How to make front brakes on a bike

Adjustment tips

Always start with the rotor, i.e. the disc. It must be unscrewed from the main bushing and carefully checked for damage, bends and deformations. During braking, this component is often subjected to torsional loads, which can cause it to deform over time. Place the rotor on a flat surface (preferably a mirror or glass) and carefully check that it is fully seated. If areas are observed in which the rotor moves away from the plane, it should be carefully corrected.

The brake pads should also be checked. Here it is important to make sure that there are no impressive chips and cracks. If the wear level of the pad is significant, it should be replaced. This unit is consumable, there is almost always no point in repairing it.

The cables and cable jackets are the most important part of the braking system. Firstly, if you see that some of the strands of the cable are torn, then it is time to change the entire cable, since the place of local damage will become a weak link and, soon, the cable will burst in this place. Bursting the rope with a strong force, i.e. at the moment of fast and complete braking, most often. extreme. Therefore, a damaged cable, more often than not, bursts exactly when it is most needed. Holes in the shirts of the cable are a bad sign, most likely. the cable in this place will, sooner or later, be torn.

If the brakes are hydraulic, then a thorough inspection of the hydraulic line must be carried out to make sure there are no leaks and, if necessary, replace the brake fluid.

First steps in repair and adjustment business

As always, start simple first. In this case. from the repair of the simplest brake system. rim. V-breaks are not famous for their ingenuity. A device as simple as two or two. What is the structure of this mechanical brake system? There are levers that are mounted on the steering wheel. There are tubes (it is correct to call them “shirts”), inside which an iron cable fidgets. Two clips and pads. Everything is nothing more. That is why there are only three provisions for which it is worth adjusting the V-break.

“The first is to control the distance between the pads and the wheel. The second is to control the direction of the pads. The third is the degree of tension of the clamps. For beginners, this can seem daunting, especially in practice. But experienced amateurs can assemble a disassembled brake in just seven minutes.

Mechanical disc brakes

Everything is on the rise. And as you might guess, disc brakes are second in the list of systems of this type. What kind of changes can you see here? All the same levers, the same metal cables. Only the brake itself has been changed. The disc is now bolted to the bicycle wheel. Nearby are two clamps with pads. Yes, the disc wheel is in direct contact with the clamps.

This innovation increases grip. Now, if you hold down the lever, the wheel will not spin. This is why disc brakes are used on sport bikes. With it, the braking distance is halved. And this is what needs to be achieved. Adjusting disc brakes on a bicycle is different from the technique of adjusting rim brakes. So it can be tricky to drive V-breaks all your life and then switch to disc brakes. After all, you will have to learn to configure this system again.

Adjusting the front brake on a bicycle

The hardest part lies ahead. Do not be afraid, you just need to concentrate. So, you need to adjust the distance between the pads and the wheel. It is important. Again, action monitoring is similar for the rear and front brakes. It is worth remembering: if the distance is too large, then the clamps will not fit well. Therefore, there will be no inhibitory effect. If, on the contrary, you leave little room for the brakes, they will strike the rim. This will quickly wear off the pads, and the wheel will constantly brake. In general, you can adjust the distance between the pads and the rim using one nut, which is located on the levers, on top, where the metal cable is attached.

It should be unscrewed, thereby loosening the grip. From this action, the levers will disperse, do not be afraid. With the force of your hand, you need to lean against the rim. Then squeeze the brake lever so that it does not reach the steering wheel for a couple of centimeters. Keeping the levers in the same position, screw the nut back. Adjusting the brakes on a bike doesn’t stop there.


Most novice cyclists, seeing a hydraulic or mechanical disc brake in front of them, don’t know what to do with it. The whole reason is that many people mistakenly think that the disc type brake is much more complex than the traditional V-brake. However, this is not so. their design is not only similar, but also based on the same principles: the frictional force that stops the rotation of the wheel.

