Mountain bike brakes adjustment: disc brakes and brake levers

It is very important to properly adjust the brakes of your mountain bike. Both the mountain bike disc brakes and the brake levers. To ensure that you can travel safely, I will help you adjust the mountain bike brakes on this page.

Why adjust mountain bike brakes?

Let’s first consider why it is important to adjust mountain bike brakes. Firstly, it is very important in terms of safety. We must not bear in mind that if you want to brake quickly in a dangerous situation, it will not be fast enough. However, there are other reasons to make sure you adjust your brakes correctly. I list the most important ones:

  • Be able to brake quickly and powerfully
  • Tired disc brakes waste energy
  • If your disc brake rubs, it wears out faster
  • You can get pain in your hands if the brake levers are not in the right position

It should now be clear why adjusting mountain bike brakes is important.

mountain bike brakes adjustment
Adjusting the mountain bike brakes is very important. ©

Adjusting the brakes of a mountain bike: step-by-step plan

As I mentioned in the introduction, adjusting the MTB brakes consists of two parts. For example, we are dealing with brake levers and disc brakes. I have made a handy step-by-step plan for both activities. Check them out below.

Adjust mountain bike brake levers

It is very important that the brake levers are adjusted to the correct position on the handlebars. It is good to know that you operate the brake levers with one finger (maximum two fingers). Don’t use multiple fingers as you can lose control of the steering wheel more quickly.

You only need an Allen key to adjust the brake levers. When positioning the brake levers, keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure the brake levers are in line with your hands when you are on the bike
  • Take the MTB handlebar width into account and mount them at the height of your index finger
adjust mtb brake levers
Make sure your brake levers are in the correct position for safe and proper braking. ©

Adjust MTB disc brakes

You also only need an Allen key to adjust the disc brakes. Often a 5 millimeter Allen key, but this depends on your mountain bike. Caught in it? Then we can get started with the steps below.

Follow the steps below to adjust the MTB disc brakes.

  1. Put your mountain bike on a stand or hang it in the air

    Make sure that your mountain bike wheel is hanging off the ground so that you can adjust the disc brakes properly. Use an MTB standard.

  2. Loosen the two Allen keys at the brake caliper

    At the caliper you will discover two Allen keys at the bottom and top. Loosen this so that you can center the disc brake.mtb schijfremmen centreren

  3. Now apply the brake

    By squeezing the brake, the brake disc is clamped, so that it is centered.

  4. Tighten the two Allen keys

    Do this while holding the brake

Now the disc brake is properly adjusted and you can safely hit the road again.

Frequently asked questions about MTB brakes adjustment

Can I adjust my mountain bike disc brakes myself?

You can. It’s very easy. Keep in mind that you have to be able to hang your bike in the air, so that the front wheel comes off the ground. In addition, you also need an Allen key to center the disc brakes.

Why do you only operate the brake lever with one or two fingers?

It is of little use to operate the brake levers with several fingers. In fact, you can lose control of the MTB handlebar faster with this.

Can adjustment be the solution for a rubbing disc brakes?

If you spin your wheel and hit the disc brake, it should be re-centered. Adjustment can immediately fix a squeaking disc brake.

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