When Should I Replace My Bike Disc Rotors ?

Brakes are some of the crucial components of a bicycle. Notably, disc brakes are won their position among the most popular types of bike brakes. You could be asking, “When should I replace my bike disc rotors?”

You should replace your bicycle disc rotors when they get to a thickness of 1.5mm or less. A bike’s disc rotor can last for an average of 2 years for a rider who rides 3-5 times in a week. 

However, this period varies due to differences in riding styles and the quality of your brake pads. Generally, it is advisable to install a new set of brake pads whenever you replace the disc rotors.

When should I replace my bike disc rotors

When Should I Replace My Bike Disc Rotors?

Using disc brakes ensures that your rims’ integrity isn’t compromised (they don’t wear out) after some time due to friction.

However, due to abrasion, the disc rotors gradually wear out with use. Once they get worn out, you should be ready to replace them. Thankfully, bike disc rotors are relatively cheap and easy to install.

So when should you replace your bike disc rotors?

First, you should replace your bike’s rotors when they get worn out. It isn’t easy to give an exact time when you should replace the rotors due to differences in:

  • Quality of the Rotors
  • Braking habits
  • Quality of the brake pads
  • Riding styles
  • Riding terrain
  • Rider’s weight

The other time you should consider changing a disc rotor is if the blade is bent. If the disc rotors become too hot, they may bend. Also, the blades may twist if you put too much pressure on them or if you’re involved in a crash.

The other common cause for bent rotors is putting your bike at the back of your car and then placing some weight on the blade.

In addition, you may change your bike disc rotor when you want to upgrade. Cheap one-piece rotors have inconsistent performance in case they heat up. On the other hand, floating rotors perform consistently even if the system gets hot.

In that case, floating rotors such as the SHIMANO XT SM-RT86 Rotor – 6-Bolt(View on Amazon) which utilize “Ice-Tech” technology and are optimized for mud excavation, will be a good choice.

How Long Do Bike Disc Rotors Last

How Do I Know If My Bike Disc Rotors Need To Be Replaced?

The most important thing is telling when to replace your rotors. Unfortunately, disc rotors may last for so long that riders forget to check on them. However, fitting the rotors and forgetting can be dangerous.

1. When The Rotor Is Worn Out

Actually, manufacturers will always indicate the least recommended thickness for their rotors. Notably, different brands will have varying recommendations.

Therefore, it is advisable to follow the details provided by the manufacturer.

All the same, the average recommended thickness at which you should change the rotors is 1.5mm. The easiest way to get these measurements is by using a Vernier caliper, a micrometer, or a digital caliper.

In case there is a small step between the braking surface and the rest of the rotor, take that as an indication that your rotor needs replacement.

2. When The Rotor Is Bent

Earlier, we had mentioned that disc rotors might bend if you are involved in a crash or place undue pressure on them. For example, you can easily twist your bike’s disc rotors when transporting it in a car if you put some weight on them.

Bent rotors will touch the brake pads at some points and not others. When this happens, your braking efficiency is compromised.

Therefore, in case the body of the brake rotor is badly bent, you definitely need to get a replacement soonest possible.

If you can’t afford the high-end of the market rotors, you can go for one-piece steel rotors such as Litetop Stainless steel rotors (2 pieces). They are easy to mount and have excellent heat dissipation.

How Long Do Bike Disc Rotors Last?

As earlier mentioned, there isn’t a specific period that bike disc rotors can last. There are so many factors that affect a rotor’s lifespan.

However, most disc rotors can last for an average of two years with and moderate rider. It shouldn’t surprise you if you heard of cyclists claiming to have the same brake rotors for more than 4 years.

The type of pads that you use will mainly determine how long your bike’s rotors will last. For example, metallic and semi-metallic brake pads have different abrasion effects, with the metallic ones being gross.

Mud and muddy water also increase the rate at which your rotors wear out. Therefore, if you primarily ride on the trails, you will have to replace your rotor sooner than a person who rides on the streets.

However, the thickness and quality of your rotors, rider’s weight, braking habits are some of the factors that affect how long your disc rotors will last.

When should I replace my bike disc rotors? Bike disk brakes

How Often Do You Replace Bike Disc Rotors?

It is hard to determine how often you should replace your bike disc rotors because every rider has a unique riding and braking style.

All the same, you should replace your disc rotors whenever a need arises. If the blades are worn out or badly bent, the best you can do is replace them soonest possible.

Also, if you realize that your rotor has a crack, again, this is a call to replace it ASAP.

However, for an average cyclist, you may only need to replace your brake rotors after about two years or more, depending on where and how you ride.

How Much Does Brake Rotor Replacement Cost?

Disc brakes are not only efficient, but they are also relatively cheap. First, the process of replacing a brake rotor isn’t complex, and you can easily DIY.

In that case, you will only have to buy the rotors and install them yourself. A good bike rotor will cost between $10 and $60. That is a big range, and therefore, almost anyone can afford to buy a replacement rotor.

If you aren’t the DIY kind, you can seek the services of a professional from your local shop. The labor cost will range from $10 to $50. However, these are estimations, and the prices may vary from place to place.

Notably, some shops work by hour rates for labor services with the minimum charge set at $10.

In addition, the cost will increase if you want to replace the brake pads too.

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Final Word

Brakes are an essential part of your bike since they help you stop or slow the bike when there is need. Actually, an excellent braking system could be the only buffer from death’s sting.

Therefore, you should replace your bike disc rotors once they are worn out or damaged. Generally, if the blade is about 1.5mm thick or less, it is time to get a new one.

Fortunately, disc rotors don’t cost a foot and a leg. So, any cyclist can afford a replacement.

You may use the services of a professional to install your new set, or you can do it yourself. However, it isn’t advisable to DIY install the rotors if you lack the necessary skills.