Bedding in brake pads – does it achieve anything?

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  • Bedding in brake pads – does it achieve anything?
  • soobalias
    Member

    yes it does.
    several sudden stops from speed on dry tarmac will see you right, shouldnt take more than 5mins

    I can start a ride descending a big hill, on the road, i accelerate and stop repeatedly all the way to the bottom, where i splash the hot rotors with a bit of water from the camelbak (just for the good hiss)

    i feel (through the lever) the pads working better after a couple of good stops.

    you might achieve the same just riding, but if that ‘just riding’ is through wet and gritty conditions you may not bed in the pads and wear out a set in short time.

    bigyinn
    Member

    Yes follow the above procedure and you’ll be fine.
    Firstly bedding in conforms the pads to the disc surface.
    Secondly it adds a little layer of pad material to the disc surface.
    Thirdly it heats up the pad compound and hardens it up as well. Thus ensuring a long and happy life without too much wear.

    Don’t bed them in and they’ll wear down quickly and lack power.

    Premier Icon dannybgoode
    Subscriber

    As per the thread title really. Does bedding in brake pads really do anything or would my time be better spent just getting on and riding?

    Uberbike Race Matrix pads if it makes any difference…

    Cheers

    Danny B

    bland
    Member

    People wonder why the peaks eats new pads when they put new ones in mid wet ride and they are gone by the end of the ride

    Mike hall baked his in the oven prior to winning the puffer, only changed them once in comparison to 6+ times for competitors!

    Premier Icon JAG
    Subscriber

    The bedding procedure does these things;

    Firstly bedding in conforms the pads to the disc surface.
    Secondly it adds a little layer of pad material to the disc surface.
    Thirdly it heats up the pad compound and hardens it up

    [technical lecture]
    What actually happens is that the friction level between the pad and disc increases slightly (about 5-20%) and the variability in friction between stops decreases. This makes the brake respond more predictably and makes it easier to modulate and control.
    [/technical lecture]

    You should do 20-50 stops at a moderate rate of deceleration and not over heat them.

    Good luck ๐Ÿ˜†

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    I bedded in a front set the other day by braking up and down the road, then humiliated myself by stopping hard and nearly going OTB in front of the neighbours because the power had increased so much in just five minutes…

    Premier Icon pembo6
    Subscriber

    I thought is was reasonably fit until i bed my new pads in last week. 20 stops at moderate speed and 10 stops at fast speed. Up and down a hill. I was absolutely stuffed by the end!!

    b45her
    Member

    never bothered bedding in pads in my life, and i manage to get a good 4-6 months of riding per set and i’ve never had to change a set of pads during week long alps trips either.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Likewise never bedded them in either and pads last months. Think about it braking moderately several times is what you’ll do on an average ride anyway. Yes they improve after a few times of doing this but no need to out of your way to do it.

    superfli
    Member

    I never bother doing anything different tbh. Just go out and ride. I suppose given the time before steep stuff i do drag and test brake a number of times. Never had to change my pads last year in Alps – pila, la thuile, tignes les arcs etc.
    Saying that i wouldnt go straight into dh on fresh pads if possible.

    globalti
    Member

    It’s a waste of time. The first decent hill will bed them in anyway.

    robinlaidlaw
    Member

    It’s a waste of time. The first decent hill will bed them in anyway.

    Unless it’s wet and gritty, in which case they won’t get hot enough to bed in properly and they’ll just get worn away really fast.

    forzafkawi
    Member

    I find it hard to believe that pads need some sort of heating process to harden up, especially baking in an oven. If that were the case then the manufacturers of the pads would do it as part of their process.

    No doubt some conspiracy theorist will now pop up and argue “Why should they? Wearing down quickly will help them sell more pads.” I’m pretty certain that pads which wear down quickly and don’t stop too well would very quickly get an adverse rep and affect sales.

    A slight increase in braking efficiency caused by bedding in to the disc I can believe but not some miraculous transformation of the pad material.

    atlaz
    Member

    I only ever bed pads in if it’s winter or wet/grimy riding. The rest of the time I just do it on a ride.

    IHN
    Member

    *Wistfully thinks back to the days of TJ’s pad-bedding-in evangelism*

    klumpy
    Member

    When perfectly mundane technology hits mountain bikes it (apparently) behaves completely different – especially brakes. In any petrol powered vehicle with new pads you just ride or drive with a little more care for a few miles.

