Close-up of a bicycle hub in the fork, with a gloved hand holding an alignment tool in place over the brake disc.

Tools against the day

A somewhat chilly day in the Workshop in the Sky. I decided it was time to do something about the brakes that have been rubbing since I replaced the pads. I’d checked that the discs weren’t bent, and then verified via YouTube guides that there were three things I wanted to try: straighten the discs if bent, use an alignment gauge if needed, and then check for sticking pistons.

I already had a disc straightening tool, bought when I had a leftover balance at Amazon against the day I might need it. I didn’t have a disc alignment gauge, so I ordered one of those along with a part for another project, and it arrived today.

Despite my earlier determination that the discs weren’t bent, as soon as I got Kuroko in the stand and gave the wheels a spin, I was able to detect the smallest wobble in each one. The front was fairly easy to see, even though it was a millimeter or less, and I was able to get it straightened out with just a couple of nudges with the tool.

Close-up of rear bicycle wheel at the hub, with an disc alignment tool sitting atop the disc and inserted into the brake caliper.
Alignment tool doing its job

The rear disc was harder to detect and to sort out, with the chainstay and pannier rack both blocking the view and access to the disc. I found a couple of spots that were perhaps half a millimeter out, and did the best I could in the tight confines to flatten the disc out. There was still a bit of rubbing after that, so I put the alignment tool in and adjusted the caliper. With that done I didn’t detect any more rubbing.

I’d heard a bit of disc noise on the second day of Biwako. After returning home, I replaced the brake pads and adjusted the brakes, but the rubbing was worse. In retrospect, I probably banged the discs a bit in the travel bag going to and from Biwako on the shinkansen.

I finished up today’s light maintenance with some disc brake cleaner. I’ve used up all the Muc-Off and got some from Finish Line instead. The Finish Line product has a much less offensive odor, so if it does the job I’m going to stick with this in future.

A parts dish with a couple of bolts and an alignment tool inside. Above the dish is a triangular hex tool, and to the right a disc alignment tool.
Every tool has its day

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