Cycledrome Bicycle Shop Logo
Mon - Wed: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Thu, Fri: 10:00am - 7:00pm
Sat: 10:00am - 4:00pm
Sun: Closed

Feature Items

  • Specialized Riprock Coaster 12 - 2018

    Specialized's Riprock Coaster 12 packs big-time fun into a pint-sized package. This great bike features a lightweight aluminum frame and fork that will withstand the… [more]

  • Greenfield Stabilizer Rear-Mount Kickstand (Powdercoat Black) (285mm)

    Greenfield's Stabilizer Rear-Mount Kickstand attaches to the rear of the bicycle so it's perfect for bikes that won't accept regular kickstands. It's also durable, light… [more]

  • Strider Classic 12 Balance Bike - 2018
    Product Rating
    5.0 stars
     (15 Reviews)

    Strider’s Classic 12 is a lightweight, pedal-less balance bike that allows your child to straddle the bike with both feet on the ground and easily propel the bike by… [more]

  • Strider 14x Sport Balance Bike - 2018

    The Strider 14x Sport will give your child confidence and riding skills, opening up a world of adventure at a young age. As two bikes in one, it sets a new standard as… [more]

  • Hammer Nutrition Sustained Energy (30-serving)
    $34.95 - $56.95

    One of the original long-distance fuels, Sustained Energy has attained a legendary status in the world of endurance sports since its introduction in 1992. Tested and… [more]

  • Specialized Fatboy 20 - 2018

    Get your kids in on the fatbike fun with the Specialized Fatboy 20. It features a lightweight aluminum frame with gigantic 4.0-inch wide Ground Control tires to devour… [more]

  • Surly Steamroller - 2017
    Product Rating
    4.0 stars
     (1 Review)

    The Steamroller is the bicycle in its simplest form — the fixie. You may be thinking, “Fixies are so 2008” or “All the blogs I read say I should like something different… [more]

  • Park Tool Spoke Wrench
    $7.12 - $9.49

    Park's professional-quality, precision-sized spoke wrenches are hardened and chrome plated for long service. Wrenches are vinyl coated in one of four colors indicating… [more]

  • Specialized Langster Street - 2018
    Product Rating
    5.0 stars
     (2 Reviews)

    Specialized's Langster Street is the pinnacle of simplistic, performance-focused bike design. The A1 Premium aluminum frame with track-specific geometry has fully… [more]

  • Specialized Hotrock 20 - 2018

    Your little tike might love to ride, but given that they're still growing like a weed, the big-kid-trail-shredder bike can probably wait a few years. That's why… [more]

  • SRAM PC-870 8-Speed Chain

    SRAM's PC-870 Chain makes a trusty partner over hill and dale. It's easy to install, too, thanks to the no-tools-needed PowerLink. Quiet, smooth and reliable, the PC-870… [more]

  • Specialized Roll Elite Low Entry - 2018
    Product Rating
    5.0 stars
     (2 Reviews)

    Specialized's Roll Elite Low Entry does everything in its power to encourage, motivate, and inspire you to get out and keep fit in comfortable, efficient style. Take it… [more]

  • Specialized Hotrock 24 - 2018

    Your little one might love to ride, but that doesn't mean they'll be doing Trans-Provence this summer. That's why Specialized made their Hotrock 24 with plenty of gear… [more]

  • Specialized P2 Overendz Bar Ends
    Product Rating
    5.0 stars
     (2 Reviews)

    Specialized's P2 Overendz Bar Ends increase your hand positions and boost your leverage for climbing, too. They're made from nylon composite for minimal weight and… [more]

  • Specialized Riprock 12 Coaster - 2018

    Specialized's Riprock Coaster 12 packs big-time fun into a pint-sized package. This great bike features a lightweight aluminum frame and fork that will withstand the… [more]

  • Specialized Riprock Coaster 20 - 2018

    Specialized's Riprock Coaster 20 packs big-time fun into a pint-sized package. This great bike features a lightweight aluminum frame and fork that will withstand the… [more]

  • Park Tool Home Mechanic Pedal Wrench
    Product Rating
    4.0 stars
     (3 Reviews)

    Park's Home Mechanic Pedal Wrench is great for your home workshop and event tool box. This top-quality 15mm pedal wrench provides the leverage you need to remove… [more]

  • Topeak Shuttle Lever 1.1

    Topeak's Shuttle Levers will remove even the most stubborn downhill tires. These levers are extra long for leverage and are made of engineering-grade plastic that is… [more]


Trickling down from the motocross world, disc brakes have now become popular on off-road bicycles. Discs provide powerful and reliable braking in all types of weather and terrain so they're ideal for trail riding. Plus, unlike rim brakes, discs aren't compromised should you hit a hole or land hard and bend your wheel.

There are significant differences between discs and rim brakes, however. So here we provide an overview of how discs work, the different types, and basic maintenance instructions.

disc brake rotor

Disc brakes generate amazing stopping power even in the worst conditions because they utilize rotors (photo) attached to the wheel hubs, and calipers attached to the frame containing specially designed pads (also called "brake shoes").

Unlike the soft rubber pads used on rim brakes, discs use hard metallic- or ceramic-based pads that are less affected by water, mud and heat to achieve more consistent braking power. Additionally, some disc brakes use hydraulics (instead of cables); for even greater stopping power.


Mechanical Disc Brakes

Mechanical discs use the same cables and housing found on traditional cantilevers and V-brakes. Cables offer certain advantages over hydraulic systems, including simpler installation and adjustment, lighter weight, and less complicated maintenance (cables can be found at any bike shop and are less expensive than hydraulic lines).

