Video: Tech Tuesday - Brake Alignment & Maximizing Performance

Nov 27, 2023 at 22:00
by Pinkbike Originals  

A simple guide to checking your brake alignment.


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Member since Feb 15, 2012
1,077 articles

68 Comments
  • 35 0
 When tightening the caliper bolts, alternate back and forth between the bolts tightening each only a little at a time. This will pretty much eliminate the caliper shifting location when tightening the bolts.
  • 18 0
 great camera work - you can clearly see what he´s doing, almost on par with HOPE tech videos.
  • 5 1
 Really? Looking at the comments I doubt many people understood what the vid was really about. You could not see well thet the screwdriver was really behind the pad. I had to watch it twice to understand what is going on.
  • 4 1
 @lkubica: Got there in the end then dude.
  • 17 1
 Gotta say, the crosshair feature on the Dominions makes this really easy. Make sure the pistons retract evenly, center everything with the grub screws, good to go.
  • 3 0
 I can second that. Having only recently started using the Domain A4’s I really rate the little details like that which make alignment so much easier.
  • 5 4
 Cool story, but this video was about aligning the pistons, not the caliper ... If you have uneven piston action aligning calper will sonney or later make your caliper on the edge of adjustment range.
  • 1 6
flag Taylor084 (Nov 29, 2023 at 5:25) (Below Threshold)
 @lkubica: nice one. Lucky you were on here to point that out. Boring.
  • 15 0
 Ima just going to put this right here. Best tactic for a Shimano bleed by Marshy:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=piWBVDh1pTE
  • 1 0
 I've done this on my hope tech 3 v4s and it worked just as well.
  • 1 0
 @TET1: you didn’t have any issues with getting DOT fluid all over the caliper?
  • 1 0
 Love this video so much!
  • 3 0
 @brightfff: DOT fluid does get all over the caliper but, if you use a rag like Marshy does, it doesn't drip all over the floor. You clean the caliper off really well with isopropyl alcohol and a clean rag. I prefer this bleed method over any method hope recommends.
  • 1 1
 No offence, but marshys brake bleeding technique is insane. It's just one of many really bad ways to bleed a brake that has got stuck in mtb lore over the years.
  • 1 0
 @gabiusmaximus: I disagree. It has worked for me better and more consistently than any other method I have tried. Do what works for you.
  • 2 1
 @TET1: Sure do it if it works for you, but there are more effective, more efficient, less messy and less downright mental methods out there.
  • 11 0
 Second ad in the middle of a vid under 5 minutes? Mucho sad.
  • 2 0
 if I spring for Outside+.... does that go away???
  • 1 1
 @SATN-XC: you still get a 1/2 second black screen in the middle of the video, but otherwise no ad
  • 2 0
 @yeoldehardtail: I'm have outside+ and still get the ad...
  • 5 0
 Simply use an ad blocker and you won't get any
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC:
LOL!
I love this guy..
One would imagine!
What a leap that was.. Perfect.
  • 6 0
 Is facing your brake mounts worth it? I seem to have to true my calipers rather frequently. They look true and centered in the caliper while the bike is on the stand, but after a ride, they get slightly warped or misaligned after a ride.
  • 2 1
 amen! i'm really sensitive to noises on my bike and when it's summer and i ride at least 3times a week i also re-align my rear brake almost weekly. front brake no problem.
  • 4 0
 Yes.
  • 1 0
 yes, if the mounting points have paint or anything like visible, they should be faced. if it's a raw frame or it's bare metal it's unlikely facing will make a big difference. same with BB and headtube facing really. some companies face before shipping, others don't.
  • 1 0
 yes, every build, face fork and rear mounts
  • 2 0
 Facing makes alignment of the caliper much easier. I face all my mounts and adapters.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: wha tool do you use to face them?
  • 1 0
 Depends on your set up. If its IS to post and you're using an adapter, facing will likely make little difference.
  • 1 0
 @jalopyj: Probably some kind of brake mount facing tool? E.g., Park Tool DT-5.2. Like any facing tool, not cheap!
  • 9 0
 It would be nice to see what you are actually doing in the caliper. That screwdriver could be anywhere
  • 7 0
 Just jab it around in there until you feel the head of the piston screws. From there, a quarter turn should do it, but remember the rear piston screws are reverse-threaded.
  • 6 0
 Anybody make a caliper block with a cutout to extend each piston individually then lube them? Think I will try doing this and lube them with DOT fluid. Worked well on my TRP and Shimano brakes, but haven't tried for Codes.
  • 9 0
 Hayes includes theirs in the box...
  • 24 0
 Lubricating mineral oil brakes with DOT fluids isn’t recommended
  • 1 0
 i got a code one off ebay for £4.99 Smile
  • 4 0
 R3PRO makes a Piston Release Tool for SRAM Brakes, not sure how well it works but it might be what you’re looking for? I’ve centered 2 old Roters in the Caliper and pushed the pistons all the way out, cleaned, lubed, and reset.
It worked all the time, 50% of the time!
  • 1 0
 @Ccollins: I've used the hope one, it works very well. Don't know how the SRAM one works but I assume it's just as effective.
  • 3 0
 @FatSanch: Yeah my comment was confusing. I lubed the TRPs and Shimanos with mineral oil and will try lubing the codes with DOT. I always give the caliper a good clean after too so the oil doesn't contaminate the pads.
  • 10 1
 You don’t even this. Just put 4mm Allen key in the rotor slot. That will allow the pistons to extend and not fall out
  • 3 0
 You can cut off a piece of bleed block to allow just the one piston to move. Shimano even has an instructional video for doing this.
  • 3 0
 FWIW depending on which Sram tech support rep you get on the phone (I've talked to many) some will specifically recommend against lubing the pistons (just clean them!) because the quad seal relies on friction to retract the pistons when you release the lever.
  • 1 0
 @Jshemuel: I second this. I went from cleaning and lubing in the past, to only cleaning (on various brands of brakes) and have been extremely pleased with the results. Better piston retraction, less gunk accumulation (which in turn means less cleaning the next time), and fewer caliper adjustments b/c the pistons move better.
  • 1 0
 Hex L shape key of appropriate side and rubber strap solve this.
  • 1 0
 I do it, but it looks lke the method from this vid is much faster ...Have to try this.
  • 2 0
 @chrismac70: Exactly, I thought everyone knew this as it's years old.
  • 1 0
 I use coins to build a stack for eash piston
  • 8 0
 I have a set of Trickstuff Maximas. I'll show this video to my butler, Alfred.
  • 4 0
 I don't get it. A couple years ago he made the perfect caliper basic maintenance and alignment video.

