Recently, I upgraded to a Rockrider 540 bicycle. My previous bicycle (a similar but simpler model) had rim brakes, this one has hydraulic disc brakes.

On the new bicycle, the stopping power of the front brake is clearly worse than on my old one. However, the rear brake works much better than on the old one.

Does this indicate a fault with the front brake, or does it just need some use before it becomes more effective? How can I fix it and make the brake work better?

  • 3
    Hi, welcome to bicycles! How recently did you upgrade? Disc brakes have a "bedding in" period before they reach full effectiveness; see bicycles.stackexchange.com/q/17597/43557
    – DavidW
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 19:59
  • @DavidW Thank you for pointing that out! I got the bicycle one day ago and I have no prior experience with disc brakes.
    – Jans
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 20:03
  • 3
    Read up on bedding in, as there are some ways that work better than others. Pads could also have been contaminated with oil - there is a lot of information here an elsewhere on what should be done in that case
    – mattnz
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 20:06
  • Thanks to both. This has answered my question.
    – Jans
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 20:08
  • Also, when switching from rim to disk brakes, braking feels way softer, because the force is applied at the hub instead of the rim. There's less chance of you tipping over the front, but the brake force is basically the same.
    – Erik
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


Disc brakes commonly have issues when:

  • they are not bedded in yet. This is required on new bikes or new pads/disc only. The pads and the disc don't have the optimal contact surface established when out of box; bed-in-process;
  • they get in contact with lubricating substances. There are many ways to clean them, but mainly alcohol should do it; how-to-clean-disk-brakes;
  • they contain air mixed in with the brake fluid in the circuit. This is hard to detect and requires a full brake bleed. Generally there are low chances this is the case and even lower that both of your brakes have this issue. Checking if the braking power front-back is close to equal should reveal that.

If the disc is clean and there is no air in the circuit, there is no loss of power and that is the true power of your brakes. Tektro 160mm is a low end brake so that wouldn't be a surprise. A workaround is to try a bigger disk if the fork/frame allows.

  • I have Tektro 160mm cable operated and they stop on a sixpence, there's no reason they should stop any slower than any other 160mm braking system if set up correctly
    – Dan K
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 14:44
  • Thanks for the info @DanK, I don't have personal experience with these brakes. However the breaking power differs from one brake to another, depending on the design of lever, the size (even number) of cylinders of the caliper and other less visible manufacturer specific features.
    – andreiv
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 15:08

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