Tech Talks: Bedding in Brakes 101, Presented by Park Tool - Video

Apr 26, 2018
by Pinkbike Staff  
Tech Talks Presented by Park Tool

Tech Talks Presented by Park Tool is a monthly video series hosted by Park Tool's own wrench whisperer, Calvin Jones. The series covers the A to Zs of some of the most prevalent repair jobs, with the twenty-first episode highlighting the essentials for a minimalist tool kit.

In this episode, Calvin and Truman change Rae Morrison's rotors, and then bed them in with the pads for optimal performance during the Sea Otter Classic Downhill.

Tools for a Trip

Views: 17,563    Faves: 25    Comments: 1



Need more Calvin in your life?

Episode #1 - Tubeless tire installation and conversion
Episode #2 - Saving that bent disc rotor
Episode #3 - Derailleur hanger alignment
Episode #4 - Shimano and Crankbrothers pedal service
Episode #5 - Trailside wheel repair
Episode #6 - Trailside chain repair
Episode #7 - Derailleur limits and cable tension
Episode #8 - Derailleur setup
Episode #9 - Fork wiper seal replacement
Episode #10 - Clipless pedal setup
Episode #11 - New cleat setup
Episode #12 - Top 5 next level shifting issues
Episode #13 - Fixing cassette play
Episode #14 - Gearing hacks
Episode #15 - Fixing sticky pistons
Episode #16 - Lubing fork seals
Episode #17 - A cleat's story
Episode #18 - Tricks of a mechanical mind
Episode #19 - Handlebar Trimming 101
Episode #20 - Chain Line 101
Episode #21 - Tools for a Trip


Stay tuned for more mechanical how-to videos with Calvin returning on the last Thursday of every month to show you the easiest way to get the job done. Want to know more? Park Tool's how-to section has you and your bike covered.

www.parktool.com / @ParkToolCompany

Posted In:
Videos Brakes



64 Comments

  • 38 2
 Two finger braking with Saints!? I'm amazed he didn't go OTB...
  • 34 52
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 26, 2018 at 6:20) (Below Threshold)
 I'm not, they have inconsistent bite point. If they get some air in, which they do often, you'll get little power on one occasion and then on another you just keep your finger on the lever, rolling into the rockgarden, shaking of the bars make the finger press the lever a bit and you DIE
  • 22 3
 @WAKIdesigns: Sounds like any hydraulic brake ever made on any machine it was made for.
  • 9 2
 @WAKIdesigns: shimano do have inconsistent bite point but I don’t think it’s due to air. I think it’s the master cylinder not letting expanding oil in until you release the leaver which then returns them back to normal. Why it does this I don’t know. It’s a shame as when working they’re the best brakes available. I’m now on hope v4 which are very good but for me lack power. But they’re very consistent and are so well made.
  • 5 0
 @mikelee: agreed. It’s not air it’s the design. After they are cycled a few times they work mint.
  • 9 14
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 26, 2018 at 10:10) (Below Threshold)
 @mikelee: I ment that typical inconsistent bite point coped with air in the system is a disaster. My XTs need frequent bleeding and I heard from other people they have the same issue. The brake is fine for one weekend and then you can bleed it again. For the record, I owned previous Saints and I didn't bleed them for a year.
  • 8 0
 You just have to pee on the rotors then bomb downhill with your breaks on.
  • 13 17
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 26, 2018 at 10:21) (Below Threshold)
 @fecalmaster: just don't eat asparagus before you do that...
  • 4 0
 Just top them up every 4-5 rides when the pads wear and the lever throw gets longer (see an old Pinkbike post called something like "5 minute bubble bleed" or a similar post by Epic Bleed Solutions). Swap the freestroke screw to a hex grub screw and do this with it backed out (yes, the screw does serve a purpose) then snug it back in carefully (stop when you first feel resistance or you'll snap something inside). I've used Zees since 2014 following this procedure, bleed them once per year just to flush out dirty oil and never have issues with the bite point.

Also I've found the Zees' lever has less throw and a firmer feel if the reach is further out, even though the reach isn't meant to affect the bite. I used to run them close to the grips because I found it comfier but got used to the reach in that position pretty quickly, was worth it.
  • 1 1
 @bholton: totally agree. The lever is solid,if there is air in the system the lever feels soft. This was never the case. They just pump up then once the lever is released they return to their original posistion. My xts were fine for about 6 months then the rear started be inconsistent. I did notice when I bled them the oil had black streaks in it. Maybe the seals in the master system go bad and this causes the problem. Shimano replaced them no questions asked so it’s defo a known issue. I’m the hopes now and very happy. Even if they’re a little less powerful.
  • 2 0
 @Lornholio: Pretty much the same for me. I generally put a good bit of time into initial set up, but once I get them set up i pretty much never have to touch them again. I've been running the same set of Saints on three different bikes now, over four seasons, I just moved them over along with their rotors, do a quick bleed, and they have been perfect on every bike. I've set up countless sets of Shimano brakes for myself and for friends and I can't recall ever having to mess with them once they are fully bedded.
  • 2 6
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 26, 2018 at 13:36) (Below Threshold)
 @TheRaven: I’ll try it then
  • 2 0
 @TheRaven: @TheRaven: Same here. I ran set of Saint brakes for 3 seasons of DH here in Colorado with multiple trips to Whistler added. No issues one they we set up right. I have Hope's now and it will be a while before I change to anything else.
  • 2 0
 @Lornholio: www.pinkbike.com/news/tech-spotlight-5-minute-bubble-bleed-2014.html

