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How to Change Brake Pads

By Sarah Bonner

Changing your brake pads is a quick and simple job that doesn’t require a bike shop.

You must change your brake pads when you have worn them down to the “limit line.” The “limit line” is indicated on each single brake pad and represents the minimum thickness required for safe usage. Brake pads are made of different compounds for use with specific rim materials, such as carbon fibre or aluminum, so you might also need to change your brake pads if you are using different types of wheels.


To change your brake pads, first open the brakes and take out the front wheel. Using an Allen key, or occasionally a small screw driver, loosen the small screw at the back of the brake shoe. Holding down the brake lever to avoid hitting the front fork, slide out the used brake pad.




The process is the same for the back brakes but you can leave the rear wheel in, just open the brakes, and you won’t need to hold down the brake leaver.

When you slide in the new brake pads, ensure the correct brake pad is inserted on each side as indicated by the markings. Tip: Read “Left” and “Right” markings as if you were sitting on your bike. Slide the pads in, grooves facing the wheel, until they hit the cap of the brake shoe. Tighten the small screw and replace your wheel if necessary.


While the small screw on the brake shoe is important, one end of the brake shoe is closed so the rotation of the wheel forces the bake pad into the cap of the brake shoe, ensuring it stays safely in place. For this reason, it is vitally important that brake shoes are facing the correct way. Tip: when the brake shoe is mounted correctly, the capped end is always pointing forwards and the security screw is always towards the back.



Sarah Bonner

Sarah Bonner the author of a new e-article, The Clean Girl’s Guide to Cycling: How to Clean Everything from Bar Tape to Sports Bras, has lived and cycled in Canada, Africa, and Europe. Currently, she splits her time between the Netherlands and South Africa where she trains and competes at an amateur level. With a Masters in English and a Diploma in Sports Management, Sarah combines her love of writing and passion for cycling to share honest advice and inspiring stories. Follow her at sarahkimbonner.wordpress.com

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