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  1. #1
    Huckin' trails
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    How often do you clean your disc brakes ?

    First to set the scene, I ride in Quebec and we have mostly wet and muddy conditions this time of the year.

    Lately, after about every ride I find myself to have to clean my pads and rotors because there's always crap going in and it won't get any better if I leave it this way.

    Not too much of a hassle, but I though disc brakes were supposed to be less affected by debris and mud splash. I don't want to simply ride it off since my pads won't survive, but is I am missing something ? 203mm rotors on a 6" bike and minimal gap between pads and rotors. Plus today's ride wasn't that big because of the wet condition of the trails, but I find it a bit harsh for such a small ride.

    Thanks !
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  2. #2
    Crazed Country Rebel
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    Quote Originally Posted by David C View Post
    First to set the scene, I ride in Quebec and we have mostly wet and muddy conditions this time of the year.

    Lately, after about every ride I find myself to have to clean my pads and rotors because there's always crap going in and it won't get any better if I leave it this way.

    Not too much of a hassle, but I though disc brakes were supposed to be less affected by debris and mud splash. I don't want to simply ride it off since my pads won't survive, but is I am missing something ? 203mm rotors on a 6" bike and minimal gap between pads and rotors. Plus today's ride wasn't that big because of the wet condition of the trails, but I find it a bit harsh for such a small ride.

    Thanks !
    just clean around the calipers. You shouldnt need to clean the rotors and pads. if you must, just use plain water - no soaps.
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  3. #3
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    Never. They clean themselves.
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  4. #4
    Just Ride
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    Cleaned mine last night. Of course they were completely covered in mud! Good times, good times.
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  5. #5
    Huckin' trails
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal View Post
    Never. They clean themselves.
    ... That's what I though. But they just seems to get worst with time. Not in minutes, but in weeks. I had gouges in my front pads from hard debris. They start making a "dry" noise, like sandpaper. Guess it's normal since I was able to see dirt between the rotor and pads. Mud and sand.

    Luckily a front 20mm TA and rear solid axle turn cleaning into a quick job.

    Note I am using mechs, so only one moving pad. This might not be the ideal situation since the inboard pad is really close to the rotor, and might grab the dirt easier. In fact in both F&R it was the inboard pad that was the dirtiest.
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  6. #6
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    Oh right, I use hydraulics with sintered pads. I can see mechanical having issues when dirty, especially the cable end.
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  7. #7
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    I just rinse them off with a garden hose after particularly muddy rides. It's very rare that my bike will get that dirty though, I honestly can't remember the last time I had to take a garden hose to my disc brakes. Other than that I never clean my brakes.

  8. #8
    Huckin' trails
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    Never take water to my calipers. I'll do it on the rotors sometimes, but I don't want to force anything into the caliper's mechanism.
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  9. #9
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    i blast mine with brake cleaner every few months. i wipe down the rotors with the same stuff and a paper towel too. keeps avids quite.

  10. #10
    Huckin' trails
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    What I usually do is fairly basic. I suspend the bike, take one wheel off, take out the pads and clean them with isopropyl alcohol. Do the same for the rotor. Put back pads and then the wheel and check for warp into the rotor and true if needed. Then I'm good to go. The brakes usually re bed-in in a matter of minutes the next ride. My front BB7 with stock pads and Hayes V8 rotor is very quiet. The only time I'll hear it is when very wet or when it makes a sandpaper noise, which means it's time to get it cleaned again. Might be a bit annoying to do, but if I can have a quiet ride and a long lasting brake set it's worth it. Now my rear Hayes MX2 is another story. That guy is crying out loud as soon as it gets wet and when it starts, it just go worse and worse till it clean it with alcohol. Then it will stay ok for a while. Problem is really the pads alignments, since I would need to get the caliper inclined to the right to get proper pad contact, the rotor will twist and create that horrible loud vibration. I need either new pads to get them to wear properly or a nice BB7 caliper. Might go with the second option. Who wants a nice new out of the box G2 rotor with hardware ?
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  11. #11
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    Sounds like what you're doing is the right way to go if you want maximum life out of your equipment. Technically, you're not required to clean them, but as you mentioned, if you get them dirty and ride them that way constantly, you're going to start noticing a drop in performance. The best way to not have to clean your calipers so frequently is to stop riding muddy trails. I suppose it all depends on where you live/ride. Here on the east coast, all the trails close when they're wet, so we can't ride them anyway. Sounds like it comes down to the choice between cleaning your bike every ride and not riding your bike, which, to be honest, isn't a very hard choice
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  12. #12
    Huckin' trails
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    ^^ Yup.

