How to properly install brake pads on a bike

How to adjust the brakes v brake

Setting up the v brake is very simple and does not take much time. The main requirements for tuning a bike with this braking system: parallel arrangement of the brake pads in relation to the wheel rim, both brake pads should be at the same distance from the rim, and the gap between the pads and the wheel rim of the bicycle should be about a millimeter.

In fact, the whole setting of the brakes v brake comes down to adjusting the tension of the cable and the correct position of the pads:

  • The tension of the cable is adjusted by tightening the figured screw on the brake lever. We tighten the screw, spin the wheel, push the handle and see if the brakes work. If adjusting the screw does not help, then the cable is too long or, conversely, short.
  • The length of the cable is obviously longer than the required one, therefore, an unused end is often wound in the brake area of ​​the bicycle. We find the bolt on which the brake cable is wound, and weaken it. We tighten or release the length of the cable, and after finishing the adjustment, tighten the bolt back.
  • To adjust the shoe position on bicycles with rim brakes, loosen the locking nuts. Having returned the mobility to the pads, we move them in the direction we need. It is important that the pads are exactly at the level of the rim, and the distance between the pads and the rim is the same on both sides.
  • “In the light” check the parallel position of the pads both with the brake lever pressed and in the open state. The pads should slow down the rotation of the rim even with minimal pressure on the handle, for this the distance between the pads and the rim should be 1 to 3 millimeters.
  • Tighten the fixing screws.
  • Sometimes the pads are so worn out that adjusting the bike doesn’t help. In this case, the pads are updated, less often the entire brake is replaced.

    Disc brakes

    Adjusting disc brakes on a bicycle is done with just two screws. The first is responsible for the distance between the disc and the pad. The second is responsible for its location in the vertical plane.

    Therefore, if the rubber clamps are constantly touching the brake or, conversely, the disc has left the “contact zone” of the pads, you just have to work hard with a screwdriver. Through trial and error, you can understand what is responsible for what, and then it’s a matter of technology.


    By tightening the screw, you can immediately adjust the position.

    Self-adjusting the brakes on the bike:

    properly, install, brake, pads, bike

    Cycling is an incomparable pleasure. A constant wind in your hair, a feeling of complete freedom and independence, besides, cycling can replace constant trips to the gym, it’s no secret that riding a “two-wheeled” affects absolutely all muscle groups.

    First of all, the legs, back, arms, abs. all this is maintained in an active tone thanks to the cycling load. The benefits of a bicycle cannot be understated. But in order to enjoy walks day after day, you need to take care of your “horse”. Preventive maintenance includes adjusting the brakes.

    How to set up rim brakes on a bicycle. Velobaggio

    The question of how to adjust the brakes on a bicycle is very rarely posed to the owners of modern bicycle bikes, since the quality of modern braking systems is so high that the settings installed at the factory during the production process do not go astray for years.

    However, in any case, the cyclist needs to know the intricacies of their settings and carry out preventive maintenance at least once a season.

    This will allow you to extend the life of your bike and protect you from possible accidents that may happen to you on the road.

    In order to know how to properly set up the brakes on a bicycle, you need to be able to understand their design. Today, modern bicycles are equipped with the following types of brakes: rim, drum and disc. over, each type of brake system is subdivided into subspecies.

    • tick-borne;
    • cantilever;
    • hydraulic;
    • V-brake type.

    Drum brakes do not have subspecies, but disc brakes have the following varieties:

    • hydraulic;
    • mechanical;
    • hybrid.

    Rim brakes are those braking systems in which the wheels of a bicycle are braked by clamping the wheel rim. As a result, the rotation speed is reduced until the vehicle comes to a complete stop. Rim braking systems are among the most common due to their simplicity and low cost. They are used on almost all types of bikes.

    Drum brakes, or roller brakes, are very similar in principle to those used on cars.

    Here, the braking elements of the structure are placed inside the wheels, and they stop their movement by pressing against the rotating part of the wheel.

