Maintaining my brakes

We strongly recommend cleaning your brakes regularly. Given how important the brakes are on a bike, it is crucial that you take care of them to ensure your safety. Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to maintaining disc brakes.

Touching the disc is a no-no. The first reason for this is that after engaging the brakes or riding downhill for a little while, due to friction, the disc can become very hot. You should wait for 5-10 minutes before doing anything with the brakes to allow for sufficient cooling. The second reason for not touching the disc is that oils from your fingers can contaminate the disc. Oils on the disc will cause loss of brake power and can make them squeaky when applied.

Chemicals: If you are cleaning your bike with degreaser or tuning it up using lubricant, be careful not to get any on the disc. As this will also cause loss of braking power. It is possible that if the chemical contact the brake pad for long enough it can seep into the material and compromise the pad entirely, in this case it is a good idea to replace the pad - better to be safe than sorry. If you happen to get some oils or chemicals on the brake disc itself, just use some disc brake cleaner to remove it.

Brake Pads: Along with making sure that your brake disc is clean, you should also examine and clean your pads regularly. Any material or dirt that isn’t meant to be there will affect braking power and should be removed. You should also check out the thickness of your pads, due to the friction between the pad and disc they wear down over time and lose their effectiveness. Brake pad wear and tear is more likely to happen during winter or in wet conditions when there is grit and more debris on the roads. Brake pads should be replaced once they have worn away. Not replacing brake pads early enough will result in damaged brake discs and faded brake power. There are metal plates underneath brake pads which will be pressed against the disc when pads are worn out, damaging both the pad and the disc. It is important to note that because electric bikes are heavier than traditional bicycles and travel at greater speed, the brake pads may get worn down faster than you would expect.

Try not to damage your discs: If you remove your wheels for storage or cleaning, be careful where you leave your disc. If the disc were to bend or warp, your brakes will not be as effective and may not work at all. Disc brakes operate by being pinched by the brake pads and if the disc were to be off at all, the pads would not be applied to both sides of the disc equally.

Brake Rub: A common problem with disc brakes occurs when the pads are not set right and rub off the disc even when the brakes are not engaged. This will cause your brakes to be noisy and prematurely wear down if it is not fixed. Luckily this is a quick fix, this can be done by loosening the brake caliper bolts and pulling the brake lever. The caliper should square itself with the disc and you can then re-tighten the bolts in the new position.

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