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Alright guys, if y’all watched my Wrench Tip video on Facebook or Instagram yesterday, you know one of my biggest pet peeves is when people complain about losing their brakes but did nothing to prevent the problem. Even better, if you know you are hard on brakes, prepare for it. I went through a phase where I was losing my brakes in a 35-minute race! LIKE WHAT?!?!! There are not many things that are scarier than the first moment you realize you have no brakes. It was 5 years ago when I was having this issue, so back in my ultra-beginner days, I had no idea what to do! As a result, I ran into a dirt pile, forgot how to use what little skill I had, and lost the race. That’s enough to make a little girl angry! I had a problem and it needed fixed! Fluid, brake pads, and rotors all contribute to this but for now we are going to hit on the fluid.

The first thing we did was bleeding my brakes after every single race. During a MORE race weekend, I would even do it again Saturday night after racing so I was set up for Sunday! That alone made my problem better. When I started traveling further to races, it got a bit more serious. I switched to what I like to call liquid gold, Castrol React SRF Racing brake fluid, it comes in a 1L jug and is around $90. I look at it as the bigger picture, if I am going to travel 10+ hours to race, I am going to do what I can to prevent as many problems as possible. This brake fluid is cheaper than not finishing or struggling to finish.

When you look into purchasing brake fluid, do your homework! Each bottle of brake fluid has the wet boiling point listed on it. Some even state the dry boiling point. All that we care about is the wet, because as soon as you open the bottle, moisture gets in it and therefore it is now “wet”. So, do not be fooled by the dry boiling points.

We keep these brake fluids on the shelf:

  • Castrol React SRF Racing: 518 *F wet boiling point
  • Motul RBF 660: 399*F wet boiling point
  • Maxima Racing: 399*F wet boiling point
  • Lucas Synthetic: 116*F wet boiling point

All of these vary in price. Remember, focus on what works and not what is the cheapest.

Remember, riding your brakes in “overtime” is not worth it.

How to know they need to be bled:

  • If you are a serious racer, do it after every race.
  • Braking power has reduced
  • Inconsistent braking
  • The lever feels spongy

Pro tip: If it is hot outside, everything on your bike is that much hotter, including your brakes, which means they will boil faster! If you boil your brakes, the boiling temperature is reduced so that is why it is important to bleed them!


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