Had my brakes worked on by a Shimano tech and he did this exact thing. All you need is a "Shimano SM-DISC-BP Oil Funnel Tool with Stopper" + a small thing of oil. He explained that, as the brakes heat up from use, small bubbles start forming in the fluid. Over time, the bubbles find their way into the brake levers which start showing symptoms of inconsistent feel. Do the bubble bleed, and the problem goes away.
  • 2 0
 @TheRaven: I have a pretty similar experience with one exception. As the brake pads wear one of the calipers seems to stick a bit so the opposite one will accommodate to some degree. This ends up leading to some inconsistent feel in the bite point. So about once in a while I will pull the wheels of and cycle both of the calipers of the slave cylinder a little to help reduce the stickiness. I have not bleed mine in about 2 years but have dealt with the sticky caliper a few times.
  • 1 0
 Though I do a bubble bleed maybe once a season... forgot about that
  • 1 0
 @Thustlewhumber: I use a Reverb syringe without the plunger part instead of the Shimano funnel. Did the mini bleed last night in under 10 minutes and brakes felt excellent today.

@mtrogers-trailrun: Yeah I check the piston position when I change pads. Clean them up with isopropyl and if they're uneven pump them in and out individually to free them up. If that doesn't work a little Castrol red rubber grease on any sticky pistons.
  • 26 0
 What? ParkTool doesn't have a tool for that???
  • 24 0
 Pretty sure they have their own brand of water.
  • 9 15
flag macross87 (Apr 26, 2018 at 8:12) (Below Threshold)
 They sell a special cap with a 28.99 micrometer ejection port for maximum flow:volume ratio
  • 12 0
 i use my treadmill set on max and place my front wheel on and slowly bed in the brake takes about 2 min. For the rear I have to do it the old fashioned way. But the treadmill works like a champ.
  • 6 0
 Glad I learned how to work on hydraulic brakes before I found out how impossibly complicated they are. I'm watching the comments on this article and waiting for someone to recommend chanting, incense, and sacrificing a sheep or goat to the hydraulic gods...
  • 5 0
 I’ve been doing this since the times when avid juicy where a thing. Call it “tuning to subaudible”. Ride a paved downhill just lightly pulling the levers until noise starts and then release, no stopping and not knocking the wheels, until the rotors get all the surface imprinted with a subaudible path.
  • 8 0
 These dudes are the "This Old House" hosts but for bikes.
  • 5 0
 Can't get enough of these teck talk videos. always clear, precise and entertaining.

just like their Big Blue Book ( wich I call the Big Blue Bible )
  • 3 0
 I've found that riding in mud works wonders for clearing up any brake/drivetrain issues. Slurry for life!
  • 9 0
 If a part of your bike is squeaking or grinding, ride in mud until the whole bke is squeaking AND grinding, then that one part won't bother you anymore!
  • 3 0
 Was it just me that was hoping to see Calvin riding down to bed the brakes?
  • 5 1
 Can't find an employee at Park named Hobbes, eh?
  • 3 0
 How to bed in brake pads and rotor:
Go for a nice ride with some downhills.
Your welcome.
  • 3 0
 Did I just travel back in time?
  • 1 0
 I just set my bite point all the way out and ride down the street with the brakes pulled. Good as gold. Dont forget to reset your bite point though lol
  • 3 0
 The whales in the ocean...and bikes that need fixin!
  • 3 0
 I use the 49ers parking garage with elevator. #lazyway
  • 3 0
 From the Geco?
  • 3 1
 Bit of a slow burner this time.
  • 3 1
 Yeah I didn't feel very pumped
  • 9 16
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 26, 2018 at 5:03) (Below Threshold)
 I want you to bleed mr Bond. Bleed my Avids mohahaha!
  • 2 1
 Follow up question: Is there a procedure to follow when replacing pads but not the rotor?
  • 1 0
 I would like to know this as well.
  • 3 0
 I don't know about others, but I follow the same process when installing new pads as well, you want them to seat into the old rotor the best they can.
  • 2 1
 I like to pour water on the pads and run them together a little bit before installing them. It just takes the first factory surface off of them and speeds up the bedding process. Then bed them in normally.
  • 4 0
 its the rotor that needs bedding in properly not the pads. Just stick um in!
  • 1 0
 I'd say so but make sure you clean your rotor when you change your pads.
  • 2 0
 I saw a video where a world cup DH mechanic took the new pads and added some water and rubbed the two pads together for about 10 seconds or so.
  • 1 2
 Find a suitably steep (>7% grade) 500m-2km stretch of road, and engage brakes, just past engagement point. Pads will heat up and bed in nicely.
YMMV, but works for me.
  • 1 0
 Put in new pads. Get up some speed on the road in front of your house and then brake as hard as you can but don't come to a complete stop. Repeat this until you feel full power. Done.
  • 2 1
 @woofer2609: NO, your pads and rotors will glaze over if you keep the brakes engaged for more than a few seconds while they’re brand new.
  • 2 0
 Sexy time music and bedding with the park tools boys. Ooooweee.
  • 2 0
 its just me or is everyone using these XT rotors? (including me lol)
  • 1 0
 Wait, should I be using 2 fingers on the brake? I've been way off all these years.
  • 1 1
 They didn't put the bolts on in the correct pattern and also didn't talk about avoiding contamination of the braking surfaces.
  • 2 1
 Is he riding a Giant Liv?
  • 1 0
 I'll show you a wet stone.
  • 1 0
 This guy. Two finger braking his saints in to the bars. Are you even real?
  • 1 1
 Lmao there’s no way the public actually does this lol
  • 1 4
 Oh good God! What a cringe worthy video. Please find some nice conservative Europeans to do further technical presentations for you. I'm going to have mental issues after watching that........
  • 1 3
 :cringe: @ 1:28
  • 3 0
 ??? Pretty sure that's a torque wrench indicating correct "snugness", or did I miss something?
  • 1 0
 You have never used a torque wrench?
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