What Happens If You Don’t Bed In MTB Brakes? (Explained)

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Mountain bikes are no exception when it comes to bedding-in bike brakes. The process adds an extra cushioning layer between the brake discs and pad.

So, it’s worth the installation to enjoy biking without any hindrance.

However, if you decide to turn a deaf ear to your brake discs screaming for help, expect a fault soon.

On the other hand, if you are genuinely curious about what could happen if you don’t bed in your brakes, sit tight. You’ve come to the right place.

A Series of unfortunate events follow the refusal to install bedding for brakes in mountain bikes. For example, vibrations from the uneven rotor’s surface due to friction and weird noises, not to forget that the brakes kick in slower. Consequently, it’d help if you bed your mountain bike’s brakes so that riding is smooth, plus the process takes less than fifteen minutes.

Are Bedding Brakes Necessary?

Don't Bed In MTB Brakes

Yes, it is necessary if you wish to end the noise from non-padded MTB brake vibration.

In addition, bedding brakes ensure that the rider gets the most of your MTB and is not perturbed by anything while riding.

The process helps maximize the brake system effectively and gives you the pause effect when you press the brakes.

Mountain biking involves maneuvering rocky and rough terrain; accidents are inevitable without a sound brake system.

Hence, one mustn’t be oblivious of the right thing to do concerning the brakes. Even though every new bike does not come with the proper bedding, it’s best to install one before you head out. 

Depending on the targeted tires, you can firmly apply brakes by pressing the lever on either bike’s handles.

The left handles the front wheels while the right controls the back wheels. Each lever works to create a perfect slow-to-stop process without any hassle; twist in the right direction.

So, bedding your brakes is not a process you should ignore but one you must adopt to ride smoothly.

When padded successfully, it improves the bike’s coordination and repairs the rotor’s uneven surface, which becomes uneven from excess heat from the friction.

Therefore, do not skip the bedding-in process for anything.

The whole process is quite expensive; however, it shouldn’t discourage you from improving your experience.

So, you should plan before purchasing the mountain bike so that you’re not overwhelmed when the time comes. But, it’s worth the time, energy, and money in the end.

What Happens If You Don’t Bed In MTB Brakes?

I think the right question should be “what doesn’t happen?” because many things go wrong with a non-bedded brake.

  • First, there will be a lot of vibration on the brake discs and the pads as the brakes are trying to create enough friction to stop.
  • Next, the constant vibration will undebatably produce a very disturbing squeal whenever you press the brakes. The noise is unavoidable because you need brakes to ride your bike through the mountain’s terrain, especially downhill.
  • In addition, the uneven disc surface does not generate enough friction to stop the brakes when needed. It leads to a frustrating effort in bike riding. The heat produced when the rotor comes in contact with the brake pads helps the bedding to be more effective.

It would be best to bed your mountain bike’s brakes as soon as you purchase them. But if you are unable to, keep in mind that you’re not using the bike up to its full potential or maximizing the bike’s performance.

Also, it’ll help if you occasionally bed your brakes as soon as you notice that there’s a little more vibration than usual.

 The vibration is usually a sign that it is time to replace the brake pad. But, of course, you need to check the brake discs routinely, especially if you frequently subject the bike to vigorous riding.

The more mountain riding you indulge in, the more worn your brake pads will get. Hence, the more times you will need to replace them.

What Do You Have To Bed In New Brake Pads?

Bedding-in new brake pads require specific gear and a guide or a professional to replace them. These gear include;

  • 100mm wrench
  • Rubbing alcohol to clean the disc before bedding
  • A pair of pliers
  • Small towel for cleaning
  • Needle-nose plier for unscrewing the cotter pin that keeps both disc and pad in place.

The recent models of mountain bikes have hydraulic disc brakes instead of caliper brakes disc.

Hydraulic brake discs use the fluid, while the caliper brake requires a mechanical method to apply brakes.

The bedding-in process involves;

#1. Unscrew The Cotter Pin

The brake pads and discs will fall apart without the cotter pin. So, you must unscrew the pin to access the brake pads and begin the installation of the new ones.

Use the needle-nose plier for this process, and it is the most suitable plier for the job.

#2. Clean The Rotor With The Rubbing Alcohol

Next, pour rubbing alcohol into the towel to clean the brake pads. The rubbing alcohol is preferable for removing grease, dirt, or liquid on the surface before bedding.

The brake pads do not function appropriately when there is grease or any liquid on the surface.

 Finally, you can bed the disc when you’\ve finished cleaning and assembling the brake system in place.

#3. Assemble The Brake Pad And Rotor 

When you’re done cleaning, you must carefully assemble the pad and the rotor by connecting them with the cotter pin.

Then, ensure to test the brakes by going on a short ride while pressing the brakes to check the effects. 

How Long Does It Take To Bed In MTB Brakes?

The bedding-in process should not take more than twenty minutes. It depends on how fast you can disassemble and assemble the brake parts.

The time it takes is relative to how precise you complete the process from start to finish.

Some people say it takes them only ten minutes, while others spend a whooping sixty minutes. Nonetheless, be rest assured that you can’t spend the whole day changing your brake’s bedding.

For a professional biker, it shouldn’t take more than ten minutes. After all, they’re familiar with the task; your bike might probably be the 100th bike they have fixed that month, having done multiple installments.

It would be best to leave the replacement to an expert if you have no prior knowledge of bikes. This way, you save yourself the damage you might incur trying to fix what you have no idea about.

How Do You Properly Bed In Brakes?

Properly Bed In Brakes

You can adequately bed in your brakes with the right tools and proper knowledge.

The material you can use for bedding-in can be metal or ceramic-metal; they have enough force to hold the brake pads. 

  • Make sure you disassemble correctly during replacement.
  • Do not rub with too much alcohol, just enough to go round.
  • Assemble the brake pads and disc back and test how well it fits. 

Don’t forget to wear your helmet and shins while riding for protection. It’s better safe than sorry.


Bedding-in brake pads for your mountain bike are necessary if you want to ride your bike effortlessly.

However, you must occasionally replace the bedding to help the brake pads and disc generate enough friction during riding.

Finally, the choice is yours, and you can choose what is best for your bike or not.