My brake pads have worn to the point where the lever can no longer apply full pressure, and there isn't much pad protruding beyond the pad mounting. So they need replacing and I want to do it myself rather than handing over to a workshop and losing the use of the bike for a day or two.

I think (from appearance) my rim brakes are HS33. Although my bike is newer the details match those seen in this company video on changing the pads:

The side with the quick release mechanism does indeed undock easily and can be quickly changed. However the other side (where the hydraulic lines arrive from the brake lever) lacks any quick release and I think he says at 0:44 to dismount the wheel to change the pad on the other side!? Is there really no easier way to get that pad changed? Would you ever want to change just one pad anyway, if not what does the quick release achieve if the next step is dropping the wheel out?

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    I don't know about Magura, but even on a regular V-brake, the point of the QR is to drop the wheel. The fact that you can change the brake pads with just undoing the QR is a secondary advantage.
    – Batman
    Nov 30, 2016 at 1:22
  • @Batman On the predecessor bike (classic calliper brakes, dated from early 1980s...) I could get the wheel free just by deflating the tube then flexing the tyre walls and travelling the brake arms. Are the tolerances on modern systems too tight for this? Nov 30, 2016 at 1:28
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    @TomGoodfellow generally, yes. Wider tyres nowdays than in the 80s, and the hydraulics don't move as far, so need to sit quite close to the rim.
    – Criggie
    Nov 30, 2016 at 6:42
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    Note that the quick release is likely not to facilitate brake maintenance, but rather to allow the wheel to be removed/installed without deflating the tire. When repairing a tire one generally wants to inflate it before installing the wheel, so having a quick release on the brakes is quite useful (and a feature that most rim brakes incorporate, one way or another). Nov 30, 2016 at 13:06
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    @MikeBaranczak back story time: previous bike from early 80s, replacing brake pads meant lost skin when getting spanners secure on occluded hex nuts. Now shiny new bike, love at first sight. Video shows the miracle of tool-less replacement of brake pad. Love now redoubled. Except for throwaway remark about removing wheel. Massive cognitive dissonance ensues. Post this hoping bike guru will correct my sketchy translation & reveal equally tool-free trick for other pad. Kind bike gurus edumacate me proper-like, but don't bend reality. Now fetching spanners (wheel lacks QR). Still in love. Deal? Nov 30, 2016 at 21:04

1 Answer 1


Yes the recommended way to change pads is open the quick release and remove that side of the brake, then remove the wheel to allow access to the other pad. You can refer to the official HS33 (or similar) manual, pages 21 and 19.

Another way I know of to be able to reach the non-QR side pad (or both sides if running without QRs which is arguably a stiffer setup) is to remove the screws and get it off completely, hereby undoing the adjustments made to get correct pad to rim alignment. Not a huge problem if you're used to setting up Maguras, but it does take a bit of a learning process.

  • Magura hydraulics are sometimes called "rim crushers" because of the large forces they can exert. Great for use on tandems and load bikes, less good if you screw up the pad alignment when changing .
    – Criggie
    Nov 30, 2016 at 11:07
  • @Criggie - that sounds like a good warning shot against me trying dismounting the non-QR side (as described by @stijn). Nov 30, 2016 at 11:26
  • @Criggie these days you'll find them on standard cycles as well depending on brand. E.g. Kalkhoff uses them. In my opinion a good thing, but I'm biased because I just love those brakes and have them on all kind of bicycles including dirt jumpers etc. Soon on the road bike as well. To me they are less hassle and less maintainance than other (rim) brakes and they just keep on properly working no matter what happens, and they work better as well. Anyway: sheer force indeed, only the strongest steel frames/forks won't bend (temporarily) at the mount when squeezing the lever with just one finger.
    – stijn
    Nov 30, 2016 at 11:43
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    @TomGoodfellow the manual has instructions for setup as well, it's not that hard
    – stijn
    Nov 30, 2016 at 11:44

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