Riding your bike is a lot of fun, and I believe there’s nothing like the experience. It’s a great way to stay in shape, keep fit and even get into some different social circles. One thing that can absolutely ruin it is when your bike doesn’t perform as it should or starts making funny noises.

Disc brakes are an amazing tool. They are very powerful, work in all conditions, and require next to no maintenance. Though one issue they do suffer with is brake disc rub. This is when you are riding along, and they make scrapping or tinging noises each rotation.

In this article, we’re going to tell you all about common issues that cause this and how to fix them.

Bent Disc Rotor

This is one of the most common causes of brake rub, and it can easily happen just by incorrectly storing your bike or even having a small accident and falling off. Although disc brake rotors are very strong, they can bend, and this causes the dreaded brake rub.

How to fix it?

This is a very easy fix, you can either completely replace the brake disc itself, or you can use what they call a brake disc straightener. This is a small tool that grips onto the rotor, and you can bend it back into place. We recommend getting one-off Amazon or from your local bike shop.

Worn out brake pads

When you are doing your pre-bike check, you typically don’t check your brake pads often as you should because they last so long, and typically you don’t end up needing to change them as regularly as you might think.

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When they do get very low, more of the pad’s surface actually starts to hit the rotor, and again it gives a noise like a brake rub. This is because the pistons are fully adjusted out, and it starts connecting with the rotors in other places.

How to fix it?

You will need to first remove the old pads and then do what we call resetting the pistons. This is an easy process and can be done with multiple tools. I personally tend to use a tire lever because they are fairly blunt and won’t break the piston.

So without the pads and wheel in the bike, use the lever to push the pistons back into the caliper until they sit flush. Put the new pads in and the wheel back in, and pull the brakes till it feels nice and sharp.

Dirty Brakes

When you’re out riding, especially in the wet, you can start to get brake rub with no warning. This is really common and does happen on all types of disc brakes. It typically comes from dirt getting into the brakes, and it does sound crunchy and just awful.

How to fix it?

Easy, just carry on riding and using the brakes to clear out the mess, and before you know it, it would have gone. You might also find the brakes to be a little squeaky when used throughout this process.

It is healthy for your brakes to get dirt in, and it does have huge benefits, such as roughing up the pads and rotors and keeping oil off the pads.

Brake Caliper isn’t aligned

If you ever do any work on your bike and remove the calipers, it can be difficult to get it back into the right place. If it isn’t properly aligned, then you can expect brake rub. This is a challenging task, but we can make it really easy for you by following the right process below.

How to fix it?

Firstly, as we discussed before, you will need to reset the pistons. Then you will want to slightly loosen off the brake calipers just literally by half a turn.

With the wheel in properly and the pistons open nice and wide, pull the brake on until tight and gripping the rotor, hold it on, and tighten the caliper back up.

Warped Rotors

If you give your brakes a lot of abuse and they are overheating regularly, it is possible to warp them, and they can become misshapen. This will cause brake rub and really isn’t ideal for your calipers either.

How to fix it?

You are going to want to change the rotor and check the health of your pads. If this is consistently happening, you might want to think about upgrading to bigger discs and upgraded calipers.


Brake discs are an amazing tool, and I highly recommend them over rim brakes as they are just so much better. We highly recommend learning how to maintain them and do simple jobs to ensure they are in tip-top condition. Once you know, they are very easy to work on.

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