How to Bleed Mountain Bike Brakes without Kit

Christine H. Groce10 Apr 2022

Mountain bike brakes need to be bled as part of routine maintenance from time to time. When you set out for a ride, you won't have to worry about your brake performance. While most people consider brake bleeding a relatively simple task, it can get challenging, especially when you don't have a bleeding kit. Worse still, you can mess up your riding plans if you get it wrong. Luckily, this post tells you how to bleed your mountain bike brakes without a kit.

What does it mean to bleed bike brakes?

Bleeding a bike brake is the process of removing air bubbles from the brake line. This is done by adding brake fluid to the system, applying pressure to the brakes, and opening the master cylinder cap. The process is repeated until no more bubbles are seen in the fluid. The cause of brake bleeding varies. It may be due to a clogged master cylinder, the use of incorrect fluid, or the application of excessive pressure to the brakes.

What are the signs my brakes need bleeding?

Several signs on your bike will indicate it may be time to consider bleeding your brakes for better braking performance. Some of these include:

Your brakes feel soft and squishy

When you have air in your brakes, they feel softer than usual. You might have to pull the brake levers to the handlebars for them to engage because their performance has been compromised.

The brake levers feel mushy

If the lever feels spongy and the pads contact the rotor when you pull them without providing significant power, the brakes likely need to be bled.

How do I bleed my brakes without a bleeding kit?

Bleeding a brake disc without a brake bleed kit can be challenging, but there are times when you do not have an option. This guide will outline the process of bleeding brakes without the use of a kit: -Remove the brake caliper from the bike and allow it to dangle low so that air bubbles flow to the lever -Turn the lever in such a way that the bleeding port faces upward -Remove the master cylinder cover on the brakes and add mineral oil -Take out the brake pads and hold the pistons using a bleed block -Pump the brake lever to push out the air bubbles -Tap the caliper and brake line as you do this to help dislodge the air bubbles to the lever's top -Add more mineral oil if you have to and repeat the process

What is gravity bike brake bleeding?

Gravity bike brake bleeding is when the brakes are bled by using gravity. The procedure is often done by removing the wheel from the bike and placing it on a stand. The brake fluid reservoir is then opened and positioned over the top of the wheel so that any air bubbles can be released. Alternatively, you may use a vacuum to force out any air bubbles that you missed with the gravity method.

What is the best way to bleed bike brakes?

The best way to bleed brakes is by using a power bleeder or vacuum-assisted bleeder. This is because they both use an air compressor to pump out the air from the brake lines and are less likely to introduce air bubbles into the system.

How much does it cost to bleed MTB brakes?

The cost of bleeding MTB brakes varies depending on the type of brakes on a given bike, how many tires are in need of attention, and how much fluid needs to be replaced. In some cases, bleeding a set of brakes will cost between $15 and $40.

How often should you bleed mountain bike brakes?

Bleeding mountain bike brakes is a regular task for any mountain biker. You should bleed them whenever you feel your brakes are not functioning optimally. The brake fluid helps keep the brake pads from sticking to the rotor, making it harder to stop your bike.

What happens if you don't bleed your brakes?

The brakes on a mountain bike help you slow down or stop. But what happens if you don't bleed your mountain bike brakes? You will notice that when you press the brake lever, it will feel soft and spongy. This is because the brake fluid is not being transferred through the system fast enough. This can be dangerous because if you need to stop quickly, the brakes may not work as they are supposed to. If nothing is done about this problem, your brake pads may wear out faster, and your lines may start leaking fluid. This can lead to more expensive repairs in the future, and it also means that you could be putting yourself at risk for an accident!

What mistakes should you avoid when bleeding bike brakes?

It is important to avoid these mistakes when bleeding bike brakes: -Do not use brake fluid that has been sitting in the bottle for more than six months. -Do not overfill the reservoir-you can avoid this when bleeding your brakes by resetting the caliper pistons back to their original position. -Don't use the wrong brake fluid-only use what your bike manufacturer recommends as brake fluid. -Don't forget to bleed the system after adding new fluid. -Don't use a dirty or rusty funnel.

Wrapping up

Like any other components on your bicycle, bike brakes need constant maintenance to perform at the top level. Brake bleeding is one of the routine maintenance activities you can do to ensure this. So, the next time you feel your brakes aren't working as expected, follow the guide above to bleed your mountain bike brakes when you don't have a bleeding kit on hand.

Christine H. Groce

Christine H. Groce

Christine formed a passion for cycling back when she still had training wheels as a kid. She wants to write about her adventures, along with tips and tricks for beginner cycling fans.

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