    The trails here are not officials anymore since years and therefore not maintained. We are in negotiations since years with the city to get them to do something.

    Still we ride them, with care and courtesy for the hikers and we clean up and do our share to keep the trails good. But it's mostly wet this time of the year. Like you said, I don't have a choice, ride or not to ride
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by David C View Post
    First to set the scene, I ride in Quebec and we have mostly wet and muddy conditions this time of the year.

    Lately, after about every ride I find myself to have to clean my pads and rotors because there's always crap going in and it won't get any better if I leave it this way.

    Not too much of a hassle, but I though disc brakes were supposed to be less affected by debris and mud splash. I don't want to simply ride it off since my pads won't survive, but is I am missing something ? 203mm rotors on a 6" bike and minimal gap between pads and rotors. Plus today's ride wasn't that big because of the wet condition of the trails, but I find it a bit harsh for such a small ride.

    Thanks !
    Use warm soapy water and a rag...clean and inspect your bike ever time it gets dirty enough.....that means mud and crap getting into the drive train and brakes etc...

    oh yeah and clean it if it gets salt on it...at least once a week or your RD FD are gonna eventually sieze up.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Use warm soapy water and a rag...clean and inspect your bike ever time it gets dirty enough.....that means mud and crap getting into the drive train and brakes etc...

    oh yeah and clean it if it gets salt on it...at least once a week or your RD FD are gonna eventually sieze up.
    Don't worry, that's exactly what I'm doing. And I do it after every rides (unless it just street riding). I even have my frame and most components waxed up to ease cleaning and protect the finish better. Plus I don't like to ride a dirty bike on my way to the trails.

    I think it's really just a clearance issue on the inboard pad side since it's really close to the rotor, the dirt will get stuck in more easily.

    Thanks for all your inputs
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  15. #15
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    Mine get covered in mud pretty much every time after a morning ride, so I just spray it down with a hose. Most would probably agree that you don't need do a detailed clean with rubbing alchohol very often, but it does help with noisy brakes.

  16. #16
    Huckin' trails
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    Here's some pics from my last ride where the front brake got the nastiest. While there was some mud, the whole bike wasn't that much dirty. I was riding slowly and carefully not to damage the trails and not to get myself too much dirty and the bike too.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How often do you clean your disc brakes ?-dscn0016.jpg  

    How often do you clean your disc brakes ?-dscn0019.jpg  

    How often do you clean your disc brakes ?-dscn0023.jpg  

    How often do you clean your disc brakes ?-dscn0025.jpg  

    How often do you clean your disc brakes ?-dscn0028.jpg  

    How often do you clean your disc brakes ?-dscn0029_web.jpg  

    How often do you clean your disc brakes ?-dscn0031.jpg  

    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  17. #17
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    What mud?
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  18. #18
    FKA Malibu412
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal View Post
    What mud?
    Yeah, those little splotches on the bike and stuff stuck to the tire ain't mud. Disc brakes clean themselves but if you need to do something to remove grit, rinse the caliper and rotor gently with water and maybe even use a soft brush on the caliper and rinse again. Dry. That is all.
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  19. #19
    Huckin' trails
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal View Post
    What mud?
    Exactly. That's why I was surprised to get so much crap into my brakes that day. But please note that those picture were taken before going back down and in fact I caught some real mud afterwards.
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  20. #20
    Huckin' trails
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    I'm going back at the same place right now. We'll see how it goes.
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

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