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Thread: Disc brake maintenance recommendations

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    77

    Default Disc brake maintenance recommendations

    Besides the annual bleed and the occasional new pads & rotors, what do you guys do about disc brake maintenance? I never heard that there was anything to do, but I'm not getting the performance that I want from my Shimano XTs a few months after changing pads/rotors.

    I was talking to somebody that said to run steel wool through the pads and wipe the rotors down with alcohol after every other ride. What should I be doing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    52

    Default

    Besides not getting the performance you'd like, what exactly is the issue? Not enough power, locking up on you, etc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    77

    Default

    Not getting enough power. I've been trying a few different pad/rotor combinations, based on the advice of my LBS. Yet to find one that gives good stopping power for more than 5-6 months of riding. And I rarely ride more than once a week.

  4. #4

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    When you change pads you have to bed the new ones; pads that haven't been bed correctly will never achieve full power. You can save your current ones by removing them, scuff the surface with some emery clothe and then do 10-20 hard stops from about +15mph on each wheel without locking the brakes.

    Other than bleeding 2-3 times a year, always bed new pads and keep current pads and rotors free of soaps and lubricants. Have a look at your hoses every once in a while too to make sure there are no leaks or bubbles.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    11

    Default

    bleeding 2-3 times a year? Ha ha ha

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    52

    Default

    Yeah, I've got a set of Hayes brakes I bled in 2001 or so that have't needed a bleeding at all. If you're bleeding them that often, 2-3 times a year, you might have a leak of some sort.

    I too try and break in pads, which helps, but there's an issue if you only get 5-6 months, meaning 20-25 rides, and you're losing power. What brand are we talking?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    77

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    I'm pretty sure that I've been bedding the pads correctly. I essentially followed the steps that you outlined.

    The brakes are Shimano XT's from maybe 5-6 years back. Not exactly sure of the model. I've tried a mix of non-Shimano pads and rotors, and the latest setup is all Shimano, to see if that makes a difference. I only have a couple rides on these new pads/rotors, but I'm hoping that they will last longer so I'm trying to figure out what I need to do.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    32

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    It sounds to me more like a piston/caliper positioning problem. I had a similar problem with my SLX's. Brought them in to the shop and described the problem. Didn't take the guy twenty minutes, they've been perfect since.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    I've kind of been wondering about that. Do you know what the guy did? Not sure what to tell the mechanic at LBS if they're recommending new pads/rotors.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    32

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    He said he pushed the pads back, centered, and aligned the caliper. I go to Papa Wheelies in Portsmouth nh. By far the best shop I've been to so far.

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