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This video will show you how to clean your rims and brake pads for better braking performance. Applies to road and mountain bikes using rim brakes (V-brakes, U-brakes, cantilever brakes, caliper brakes.)

How to Clean Your Rims and Brake Pads for Better Braking Performance

by Levi Bloom

An easy way to get better braking is by simply cleaning your rims and brake pads. If your rims are dusty and your brake pads are worn out, even top-of-the-line brakes will provide poor performance.

You will need:

  • Simple Green degreaser
  • A clean rag

How to do it:

1. Get the right cleaner.

First, pick a cleaner of your choice, preferably Simple Green or rubbing alcohol. I personally prefer Simple Green because it can enhance braking performance, but rubbing alcohol will leave less residue.

2. Apply cleaner.

If the wheel is on the bike, start spraying some cleaner on the rim while you spin it around slowly. Be sure to coat both sides of the rim.

Then spin the wheel around and gently apply the brakes, which will get the cleaner worked around the rim and brake pads. Once the crud starts running down your rims, wipe it all off with a clean rag.

If the wheel is off the bike, just spray some cleaner on a rag and wipe your rims and brake pads with that rag.

3. Check brake pads.

While you’re at it, take a close look at your brake pads to make sure that there is plenty of rubber left. Also pick out any grit or shards of metal that could damage your rim.

Next time you ride, you should notice a vast increase in stopping power!