How To: 7 Tips for Aligning Your Disc Brake Calipers

How To: 7 Tips for Aligning Your Disc Brake Calipers
Whether you are assembling your new motorcycle for the first meter, installing a new fructify of brakes, or doing a brake service, it ‘s important to align your disc brake calipers over the rotors so that the friction surfaces on the rotor and brake pad are parallel to each other. In this batch bike How To, we are going through a few flying tricks for aligning your brake calipers. No one wants to be riding their bicycle and constantly be listening to your brake rotors rubbing as your wheels are turning. not only is that noisy, but if your rotors are rubbing, your wheels wo n’t be spinning as freely, you might not be getting 100 % of the available world power from your brakes, and the bracken pry feel might be a act spongey. here are some tips and tricks to make by rights aligning your brake calipers a little piece easier .
How To: Aligning Your Disc Brake Calipers - Worldwide Cyclery
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first you want to make surely your rotor is n’t flex. All rotors can be slenderly deflect, even sometimes straight out of the box. If you have crashed and bent your rotor so bad that the wheel wo n’t even spin through the caliper, your best stake is to start by getting a new rotor.

When it comes time to servicing your brakes, nine times out of ten-spot, you will have to recenter the brake caliper on the rotor so that the wheel and rotor are spinning freely. When it ‘s clock time to replace brake pads, it ‘s besides a big time to do a dispatch brake bleed, giving you the find to depress the pistons inside the caliper arsenic much as potential. As your brake pads wear over time, the pistons in the caliper naturally advance to keep the friction surface of the pads the like distance from either side of the rotor. If you were to do nothing but change the brake pads, the modern “ thick ” pads would be constantly rubbing on the rotor making it following to impossible for the rotor to spin freely inside the caliper. Depressing the pistons will give you the most space possible inside the caliper, making it easier to align the caliper centered over the rotor .

For more info on bleeding brakes, check out a few of our other How To’s on bleeding Shimano Brakes and bleeding Sram brakes.

What Tools Do We Need? 

To properly align your brake calipers, you in truth do n’t need many tools. There are surely some tools out there that can make this procedure a little sting quick and easier but with a set of hex keys, anything is possible ! We are going to use a copulate of different techniques with a set of hex keys, a Park Tool DT-2 disk truing tool, and a Hayes caliper conjunction creature. Most normally brake caliper bolts use a 4mm or 5mm hex key head and so even a standard multi instrument could get the subcontract done .
How To: Align Your Disc Brake Caliper - Worldwide Cyclery

1. Put Your Bike in the Stand

The best way to work on your bicycle is always in a bicycle stand. When it comes to working on your brakes, having the bicycle in a stand will allow you to spin the wheels freely. A batch of aligning your bracken calipers comes down to having a good line of sight down through the caliper. Having your motorcycle in the stand does just that. If you do n’t have a stand, flipping your motorcycle top down will besides work .
How To: Align Your Disc Brake Caliper - Worldwide Cyclery

2. Use a Light Colored Backdrop – I’ll Explain!

Being able to have a clearly line of sight down through the brake caliper will make it much easier to diagnose precisely which depart of the rotor is contacting with the brake pads. When you have your motorcycle in the stand, set the acme of the rack so you can look down at the rear brake caliper. I am working on a concrete floor that has fair recently been cleaned and so the color of the concrete is relatively bright. That light colored backdrop gives you contrast between the brake caliper and your backdrop, making it easier to see the gap between the brake pads and the rotor. Trying to align your brake calipers either in the dark or with a very dark backdrop like asphalt for model is a piece more unmanageable. If you are stuck with a dark floor or a dark backdrop, you can place something a elementary as a egg white newspaper towel behind your wrinkle of sight. This is a simple trick that can help keep you from running in circles trying to align those calipers. In the two photos below, you can see the remainder between the igniter colored backdrop and what happens when you put something dark behind your line of spy .
How To: Align Your Disc Brake Caliper - Worldwide Cyclery
How To: Align Your Disc Brake Caliper - Worldwide Cyclery

3. Backing Out the Brake Caliper Bolts 1 Turn

now that you have everything set up and ready to go, it ‘s time to mount your brake calipers and get them aligned correctly. first I like to run the brake caliper hardware all the way bottomed out and then backed out 1 wax plow. This will make it easier to tighten the caliper bolts once you do have the caliper in the right spot. besides make sure you are using caliper bolts with a washer on the abscond headway. Without that washer, when you tighten down the caliper, the caliper will tend to walk towards the direction the bang is turning .
How To: Align Your Disc Brake Caliper - Worldwide Cyclery

4. Squeeze the Brake Lever to Center the Caliper 

With the brake caliper bolts loosened just slenderly, you should be able to move the caliper around by hand to make certain it is n’t getting hung up on anything. now you can go ahead and squeeze the bracken lever and continue to hold that lever as you tighten down the caliper bolt. There is no need to tighten those caliper bolts besides much at this item. following spin the wheel in the stand to see if the rotor is rubbing at all with the brake pads. Depending on how well each of the pistons are moving, this may be just the first try at aligning the calipers. Most of the time the caliper will require a spot more delicacy after this step, but using this method to center the caliper is a effective start place .
How To: Align Your Disc Brake Caliper - Worldwide Cyclery

5. Using a Caliper Alignment Tool

Using a dedicated caliper alliance tool is defenitely optional, and even though I have one of these tools in my toolbox, 9 times out of 10 I prefer to align the caliper by hired hand. When the time comes, using the Hayes conjunction tool can be identical helpful. If you completed the step above without any luck and the rotor was rubbing very bad with the brake pads, do n’t be afraid to loosen the caliper bolts and try again. here we are going to place the alignment tool in between each side of the rotor and the caliper. What this cock does is it leaves a certain come quad on each side of the rotor. Tighten the caliper bolts down evenly with the alliance cock installed. then remove the creature and see if the rotor is rubbing .
How To: Aligning Disc Brake Caliper - Worldwide Cyclery
How To: Aligning Disc Brake Caliper - Worldwide Cyclery

6. Center the Caliper by Hand

When it comes down to it, sometimes the best method acting is just aligning the brake caliper by hand. Make sure you have a commodity occupation of sight through the caliper and try to center the caliper so that the rotor is n’t rubbing on the pads. When it ‘s time to tighten each of the caliper bolts, tighten each caliper bolt a little bit at a clock. Torquing one caliper bolt all the way down while the early is inactive informal can cause the caliper to mover over to one english. This is classify of a wash and repeat method acting. When you get close, you can besides work with just one caliper bolt at a time. That way you are n’t starting from scratch each time the pads and rotors are rubbing.

7. Bending the Rotor Straight

Some times the rotor can be slightly bent and centering the caliper is future to impossible without straightening the rotor first. This is where the Park Tool DT-2 rotor truing tool comes in to play. The DT-2 features two different slits for two different ways to straighten the rotor. When you are spinning the rotor through the wheel, listen for where the rotor is contacting the brake pads. then spin the wheel thus that the deflect part of the rotor is away from the caliper. Using the DT-2 tool up near to the caliper can put a kink in the rotor if you are n’t careful. Straightening the rotor is a last ditch effort to centering the caliper. Most of the meter it ‘s not necessary but when it is, this specifically designed instrument from Park Tool comes in handy .
How To: Align Your Disc Brake Caliper - Worldwide Cyclery

Hopefully, these tips and tricks make life a little bit easier when it comes time to working on your disc brakes. Feel free to give us a call at the shop if you have any other questions!

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Category : Car Brakes