Disc hydraulic brake

So, the winner of the rating. It is hydraulics that rules the world of brakes. How does this system work? There are handles, there is a disc and there are braking elements. They are connected together by rubber tubes, inside of which there is oil, or, as it should be correctly said, brake fluid. What are its pros and cons? The hydraulics are responsive to every pressure. It can be said to instantly transmit pressure. That is why many athletes and extreme sportsmen use hydraulic disc brakes on their bikes. After all, the accurate transmission of sensations helps to win important seconds. The hydraulic brake firmly compresses the metal disc so that when pressed firmly, the rider can fly out of the saddle in the truest sense of the word. But, like everyone else, hydraulics have their negative sides.

First, the high cost. This, of course, is a dubious minus, because this system is bought not by ordinary amateurs, but by professionals. Second, the fix issue. Yes, the hydraulics simply cannot be repaired by yourself. The slightest upset. and a trip to the workshop is assured. And again, repairs will cost a pretty penny. Parts of the system, such as tubes, are not very reliable. If this part bursts, the brake fluid will leak out. Therefore, you can only brake with your feet. Adjusting hydraulic brakes on a bicycle is tricky. If possible, it is better to entrust this to the master.

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How to set up the front brakes on a bike

How to check and adjust the brakes

There are clear instructions for checking and adjusting the brake system of a bicycle. If you stick to it, then the whole process will take little time and will be effective.

Procedure for checking and adjusting the brake system of a bicycle:

  • Dry brake test. It is necessary to raise the front wheel and, having unwound it, press the left brake lever. If the wheel comes to a sudden stop during this test, the braking system is in order and no maintenance is required. Honor has one caveat. if the brake lever touches the steering wheel, then you just need to pull the cable. The operability of the rear wheel brake system is checked in the same manner. To tighten the cable, you need to use curly bolts. just tighten them a little and, if only minor adjustments are required, this will correct the situation. It often happens that such a minimum adjustment does not work. in this case, we look where the end of the cable is on the bike (it is always longer than necessary in advance), unscrew the bolt that holds it. It remains only to tighten part of the cable with pliers and tighten the bolt, applying the possible force.
  • Checking the brake pads. After the brake levers have been tested, the condition of the brake pads should be carefully examined. However, the order of action can be changed. first work with the pads, and then with the handles.

The setting of the brake system for rim and disc type is different, since different rotating mechanisms and pads are used.

How to set up rim brakes

Vibrators do not lose popularity. Ease of maintenance, cheap consumables and unpretentious operation. an excellent option for those who use the bike primarily for moving, without extreme and overloading.

The principle of operation is simple. when pressed, the brake lever pulls the cable (G), which moves the brake levers (I), pressing the pads (J) attached to them against the wheel rim. When the handle is released, the levers return to their original position, installed on them by springs. In this article, we will analyze how to set up and adjust rim brakes:

How to install and adjust the V-brake yourself

  • Attach the levers to the bike frame.
  • Insert the drive cable into the brake lever.
  • Install the handle on the steering wheel, insert the cable into the grooves on the frame (if any).
  • Connect the cable with the levers and put the spring.

After installation, you will definitely need to adjust the brakes.

The accuracy of the mechanism depends largely on its settings. So, even an expensive system will not work well without proper adjustment, and conversely, a mid-range V-brake can outperform a disc brake in terms of efficiency. What needs to be done to adjust the brakes?

Adjust the cable tension. After adjusting, the brake should instantly respond to the squeeze of the handle and rebound when it is released. If the pads do not move away from the rims, this indicates insufficient tension. On the overtightened cable, the handle will be hard to press, and the sheath may burst.

The tension is adjusted with a bolt on the side of the levers. The setup looks like this:

  • Reset Springs.
  • Loosen the cable fixing bolt.
  • Adjust the tension so that in the fully clamped position, the distance from the handle to the handlebar corresponds to the thickness of the finger.

If damage is noticed on the cable sheath, it is recommended to immediately install a new set.

Clearance adjustment. The optimal distance is 2. 3 mm from the edge of the pad to the rim. Determination of brake pad wear: cannot be used when the diverter grooves are completely erased (the whole surface is flat).

How do I fit new pads? The location relative to the rim affects the size of the contact area of ​​the pads with it, the braking force and the life of the material. For brake pads with soft rubber surfaces, install them with the leading edge closer to the rim. Brake pads made of rigid material are placed strictly parallel to the surface of rotation of the wheel.

