We’re avid mountain bikers on our team. And as every mountain biker knows, these incredible two-wheelers need to be maintained so they continue to absorb bumps, shift smoothly, corner well, spin well, and stop forward momentum. After a ride, one of our riders felt a mushy brake lever on their Shimano XT front brakes, and inconsistent braking force. Both of these symptoms are indicative of a brake that warrants a bleed. For any hydraulic brake bleed, you’ll need a brake bleed kit. While the Shimano bleed kit will set you back $35 plus the cost of the mineral oil (Shimano’s alternative to hydraulic brake fluid) through most retailers, we’ll show you how to build one for as little as $1.19.
1 – A clean syringe (available at any pharmacy for free) that can hold 5ML or more
2 – A 6″ section of 1/4″ hose ($0.19/foot at Ace Hardware)
3 – A bleed block (small yellow plastic block used to prevent brake cylinders from becoming stuck down (my local bike store provided this for free, they had 2 dozen sitting in a drawer and were happy to get rid of one)
4 – Two clean small plastic bottles ($1 at the closest dollar store)
5- Some hydraulic brake oil or mineral oil – check manufacturer specs to be certain to use the right product here (my LBS filled a small plastic bottle for $5)
Your DIY Shimano Bleed Kit should look like this: