BRAKE TECH TIP

V-BRAKE and ROAD CALIPER

How to make adjustments to get your brakes to work and feel just right

V-Brake
Adjustments
Road Brake
Adjustments

Brake Adjust Tools

Tools for the job:

These are a few of the different tools you could use to adjust the brakes. The minimum needed will be a phillips screwdriver and whatever allen wrenches will fit your brake cable tension bolt and brake pad fixing nut.

  • 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

Need some tools? Order Online!

Philips Screwdriver
5mm T-Handle
Multi-tool
3-Way Allen


Other things you might need.

Basic Brake Cable/Housing Kit
Sport Brake/Cable Housing Kit
Cable & Housing Cutter
Brake Pads

   

V-BRAKE ADJUSTMENTS

Adjusting Brake Feel at the Lever Adjusting Brake Pad Rotation Adjust Centering of Brakes on Rim

ADJUSTING BRAKE FEEL AT THE LEVER

Need some tools? Order Online!

Philips Screwdriver
5mm T-Handle
Multi-tool
3-Way Allen


Other things you might need.

Basic Brake Cable/Housing Kit
Sport Brake/Cable Housing Kit
Cable & Housing Cutter
Brake Pads

How far the brake lever travels when pulled is adjusted primarily at the cable fixing bolt on the brake. Allowing more cable through (or effectively loosening the brake) will give more lever travel and pulling the cable tighter (or effectively tightening the brake) will reduce lever travel.

  • 5mm allen wrench typical for most brakes, possibly a 4mm or 6mm for your particular brake.

 
  • The first step is to determine whether you need the brake lever to move more or move less when pulled.
    • If you need the brake lever to move less when pulled, then you will need to adjust the brake by pulling a little more cable through the brake cable fixing bolt.
    • If you need the brake lever to move more when pulled, then you will need to adjust the brake by letting a little cable out from the brake cable fixing bolt.
  • Select the correct wrench to fit your cable fixing bolt (typically 5mm)
  • The cable is typically pushed behind a small hook built into the brake arm, be sure to fish it out.
  • Place the wrench fully in contact with the bolt with one hand.
  • Hold the end of the cable with the other hand.
  • Loosen the bolt enough that the brake arm can move freely across the cable. It is important to not let the wrench off the bolt as you will be moving the brake while holding the wrench and the cable.
  • Move the brake to either tighten it or loosen it.
    • Move the brake toward the right to loosen and move the brake toward the left to tighten.
  • Tighten the cable fixing bolt snugly and test at the lever. If further adjustment is needed, repeat the steps above until it is to your liking.
  • When you are happy with your adjustment, fully tighten the cable fixing bolt (be cautious not to over tighten as this can damage the cable) and hook the cable back under the tab on the brake arm.
  • Test again at the brake lever to be sure feel is to your liking.

ADJUSTING BRAKE PAD ROTATION

Need some tools? Order Online!

Philips Screwdriver
5mm T-Handle
Multi-tool
3-Way Allen


Other things you might need.

Basic Brake Cable/Housing Kit
Sport Brake/Cable Housing Kit
Cable & Housing Cutter
Brake Pads

If your brake pad rotation is adjusted incorrectly, the front or trailing edge of the brake pad can run up past the top of the rim and touch the tire. If allowed to rub on the tire for too long, this can cause a tear in the tire sidewall causing a flat tire.

  • 5mm allen wrench typical for most brakes, possibly a 6mm for your particular brake.
 
  • To reposition the brake pad, you will need to loosen the brake pad fixing nut.
  • Select the correct wrench to fit your cable fixing bolt (typically 5mm)
  • Place the wrench fully in contact with the nut.
  • Loosen the nut by turning counter-clockwise. Loosen just enough to turn the brake pad, a small of resistance is OK.
  • Move the brake pad into position, check that the pad and the rim are on the same plane.
 
  • To help keep the pad in adjustment when you tighten the brake pad fixing nut, you can place your fingers along the bottom of the brake pad as you tighten the nut.
  • Tighten the nut snugly and test your adjustment by pulling the brake lever.
 
  • Optimum adjustment is brake pad touching 1mm below top of rim brake surface in line with shape of rim.
  • If correct, place fingers below pad as before and fully tighten brake pad fixing nut.

ADJUSTING CENTERING OF BRAKES ON RIM

Need some tools? Order Online!

Philips Screwdriver
5mm T-Handle
Multi-tool
3-Way Allen


Other things you might need.

Basic Brake Cable/Housing Kit
Sport Brake/Cable Housing Kit
Cable & Housing Cutter
Brake Pads

If your brake pad is out of center, then one of the brake pads could be touching the rim. This can be identified visually or can be heard by a rubbing noise at the rim or can be felt by increased resistance while pedalling. Another symptom can be a mushy feel at the brake lever. If left unattended, this can cause premature wearing of the rubbing brake pad.

This screw is used to move the brake arms left or right to center on the rim.

  • Phillips screwdriver typical for most brakes, possibly a 3mm for your particular brake.
 
  • Locate the tension screw on your brake. There are typically one per brake arm and are usually located at the bottom of the brake.
  • Determine which direction you need to move the brake (either left or right).
  • Start your adjustment with a single brake arm.
  • Use the phillips screwdriver to tighten or loosen the tension screw and make the adjustment.
    • Tighten the screw (clockwise) to move the brake arm outward and increase spring tension
    • Loosen the screw (counter-clockwise) to move the brake arm inward and decrease spring tension.
  • Rotate the screwdriver a half turn at a time and test adjustment by squeezing the brake lever.
  • If the tension screw is either in our out all the way, use the other brake arm tension screw for adjustment.
  • Make small adjusments and tests until there is equal distance between the rim and brake pads on both sides.
  • When properly adjusted, the brake arms will move equally and the feel at the lever should be firm.

