Getting your brakes set up right will allow you to attack the trail like never before. Learn how to do it the SRAM way here:

1. New brake pads

Pop the bike in a workstand, remove the wheel and retaining bolt and replace if you’re close to the metal backing plate — put the pads into the new spring clip they come with and insert. Put the retaining bolt back in, careful not to over tighten, and spread the pads and pistons back into the caliper with a pad spacer (it comes with the bleed kit).

2. Lube the pistons

With the wheel and rotor removed compress the brake lever and let the pistons come all the way in until the pads make contact. Then use the spacer to open them out. Repeat the process three times and the pistons will lubricate themselves and work smoothly.

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3. Cure the rub

Spin the wheel and listen and look for any brake rub. Got some? Loosen mounting bolts a quarter turn until the caliper can move freely, spin the wheel again and squeeze the lever — the rotor will position the caliper nicely and you can tighten the bolts again. Sometimes that doesn’t work though so look down at the pad from above and figure out by eye if it’s the front or rear that’s touching. Loosen the bolts, move the caliper so it’s central and carefully nip up the bolts.

4. Check the rotor

Spin the wheel and check for a bent rotor, look at one spot like the mounting bracket and rotor for movement. Untreated it can push the piston back in as it turns and give the brake an odd feel. Replace the rotor (trueing a rotor is hard), bed it in but you can keep the old pads.

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5. Bleed time

No need to tilt the bike or levers to odd angles, just get the bike in the stand and hook up syringes as the SRAM instructions say. But contrary to those instructions, don’t have the pad contact adjustment would in and fully closed — leave it about middle for fine-tuning after the bleed is done.

6. Match the levers

With a ruler, measure the levers and use the reach adjuster until they’re same length from the bar. Now ensure the pads are making contact in exactly the same position too, using the pad contact adjuster.