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Cleaning Brake Calipers

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  • 2 weeks later...

Lil late to the game but I've had good results with Simple Green on bikes and cars. It and a toothbrush to clean out gunk caked around and on the pistons and seals BEFORE pushing them in works pretty well.


Brake cleaner works okay but isn't very good for scrubbing which often has to be done or the gunk's not coming off, and should be used sparingly. Bad for the environment sort of thing ya know. ;)

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  • 5 months later...

I know this thread is old... but thought this might help, something I saw a little while back - how a Yamaha Factory wrench cleans the brakes:


Of course they use a YamaLube product. tongue.gif


I do something similar to what others have said, just using a basic detergent, nothing too harsh needed if you clean regularly at every brake pad change or more often (I think every new set of brake pads is generally considered a minimum?). I use some dishwashing liquid and an old toothbrush that has the bristles frayed so you can get in the corners easier. I have used brake cleaner once when I first cleaned the brakes (since it was a 2nd hand bike) but I've been warned off it - the reason being that brake cleaner contains some fairly harsh chemicals that can degrade the rubber piston seals. (Probably should have a full brake caliper service, new seals every so often anyway but that's probably another topic...?)


Another little trick I thought up to clean as much of the piston as possible - I grab a bunch of paddle pop sticks and stack them right down the middle of the caliper body (down the length of the caliper, the same direction that the brake pads would sit), then I pump the brakes to bring the pistons out. The paddle pop sticks stop the pistons from popping right out, or coming out too far that it's unnecessarily difficult to push them back in. This allows you to clean further down the base of the pistons. A caution on this for anyone not familiar with brake systems - usually you should not touch the brake lever or pump the brakes at all while you don't have any pads or rotors/wheel installed. The caliper pistons will move out, they can pop out of the caliper body, which needless to say is very undesirable. It will also take a bit of effort to push the pistons back in, so don't worry - you haven't broken anything - yes you may break a sweat depending on how often you train with hand grippers. tongue.gif

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