  

ROAD BRAKE CALIPER ADJUSTMENTS

Adjusting Brake Feel at the Lever Adjusting Brake Pad Rotation Adjust Centering of Brakes on Rim

ADJUSTING BRAKE FEEL AT THE LEVER

Need some tools? Order Online!

Philips Screwdriver
5mm T-Handle
Multi-tool
3-Way Allen


Other things you might need.

Basic Brake Cable/Housing Kit
Sport Brake/Cable Housing Kit
Cable & Housing Cutter
Brake Pads

How far the brake lever travels when pulled is adjusted primarily at the cable fixing bolt on the brake. Allowing more cable through (or effectively loosening the brake) will give more lever travel and pulling the cable tighter (or effectively tightening the brake) will reduce lever travel.

  • 5mm allen wrench typical for most brakes, possibly a 4mm or 6mm for your particular brake.
 
  • The first step is to determine whether you need the brake lever to move more or move less when pulled.
    • If you need the brake lever to move less when pulled, then you will need to adjust the brake by pulling a little more cable through the brake cable fixing bolt.
    • If you need the brake lever to move more when pulled, then you will need to adjust the brake by letting a little cable out from the brake cable fixing bolt.
  • Select the correct wrench to fit your cable fixing bolt (typically 5mm)
  • Place the wrench fully in contact with the bolt with one hand.
  • Hold the end of the cable with the other hand.
  • Loosen the bolt enough that the brake arm can move freely across the cable. It is important to not let the wrench off the bolt as you will be moving the brake while holding the wrench and the cable.
  • Move the brake to either tighten it or loosen it.
    • Move the brake arm up to tighten and move the brake arm down to tighten.
    • You can also loosen the nut and then adjust by holding the brake pads and either squeezing them together to tighten or opening them up to loosen.
  • Tighten the cable fixing bolt snugly and test at the lever. If further adjustment is needed, repeat the steps above until it is to your liking.
  • When you are happy with your adjustment, fully tighten the cable fixing bolt. (be cautious not to over tighten as this can damage the cable)
  • Test again at the brake lever to be sure feel is to your liking.
  • For minor adjustments to cable tension, you can use the adjusting barrel built into most road calipers.
  • To tighten brake feel, screw out adjusting barrel (usually counter-clockwise)
  • To loosen brake feel, screw in adjusting barrel (usually clockwise)

ADJUSTING BRAKE PAD ROTATION

Need some tools? Order Online!

Philips Screwdriver
5mm T-Handle
Multi-tool
3-Way Allen


Other things you might need.

Basic Brake Cable/Housing Kit
Sport Brake/Cable Housing Kit
Cable & Housing Cutter
Brake Pads

If your brake pad rotation is adjusted incorrectly, the front or trailing edge of the brake pad can run up past the top of the rim and touch the tire. If allowed to rub on the tire for too long, this can cause a tear in the tire sidewall causing a flat tire.

  • 4mm allen wrench typical for most brakes, possibly a 5mm or 6mm for your particular brake.
  • To reposition the brake pad, you will need to loosen the brake pad fixing nut.
  • Select the correct wrench to fit your cable fixing bolt (typically 4mm)
  • Place the wrench fully in contact with the nut.
  • Loosen the nut by turning counter-clockwise. Loosen just enough to turn the brake pad, a small of resistance is OK.
  • Move the brake pad into position, check that the pad and the rim are on the same plane.
  • To help keep the pad in adjustment when you tighten the brake pad fixing nut, you can place your fingers along the bottom of the brake pad as you tighten the nut.
  • Tighten the nut snugly and test your adjustment by pulling the brake lever.
  • Optimum adjustment is brake pad touching 1mm below the top of rim the brake surface in line with shape of the rim.
  • If correct, place fingers below pad as before and fully tighten brake pad fixing nut.

ADJUSTING CENTERING OF BRAKES ON THE RIM

Need some tools? Order Online!

Philips Screwdriver
5mm T-Handle
Multi-tool
3-Way Allen


Other things you might need.

Basic Brake Cable/Housing Kit
Sport Brake/Cable Housing Kit
Cable & Housing Cutter
Brake Pads

If your brake pad is out of center, then one of the brake pads could be touching the rim. This can be identified visually or can be heard by a rubbing noise at the rim or can be felt by increased resistance while pedalling. Another symptom can be a mushy feel at the brake lever. If left unattended, this can cause premature wearing of the rubbing brake pad.

This screw is used to move the brake arms left or right to center on the rim.

  • Phillips screwdriver typical for most brakes, possibly a 3mm for your particular brake.
  • Locate the tension screw on your brake. There is typically one per brake and is usually located at the top of the brake.
  • Determine which direction you need to move the brake (either left or right).
  • Use the phillips screwdriver to tighten or loosen the tension screw and make the adjustment. (Directions assuming you are standing on drive side of bike)
    • Tighten the screw (clockwise) to move the brake to the right and increase spring tension
    • Loosen the screw (counter-clockwise) to move the brake to the left and decrease spring tension.
  • Rotate the screwdriver a half turn at a time and test adjustment by squeezing the brake lever.
  • Make small adjusments and tests until there is equal distance between the rim and brake pads on both sides.
  • When properly adjusted, the brake arms will move equally and the feel at the lever should be firm.

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