If your bike has cartridge pads, you only need to change the pads. Their position is set with a cotter pin; before removing the old surface, it is removed from the body. Similarly, in the reverse order, insert a new pad and fix it with a cotter pin.

Adjustment of the position and displacement of the shoe housings are carried out by means of a bolt and washers. For accurate fixation, you need to squeeze the brake and set the position of the pads strictly on the surface of the rim.

The last step will be to test the operation of the system in practice, that is, in real driving conditions. As a rule, the V-brake setting is obtained immediately. However, if braking is delayed or the handle does not fully return to its original position, the brakes must be readjusted.

Adjust the position of the brake lever and the tension of the cable

To bring the brake lever closer to the steering wheel (for example, so that you do not have to reach for it with your fingers), tighten the bolt on the brake lever.

In this case, keep in mind that you should not bring the handle too close to the steering wheel. It should not touch the grip when fully clamped.

When the position of the brake lever is set, it remains to adjust the tension of the cable. The task is to bring the pads as close to the rim as possible, leaving a distance of 2-3 millimeters between the pad and the rim.

To do this, you can tighten the cable in two ways:

    For a rough adjustment, if the cable is very weakly tensioned, and the pads are far from the rim: loosen the bolt fixing the cable in the brake lever, tighten the cable, tighten the bolt.

While loosening the bolt, hold the lever and the cable so that the cable does not “run away” and you do not have to re-thread it into the seat.

    for fine tuning, we use the adjusting screw at the point where the shirt comes out with a cable from the brake lever.
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To make the screw spin freely, loosen the lock nut by unscrewing it counterclockwise. Turning the screw clockwise, we loosen the cable tension (the pads move away from the rim), unscrewing it counterclockwise, we increase the tension (the pads are closer to the rim). When the pads are in the right position, tighten the lock nut.

That’s all! Checking how everything works. If necessary, readjust the springs of the levers (item 3).

Varieties of rim brakes

Rim brakes are divided into several types:

  • tick-borne;
  • cantilevers;
  • V-brake (vector mechanical);
  • hydraulically driven.

Caliper brakes. previously popular modifications, are now rare on the market. They are a classic model of rim brakes with attachment to the fork or stays of the bicycle frame. Design features and operating principle:

  • Consist of a handle, a drive cable, two movable bows and brake pads.
  • The handle is attached to the handlebars of the bicycle, a cable is pulled from it and fixed on the clamping side of the arches. The body itself is attached strictly above the wheel, pads are screwed to the lower mounts of the arcs.
  • Through the cable, the force is directly transmitted to the clamping part of the arcs, due to which they are compressed, and the pads are in contact with the rim.
  • Responsible for unclamping is an elastic metal insert or spring built between the levers.

The levers have a single axis of rotation and move towards each other like pliers pincers. Hence the name. tick-borne. Advantages. ease of installation, simple setup. Cons. weak braking force, low modulation, high abrasion of the pads, require frequent debugging. Fits on road racing bikes and optionally as a front rim brake on road models.

Cantilevers belong to the second type of disappearing brakes. The principle of their work is to extend the levers under the action of a taut leash. The principle of operation of the cantilever brake:

  • Through the main cable, the force is transmitted to the jumper.
  • The cable pulls the jumper up, the leash attached to it is pulled.
  • The leash connects both levers, which are rigidly attached to the frame.
  • Due to the convergence of the levers, the pads approach the rim.

The cantilevers are dirt resistant, will not bump the tire and are easy to install. Significant disadvantages include:

  • decrease in braking force as the leash is pulled;
  • you need to create a high effort to stop the bike completely;
  • difficulty of adjustment.

In justification of the latter, it should be noted that the position of the pads can be adjusted within wide limits.

V-brake is a common type of rim brake on high-speed bicycles. Compared to cantilevers, it has a higher precision and longer shoe longevity. They are also easy to remove and repair yourself.

