DIY: How to replace your MTB disc brake pads

MTB Disc Brake Pads

1. Remove the wheel
Clamp your bike in a workstand. Remove the wheel you want to change the pads on. Inspect the area around the brake to check for any leaks, and give it a good clean while you’re there.

2. Remove the disc
With the disc out, use a clean, flat-head screwdriver wedged between the worn pads to push the pistons back into their bores in the calliper. They should retract right back to being flush with the calliper wall.

3. Remove the pads
Use an Allen key to remove any pin that’s keeping the pads in place. Pull the pads from the calliper – most brakes are top loading, so pull up. It can be fiddly, but will be simple. Check the pistons are retracted.

4. Fit new pads
With clean hands and avoiding touching the pad surface, dig the new pads from the pack. Arrange the spring between the pads if your brake uses one (a new one will be supplied), sandwich it all and push them in until they seat.

5. Replace retaining pin
Make sure the pads are orientated correctly. Finish the pad fitting by replacing the retaining pin using an Allen key, and refit the wheel. Remove the bike from the stand and give the brake a squeeze.

6. Test ride
The brake should feel positive, although it may take a couple of lever pumps to push the pads into place. With the brake feeling positive, it’s time to go for a ride to bed in the pads.

7. Bed in the brake pads
The best way to bed in new pads is with short, sharp stops, rather than dragging the brake. Avoid doing skids too. It may take a good few stops to get the bite feeling sharp and as it should.

8. Repeat for other brake
With the pads bedded in and the brake feeling strong, repeat the process on the other brake. If you have any problems or suspect something is wrong, get down to your local bike shop for some advice.