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If you are an avid cyclist, one of the most common parts that will need to be fixed on your bike is the brakes, but how much does it cost?
There are a number of different brake options out there and although they all technically do the same thing, they can often vary in costs depending on the manufacturer that produced them and the braking system itself.
How much it costs to fix your bike brakes depends on the type of brakes as well as whether you go to a professional shop or DIY. At a professional shop, it will cost you anywhere from $50 to $100 to fix your bike brakes. However, the DIY approach can cost as little as $12 to $50.
Riding your bike is a whole lot of fun, but just like anything that is mechanical, you can expect it to break down from time to time. Whether you are a competitive cyclist, a diehard mountain biker, or simply the kind of person that likes to go out to casually cruise around on your bike, your brakes are going to get used and abused after a while. Luckily, this is one of the easiest things to fix on your bike and it also happens to be one of the cheapest. However, the price that you pay to fix your brakes can vary significantly depending on whether you do the repairs yourself or decide to have a professional bike shop do it for you. In addition, there are 3 different kinds of brake systems for bikes that are commonly used and these can also play a significant role in costs. To help you understand this further, we are going to take a closer look at home much it costs to fix bike brakes.
After decades of running a bike shop and working as a professional bike mechanic, I have had an extensive amount of experience installing and fixing bike brakes. My experience has taught me that the costs of your brake repairs are greatly influenced based on whether you have a professional installation or you do it yourself.
Cost to Fix Bike Brakes
If you have been around bikes long enough, you know it is only a matter of time until you have an issue with your brakes. This is one of the most common repairs to run into and the most important thing is to catch it early on. It goes without saying, that your brakes are the most important safety feature of your bike and if you want to keep yourself out of harm’s way and your bike in working order, you would be wise to fix your brakes before they cause any trouble when you are riding.
The best way to do this is to do a quick inspection of your bike before you go out riding and to look for any serious wear and tear or signs of malfunction. This can not only encourage safety but can also help you save money on your repairs. If you are able to catch brake issues early on then you could potentially save yourself some unnecessary repairs by taking action before any permanent damage has been done.
Now, if you feel like you have got brakes that need to get repaired or replaced, you can always take it to your local bike shop to have them take care of it for you - or, alternatively, you can roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. If you decide to take the DIY approach with your bike brake repairs, then you can end up saving yourself a considerable amount of money - as much as 50% of the total costs.
However, you want to make sure that you know what you are doing before you begin taking things apart. Your brakes are an important part of your bike and the last thing that you want to do is create more problems or perform a shabby repair job, which is why it is always better to take your bike to a shop if you do not feel confident. In addition, before you begin any kind of repairs, you should also confirm the exact type of brake system that you have, which will be either disc brakes, linear-pull brakes, or cantilever brakes. Let’s dive right into how much it costs to fix bike brakes.
Disc Brake Fix Cost
Since the early 70s, disc brakes have been one of the most popular types of brakes that you can have on bicycles.
Disc brakes utilize a system that involves the pressure of hydraulic fluid to create the stopping power to slow down your bike. This fluid is pumped into the caliper which then forces the brake pad to make contact.
Although this sounds fancy and high-tech, the system is not all that complicated and, luckily, neither are the repairs. If you decide to do the repairs yourself, you can find disc brakes in most bike shops and online for quite cheap. A low-end set of disc brakes is going to cost you around $28 and moving up to a better quality set will cost you upwards of $40 to $45.
The great thing about fixing your disc brakes yourself is that if you have got the tools and the capability to do the repairs, your costs will not exceed $28 to $45. However, if you are riding a specialized bike that has modifications and custom parts, this price can go up significantly.
With that being said, if you decide to take your bike to a professional repair shop to have your disc brakes fixed, then this price is pretty much going to double. Each shop you go to will have slightly different labor costs for this kind of repair, but you should expect to pay at least $40 to $50 to get the job done. Having a professional bike mechanic fix your disc brakes is going to cost you anywhere from $80 to $100, which is usually about the most you would pay for a standard type of brake repair.
