Before the riding season starts, it is always a good idea to give your bicycle an in-depth inspection. Because Los Angeles residents enjoy year-round riding, inspecting your bike early in the year makes sense. If you do not have time for a full inspection, at least look at your bicycle’s brakes.
The brake pads on your bike are designed to work by wearing out over time. If you regularly ride on wet or dusty surfaces, your brake pads may have a shorter lifespan. Exactly when you should replace your pads, though, may depend on the type of brakes your bicycle has.
Rim brake pads
Road and hybrid bicycles often have rim brake pads, which may be part of either a V-brake or cantilever braking system. As their name indicates, rim brake pads function by pushing against the rims on your bicycle.
If your bike has rim brake pads, closely inspect each pad’s rubber teeth. These are the grooved or jagged parts of the brake pad that rub against the rim. When the teeth disappear, which eventually happens with even normal usage, it is time to replace your rim brake pads.
Disc brake pads
If your go-to bicycle is a mountain bike or cyclocross bike, it may have disc brake pads. Many modern hybrid and road bikes also have this type of braking system. Disc brake pads push into a disc in the center of the wheel to stop your bike.
To determine if your disc brake pads require replacement, you must measure the thickness of each pad. If your pads are less than a millimeter thick, you should replace them. Likewise, whether your bike has rim or disc brakes, you may need to replace the pads if the brakes stop working properly.