How to install brake hoods on a road bike

Rubber brake hoods provide crucial comfort and control when you’re riding your road bike. If your brake hoods are worn out or damaged, then you should replace them.

In our guide on how to install brake hoods on a road bike, we talk you through the steps you need to follow. We break it down and make it simple enough for anyone to do.

This guide is suitable for installing SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo road hoods.

Why change the brake hoods on my road bike?

Brake hoods are, for many riders, where they will spend most of their time when riding. They’re ergonomically shaped to provide a comfortable riding position while giving you access to the brake levers when you need them.

Over time, the rubber used to make brake hoods can wear away. It can also become damaged as a result of a crash or scrape, or by leaning it against an abrasive wall surface.

The good news is that replacing your brake hoods is simple, cheap and effective. A new set of brake hoods for your road bike can transform the look and feel of your ride.

A lot of riders are worried about tearing their new road bike brake hoods and put the job off, but there’s no need to be concerned. Brake hoods are built from sturdy and flexible rubber that can stretch.

As long as you take care and take your time, you should have no problems fitting new brake hoods to your road bike.

What you'll need

To replace the brake hoods on your road bike, the only thing you’ll need is a pair of new hoods.

Be sure to choose the correct ones for your make and model as brake hoods aren’t universal.

Step-by-step guide to installing brake hoods on a road bike

Step 1: Remove the old brake hoods

Start by removing the old brake hoods from your road bike. You can roll these off, but as you’re not going to use them again, there’s no point. Instead, grab a pair of scissors and snip them at the bottom. You should be able to tear the rubber and pull the hoods off.

Don’t throw your old brake hoods in the bin, but recycle them.

Step 2. Leave the new brake hoods somewhere warm

This is a top-tip that should make sliding on your new hoods a little easier. Before fitting, leave the hoods somewhere warm, out in the sunshine or on top of a radiator are perfect.

This will soften up the rubber a little bit which should make it a little easier to wrestle them into place on the shifter.

You can also use rubbing alcohol to ease the brake hoods into place.

Step 3. Pull the hoods into place

Now it’s time to get ruthless with your rubber road brake hoods!

Installing brake hoods on a road bike involves a bit of elbow grease. Ensure the bike is secure before starting. A bike stand is perfect, but you can lean it against a wall or balance it between your legs.

Next, pull the brake hood over the brake lever and pull it into place. Now, line the brake hood up to ensure it’s facing the right direction. Secure it in place using the internal bosses and hooks on the rubber brake hood.

Step 4. Massage them into place

Work your hands over the whole of the road hood, pushing it into place. It’s unlikely to fit perfectly in the beginning, but after a ride or two, the rubber will form perfectly into place.

Step 5. Test ride

Whenever you work on your bike, it’s worth doing a short test-ride to ensure everything is OK before heading out on a longer journey. Cycling up and down the street with your hands on the hoods will help you identify any issues.

If everything is firmly in place, you're good to go!

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