However, your costs may be higher or lower depending on a couple of factors. If you need to replace your housing in addition to your disc brakes, then you should an extra $10 to this amount for parts, which results in a DIY fix costing $50 and a professional fix costing $90 to $110.
One of the most common braking systems that you see on bikes is linear-pull brakes. These brakes provide fantastic stopping power that is both precise and smooth.
Whether you are using a quality set of linear-pull brakes from Shimano or a cheap off-brand option, the braking system will be the same. Linear-pull brakes are quite easy to fix and you should not have any issues doing the repairs at home yourself, so long as you have got some basic tools lying around for the job.
When picking out linear-pull brakes for your bike, you are going to see a number of different options that range in quality, which will ultimately affect how much you pay for the fix. If you are happy with a cheap set of linear-pull brakes, you can find options on the market that are as cheap as $14, which is one of the most affordable prices for any brake system that you can get. However, you can also find some higher-end models for your linear-brake pads that will cost as much as $30. A DIY approach for your linear-pull brakes will cost you anywhere from $14 to $30.
However, if you do not have the right tools laying around the house or simply lack the handy skills to fix your linear-pull brakes yourself, you can always take your bike to a repair shop. The average cost of an hourly wage for a bike mechanic will likely amount to labor costs that are as much as $35 to $40 for a linear-pull brake system.
If you combine this with the cost of your parts, you are looking at total costs of around $50 to $70, which will vary depending on the type of liner-pull brakes that you get. If you happen to need housing for your brakes as well, then the total cost will be as much as $60 to $80.
Another very common braking system found on bikes is cantilever brakes. These are much more common to see on older bikes especially.
The reason for this is that when linear-pull brakes came onto the scene, many riders decided to switch over to them from the cantilever brakes, as the proved to be somewhat of an upgrade. With that being said, many riders out there stay dedicated to their cantilever brakes, which is why we still see them widely used to this day.
Given that cantilever brakes have some common qualities to linear-pull brakes, they are actually priced in a fairly similar range. You can get yourself a set of low-end cantilever brakes for as little as $10! However, a better quality set may cost you upwards of $20.
With that being said, fixing your cantilever brakes at home is very cheap, as it is not going to cost you more than $10 to $20 - provided you have the right tools. In case you do not, a bicycle repair shop can easily take care of the job for you.
Since cantilever brakes are relatively easy to fix, you should be able to get away with fairly cheap labor costs. Most shops will charge you right around $30 for a cantilever brake fix. If you combine the labor and parts, the total cost will add up to $40 to $50 for everything.
If you have got issues with your housing as well, then you will have to add another $10 to the total. So, it is going to set you back as much as $50 to $60 with the housing included.
Factors To Consider
If you have identified the type of brakes that your bike has, you should not have an issue finding the right kind at your local bike shop or online.
However, there are some additional factors involved in the repairs of your bike brakes that you should be aware of. Let’s take a closer look at some of your bike brake components to determine how much you could end up paying.
Single Brake Fix
When you inspect your bike brakes for wear and tear, you may find that both of your brakes do not need to be repaired, but rather just the front or the back ones do.
If that is the case, then you could end up saving yourself a bit of money on your total costs. You can buy bike brake components independently and save yourself on the initial price of paying for an entire brake system.
However, if you go to a shop to have this repair done, you can also save yourself 50% of the labor cost.
More often than not, you will not need to fix every part of your entire brake system when you go in for repairs.
However, if you have done some serious damage to your bike or it is simply old, you may find that you need to replace your brake levers as well.
Your brake levers can vary in price - with some low-end models costing as little as $9 and high-end options costing upwards of $50. If you need to fix your brake levers, you should add this cost on top of what you need for your brake system.
A great way to mitigate the cost of doing this kind of installation is to buy an entire brake kit that has the housing, levers, pads, and calipers all in one set.