Many of us, if not all, once owned a bicycle. It’s an excellent transportation because it protects the environment while giving the user a good chance to stay in shape.
Though all of us might have used it, not everyone knows how to adjust the bike brakes, one of the most critical parts on the bicycle. Bicycle brakes may all be designed to stop the wheels from turning, but how they do this vary enormously.
Now, this guide includes some of the most common bike brakes and reveals how you can get the most performance out of your brakes.
Types of Bike Brakes
Just Not Sports commonly find this type of brake on road bicycles, but we can also mount them on mountain bikes. On road bikes, you are only able to micro adjust on the barrel adjuster, which is on the caliper. On mountain bikes you can adapt to two different increments; one on the caliper and one on the brake lever. It enables the user to adjust more readily while still on the go.
Rim brakes: V-shaped and U-shaped
The other most common braking system is the V-Brake. These are not applicable to the road bicycle. On mountain bikes you can adjust them similar to a road bike. Calliper brake, the difference being in the cable configuration. One cable has a V shape, and the other is a U. However, the adjustment essentially follows the same method.
Understandably, disc brakes can be a little more intricate than essential brakes such as V-brakes or cables. In this guide, Just Not Sports will look at the common problems that can occur so you can maintain them yourself. It can reduce problems in the future, give your brakes longevity and prevent mechanical malfunctions while your riding.
TOOLS YOU WILL NEED
- Number 1 Phillips Screwdriver
- 5mm T-Handle wrench
- Multi-tool with 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, and Phillips head screwdriver
- 3-Way Allen Tool with 4mm, 5mm, and 6mm sizes
THE HOW-TO: STEP BY STEP How to Adjust Bicycle Brakes
Before Just Not Sports start, there are some tips that we want you to know to prepare you and save your time when making the adjustment and fixing your bike.
Step 1: Check if your wheels are sitting correctly in the dropouts
To do this, loosen the quick release on the hub and move the wheel from side to side, do this until you are sure they are aligned straight.
Step 2: Have a look at what type of brake pads set up you have on your bicycle.
Note: that different brands and models may vary in appearance, but generally all work the same.
Step 1: Center your brakes. Ensure the distance between each side is equal from the rim. If one of the pads pushes it to the other pad, then your brakes are not correctly centered. To adjust this, loosen the bolt at the back, realign the brake for equal distance and tighten the bolt to secure its permanent position.
Step 2: Check if the distance of the pads is equal from the rim. To adjust, hold the brake caliper in one of your hands, again, loosen the bolt, release or lock the cable and squeeze the brake calipers slightly. Secure the adjustment by securing the pin tightly.
The positioning of the lever is to allow for clearance of the tire to ensure ease of removal of the wheel. At this stage, ensure the lever point is in the downward facing position. The positioning should be centered on the braking surface and should never make contact on the sidewall of the tire.
Step 3: Using your eye, spin the wheel with your hand or the pedal and check the alignment all the way around. Adjust if necessary.
Step 4: Once the pad position and cable tension are adjusted, you can begin to perfect the tuning of the barrel adjuster. To start, turn the barrel clockwise and move the pads away from the rim and alternate to move closer in a counter-clockwise direction.
Step 1: Start by using what’s in place for you already: the barrel adjuster that’s at the top of the brake lever on the cable. Just playing with tightening or loosening this can solve a lot of common issues.
Step 2.A: If that doesn’t work, you can check the bolt where the brake and the frame connects. When the pin isn’t tight enough, it can cause your brake to move as you ride. Similar to disc brakes, Perejmibida says to engage your brakes, and then tighten that bolt, so it’s centered.
Step 2.B: If your brakes are too loose, which means you need to pull the levers to the bars very hard for them to engage: Perejmibida suggests slightly tightening the cable. It’s a simple adjustment: Using an Allen key, loosen the nut and bolt where the wire ends, pull a bit more of the wire through, and retighten. Try the barrel adjuster before you try this, though.
Tightening the brakes with the barrel adjuster first. Once the pads are tight to the edge, you can loosen the bolt that keeps them in place and makes minor adjustments without them slipping too far to one side, since the rim itself will keep them in place. Loosen the barrel adjuster after they’re in place.
Disc brakes are more complicated to adjust than cable or V-brakes and in this guide demonstrated just one straightforward, home-mechanic friendly way to fix common issues.
Step 1: If your disc brake is rubbing, you must have caused them when the brake caliper is incorrectly aligned, or you incorrectly reposition the wheel after removal. Start by loosening the two bolts that mount the disc brake to the frame.
Step 2: Once they’re loose, squeeze your brakes so that they engage the rotor. It’s now centered perfectly, so—with the brake levers still depressed—re-tighten those bolts. That fixes about three-fourths of disc adjustment problems commonly found in everyday use.
Step 3: To check your brake pads, look in the top or back of the brake to see the side profile of your pillow. If the spring that keeps the pads together seems perilously close to the rotor, if you can’t see the pad at all, or if your pistons are stuck out as far as they can go, it’s time to replace them.
Although it might appear to be challenging for a beginner, Just Not Sports hope that after this guide, we have provided you with enough instruction to adjust your brake and fix any minor problems that may occur. If your brake is severely damaged, take your bike to a local center to avoid damaging your transportation and save you time.