Bike Shop Girl | Tech Tuesday: Why Would a Hydraulic Brake Lock Up?
A woman owned mobile bicycle workshop in Northeast Denver, Colorado with over 15+ years experience as a master mechanic.
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Tech Tuesday: Why Would a Hydraulic Brake Lock Up?

2012 RockShox SID 29er

Tech Tuesday: Why Would a Hydraulic Brake Lock Up?

One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

Question of the week from Facebook: Why would my rear hydraulic brake be locked up after sitting for a month?

In my many years of riding I’ve never had a hydraulic brake lock up on a personal bike, but have seen it happen on a few customers bikes that they drag in with the wheel stuck and not rolling!

The above can happen for many reasons, all of them are prevented with proper cleaning and servicing your brakes just like you would your car!

  • A blown seal can cause your fluid to not stay in the chamber it belongs in, and pushing the pistons to the “on position”
  • Dirt or surface rust can make your pistons also get stuck. This happens the least, but cleaning your bike every once in a while can prevent this
  • Dramatic change in temperature. If you have any air in your hose lines it can expand in heat, this can cause your pistons to also get stuck to the “on position.” This can be prevented with proper bleeding of the brakes.

Tech Tuesday

2 Comments
  • trailsnet
    Posted at 17:27h, 24 July Reply

    Hi BikeShop Girl & thanks for the great website.

    I have a big concern w/ the new mountain bike I just purchased. My old bike was about 15 years old & still had the old rim brakes which I liked just fine. My new bike has hydraulic disc brakes. I don’t mind the increased stopping power on the rear wheel, but it’s way too much on my front wheel.

    Last week, I met head-on w/ a distracted bicyclist (earbuds) on a blind corner. It looked as if we were going to crash head-on, so I hit my brakes hard and catapulted like Wile-e-Coyote over the top w/ my bike still attached to my feet & my hands still on the handlebars. I came right down on my head/helmet and ended up cracking a vertebrae.
    So my decisions are: stop mountain biking, get rid of the new bike, or try to dampen the grabbing power of that front brake setup.

    Needless to say, I’d prefer the latter option, but the place where I bought the bike insists that all hydraulic brakes will grab like that. What do you think? Is there any way to minimize that grabbing on the front brake? I don’t mind the back brake being grabby, but not the front.

    BTW, I’ve already heard a dozen people tell me about feathering my brakes, yada, yada. But when I have .0000001 seconds to react, my lizard brain takes over & I hang on for dear life.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Arleigh
      Posted at 21:12h, 25 July

      In all honesty, it sounds like a mountain bike clinic would be worth the $100-200 for you! They teach you braking skills, including keeping your weight balanced even if you slam on that front brake.

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