The vectors are partially similar in design to cantilevers: the front brake levers are bolted to the fork, the rear brake levers are attached to the upper stays. The legs are connected to each other by a pulling cable. The drive cable is brought to one side, but due to the straight shape of the “tie” forces are equally transmitted to both levers.

Hydraulic bicycle rim brakes are a more advanced mechanical design. The drive system consists of a control cylinder, a hydraulic line and power cylinders. The forces from the handle are transmitted to the master cylinder, which, through the oil, acts on the power cylinders. Those, in turn, move the pads towards each other.

Advantages. high compression force and efficiency, excellent modulation. Disadvantages. deterioration of work with a blockage of the hydraulic line, complex repairs. Used a similar type of brakes for freeride and trial.

Rim-type brakes have low brake pad travel, which means they wear less during operation. A significant disadvantage of this approach is the inability to be used on wheels, even with minor rim curvatures. Sensitive brakes will rub against the wheel on the fly, causing reduced speed and increased pad wear.

We set the levers symmetrically

In order for the left and right pads to wear evenly, they must be at the same distance from the rim. Adjustable by spring tension on the brake levers. To equalize the force that returns the left and right brake levers to their original position, use the adjusting bolts located at the base of the levers.

By twisting the bolt clockwise, we tighten the spring, unscrewing it. we loosen it. By pressing and releasing the brake, we check the uniformity of the removal of the pads from the rim. Tighten the bolts on the left and right sides until the pads move the same distance when the brake lever is released.

Brake Caliper Mounting & Adjustment. Side Pull

How to set up the front brakes on a bike

Adjusting the rim brakes

Mountain bikes use a v-brake braking system. by its example, we will consider the principles of tuning, as it is also available on other bicycles with rim brakes. The difference can only consist in a different arrangement of bolts and screws that will need to be tightened / tightened.

Note: it is important to observe three main rules:

  • the pads should be parallel to the rim;
  • the gap between the rim and the block should not be more or less than 1 mm;
  • the pads should be symmetrical with respect to each other.

How to achieve these guidelines when adjusting rim brakes on a bicycle:

  • You need to find a hex nut. it fixes the pads. To loosen it and set the brake pads in the desired position, you need to press the brake lever and watch how the shoe touches the rim. By releasing the brake lever, the shoe can be set to the desired position. it moves up, down and at an angle.
  • The distance between the block and the rim of the wheel should not be more than 1 mm, although in some models of bicycles there are also 2-3 mm. exact information about a specific vehicle can be obtained either from the instructions for it, or on the Internet for technical characteristics. It should be for Honor that the wheel should be braked even with the smallest pressure on the brake lever. That is, if the wheel stops only when the brake lever is fully pressed “all the way”, then this is incorrect.

After carrying out all the specified work, it is imperative to check the operation of the brake system. First, this is done at idle speed. lift the front wheel up, spin it up and press the handle sharply, then do the same with the rear wheel. The next step is to check the operation of the brake system “in action”. get on the bike and ride 3-5 meters, braking sharply. If the bike stops even when the brake lever is pressed slightly, then the system has been serviced correctly.

Disc or rim brakes: which is better?

Most likely, no one will doubt that brakes are one of the most important parts of a bike. The health and life of not only the cyclist himself, but also all participants in the movement directly depends on the correct operation of the brake system. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that when buying a bicycle, you need to choose a reliable model with a strong braking system, which will allow you to stop the bicycle in an emergency on the road in a short period of time, regardless of weather and road conditions. However, when choosing a bike, you can easily get confused about the variety of braking systems, their characteristics and recommendations. Therefore, it is worth first to figure out what kind of brake systems exist, and also to compare the advantages and disadvantages of one or another brake device.

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Every day, technology, as well as bicycle parts, are being improved. Therefore, the types of brakes that were used in the past may no longer be installed on modern bicycles. In this regard, we will only talk about two main types of brakes.

Rim brakes

  • Mechanical (cable and cable jacket are used for compression).
  • Hydraulic (hydraulic line and brake fluid are used for compression).

2. Disc brakes

  • Mechanical.
  • Hydraulic.