The main drawback to mechanical brakes is cable stretch, which causes a spongy feel, reduces braking power, and forces more frequent adjustment. Cables and housing are also susceptible to rust, dirt, and debris buildup that can bind the braking system.

These problems are completely avoidable though. And the basic maintenance tips that we offer here will keep your mechanical discs strong and reliable.

Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Hydraulic Disc BrakeHydraulic discs feature a closed system of hoses and reservoirs containing special hydraulic fluid to operate the brakes. When the lever is activated, a plunger pushes the fluid through the hoses and into the caliper where the pads are pushed onto the rotor, stopping the bike.

The advantage of hydraulic systems is being sealed (or "closed") so that water, dirt or debris can't compromise the brakes, making them very maintenance free once they've been properly installed. Also, hydraulic brakes have a silky smooth feel at the lever and incredible gripping power at the business end.

For drawbacks, hydraulic brakes must withstand extremely high pressure, so expert set-up and frequent inspections are essential. The smallest air bubble or leak in hydraulic discs can cause a loss of power or complete failure. And, the process of removing air from the braking system, called "bleeding," varies between individual systems and can be a delicate process. So it's best to bring your bike in and have us help.

The Two Types of Calipers

Maintenance and Troubleshooting

NOTE: While disc brakes work wonderfully even in extreme conditions, it's still important to keep them in tip-top shape. Following are basic suggestions. Different types of discs may require specific maintenance not covered here. One basic tip isbe careful not to squeeze your brake lever when removing your wheels. The pads will contract and you won't be able to get the wheel back in.

Also, when replacing any parts or fluids, it's crucial to make sure everything is compatible. And, because brakes are so important for safety, we do not recommend working on them unless you’re confident in your ability to do the job right.

If you have any questions about disc brake adjustment please call or bring your bike in and we'll be happy to help.

Inspecting And Cleaning The Rotors
Dirty, warped, cracked or otherwise damaged rotors are a common cause of brake failure. Rotors are rarely perfect, but if you find excessive wobbling (more than 1mm), cracks or gouges in your rotors, replace them immediately.

A significant loss of braking power can also be caused by dirty or oily rotors or pads. Clean rotors and pads using only isopropyl alcohol. Other cleaners/degreasers can contaminate and damage the rotors or pads. If cleaning does not restore your braking power, replace the pads immediately.

Squealing or noisy brakes is another common problem. It can be caused by loose bolts so start by checking all the bolts on the rotors and those attaching the calipers to the bike. Dirty pads may cause noise, too, so keep them clean. Still squealing? Check the alignment of the calipers over the rotors (see "centering the calipers" below).

To check the rotors for dents or warping, spin the wheel and watch the rotors as they rotate past the pads. As long as the rotor does not rub, a slight lateral movement is acceptable. If the rotor rubs the pad in a spot, tap it lightly with a rubber or plastic hammer, or place a clean rag over the rotor and bend it slightly with an adjustable wrench. It doesn't take much, so don't overdo it! And remember: Never touch the braking surface of the rotor or pads with your bare hands because the oils on your fingers can decrease braking power.

Adjusting Lever Reach
Many new brake systems include adjustable-reach levers that allow customizing the distance from the handlebar grip to the brake lever. This usually involves turning a screw or bolt that connects the brake lever to the body.

If the reach distance to each lever is uneven or one lever pulls farther than the other, try to equal out the travel by dialing the lever limit screws in or out (call or check your owner's manual for specific instructions). If the lever still feels spongy or pulls all the way to the bar, there may be air in the hydraulics. Time to bring it in and have us bleed the system. Finally, inspect all of the hydraulic hoses and fittings for leaks. If you find a leak, bring your bike in to us immediately.

Checking Brake Pad Wear
Removal: With the wheels removed, use your fingers or needle-nose pliers to grab the removal tabs extending below the inner brake pad (photo). Depending on the brake system that you're using, pull one or both pads straight out and toward the center of the caliper body until they're completely removed. The pads may also have retaining springs or magnets holding them in place that may come out.

Inspection: If the remaining padding is thinner than the thickness of a nickel, you'll need new pads after a few more rides. If the pads are thinner than a dime, change them immediately. Insert the new pads into the caliper body the same way they were removed, making sure that the pads sit fully inside the caliper body. Warning: Do not touch or spill any fluids on the pads as skin oils or other fluids can cause a loss of braking power.

Centering The Calipers (Preventing Brake Drag)
The rotors need to be centered in the calipers to maximize braking power, eliminate drag and minimize noise.

Some brakes use shims or thin washers on the caliper mounting bolts. For these brakes, add or remove shims to center the caliper over the rotor.

Another popular mounting system uses a two-part bracket. To adjust the caliper position on these brakes, loosen the two centering bolts that attach the caliper to the mounting bracket, apply the brake lever and tighten the bolts. Hint: Try slipping business cards between the rotor and pads before applying the brakes to help center the calipers.

While applying the brake, it may also help to gently shake the caliper body so it comes to rest in a centered position, then tighten the mounting bolts. Finally, spin the wheel and check if the rotor is centered. Repeat the adjustments if necessary.
Pre-Ride Check List
  • Inspect the brake rotors for dirt, debris, or fluids. Clean with alcohol if necessary.
  • Spin both wheels and make sure the brake rotors are straight and not rubbing on the pads.
  • Squeeze both brake levers to check for proper lever travel and solid pad contact with rotors.
  • Inspect all hydraulic hoses and fittings for leaks once a week and before each ride.

Now Go Ride!


Cycledrome Bicycle Shop

Cycledrome Bicycle Shop | 8150 Hamilton Blvd, Breinigsville, PA 18031

Phone: (610) 398-6631

Open: , , , Closed Sunday  |  Site Map

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