How to Bed in Mountain Bike Brakes

Knowing how to bed in the brakes of your mountain bike is an essential skill to know and to master if you are a mountain biker.

This saves you the hassle of going for a trip to the local bike shop or wasting away hours stranded on the trails because you don’t know how to fix it. Nonetheless, there’s a way to do this, and that is by knowing the correct methodology of doing so.

Good thing you’ve found this article because here, we’ll show you how the right way on bedding in mountain bike brakes.

Step-by-step Guide on Bedding Mountain Bike Brakes

Step 1

The first thing you should do is to clear your brake rotors thoroughly. This is one of the most common mistakes of mountain bikers. What usually happens is that they immediately install new brake pads into the braking system even if the brake rotors are still stained with oil as well as dirt and grime.

Then use the cleaner of the disc brake along with another clean cloth that will be used as a rag to get rid of any residue that might be left on the rotors. You need to do this before you bed in new pads.

Make sure that you wear a thick set of working gloves for this one so that you won’t contaminate the rotors if ever your hands have oil or some kind of grease. This also protects your hands from being stained. We also recommend that you do this outside for better lighting conditions.

Step 2

The next thing you can do is to check the new pads that you have just bought. Make sure that it is free from impurities or defects.

Also, make sure that the pads you are using are all clean and don’t have even the slightest damages. Because even if there is just a small abnormality in it, there’s a good chance that the disc brakes won’t smoothly bed in with it.

Furthermore, you might also be using brake pads that have already been used. If so, know that they have been through multiple braking cycles, which means that their performance will surely be less compared to if you were to get a brand new set of brake pads.

Step 3

The next thing you do is to find a safe place where you will carry out the process of bedding in.

Now that your brand new brake pads have been fitted in, it’s now time to find a long paved road that slightly descends. It should have minimal to no traffic and must have a smooth surface so that the bedding process will be easier.

Choose a pathway that can make you go to around 20 to 30 mph without any obstacles. You should prioritize safety here because doing hard stops is still hard based on your brake’s current situation.

Step 4

Now, it is time for you to modulate your braking by doing a drag and stop movement. Each of us, mountain bikers, has our own way of letting new brake pads bite depending on the level of intensity we do, as well as the surface we are riding on.

To do this, make sure that you build up enough speed, and then slowly pull the brakes by dragging it gently for around five to six seconds.

Don’t overdo it. Instead, just let it build up enough heat. Then slowly increase the pressure you put on the levers until the bike is put to a stop. You can extend that time frame by holding it for around six to seven seconds more.

Step 6

The next main goal you should reach is to have early stops. It might seem like a weak braking performance.

But this thing with the new pads and disk brakes gradually improves through time, making it more capable of attracting too much heat for mountain bikes on most brakes. In fact, the amount of time to stop will extend for every cycle buildup.

The new pads heat up which then causes some of its brake pad material to the brake rotors. This keeps the brake pad and rotors in sync with each other while giving your braking system the bite it needs to improve modulation with the help of its transferred pad material via the new disc brake pads.

Step 7

Now it’s time to adjust the brake lever. It is important that you tweak the brake levers to your own personal preferences so you can easily adapt to the feel of the brake pads that have been newly bedded.

There are, however, some disc brakes and disc brake pads that adjust automatically, especially the top high-end brands from Shimano, SRAM, and Magura. But there are also some high-caliber new disc brake pads brands with rotor surface that have their own bite point adjuster that can be adjusted manually.


Now that you finished all of the steps, it’s now time for you to take it out on the trails and get a good feel of your newly bedded mountain bike brakes.

Just remember the steps and do your best to make due diligence to ensure safety. When you do, then you’ll have an even better time riding your bike and mountain biking anywhere.

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