Replacing hydraulic disk brake pads

Step3Big thank you to Mark’s Cycle Repairs for helping me put this repair together for the Bike Doctor App (Already in iPhone version, soon to be in Android version)

Mark offers excellent prices and repairs for all sorts of bikes and if you live in the direction of Kent (Orpington) specifically then you should check him out:

To replace hydraulic disk brake pads you will need:

  • New brake pads – similar to the ones you are using before
  • Pliers – to pull out the retaining pin
  • Tyre lever or pad separator – to pry open tightly closed pistons
  • Disk brake cleaner – if you feel the rotor needs cleaning

Background to the repair:

Hydraulic Disk Brake Pads are well known for needing little maintenance. The piston automatically moves in as the pads wear and therefore you don’t spend every other weekend tweaking them (damn you V-brakes!).

Pads need to be replaced once they reach 1mm or less or thickness. After that they’ll start to wear out the rotors.

This repair is useful for just doing an inspection of the pads and if they are worn then heading to the local bike shop to buy a replacement.

Disk brake Pad types

Two types of pad can be used for disk brake repair. Organic and sintered. Many pro-riders use one of each in the calliper to get both the benefits.

Organic pads will need some breaking in before any heavy riding. A couple of hard stops helps to get them working correctly. Sintered pads don’t need breaking in. They are hotter and somewhat heavier than organic pads but are ont appropriate in all disk brake systems. Whilst more effective, they do wear out the rotor more quickly than organic pads will.

Additional notes on the video:

Your disk brake design will vary slightly. Some pads for example are held in place using bolts instead of split pins. Also some disk brake pads are removed upwards instead of downwards. Be aware of this when following the instructions.

During the repair when the pads are out is a good opportunity to clean the calliper. Do so using an old toothbrush or a cotton swab.

Any questions feel free to ask below! Hope this video is of use and if it is please do hit the like button as it means more people get to see it!

See also:

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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2 Responses to Replacing hydraulic disk brake pads

  1. John 07/04/2011 at 6:38 pm #


    Nice video Andreas, It’s pleasant to see somebody take on the ‘challenge and darkness’ of disc brakes.
    I have had them now for about a year and at first any questions were answered with – take it to your LBS – not the answer I was looking for, If it can be done in the bike shop then it can most likely be done at home at a fraction of the price, and the answer is yes it can easily be done at home.
    Once you have changed one set on a quiet Sunday afternoon, then the rest will follow in a half hour job no problem at all.
    Just make sure you buy the right replacements and it really is as easy as the video shows.
    So don’t be put off a new bike you fancy because it has disc brakes.


  2. Rosemarie Curlin 10/08/2012 at 4:58 am #

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i got here to return the want?.I’m trying to to find things to improve my website!I assume its good enough to use a few of your concepts!!

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