How To Bleed Shimano Brakes

Bleeding your Shimano brakes is a fundamental skill for any cyclist looking to maintain optimal braking performance. Whether you're a seasoned rider or a beginner, understanding the intricacies of this process is crucial for a safe and enjoyable cycling experience. In this comprehensive guide, we'll take you through the step-by-step process of bleeding Shimano brakes, empowering you to master this essential maintenance task.

Why Bleeding Shimano Brakes Matters:

Properly functioning brakes are a non-negotiable for any rider. Over time, air can enter the brake system, leading to a spongy feel and reduced stopping power. Bleeding Shimano brakes removes air bubbles, ensuring consistent and reliable braking performance.

Tools and Materials:

Before you start the bleeding process, gather the necessary tools and materials:

  1. Shimano brake fluid
  2. Bleed kit (including a syringe, hose, and funnel)
  3. Shimano bleed block or an appropriately sized spacer
  4. 7mm and 8mm open-end wrenches
  5. Clean rag or paper towels

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Prepare Your Workspace: Start by securing your bike in a stable position. Lay down a clean rag or paper towels to catch any spills. Ensure good ventilation in your workspace.

  2. Remove the Wheel: To have better access to the brake caliper, remove the wheel from the bike.

  3. Insert Bleed Block: Insert the bleed block or spacer between the brake pads to prevent them from closing during the bleeding process.

  4. Attach Bleed Kit: Connect the bleed kit to the brake caliper bleed port using the appropriate adapter. Secure the hose and open the bleed port with an 8mm wrench.

  5. Fill the Syringe: Fill the syringe with Shimano brake fluid and attach it to the bleed kit. Ensure there are no air bubbles in the syringe.

  6. Bleed the System: Open the brake lever reservoir and insert the funnel. Slowly push the fluid through the system, watching for air bubbles in the hose. Keep an eye on the fluid level in the reservoir, topping it up as needed.

  7. Top Up and Close the System: Once the fluid is free of bubbles, close the bleed port at the caliper and remove the bleed kit. Top up the brake fluid in the reservoir and close the cap.

  8. Check for Leaks: Confirm that all connections are secure, and there are no leaks. Wipe down the brake caliper and lever to remove any spilled fluid.

  9. Reinstall the Wheel: Put the wheel back on, and check that the brake pads engage evenly on both sides of the rotor.

  10. Bed-in the Brakes: Take a few gentle rides, applying the brakes intermittently to allow the pads to seat properly.


Bleeding Shimano brakes is a skill that every cyclist should have in their toolkit. Regular maintenance ensures your brakes perform optimally, providing the confidence and control you need on every ride. By following this comprehensive guide, you'll be well on your way to mastering the art of bleeding Shimano brakes.

Remember, if you're unsure or uncomfortable with the process, seeking assistance from a professional bike mechanic is always a good option. Happy riding!