youtu.be/ys9bUOJ0qg0?si=q0iRQ2wW40nJK5xW

It included extending and lubing the pistons. Now they make a new one that only address the very last step of that old video??? Doing this without first cleaning and lubing the pistons is silly as many times the unevenness of the piston action is due to low lube and/or gunk. So very simple: take out pads. Use 4mm allen key in slot and extend pistons to squish it. It will prevent them from popping out. Use a Q-Tip in either DOT or Mineral to clean and lube them. Remove Allen, use plastic tire lever to push each piston back in. Maybe repeat the process once or twice. Then put pads back in. Center caliper over rotor. Slowly and carefully pump the lever to get the pads to touch. Use flathead to help this process be even, holding back the faster pad if there is one. Done. But just prying pads to center without a clean and lube...silly.
  • 3 0
 If rotor is bent, true it by bending the tines rather than the braking surface (outer edge) Also, a white piece of paper held below caliper to reflect light opens up a whole different world of alignment/contact while centering caliper, which should mostly self align once your pistons are both moving correctly.
  • 2 0
 Yeah, depending on the angles involved, I'll either put a white rag on the floor in my line of sight, or (in the daytime) put a bright window in my line of sight.
  • 1 0
 I used an old SRAM tapered spacer to push my pistons back on my new Code caliper.
It cocked the pistons in the bore, caused bad, rotor contact, and essentially made a chronic pad rotor contact issue.
I’ve got a throw out the set and complete, start over.
  • 2 0
 I just upgraded my phone, and the number one reason was for the ability to take great macro video. When it comes to brakes and derailleurs, an electron microscope would be best.
  • 3 1
 Garage 31 on youtube has an excellent video showing this procedure with closeups so you can see what's going on. He also has an excellent trick to clean and lube the pistons.
  • 1 0
 Make sure the rotors aren't bent / warped.

It's rare, but in some cases the mountings where the calliper contacts the fork / frame may need to be checked and refaced or cleaned of excess paint causing the calliper to sit skew.
  • 3 0
 I´m using some Birzman spacers for this job and have to say it´s simple, easy and really quick
  • 3 0
 Appreciate the tips about over-active and under-active pistons!
  • 2 0
 Was expecting much more when I started- That was actually disappointing!
  • 2 0
 Check out his 4 year old video, way better and what I do every month or two.

youtu.be/ys9bUOJ0qg0?si=q0iRQ2wW40nJK5xW
  • 1 0
 So these videos at ok to be watch to give us tips we can’t see but careful if you watch a YouTuber sharing with the world.
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