    Since brakes of this type have a large mass and are rarely repairable in field conditions, do not have sufficient strength, they are usually used on walking bikes.

    V-Brake Pad Replacement

    As for the disc brakes, they are the most common today and they are installed both on cars for beginners and on professional bikes.

    Their device consists of a disc securely attached to the wheel hub, as well as to the frame or caliper fork, hydraulic tube or cable. The task of the latter is to transfer the force created by the cyclist’s brush when braking to the caliper.

    This braking system does not need constant tuning, is not afraid of precipitation and cold weather, and has a long period of operation.

    At the same time, some types of bicycles are equipped with rather complex braking systems, and therefore the bicycle owner, in order to have an idea, for example, how to adjust the hydraulic brakes on a bicycle, will need to carefully study the instructions for it. It is worth reading the materials on this topic located on specialized sites dedicated to cycling.

    Spring tension

    The springs that are part of the mechanical rim brake system are also responsible for the distance between the wheel and the block. But, unlike a nut with a cable, they allow you to adjust the distance down to a millimeter. That is, more precisely. The spring tension can be changed with a single bolt that is screwed on and off every now and then. This bolt is located on both sides of the brake.

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    Therefore, when a situation arises that one side touches the rim, and the other is separated, you just have to turn the bolt. and everything will fall into place. When this element is twisted, the spring becomes “harder”. Consequently, the distance will increase. If you unscrew the bolt, the spring will weaken. From this the distance will decrease. So, by adjusting each element, you can achieve perfect accuracy.

    Security issue

    Safety comes first! Yes, this rule is worth remembering every time you want to ride a bike. After all, many “ordinary” walks end with injuries.

    And the cyclists themselves are most often to blame for the accident. It is their inattention that leads to dire consequences. Inattention. what can we mean by this? First, a disdainful attitude towards the object of the ride itself, namely the bike itself. Its malfunction is often the reason for unwanted injuries.

    Setting and adjusting brakes on a bicycle. disc and rim, mechanical and hydraulic

    Before moving on to the main question of how to adjust the brakes on a bicycle, we will single out several types of them: disc, hydraulic, rim. Thanks to the large assortment on the market, every cyclist will be able to choose exactly what they like best.

    Any of the options presented equally fulfill the tasks assigned to them, namely, knocking down high speed. The difference between them is only in the contact surface. If discs are bought for damping high speeds, then for other types they buy brakes that are in direct contact with the rim itself.

    These braking elements can be of different sizes, on which the contact area itself depends. As a rule, the larger it is, the better the wheel speed reduction is achieved.

    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.

    Please 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.

    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.

    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.

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    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.

    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).

    Checking the condition of the brakes

    First of all, we “unfasten” the brake, as shown in the photo.

    Check how the cable (G) moves in the shirt (A) by pressing and releasing the brake lever and pulling the cable back with your finger. the movement should be free, without delay. If the cable pulls hard, it may be damaged, the shirt or cable guide (C), or dirt has accumulated inside the jacket or cable guide. They must be removed and cleaned or replaced.

    Check the condition of the pads (J). They should show dirt drainage grooves (the block should not be smooth). Worn pads without grooves must be replaced. Check that the pads are complete with washers and that they are correctly installed.

    Observe the order of the washers when installing new pads.

    The brake levers (I) must swing freely in their seats and spring apart after being compressed. If the movement is difficult, the brake during operation may get stuck in the closed position and rub the pad on the rim. In this case, you can remove the levers from the seats, clean and lubricate the contact points and reinstall.

    When installing, make sure that the protruding pin on the arm fits into the hole in the frame, and that the hole on the left and right arm is the same.

    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.

    Setting up disc brakes

    As a rule, adjustment of disc brakes consists in periodically tightening the cable. But often you have to replace the pads, however, on disc brakes they wear out longer than on rim brakes. First you need to find out which specific disc brakes are installed on the bike. brake pad adjustments for hydraulic and mechanical systems will differ.

