Disc Brakes Pulsing: The Ultimate Guide

Last updated on June 3rd, 2022 at 02:29 pm

Have you ever felt your bike’s disc brake pulsing? If you have, you are not alone. Many people experience this and It’s extremely common! 

Disc brakes pulsing can be rather bothersome when riding a bicycle, but don’t worry as we will be covering everything you need to know from why it happens and how to fix it so that you feel as secure as possible on the road.

Without further ado lets gets started!

Why Is My Bike Disc Brake Pulsing?

The primary cause of this issue is that the brake pads have become worn out. If you ride your bike frequently and have had it for a while, then there is a possibility that the brake pads have become worn out. If this is the case, you should replace them. Worn out brake pads also cause bike popping sounds.

The other cause of pulsation is heat expansion. As your rotor gets hot from use, it expands slightly and pushes against your pads more (or possibly less) than it did when it was cold – again causing pulsation in your brake lever action.

You might also experience pulsing disc brakes if your rotors aren’t perfectly balanced, which means that each side of the rotor will spin at different speeds when you apply pressure to one side. This is usually caused by poor manufacturing or improper installation of the rotor onto the hub.

It’s also conceivable that your rotor is twisted or that your brake pads have become misaligned. It should feel like a light spring pressing back on you if you pull back on one side of the brake lever and try to push on the other. If the brake pad feels like it has no spring, it needs to be changed.

Problems with brakes can also be brought on by POORLY adjusted cables or loose bolts, both of which can bring about a reduction in the effectiveness of your brakes or even make them ineffective.

bike brake pads

Is It Safe to Ride With Pulsating Brakes?

The fact that pulsing disc brakes can be safe to employ is a little-known truth. Despite the label “pulsating brake,” which suggests danger, these brakes are safe for you and your loved ones.

Even if they’re malfunctioning, they’re designed to keep you safe! Even though one side of your bike does not have any brake pressure, it will still be able to stop due to the other side’s pressure. Because of the effectiveness of this braking mechanism, even if one side fails, you won’t hit anything or anyone.

If you continue to ride your bike with disc brakes pulsing, then it could cause more damage to your bike and lead to more expensive repairs down the road.

How Do You Fix Disc Brakes Pulsing?

When your bike brakes are pulsing, it’s time for a tune-up. Ideally, you should take your bike to a shop and have them inspect the brakes for any issues. However, if you’re not comfortable with that, here’s how to check if your brakes are properly adjusted and working properly:

Step 01

The first thing to check is the brake pads. If they are too worn, they will not grip the rim well and you will get pulsing as you apply the brakes. Replace them if they are worn beyond the point of being safe.

Step 02

You also need to make sure that the wheel is trued properly so that it spins true and does not wobble when you spin it by hand. If there is any wobble at all in the wheel, it will cause pulsing in your brakes because they will not be able to center themselves properly on the rim while braking.

This can be fixed by adjusting them until there is no wobble at all when you spin them by hand.

Step 03

If there is still disc brakes pulsing after this, check for loose spokes on your wheel or for loose bolts that might allow your brake pads to move around too much inside their holders on your bike’s frame or fork.


If all of this sounds intimidating, it’s okay. You don’t need to know everything about disc brakes to understand that they can be problematic if they’re not set up correctly.

Instead, take comfort in knowing that your local bike shop should be able to help you whether or not you have a mechanical background. 

They’ll be able to talk you through some solutions on the spot and might even have you out riding again sooner than later. However, treat those pulsations immediately or prepare for trouble!


How much does it cost to fix pulsating disc brakes?

A brake inspection and repair can cost anywhere from $40 to $150, so you might have to get a second opinion if the first mechanic says your brakes need to be replaced. If it’s expensive and you’re not sure if the repair will be necessary, you may want to consider getting an estimate from a different mechanic

How to fix pulsating front disc brakes?

Front disc brakes can be fixed by adjusting two different things – the position of the pads relative to the rotor and the tension in the brake cable. These two adjustments are often done at the same time so that you don’t have to make more than one trip to your bike later on when something else needs fixing.

Certified bike mechanic based in Orlando, Florida. With over 15 years of knowledge and experience in the industry, I can help you diagnose issues and fix them.

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