Best Brake Spares Buying Guide

Check out our selection of spare parts for disc (MTB and road) and rim brake systems (cantilever, caliper and U-brakes) including adaptors for disc brake calipers, disc brake rotors, hydraulic disc brake hoses, bleed kits and more.

Read on to find out more about Brake Spares.

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There are two main types of disc mounts for attaching callipers to frames and forks: 51mm international standard (where the bolt holes are 51mm apart and positioned perpendicular to the frame) and 74mm post mount (where the holes are parallel to the frame and 74mm apart, center-center). Most frames will be equipped with IS mounts for the rear brake, but more and more fork and brake manufacturers are finding the post mount system more convenient for the forks.

With the post mount standard the caliper can be bolted directly on, whereas with IS mounts an adapter is generally needed to fit the calliper to the frame.

Adapters are available to:

• Offer compatibility between mounts and calipers of different standards: E.g. to mount a post mount caliper to an international standard frame mount, or vice-versa.

• Enable larger rotors be used: Adapters are used to move the caliper further from the mount to fit larger (180mm or 203mm) rotors.

NOTE: Most aftermarket adapters will come with the necessary hardware – e.g. mounting bolts and spacers but some may not. Check before you buy!

Replacement pivot bolts for direct-pull cantilever brakes (v-brakes) and blanking bolts for v-brake compatible frames and forks upgraded to disc brakes, to add the finishing touch and make the frame look neat. Most forks require 8mm bolts and frames 10mm bolts.

Miscellaneous rim brake spares including ferrules, noodles and brake cable pipes for v-brakes, as well as brake adjuster barrels, pinch bolts, wire end covers and other bits and bobs.

Replacement and upgrade disc brake hoses and parts including braided hoses and small parts such as olives and hose connector kits.

Braided hoses are regarded as an upgrade on standard plastic hoses as the stainless steel braided outer allows no expansion, transferring all your braking power from the lever to the calliper for improved performance. It’s also more flexible and durable than the standard hose.

Your disc brake rotors are the metal discs mounted to your wheel hubs which act as the braking surface – pulling the brake lever actuates the pistons inside the brake caliper which squeeze the brake pads onto the rotor, with the resulting friction slowing the bike down.

You may need to upgrade or replace your rotors for a number of reasons – in the event of damage, for a weight saving or to use larger-diameter rotors to increase stopping power. When choosing new rotors the main things to consider are mounting standard, width and diameter.

• Mounting standard: There are two main standards for rotor mounting, six-bolt and centerlock – you will be able to tell which one is one your bike just by looking at the hub or rotor. As the name suggests, six-bolt systems have hubs with six evenly-spaced holes to bolt on a matching rotor. Rotor bolts generally use Torx heads so you will need to make sure you have a Torx tool to tighten or loosen them – don’t try to fudge the job with an Allen key or you will risk stripping the bolts. The Centerlock system used by Shimano foregoes rotor bolts in favour of a splined hub-rotor interface secured with a locking ring (special tool needed). This is claimed to reduce installation time but it does put limits on mixing and matching hubs and brakes as most other manufacturers stick with the six-bolt system. Again however, adapters are available to mount six-bolt rotors to Centerlock hubs, and vice-versa.

• Rotor width: Different calipers are designed to take different sizes of rotor, in terms of both diameter and thickness. Whereas you can generally vary the diameter size of the rotors with the use of adapters, different manufacturers and brake models will use marginally thicker or thinner rotors. Although the differences in thickness are tiny, you’re best to avoid mixing and matching rotors with calipers if you want to avoid problems with brake rub (where the pad is constantly touching the rotor surface, therefore wearing it prematurely as well as creating an annoying noise while cycling) in the case of too-thick rotors, or overheating in the case of too-thin. Stick with rotors that are made by your brake system manufacturer or specifically designed to be compatible.

• Rotor diameter: Broadly speaking, the bigger the rotor you are using, the more braking power available. The bigger the disc, the more braking surface is available per revolution of the wheel and the more leverage your brakes are able to exert on it. The most common rotor sizes are 160, 180 and 203mm. When choosing, you must take into consideration the type of bike you are riding and the type of riding that you do. Most XC and trail riders will find 160mm rotors offer more than enough stopping power for their needs; gravity-oriented AM or Enduro riders will find benefit in stepping up to 180mm, and downhill racers will requires discs of at least 200mm as a matter of course, not only for the increased power that they offer but also because bigger discs take longer to overheat, and cool down faster. You may find that mixing and matching rotor sizes suits you best – many riders appreciate the power advantage of a bigger disc up front (where it matters), and run 180mm front/160mm rear, or 203mm front/180mm rear. Whichever size or combination of sizes you choose, you may also need to invest in the appropriate adaptors so that your calliper, frame/fork mounting standard and rotor size are all compatible.

In addition to the above, some high-end rotors also offer performance improvements particularly when it comes to heat dissipation – an important consideration with disciplines such as DH racing where overheating brakes could lead to brake fade, or when using brake systems with a low boiling point. Some rotors use innovations such as vented or ‘floating’ rotor designs (the latter featuring a separate alloy spider onto which the braking surface is attached, as opposed to the normal one-piece disc) to improve heat management.

Keep your disc brakes running smooth and sharp with regular bleeding and servicing. Our disc brake service kits from all major manufacturers include everything you need to keep your hydraulic brakes working up to their maximum potential, including brake fluid, syringes and all required hoses and fittings.

Miscellaneous disc brake spares including complete lever and master cylinder sets, lever blades, callipers, pistons, rotor bolts, bar clamps and rebuild kits as well as small parts such as bore caps, olives and reservoir covers.

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