How Do I Bed My Brakes?

Brake bedding is a process almost nobody does and everybody should. Its a requirement on performance cars that are taken to the race track. Its the same procedure for any type of vehicle.

Preparation

Put your new, fresh pads in. Have a place with lots of traffic-free runoff available. Usually your local neighborhood streets are good. You want an area where you can ride for at least a half mile without touching the brakes, and which has so little traffic you can do the following:

The Process

Assuming this is an ebike

  1. Get the bike up to its maximum head of steam. 25 mph. 28 mph… whatever. Go fast.
  2. Apply ONE of your two brakes with firm pressure. Do NOT slam them on. Get the bike to decelerate firmly but whatever you do don’t lock up the wheel or stop the bike. NO MATTER WHAT. Pads sitting directly over a single spot on a rotor being bedded – or worse still clamped to that stationary rotor – will make the rotor cool unevenly and thats how you warp a rotor in seconds.
  3. When your speed has decreased to, say… 10 mph… accelerate again to your max.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 15-20 times. Yes this is a lot and that excess is deliberate. Take it out to the furthest reach of your test area.
  5. Return slowly and steadily to your point of origin. Do not touch either brake if at all possible. This is the critical cooling off phase, where you ensure you do not damage your brake rotor after abusing it in the previous steps. At this point your brake rotor should be blackened and smoking. Thats a good thing as it means pad material was transferred to the rotor surface, which it can bond to thanks to your overheating it like you did. Now you have to let that rotor cool. Above all do not stop. Do not touch the brake lever of the caliper that was just bedded, unless you must for safety. If you need to brake, use the other brake that you didn’t use on this current run. But try to pick a spot where you can just do this procedure and safely putter along back to your start.
  6. Repeat Steps 1-5 this time using your other brake caliper.
This rotor was just bedded. Note the discoloration. Immediately after the run it was oily black and smoking. The discoloration fades very quickly.

The Point

What you are trying to do is deposit a thin coating of pad material evenly across the surface of your brake rotor. This will aid in properly stopping the bike, and typically also lessens or eliminates brake squeal, if you have it. To get this material transfer the rotor must be HOT. Thats why we overdo the braking process – to generate that excessive heat.

On an ordinary neighborhood bike, bedding is not such a big deal. On an ebike that gets up to some serious speeds, and may even be an automobile replacement used on city streets, its a lot more important.

Author: m@Robertson

I'm responsible for the day-to-day operations at my place of business: Leland-West Insurance Brokers, Inc. We do classic and exotic car insurance all across these United States. I'm also an avid auto enthusiast, a born again cyclist (i.e. an ebiker) and participate in medium and long range CMP and NRA sanctioned rifle competitions.

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