How to Adjust Bike Brakes | Bike Maintenance

Sometimes bicycles with a mixed braking system (hybrid) can be found. For example, the front wheel may have a disc brake, and the rear wheel may have a rim.

Which brakes are better: rim or disc? Rim brakes

All rim brakes have a common disadvantage: the wheel rim is damaged during braking. In case of severe damage, when the wheel is twisted into a “eight” or “egg”, it is almost impossible to use the brake. Also, in rainy weather, braking is uncertain, due to wet pads and wheel rim. It is necessary to constantly monitor and adjust the brake as the pads wear off.

make, front, brakes, bike

However, rim brakes have been successful and are very frequently installed because they have a number of advantages such as ease of maintenance, affordability, and low weight and part compatibility.

Mechanical rim brakes include tick and cantilever brakes. Caliper brakes consist of pads that are attached to arcuate levers, when braking they compress the wheel rim, thereby reducing the speed of its rotation. The brake cable drives the levers and is conveniently attached to the handle on the handlebars. The plus is that the caliper brakes are generally available and easy to operate. The disadvantages are that such brakes often warp, creating unnecessary friction on the rim, they quickly become dirty and are marked by mediocre modulation.

Cantilever brakes are very common on mountain bikes. The operation of the cantilever braking system is very simple: two levers with pads are attached to the fork using two special mounts. When you press the brake lever on the handlebars, the cable starts to pull these levers towards each other, thus pressing them against the rim, creating friction and braking of the wheel. The main advantage of this type of brake is the complete absence of the possibility of clogging the brake system with dirt.

Hydraulic brakes differ from mechanical brakes in that there are no levers that are attached to the pads, as well as cable systems that operate the levers. The principle of operation of the hydraulic system is quite simple: a handle with a master brake cylinder is attached to the handlebars; when pressed, pressure is transmitted to the other brake cylinders attached to the bicycle fork. The created pressure forces the brake pads to move towards the wheel rim, which leads to braking. It should be noted that such a braking system is very effective and is often used in trials. However, hydraulic brakes are heavy, difficult to maintain, and difficult to repair while hiking.

You should also pay attention to the V-brakes, which are popular and widely used lately. They are very similar in appearance to cantilever ones, however, they have a significant difference in the principle of operation. Due to the specific attachment of the cable to the levers, the braking power of the bicycle increases. They are easy to maintain and reliable, also light in weight and thanks to the system of parallel supply of pads to the wheel, they wear evenly and contribute to better braking. When buying a bike, you need to check that the brakes are adjusted, and then regularly check their serviceability.

As for drum or roller brakes, they are located directly inside the hub itself in the wheel motionlessly, and when braking they are pressed against the rotating part, reducing speed. These brakes are simple enough and are not afraid of dirt or dust. However, in the event of a malfunction, they are very difficult to repair and heavy, therefore they are rarely used on hikes.

Disc brakes

This type of brake has recently become more common and practical for bicycles. Disc brakes are simple in structure. They consist of a disc that attaches to the wheel hub, a caliper that attaches to the fork or frame, and a cable (mechanical system) or hydraulic tube (hydraulic system) that connects the caliper to the brake lever.

When buying a bicycle with a disc brake system, you can be sure of high braking efficiency, you will not need to worry about the condition of the wheel rim, trips will never depend on weather conditions, they do not need constant maintenance and adjustment and have a long service life.

By choosing a bike with a mechanical brake system, you can significantly save on the purchase. The structure of such a system is very simple and looks like a V-break type brake. Here, a simple cable is used to connect the caliper and brake lever. However, Honor has not only pros but also cons. The disadvantage is that the cable can stretch over time, and this creates the possibility of the cable jamming in the shirt. However, despite this, they are very easy to repair in any conditions, cost less and are well suited for any hiking trip.

Finally, it remains to look at bicycles with a hybrid braking system. Such bicycles are very rarely found on sale, because they are high in price and disc mechanics in this case does not win much over other brake systems.

Of the braking systems discussed, hydraulic disc brakes are of course the most highly efficient. However, the conditions and frequency of bike use need to be considered before purchasing. And only after that, make a decision with what type of braking system you want to deal with, and what of this budget allows you.