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Bicycle brakes: How to adjust bicycle brakes

Bicycle brakes: How to adjust bicycle brakes

bicycle brakesRegularly adjusting your bicycle brakes will help them perform better and ensure you are riding safely. The two main parts you need to adjust in a bicycle brake system are the brake pads and the brake cable. Brake pads that wear too low or too high may cause safety hazards on the rim. Too loose brake cables will make braking more difficult. Fortunately, you can easily solve these problems with some simple tools!

Method 1 adjust the brake pads

bicycle brakes

1 Please check your brake pads before making any adjustments.

Brake pads are brake pads that are clamped on the front tire of the bicycle when you pull the brake lever. If the brake pads wear more than the line marked “wear line”, you need to replace them before adjusting the brakes.

If the wear line on the brake pad is not marked, it should be marked with a groove on the side of the brake pad.

You can order new brake pads online or at your local bicycle shop.

Make sure your wheel is also properly aligned in the rear fork, otherwise it will not make good contact with your brakes.

2 Squeeze the brake lever and see where the brake pads hit the rim.

bicycle brakesThe two brake pads should be in contact with the rim of the front tire at the same time. They should hit the center of the basket with equal space above and below the mat. If the pads hit the rim too high or too low, they may touch the rubber part of the tire or the spokes of the bicycle.

When you squeeze the brake lever, squat down to take a closer look at the brake pads.

If your bicycle has a quick release device, check if it is loose or not. Otherwise, your brakes will not press tightly on the wheels.

3 Use an Allen key to loosen the bolts that hold the brake pads in place.

bicycle brakesTurn the Allen key counterclockwise to loosen the bolt. Do not loosen the bolts completely, otherwise the brake pads will come out of the brake pad bracket.

4 Move the brake pads up or down in the brake pad holder.

bicycle brakesOnce the bolts are loosened, they should be easy to move up and down. If the pads are too low on the rim, move them up
until they are centered. If the pads are too high on the rim, move them down until they are centered.

5 Retighten the brake pad bolts with an Allen wrench.

bicycle brakesContinue to turn the Allen key clockwise until the bolts are fully tightened. Check to make sure that the brake pads are
centered. If necessary, readjust.

Method2: Tighten the brake cable

1 Test the tightness of the cable by pulling each brake lever.

bicycle brakesWhen you pull the brake levers, they should be about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) from the handle on the handlebar. If the lever touches the handlebar when pulling the lever, the brake cable is too loose.

2 Loosen the barrel adjuster to make a slight adjustment of the brake cable.

bicycle brakesIf your brake cable is slightly loose, loosening the barrel adjuster may solve the problem. The barrel adjuster is
located where the brake cable meets the brake lever.

Turn the barrel adjuster connected to the loose brake cable counterclockwise to loosen it. Loosening the barrel adjuster will actually tighten the brake cable slightly.

After releasing the barrel adjuster, pull the brake lever to see if the problem is solved. If the brake cable is still too loose, you need to adjust it on the caliper. Keep the barrel adjuster as it is. Still don’t tighten it.

3 Unscrew the bolt that fixes the brake cable on the caliper.

bicycle brakesThe caliper is the main frame of the brake to which the brake pads are connected. The brake wire is a thin wire extending
from the caliper. Locate the bolt that secures the brake cable. Use an Allen key to turn it counterclockwise several times until the bolt is slightly loosened.

Do not completely unscrew the bolts. Just turn the Allen key counterclockwise 2-3 times until the bolt is loose.

4 Pull the brake cable outward to tighten it.

bicycle brakesNow that the bolts are loosened, there should be no problem pulling the cable. After tightening, use your fingers to hold it in place. When you pull the cable, the brake pads should tighten on the rim of the front tire. You want them to be tight enough to have some resistance when turning the tire, but not so tight that the tire cannot turn at all.

If you can’t turn the tire at all, don’t pull the brake cable too hard to make it less tight.

5 Tighten the bolts that fix the brake cable to the caliper.

bicycle brakesUse an Allen key to turn clockwise 2-3 times until it stops turning. After tightening the bolts, the cable should be
fixed in place.

6 Tighten the barrel adjuster on the handlebar.

bicycle brakesTurn the previously loosened barrel adjusters clockwise several times until they are fully tightened. Tightening the barrel adjuster will loosen the brake pads clamped on the front tires. After tightening the barrel adjuster, your brake cables should all be set!

Pull the brake lever to test the brake cable again. Now when you pull the joystick, there should be a distance of 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) between the joystick and the handle on the handlebar.

As you ride a bike, bicycle brakes do wear and become thinner. When braking power decreases, adjust the bicycle brakes closer to the rotor. Be sure to keep on eye on them and replace when necessary. If you’re ever unsure about your work, have it checked by a professional bike mechanic. Happy riding!

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