    Experts recommend taking note of the following points:

    • If there are hydraulic disc brakes on the bike, then replacing the pads may not be necessary. they are able to do it on their own. But there is one caveat to Honor. if the hydraulic system is closed, then you will have to adjust the pads in manual mode. for this, special valves are provided.
    • If you have to adjust disc mechanical brakes, you will need to pull the cable according to the above instructions and check the location of the pads. the distance between them and the disc should be within 0.2-0.4 mm.
    • In order to adjust the pads with disc mechanical brakes, you need to use special bolts. by tightening them, you can see how the pad moves. You need to be especially careful when setting the distance between the pad and the disc. 0.3 mm is too small, it is easy to make a mistake.
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    After carrying out the work, be sure to check the operation of the brake system in action. ride your bike for a few meters and try to brake. If the cable was overtightened, or the pads are too close to the disc, then too sharp braking will occur. this is a “surprise” in which the cyclist begins to move forward, but without his vehicle. Therefore, during a test drive, you need to be extremely careful and careful, if necessary, the disc brake system is adjusted again taking into account previous errors.

    Adjusting the position of the pads

    “Fasten” the brake by squeezing the levers and placing the cable guide (C) in the stop (D). Loosen the block fixing bolt (K) with a hexagon. We press the lever with the block to the rim and set the block so that it:

    • adhered to the rim with the entire surface
    • did not touch the tire
    • located parallel to the rim

    In this position, the block must be fixed by tightening the bolt. When tightening the bolt, the block may move and must be corrected. It will be easier if you find an assistant who will grip and hold the brake lever while you tighten the bolt.

    If your brakes squeal, try the following.

    Before tightening the bolt, place a folded sheet of paper under the rear (in the direction of travel) of the shoe, then tighten the bolt. So the pads will be smoother to press against the rim when braking (first by the front, then by the rear) and will not “creak”.

    We do similar operations with the second block.

    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.

    Adjusting the brakes (V-Brake)

    Setting up the brakes means paying attention to every detail, from the brake levers to the brake pads.

    First step. Adjusting the brake levers

    Brake levers should be located so that they can be reached quickly and comfortably. In order to adjust the position of the brake lever, loosen the fastening screw, place the handle as it is convenient for you and fix it. Usually there is a screw on the brake lever, with which you can adjust the distance of the brake lever to the grip. adjust the position of the lever with it.

    Second step. Position of the brake pads

    It is easier to adjust the position of the brake pads as follows: press one of the pads with your hands close to the rim, adjust its position. Make sure that the block is not too low (the edge of the block is below the rim), but also not too high. the block touches the tire.

    I would like to draw special attention to the next moment, since there is little clear written about it. Until the nut of which the shoe is fixed is not tightened, the shoe has three degrees of freedom: the washers form something like a ball joint. (Pay attention to how many washers are there? That’s what they are for!). It is believed that the leading edge of the pads should touch the rim slightly earlier than the rear. Therefore, we do this: put a small gasket under the rear end (see fig).

    This number of washers is needed to get something like a ball joint

    Now you can tighten the nut that fixes the shoe.

    Step three. Centering the positions of the levers

    At this step, you need to fix the brake cable: so that the brake pads touch the rims at least a little if you press the brake lever. At the bottom of the levers there are special bolts that adjust the tension of the springs that press the pads against the rim.

    We set it up as follows: press the brake and see which of the pads touches earlier. For the one that touched earlier, we increase the spring tension (or vice versa, weaken it on the other side). It is necessary to ensure that the pads touch the rim at the same time.

    Fourth step. Adjusting the distance from the pads to the rim

    I believe that this distance should be as small as possible. (1-2 mm. If the rim is even). But then the brakes will work very sharply. the slightest pressure leads to sharp braking. Therefore, the distance can be made a little more.

    The distance is adjusted in two steps: first, due to the screw with which the cable is attached to the brakes. Then fine tuning on the brake lever.

    The large washer acts as a lock: when it is tightened, the cable tension adjustment screw cannot be turned.