I ride my bikes quite frequently and need to use the brakes slightly harshly (because of the traffic light changes and cars at my front) as I approach some gradients worth 40 degrees downhill. My regular commute culminates to approximately 4 miles (with gradients and 5 days a week) and 0.25 miles (with gradients and 2 days a week). I have used simple tuning to maintain the v-brake positions along my front and rear rims and cable tensions for the brake cable (by adjusting the nuts near the brake levers). However, it seems that they don't stay put for more than a month or two. Additionally, I noticed this morning that my rear brake pads are almost worn out (broken and cracked edges). My question is, how do I determine how often the brake pads needs replacements? It would be fantastic if someone points suggests any side-effects such as brake cable wire damages and replacements etc.

Also, I recently puchased this set of pads with housings. Does anyone know if it is any good? My current brake pads are naked i.e. without any housings.

Thanks a lot!

  • 1
    before groove in the pad starts to disappear, you need to change the pads. As set of pad inserts for your pads is about 5 Euro, I would probably change them even more often. May 27, 2013 at 14:36
  • 5
    No, Do not lubricate your brake pads or rims in any way whatsoever. The whole point is to maximize friction. Not only that, but some lubricants might actually break down the rubber in the pads.
    – Kibbee
    May 27, 2013 at 15:15
  • 3
    @user2030818 NO! Don't lubricate your rims for any reason ever! You want as much friction between the rim and the brake pads as possible. If the new holder is compatible with your brakes (i.e. threaded post, smooth post, or what have you) it should be fine. Generally V Brakes use longer pads than traditional road brakes, so match the length of the pad as well.
    – WTHarper
    May 27, 2013 at 15:17
  • 1
    Make sure the cleaner doesn't have any oils in it to make the stainless shiny. If you rub your finger on the rim you shouldn't feel any oil at all. A safer bet is isopropyl or denatured alcohol (easy to find, inexpensive, no residue.)
    – WTHarper
    May 27, 2013 at 16:28
  • 2
    They will naturally wear flat from use, and that's not a problem. Rather, it's the thickness -- if there are no wear indicators (bike shop people can show you if there are, and I think they're there on most newer pad designs) then you want to replace when, at its thinnest point, you have maybe 1/4" of pad to wear before the metal holder begins to rub the rim. Important: The pad will almost always wear faster (much faster) in the rear (the "leading edge") of the pad, due to the forces on it during braking. You need to check both ends of the pad (and the middle) when checking pad wear. May 27, 2013 at 20:27

1 Answer 1


It's difficult to give a general estimate on how often brake pads should be replaced, as conditions vary. (Including how often you ride, temperature, humidity, do you store your bike in direct sunlight, how old the brakes are, etc.) If it looks worn, replace it.

Adjusting brake tension via the screw nuts on the handlebars is the best way to make adjustments. As brakes wear down with use, you will need to make these adjustments to compensate. Needing to do this ever month or two seems within the normal range for how often you use your bike.

Another factor to keep in mind is that cables will stretch with use. If the screw nuts on the handlebars are at their limit, you will need to loosen the nut holding the cable at the brake to adjust the cable. (When you make this adjustment, make sure to reset the screw nuts on the handlebar).

Your recently purchased brake pads seem fine. I've found that a manufacture will include the housing even if it's not needed. Just be sure to toe-in your brakes slightly, and reset the handlebar screw nuts (and cables) as needed.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.