Home / How To / How to change disc brake pads on a bicycle

How to change disc brake pads on a bicycle

Replacing worn disc brake pads is a simple process that requires only a few standard tools and a few minutes of your time. Make sure you replace the disc brake pads when they reach down to about 1-1.5 mm. This way you avoid the risk of the metal base on the cushions rubbing against your disc brake rotors and causing damage that is more expensive to repair. Weak braking force or a loud screaming sound when braking in dry weather are also signs of disc brake pads to be replaced.


[[[[Edit]Remove the old cushions

  1. Place your bike in a repair rack and remove the wheel. Mount your bike in a repair rack to raise it and make it easier to remove the wheel and work on it. Loosen the quick release lever by hand or use a wrench to remove the shaft nuts that hold the wheel in place. Pull it off the fork to access the disc brake caliper.[1]
    Replace disc brake pads on a bike step 1.jpg
    • If you do not have access to a bicycle repair rack, carefully turn your bicycle upside down and balance it on the ground so that the wheels are in the air.
  2. Pull out the retaining pin from the caliper by hand or with a pair of pliers. Bend the ends straight using a pair of pliers and pull out the pin if your caliper uses a slotted pin. Remove the clamp from the end of the pin, then unscrew the pins with an Allen key or Torx screwdriver if the caliper uses a screw pin with a pin clamp.[2]
    • Brake caliper is the mechanism attached to the bottom of the axle on the side where the disc brake rotor, which is the disc itself, is attached to the wheel. When your wheel is on the bike, the caliper goes over the disc.
    • The mounting pin is a pin that runs horizontally over the disc caliper and holds the brake pads in place in the center of the caliper.
    • A snap pin looks more or less like a bobby pin. It has a U-shaped bend at one end and the two opposite ends are bent in opposite directions to hold it in place. A screwed clamping pin only looks like a single pin and has a small round clamp at the end it is inserted from.
    • Make sure you place this mounting pin somewhere where you do not drop it so that you can put it back when you are done.
  3. Slide a flat-blade screwdriver between the cushions and tighten. Fold the tip of a flat-blade screwdriver into the crack between the brake pads in the center of the brake caliper. Move it back and forth a few times until you separate them all the way.[3]
    • The brake pads are just two rectangular pieces of metal with padding on the sides facing each other in the middle of the caliper. There is a small crack between the padding where the disc brake rotor goes.
    • This resets the pistons so that the new brake pads fit snugly inside the brake caliper.
    • Do not squeeze the brake levers at any time during this process, otherwise you will spread the pistons outwards and the new brake pads will not fit.
  4. Pull out the brake pads by hand or with a pair of needle pliers. Grasp the pads between your fingers or the jaws of a pair of needle pliers. Pull them straight out and set them aside.[4]
    • Some disc brake pads use a spring system to hold them in place. If you cannot pull out the pads directly, try pushing them inward to release the spring mechanism before pulling them out.
    • You may need to remove the outer pad first to pull out certain types of disc brake pads. If you can not pull them both out at the same time, try this.

[[[[Edit]Install new cushions

  1. Clean the inside of the caliper with degreasing spray and a paper towel. Spray some degreaser in the middle of the thickness to clean dust, dirt and other contaminants. Wipe off the degreaser with a clean paper towel.[5]
    • Any contaminants inside the brake caliper will be transferred to your new brake pads, so it is important to clean out the brake caliper first so that the new brake pads work best for as long as possible.
  2. Place the new cushions on the supplied spring and compress them. Align the U-shaped spring with the grooves in the brake pads so that it lies between them and the pads face each other. Press in the cushions to lubricate the spring.[6]
    • On mechanical disc brakes, one brake pad sits right next to the engine and the other pad moves and squeezes everything. You want the rotor to be really close to the stationary pad – not centered between the two pads.[7]
    • Not all disc brake pads have a spring. If you do not see a spring, see the instructions for your new brake pads.
    • It is always a good idea to use new brake pads of the same brand as the brake caliper. Different brands may use different styles of cushions, so they are often not interchangeable.
  3. Slide the brake pads into the caliper. Continue squeezing the pads and pushing them into the center of the caliper. Push them all the way in until they are completely slotted in the caliper.[8]
    • Some disc brake pads go in super softly and easily, while others may need more force to push them in all the way.
    • If your new pads have only two pads and no spring, you may need to insert the inner pad first and then push in the outer pad to lock them in place.
    • It is normal for the brake pads to be a little loose when you push them into the brake caliper, so do not worry if you notice this.
  4. Put the retaining pin back in the caliper. Push the pin all the way inwards and bend the ends apart so that it locks in place if it is a tip pin. Push in the pin and tighten it with an Allen key or Torx screwdriver and then slide the clamp over the end if it is a screw-in, clamping pin.[9]
    • Your new disc brake pads can come with a new mounting pin. If so, you can use it instead of the old needle if you prefer.
  5. Replace the wheel and spin it to check the adjustment. Replace the wheel you removed in the fork and tighten the shaft in place with the quick release lever or shaft nuts and a wrench. Give it a good spin and look closely at the disc brake rotor on the wheel to make sure it does not rub against the new brake pads.[10]
    • Remember that the rotor is only the disc on the wheel. It goes between the cushions inside the brake caliper.
    • If the rotor rubs against the brake pads, adjust the caliper by loosening the caliper mounting bolts and aligning it until the disc rotor runs parallel to the new pads, and then tighten the mounting bolts again.
    • Do not press the brake lever until you are sure that everything is properly aligned. If the disc goes straight and smoothly, you can continue and press the lever to blow out the pistons and make the new pads bite into the wheel.
  6. Ride your bike in a safe area and brake hard 10-20 times to bed in the cushions. Take your bike down from the repair site and take it out somewhere relatively flat and car-free. Drive around and press the brakes hard 10-20 times until they feel that they work well and brake vigorously.[11]
    Replace disc brake pads on a bike step 10.jpg
    • You will notice that the brakes feel stronger every time you pull them while doing this process. When you do not notice any more changes in how powerful they work, you can cycle as usual.



  • The process for changing disc brake pads is the same for both racing bikes and mountain bikes.
  • There are different types of disc calipers and pads, so always see the manufacturer’s instructions for the exact installation method. The general process is the same, but there may be something different that locks them in place.


  • Do not ride your bike as usual until you are in the new disc brake pads in a safe area as they will not work at full power first.

[[[[Edit]Things you need

  • New brake pads
  • Allen keys
  • Chisel
  • Needle pliers (optional)
  • Torx screwdriver (optional)


  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xqw0SaZl-jo&feature=youtu.be&t=123
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xqw0SaZl-jo&feature=youtu.be&t=135
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5JP5ieQ9H0&feature=youtu.be&t=105
  4. https://www.bikeradar.com/advice/workshop/how-to-change-the-disc-brake-pads-on-your-bike/
  5. https://www.bikeradar.com/advice/workshop/how-to-change-the-disc-brake-pads-on-your-bike/
  6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5JP5ieQ9H0&feature=youtu.be&t=217
  7. [v161271_b01]. February 18, 2020.
  8. https://www.cyclingweekly.com/videos/bike-fit-and-maintenance/how-to-replace-your-disc-brake-pads
  9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5JP5ieQ9H0&feature=youtu.be&t=250
  10. https://www.bikeradar.com/advice/workshop/how-to-change-the-disc-brake-pads-on-your-bike/
  11. https://www.cyclingweekly.com/videos/bike-fit-and-maintenance/how-to-replace-your-disc-brake-pads

Source link