike mechanic to adjust your hydraulic disc brakes. It’s not hard, and once you’ve done it a few times it’ll become second nature. Here are the basic steps: 

1. Open the brake calipers 

2. Rotate the barrel adjuster on the brake lever one full turn counterclockwise (backward)

 3. Close the brake calipers 

4. Repeat step 2 as necessary until the lever just begins to engage

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This Bikehand Tool Kit comes with a range of most common bike tools. It is very easy to use for regular bike service, such as cleaning chain, changing tire, changing bottom bracket, adjust shifter and brake cables.

Hydraulic brakes

2. Parts you will need

To start, you’ll need to understand the components of a hydraulic disc brake. This will make the adjusting process go more smoothly for you.

  • Caliper – when you use your finger to brake, this part of your bike’s brake effectively locks the pads down on the disc.
  • The fluid pressure in your bike’s braking system pulls and pushes a plunger or piston, which is formed of metal, clay, or composite pipes. In exchange, they drive the pads to the rotor.
  • Disc/rotor – A rotor is a circular metal plate attached to a hub that reduces the speed of your bike.

In addition to the information provided above, you need have the following:

  • A bike stand and decent lighting: A bike stand will help you work more efficiently by keeping your bike in one location. It’s also crucial to have adequate lighting in your workspace. Otherwise, seeing and adjusting the bike’s components will be difficult.
  • A calliper alignment tool might be useful for users who aren’t comfortable tightening bolts or reducing friction between the rotor and the brake pads and don’t want to use their hands.
  • A rotor truing fork: This tool may straighten the rotor and make it easier to centre the calliper.

3. Preliminary steps 

  • Make sure your bike is properly positioned 
  • One full turn loosens the brake calliper bolts.
  • Align the Caliper by Tightening the Brake Lever
  • Using a Caliper Placement Tool is a good idea.
  • Utilizing your hands, align the Caliper.
  • Straighten the rotor (Bending)

4. Tips and tricks for a perfect adjustment 

As your disc brakes wear, the pistons automatically move forward to keep the moving parts of the pads at the same distance from both sides of the rotor. When this occurs, the pads and rotor rub against one another, stopping the rotor from rotating within the calliper.

This is why re-centering your rotor’s braking calliper is frequently required to guarantee that the wheel and rotor spin freely.

It’s recommended to adjust your hydraulic disc brake as a recreational rider because it helps track the state of your rotor, like ensuring it isn’t bent. To do so, follow the instructions below.

Make sure your bike is properly positioned 

The proper location of your bike will make your job easier. It makes it simple to work on your bike’s brakes by allowing you to freely rotate the wheels.

You’ll need a good line of sight down into the calliper before you can properly align your disc brake, which you can get by putting your bike in the stand. If you don’t have a stand, a more laborious method of flipping your bike might be used.

The second point to remember is to make sure your bike has adequate lights. This will help you to see things clearly and set your disc brake precisely.

One full turn loosens the brake calliper bolts.

It’s time to install your brake callipers and make sure they’re correctly aligned. The first step is to spin the calliper all the way to the bottom and back up one complete turn.

After you’ve got the calliper in the appropriate location, you can simply tighten the calliper bolts this way.

Also, make sure you use calliper bolts with a washer on the head, as callipers without washers tend to go in the same direction as the bolt while tightening.

Related Article: How to Remove Rear Bike Wheel with No Quick Release?

Align the Caliper by Tightening the Brake Lever

The brake calliper bolts have been somewhat loosened by this point. This allows you to manually manipulate the calliper to avoid it being trapped or hooked up on something. The next step is to firmly squeeze the brake lever in order to centre the calliper.

Tighten the calliper nuts just to a moderate degree. Excessive calliper bolt squeezing will be unneeded. The next step is to spin the wheel of your bike to see whether the rotor is rubbing against the brake pads.

To evaluate whether your callipers need to be realigned, pay close attention to how each piston travels.

After this stage, callipers typically require a little more precision. However, putting the calliper in this position is a solid start.

Using a Caliper Placement Tool is a good idea.

This stage is entirely optional and is only useful for individuals who have difficulty functioning with their hands.

In my toolkit, I have a sharp calliper alignment tool, a Hayes alignment tool to be exact. I prefer to position the calliper by hand, although this is a useful tool when adjusting becomes difficult.

If your rotor keeps rubbing against the brake pads, you can utilise this tool. If this occurs, do not be concerned about redoing your work.

Loosen the calliper bolts and repeat the instructions above. This time, though, we’ll put the calliper alignment tool in the middle of each rotor and calliper side, leaving exactly the correct amount of space on the rotor sides.

The calliper bolts may then be squeezed down using the calliper alignment tool attached to them. After that, you may take the tool out to check if the rotor is still rubbing.

Utilizing your hands, align the Caliper.

When it comes to correct adjustment, many riders choose to use this strategy. Using your hand to align your bike’s calliper is more convenient.

To keep the rotor from rubbing against the pads, make sure you have a clear line of sight through the calliper and attempt to focus it in the centre. It’s recommended to tighten each of the calliper bolts carefully when it’s time to squeeze them.

Take everything one at a time. When you torque a calliper bolt below while the other calliper is still loose, it will shift to one side, forcing you to start over.

You may also work with just one calliper bolt at a time when you’re almost done. As a result, anytime the pads and rotors rub together, you won’t have to start again.

Straighten the rotor (Bending)

The rotor can be somewhat twisted at times, which makes calliper centering nearly impossible. You must first straighten the rotor in this circumstance. To make this operation easier, I recommend utilising a rotor truing fork.

It’s crucial to listen for and monitor where the rotor makes contact with the disc brakes as you rotate the rotor through the wheel. The bent section of the wheel may then be spun away from the calliper.

5. Conclusion

How To: Adjust Hydraulic Disc Brakes In Just 6 Easy Steps. We’ve all been there: our brakes start to squeal, and we’re not sure what’s causing the noise.

 In this article, we’ll show you how to adjust your hydraulic disc brakes in just a few simple steps. We hope this article was helpful! If you have any questions, please leave a comment and share this article with your friends.


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