Out of sight – out of mind. I think that probably applies to many of us in relation to care and attention to the most important safety feature of our modern bikes – disc brakes!
It certainly applied to me. Being brought up on rim brakes, where pad wear is obvious at a glance, I tended to ignore pad wear on my more modern bike with disc brakes. Sandwiched and shielded from view by the caliper housing and disc, it is not easy to see what’s what. And in particular, to see if the pads have worn down to their safe minimum. This photo shows that there is not a lot of difference in pad thickness, between new and one due for replacement.
So to be on the safe side, how often should the pads be replaced?
When I asked Mr Google the answer was a bit like -“How long is a piece of string?” It depends on many factors, including as you would expect, how much riding you do and the terrain. More wear off-road if you are a Gravel rider or MTBer. But common advice was to treat pads as consumables and consider changing them annually.
Another factor is that they wear much quicker in wet conditions. Hence, check and consider changing when winter comes. I have just done that and my disc pads definitely needed a change!
Having done that, I remembered that there is a procedure for bedding in new pads. But I could not remember the details. So back to Mr Google, and there I found an interesting article which details things that we should be aware of, and more importantly do! So to save me repeating the advice from someone who does knows more about looking after your important braking system, than I ever will – check out his article shown below. You will find for examples – a section entitled “Disc-Brake Tech Tips” plus a handy How-To guide to ensure your disc brakes work well. So now click and read on!
And a P.S – How to bed in new disc pads – This is a very simple procedure, explained in the Disc-Brake Tech Tips of above web link, See it’s section titled “How to change pads” at step 7