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Posted by Gregory Maassen on November 7, 2022 - Latest revision November 7, 2022  Reading time: minutes remaining

Why Breaking in Brake Pads Is a Good Thing, and So Few Bike Shops Do It

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Few e-bikers have heard of curing, bedding in, or breaking in new brake pads, and not all bike shops want to talk about it. The reason is simple: It takes time to bed or cure brake pads, and time is money. 

Hydraulic breaks of an e-bike ebike lovers

How it Works!

To bed in pads, simply e-bike to a speed of 18.5 mph (30 km/h) in a safe area without traffic and come to a complete stop. Don't skid the tires; repeat this process at least 30 times in 15 minutes.

Few bike shops can afford staff to bike for 10-15 minutes to perform a correct bedding procedure. Uncured brake pads are also not as durable as correctly bedded brakes, possibly generating more sales for bike shops as the pads need to be replaced more frequently.

A Simple Procedure Improves Durability and Breaking Power

Minor imperfections on the rotor and the pads affect the performance of brakes resulting in squeaking noises and reduced stopping power. Correctly bedded pads significantly improve the brakes' performance as they last substantially longer and brake better.

According to Magura, a leading high-quality Italian brake manufacturer, bedding brake pads is a straightforward but essential process. When brakes are bedded, the imperfections are removed, the rotor and pads are fine-tuned, and an optimal friction surface is created between the pads and rotors.

It also removes any residue from the manufacturing process from the brake pads. New brake pads and rotors only reach their full potential during the break-in period.

Tips: 

Ask the bike shop if they have bedded new brakes so you know if you need to do it yourself!

  • Wear nitro safety gloves when handling the pads and rotor;
  • Keep the brakes clean. Rinse them with a water hose occasionally to remove dirt, or use a brake pad cleaner;
  • Do not lubricate the pads and rotor with oil, even if they make a squeaky noise, as the oil reduces the friction of the brakes significantly;
  • Cover the brakes with a cloth when you lubricate the chain to avoid oil spilling over onto the brakes;
  • Slightly rub the surface of glazed brake pads and the rotor with clean sandpaper if the surface is smooth, and repeat the bedding process;
  • Add water to the brakes when you bed the pads;
  • Repeat the bedding process if the brakes squeak;
  • Don't use detergent to clean the rotor and pad;
  • Use lint-free shop towels to avoid additional contaminants.
  • Don't use WD-40 to lubricate the pads;
  • Don't touch the rotor and surface of pads with your finger or greasy gloves (with sunscreen, for example);
  • Use isopropyl alcohol or a disk rotor cleaner to clean the rotor regularly with a cloth free of oil;
  • Clean the rotor after transporting the bike for long distances on a car rack. Road contaminants and the car's exhaust may contain oil that gets deposited on the rotor;
  • Clean the rotors before installing new pads;
  • Clean the rotors after washing the e-bike;
  • Check for oil leaks;
  • Don't blowtorch the pads and the rotor to burn residue. It may affect the composition of the pads, burn down the house, and add more contaminants;
  • Replace the pads regularly according to the manufacturers' recommendations. Safety is your top priority.
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