Cut Hydraulic Brake Hose Bike (Beginners Guide)

Cut Hydraulic Brake Hose Bike

Newer, modern bicycles mostly come with extra-long brake hoses. Having these hoses flap and dangle while riding can be extremely annoying, therefore reducing ride quality.

Newer bikes also come with hydraulic disc brakes. It is possible to trim down brake hoses. 

However, if done wrongly, this could cause severe damage to your bike. This article covers the correct, step-by-step guide on cutting your bicycle’s hydraulic brake hose.

Unscrew your hose from the J-kit/Easy joint on the brake lever using 2x 8mm spanners. Attach one spanner to the body of the joint and another to the connecting bolt. Once undone, adjust your hose to the desired length you want, mark it, then use hydraulic hose cutters to cut the hose. Finally, rejoin the shortened hose back to the joint. 

Can You Cut Hydraulic Brake Hose Bike?

Cut Hydraulic Brake Hose Bike

Yes, you can. A few tools you can use include:

  • Hydraulic hose cutters
  • A sharp utility knife
  • Bicycle cable cutters

The best and most preferable amongst all these are the hydraulic hose cutters. They give a much cleaner, clearer, and more efficient cut.

Ensure your cutter, knife, or snip cuts perpendicularly ( 90 degrees) down and not diagonally (at an angle). Hydraulic hose cutters ensure this happens correctly. 

Bicycle cable cutters or side snips may deform or crush the hydraulic brake hose.

Sharp utility knives can also work efficiently. However, you are prone to make a mistake in the angle of the cut using utility knives. 

Cutting hydraulic brake hoses diagonally or at an angle can expose it to fluid leakage from that gap after rejoining the trimmed hose.

After cutting the brake hose, you also need tools to press the hydraulic barb tightly into the hose.

For this, you would require pressing tools. A few include

  • A dedicated hydraulic press tool
  • A hammer
  • Pliers 
  • Blade blocks

The essence of the pressing tools is to appropriately measure and tightly fit the barb into the hydraulic hose.

Failure to properly tighten your hydraulic barb can cause it to slip out or result in spillage of hydraulic fluid. 

However, a valuable tip to note is that if you crush the hole slightly, you can insert a 1.5mm Allen wrench into the end of the hose to open the hole up and make it smooth and circular again.

If you find inserting the barb tedious or don’t know how to use the press tools correctly, there is a much more relatable and straightforward alternative. 

After inserting the barb into the hose, grip the end of the hose lightly with a plier.

Slowly release your hand from the plier to give the barb room to enter fully. Find a flat smooth surface and push the barb against it. 

How to Cut MTB Hydraulic Brake Hose?

Modern mountain bikes usually come with an overly long disc brake hose. It not only makes riding less enjoyable but also potentially dangerous.

These unnecessarily long disc brake hoses get stuck on wheels causing them to buck and damage while riding. 

Before cutting a mountain bike’s hydraulic brake hose, you must first select the appropriate tools befitting your particular brake’s brand.

These tools include

  • A bleed kit
  • Disc brake cleaner
  • A Rag cloth
  • Hydraulic hose cutters

The essence of a bleed kit is to bleed the disc brake hose afterward, to remove air bubbles from the brake lines.

It allows your brakes to feel firmer and work efficiently. Another crucial tip is the correct fittings for your particular bicycle brand. 

This is crucial because you must remove and replace the olive and internal barb fitting to cut your brake hose.

Therefore, knowing and having the correct olives and internal barb fittings at hand will save you time and energy.

The procedure to cut your mountain bike brake hose is as follows:

  • Measure the desired length for the brake hose, then mark that length.
  • Use a hydraulic hose cutter to cut the hose perpendicularly. 
  • Change the olive and internal barb fittings before fixing the hose back. (Remember to get the correct fittings suited to your bicycle)
  • Attach the new olive and internal barb fittings into their respective positions.
  • Insert the olive into the lever and screw in gently. Tighten the fitting using the 8mm spanners. Try not to tighten too hard.
  • Finally, spray the disc brake cleaner on the hose fitting lavishly on the trimmed brake fitting and hose to clean out grease and oil residue.

Method for Shortening a Damaged Hydraulic Brake Hose

Due to the excessive extra length, hydraulic brake hoses are prone to damage quickly.

However, most times, the damage is done to the hose may not affect the brakes, and they may still be capable of holding pressure. 

Most modern bicycles come with spare fittings that include olive and internal barb.

Let’s look at some methods for shortening your damaged hydraulic brake hose quickly:

  • Unscrew the olive using 8mm spanners and discard the old olive and internal barb. (You may need to apply force because the olive needs to be deformed to pull out successfully.) A little oil or grease on the olive can help it deform easily. 
  • Cut away the damaged part of the brake hose and check for any excessive fluid leakage. Hydraulic hose cutters or cable cutters would do the job. 
  • Inspect the cut to ensure it is completely perpendicular. If not, smoothen and cut to 90 degrees.
  • Insert the new olive and internal barb fittings into the shortened hose correctly. (Be very gentle when inserting the barb. You could apply a little oil to help lubricate it, sliding it in). 
  • Attach the hose back to the brake lever and tighten gently with the black threaded nut on its surface.
  • Bleed the brake system to clear out air bubbles. You may as well clean the pistons and caliper. 

What do You Cut Hydraulic Brake Hose Bike With?

You can use a variety of tools to cut hydraulic brake hoses. The most suitable are tools that give a smooth straight cut without crushing or bending the hose.

A few tools you can use for cutting your hydraulic brake hose include

  • Hydraulic hose cutters
  • A utility knife
  • Gear cable cutters

Using gear cable cutters is not advisable as they tend to crush the hose as it cuts.

Using a utility knife or, most preferably, a hydraulic hose cutter would ensure a good clean cut without any crushing.

You can check out this hydraulic brake hose cutter. Let’s examine a few pros and cons associated with each tool.

Gear Cable CuttersGear cable cutters are much more solid to wield and can cut as efficiently as the other tools.They tend to crush the hose while cutting.
Utility knifeVery cheap and easy to use. Utility knives are also easily accessible.They don’t have a firm grip on the hose, making diagonal or shabby cuts.
Hydraulic hose cuttersThese are the best tools to use for cutting hydraulic brake hoses. They have a firm grip and cut cleanly and accurately.They may be more expensive than the other tools.

Tricks to Cut Hydraulic Brake Hose Bike

A few hacks you can follow while cutting your hydraulic brake hose include:

  • Slightly lubricate the internal garb before inserting it into the hose for smoother passage.
  • If you mistakenly crush the hose while cutting, you can use a 1.5mm Allen wrench to open it up.
  • Ensure the cut is smooth and perpendicular before attaching the hose to the brake lever.


In conclusion, cutting your hydraulic brake hose is relatively easy so long as you use the right tools and follow the correct instructions dutifully.

Hydraulic hose cutters are the most suitable tools for cutting hydraulic brake hoses.

Always bleed your disc brake hose afterward to remove air bubbles. 

Josh Matthews

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