    But when you put brake pads in a mountain bike?? Oh no no! That is completely different! They must be heat cycled, no, baked, no, they must be used gently or they’ll fall apart, or is it used hard or they’ll fall apart, or..?

    See also “you need a special tool to push brake pistons back in” and “brakes un-bleed when upside down (but don’t re-bleed when the right way up)”.

    atlaz
    Member

    See also “you need a special tool to push brake pistons back in” and “brakes un-bleed when upside down (but don’t re-bleed when the right way up)”.

    You had me until that bit. When did you last need to push the pistons in on your car (FWIW I use a screwdriver anyway) and when did you last store your car upside-down ๐Ÿ˜‰

    samuri
    Member

    Never understood it myself. I’ve certainly seen no evidence for my own pads that not bedding in stops them lasting a long time. 6 months is normal on my bikes, even in the wet.

    But if it makes you feel better, go for it. Don’t forget to wear your cycling specific socks, only ride geared bikes to protect your knees and ride about with no brakes on your fixies because fixy braking is better than normal braking while you’re at it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Dales_rider
    Member

    A waste of time if you dont clean your rotors first to remove the transfer layer created by old pads.
    You need a nice long hill, warm the brakes up by “dragging” then do a handful of fast nearly stops.
    Idea is to put an even layer on the rotor to match your pads, it will help stop judder and squeal.

    >Does bedding in brake pads really do anything or would my time be better spent just getting on and riding?<

    No and yes.

    Just an old (stw) wives tale. Tried it once after reading pages and pages of guff spouted by TJ and others and it made not a whit of difference.

    Can any of you pad bedder innerers point to documentary evidence from any of the brake or pad manufacturers? I’ve fitted many different manufacturers brakes and pads over the years and I have seen no such advice.

    Premier Icon GHill
    Subscriber

    I definitely notice an increase in power after the bedding in period (same in a car too). I’d rather have predictable brakes than a sudden increase in power on a tricky descent. Therefore, I spend 5 mins bedding new brakes in. ๐Ÿ™‚

    bigyinn
    Member

    When a car has new pads fitted they need to be bedded in just the same as bike ones.
    The thing is car pads will bed in during the normal cycle of driving a car. A lot more heat and pressure is generated so it happens without changing your driving behavior.
    With a bike, often the brakes don’t get as hot, hence the specific recommendations to do it before you introduce mud and grit into the equation. Yes the chances are you will bed them in riding normally, but if you start off wet and gritty they will wear quicker until they are bedded in.
    I dont get why people wouldn’t bed them in. Its not like they are a safety critical component, oh wait….!

    1) It wears the pad surface down to match the profile of the rotor, which is never completely flat even when new and definately not when old.
    2) It transfers a microscopic layer of pad material to the disk, which increaces friction.
    3) It hardens the surface of the pad so it doesn’t wear out in 5 minutes.

    I used to do it by riding down the road fom my house to the usual meeting point dragging the brakes alternately so they got really hot then cooled a few times. Haven’t got big hills round here so ride round the car park/road pedaling hard against a dragged brake to achieve the same effect.

    bigyinn
    Member

    Just an old (stw) wives tale. Tried it once after reading pages and pages of guff spouted by TJ and others and it made not a whit of difference.

    Avid brakes? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    grum
    Member

    I tend to do a few short sharp stops on tarmac if I remember. Seems to make a difference but hard to say how much.

    Can any of you pad bedder innerers point to documentary evidence from any of the brake or pad manufacturers? I’ve fitted many different manufacturers brakes and pads over the years and I have seen no such advice.

    Superstar do.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Drac – Moderator

    Likewise never bedded them in either and pads last months. Think about it braking moderately several times is what you’ll do on an average ride anyway.

    Nearly. But if that first ride is in bad conditions, it doesn’t always work out like that. And the first couple of stops are often weaker so it’s a good idea to get that out of the way in controlled circumstances.

    What made it really obvious to me was kevlar pads… With my old pads, they didn’t perform well till they’d done a few stops, so i always just ran once down my road to get them up to speed- better doing it quickly on tarmac, than getting to the first corner of a trail and discovering they’re still not 100%. So it was a non-issue.

    But then I got kevlar ones, which make good power as soon as you fit them, and thought “no need to break these in”. And they basically evaporated, one ride in the pentlands and I was down to backing material at the front and almost gone at the back. So I thought, bad pads, but I still had another 2 sets so I fitted those, bedded them in like I normally do even though I didn’t think they need it, and lo- they lasted months.

    Repeated this unscientific experiment at an enduro race last year- had to sling new pads into the back, didn’t bother to bed them in, they were gone at the end of the day. The front set were already well used, but lasted the day out no bother.

    HughStew
    Member

    Mike hall baked his in the oven prior to winning the puffer, only changed them once in comparison to 6+ times for competitors!

    Look at the speed he rides tho. He probably never uses the brakes.

    Mike hall baked his in the oven prior to winning the puffer, only changed them once in comparison to 6+ times for competitors!

    I’m very unconvinced by anything involving ovens and brake pads.

    1) ovens are generarly ful of oily crap
    2) Brake pad manufacturing involves temperatures your oven can only dream about by an order of magnitude.

    Frankers
    Member

    OK 2 sets of Shimano XT brakes on 2 new bikes…..

    1st set were bedded in to the letter of the law with around 15-20 stops each down a tarmac hill

    2nd set weren’t bedded in but rode from scratch but in the dry

    1st set squeal 2nd set don’t

    My theory is if fitted when dry don’t worry about it, if fitted when wet then a few brakes (5-10) down a hill before you hit the mud but that’s it.

    Also i now use sintered in the back and softer ones in front, all year round

    rocketman
    Member

    Used to do it meticulously then one day I forgot and haven’t bothered since

    Premier Icon dday
    Subscriber

    There is some truth in bedding in pads, however, given the new technology and materials used these days, is far less important. I suspect the difference in feel most experience during those initial stops is caused by the clearance of grease and other crap on the pad surface, and the pistons / pads getting nicely aligned.

    I don’t see shimano or avid proclaiming 20 to 50 stops before effective use on their documentation. I did maybe 3 or 4 strong pulls on my new XT pads, and they made it through winter, and still going strong.

    Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    thisisnotaspoon – Member

    I’m very unconvinced by anything involving ovens and brake pads.ovens work for rescuing contaminated pads.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Nearly. But if that first ride is in bad conditions, it doesn’t always work out like that.

    Really? I’ve ridden in the wet and guess what no issues.

    Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    Drac – Moderator
    Nearly. But if that first ride is in bad conditions, it doesn’t always work out like that.
    Really? I’ve ridden in the wet and guess what no issues.

    I mind I put new pads on up in horrid conditions up in torridon once, they lasted about 2 hours, mind you the old pads didn’t last very long either mind.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    theblackmount – Member

    Can any of you pad bedder innerers point to documentary evidence from any of the brake or pad manufacturers? I’ve fitted many different manufacturers brakes and pads over the years and I have seen no such advice.

    Formula:

    All new brakes, new brake pads and new discs have to bed in. This requires at least 50 applications of the brakes at a speed of 30 Km/h before the brakes reach the maximum performance. Make sure you are in a zone where there is no road traffic to bed the brakes in.

    Shimano:

    http://www.shimano.com/publish/content/global_cycle/en/us/index/tech_support/tech_tips.download.-Par50rparsys-0012-downloadFile.html/06%29%20Brake%20Burn%20In.pdf

    Avid:

    http://cdn.sram.com/cdn/farfuture/5WCqTGvbz_Y525ZI0Js_d11BKpVrOuH3ZBCYx9f0P0Q/mtime:1299187323/sites/default/files/techdocs/2010_avid_technical_manual_english_final.pdf

    Hope:

    To achieve the maximum braking performance, the new pads will need bedding in. Please note that sintered pads take longer to bed in than organic pads. To bed in the pads, ride a short distance whilst alternatively gently applying the brake on and off without attempting to stop. This procedure will achieve good braking performance but will reach its full potential after a few rides

    Premier Icon dday
    Subscriber

    Cant be a genuine note from Shimnano, the english is too good..

    soobalias
    Member

    of course using muc-off and an aerosol disc brake cleaner after each ride, plus a wipe over the frame with WD40, keeps everything nice too.

    bigyinn
    Member

    Never been a fan of cleaning agents on a bike except on the chain. Everything else is given a gentle hosing and a wipe down.
    Theres certainly no need to be using disc brake cleaner after every ride whatsoever.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    Bedding in to mould the pad surface to the rotor – I believe that, it’s just logic, especially when your rotors are as old and grooved as mine. Sintered take longer.

    Transfer of layer of pad material to the rotor – the links that come up on here previously are from motorsport websites, but on an mtb the moment the brakes get wet/muddy, this layer is going to be removed, so that isn’t relevant.

    Baking hot pads? They should be pretty damn hot when made, especially sintered. Maybe the cheaper ones aren’t made very well.

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