Braking brilliance: A guide to checking and adjusting bike disc brakes


24 Jan 2024

Optimise bike safety with disc brake care

Brakes are one of the most indispensable and significant components of every bike. A brake failure may lead to fatal circumstances, which are absolutely unwanted. Bike insurance or two-wheeler insurance may meet the legal hazards, but that is evidently not enough under such circumstances. Friendly insurance like Kotak General Insurance may save a lot of hassles in this respect. However, first, you have to ensure optimal performance of the bike brakes to ensure safety.

What is a disc brake?

Disc brakes in a bike utilise a calliper which remains mounted to the front fork and the rear frame, while the discs remain mounted on the hubs of the wheels.

As you squeeze the levers of the brake, the bike brake pads present inside these callipers eventually squeeze the discs to reduce the speed and slow down the wheels.

Disc brakes are gaining rapid popularity and more contemporary bikes tend to feature them to make them more user-friendly. This is a common and standard feature for every mountain bike. Usually, there are two variants in this category: hydraulic disc brakes and mechanical disc brakes.

Tips to take care of the disc brakes

Below are some of the tips to take care of the disc brakes of your bike:

Always top-up the brake fluid reservoir:

The front disc reservoir for the brake fluid generally remains mounted on the handlebar, while that of the rear one is placed either behind the left or the right of the heel plate, the foot peg attached to it. You can check the fluid level of the reservoir using the sight glass. Ensure that it remains full and topped up throughout. If the level falls below, carefully remove the lid for filling.

Bleed the brakes:

Brake bleeding aids in freeing the air that gets trapped inside the hydraulic brake system. A trapped air bubble is enough to make the brakes go limp. Open the bladder screw on the calliper and press the brake lever, to let out the air along with some amount of brake fluid. Replace the lid immediately and top up the master cylinder.

Monitor the brake pads:

The bike brake pads sustain the maximum amount of abuse for being exposed to tremendous amounts of friction and heat. Regular monitoring is essential to keep it in shape. You can easily have a look through the hole in the dust shield. Replace the pads immediately if the need arises, otherwise you may need to replace the entire brake.

Clean the disc rotors:

Disc rotors may accumulate grime and dust due to usage. It may slow down the braking process. You can use a water jet and special brake cleaners to ensure thorough clean-up.

Rub the brake pads:

You can use new sandpaper to rub the brake pads and clean them to improve their efficiency and performance.

Calliper alignment:

At times the brake pads get rubbed against the rotors even with an unengaged brake lever due to faulty calliper alignment. Ensure proper calliper alignment for improved longevity and performance. The disc brake callipers are either floating or fixed. Inspect them regularly and undergo the necessary repairs and replacements.

Bed-in brakes:

To ensure optimal performance, the disc pads require bedding. Detect an empty and somewhat long stretch, gather speed and force squeeze the brake lever to lower the bike speed near stop. Gain speed and repeat the process twice or thrice for proper bedding.


These few tips and tactics will ensure a smooth ride and optimal performance of the disc brakes and the overall function of your beloved two-wheeler.

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Team Kotak GIC

The content of this blog has been created and carefully reviewed by the esteemed team at Kotak General Insurance, with the sole purpose of providing valuable guidance and sharing insights on the importance of general insurance. Our objective is to assist users in making informed decisions when purchasing or renewing insurance policies for their cars, bikes, and health. Our expertly curated information aims to empower our readers with the knowledge they need to protect their valuable assets and financial interests.