Bed-In your bike's brakes

Your brakes do not provide enough power, even though the bike is brand new? Bed them in prior to get the full braking power!

WHAT IS BRAKE BED-IN?

Disc brake bed-in is the process of preparing new disc rotors or pads for heavy use by transferring material from brake pads to the rotor through a careful heating/cooling cycle, resulting in improved brake power and control.

This transfer of material from pad to rotor increases the friction in two ways. First, it gives the pad something other than bare steel to grab on to. Second, the bedding-in process sculpts the pad and rotor so that they mirror each other, maximizing the contact area between the two surfaces. This is why the bed-in procedure needs to be performed any time either the pads or rotor are replaced.

A set of disc brakes that hasn’t been bedded-in properly is easy to spot, and even easier to hear. Loud squealing noises are often caused by poor or non-existent bedding. Without a proper bed-in process, pad material accumulates unevenly on the rotor, which manifests as high-frequency vibration. High-frequency vibration results in noise, particularly when things get wet.

Basically, if your disc brakes aren’t working right, the bedding-in process is a likely culprit.

HOW TO BED-IN DISC BRAKES?

Every disc brake and pad manufacturer has its own bed-in procedure, but all are slight variations on a similar set of steps. The key is to heat and cool the brakes in a repeatable and consistent manner, without accidentally scoring the pads or rotor by braking too hard, too soon. Again, the goal is a consistent transfer layer. Here’s what we have found works:

  • Hop on your bike somewhere with plenty of room. Pedal up to moderate speed – 15km/h or so.
  • Sit down in the saddle and apply the brakes evenly, without skidding, until speed drops to a walking pace.
  • Release the brakes while you’re still moving.
  • Repeat 10 times. You will feel brake power increasing with each repetition. Be careful not to skid as brake power increases with each repeat.
  • Perform the same set of steps, but increase speed to 25km/h.
  • Repeat 5-6 times.

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