How to remove the brake lever on a bicycle

Hydraulic disc brake

Adjusting the brakes on a hydraulically equipped bicycle is difficult. To do this, you need to have special tools and special skills. But you can do everything to prevent breakdowns. Prevention will help the hydraulics not break down and serve the owner for a long time.

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 in relation 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 will 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 particular vehicle can be obtained either from the instructions for it, or on the Internet for technical characteristics. It should be noted that braking of the wheel should occur even with the minimum pressing of 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.

Adjusting the rear brakes on a bicycle

In theoretical terms, everything seems to be clear. Three parameters, three actions, and only one result. well-tuned brakes. Once again, this is in theory. In fact, it is difficult for beginners to do everything perfectly. Adjusting rim brakes on a bicycle is a delicate thing. So you need to be patient first.

So the first step is to adjust the pads. They should be parallel to the rim on both the rear wheel and the front.

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Especially do not tolerate the striking of this element on the tire. A couple of kilometers. and the rubber will be frayed to holes. It is undesirable for the block to also go beyond the boundaries of the wheel. From this, it is quickly erased, but there is no desired effect (good inhibition). Therefore, it is so important to correctly adjust the position of the brake pads. Adjusting a mechanical brake on a bicycle begins with the selection of tools. You will need: a hexagon, a screwdriver and a 12 key. For rubber clamps, you should take only a hexagon. It is worth starting by holding the brake lever. This will push the pads against the rim. After examining the situation, you can immediately see where something is wrong. Use this tool to loosen the washer. Then, while also holding the brake lever, align the rubber clamp in the desired direction. The same is worth repeating on the other side. This is just the first step towards a perfectly tuned brake.

Checking the condition of the brakes

First of all, “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.

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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 rotate 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.

Adjusting the brakes is rarely required, but you can save a lot on it by doing everything yourself. In addition, it is not difficult even for sporty disc types with hydraulics. The main thing is to be careful and observe the golden rule. you should not save on your health, which is very easy to lose using faulty or poorly adjusted brakes.

Adjusting the position and inclination of the shoe

After loosening or completely unscrewing the pad fixing screws, they can be moved in any direction.

This adjustment should be done without removing the wheels in order to clearly position the shoe. So, how should the block stand:

  • The shoe should be at the level of the rim, not going beyond it by a millimeter.
  • When checking for clearance from either side, the block must be in both the braking position and in the open position parallel to the rim.
  • When scrolling the wheel, the block must be pressed exactly along the rotation vector. deviation from it will damage the brakes.

After installing the pads in accordance with these conditions, the screws are tightened, the brakes are checked.

Rim brake adjustment (V-brake)

The most common braking system using rim brakes is called v-brake. Other systems work on the same principle, the differences will be extremely constructive, and rather insignificant. Therefore, the approach described below is suitable for all rim brake systems.

By adjusting the v-brake of the system, it is necessary to achieve a minimum clearance between the shoe and the rim. The pads must be aligned symmetrically and parallel to the rim. The procedure is as follows:

  • First, the pads must be installed parallel to the rim. For this, the hex nut is loosened, which is responsible for fixing the pads. To understand how you need to install the shoe, you should press the brake and see how the unfixed shoe contacts the rim, then, releasing the brake, proceed with the adjustment. Adjustment allows you to set the pads to the desired height and turn them to the desired angle, which will achieve the best position for effective braking.
  • With the pads correctly installed in relation to the rim, it is necessary to adjust the clearance. The distance to the rim should be as small as possible so that the slightest effort on the brake lever is already braking. In this case, it is necessary to check that the clearance is not too small, and the pads do not wear off during normal driving. When the wheel rotates, without the correct spokes tension, the wheel will rotate with a small figure eight, therefore, often adjusting the gap is a rather delicate procedure.
  • The last step is to check the brake adjustment. First, the check is carried out with the raised wheel, then it is necessary to test them on the go. If you do not hear any extraneous noise, when braking, the position of the handle does not exceed half of its travel to the steering wheel, then all work on adjusting the brakes was performed correctly.

Find your sport

Modern bicycles are equipped with disc or rim brake systems. The most common problems requiring adjustment are the adjustment of the position of the brake pads, and the gap between them and the braking surface. The brakes are adjusted on the pads themselves, and by adjusting the brake lever.

Adjusting the brake on a bicycle is a rather rare procedure, which is necessary in rare cases, mainly due to wear or damage to the bicycle components. So, for example, if the rim is damaged, the pads will cling to the disc or rim, and when the pads are worn out, the distance to the disc will become greater, which will not allow you to effectively use the brake. It is important to understand that well-adjusted brakes are the key to safe driving.

Checking the tension of the cable

Insufficient cable tension is characterized by the position of the brake lever at which braking begins. You can check this on the go, or by lifting the wheel, untwisting it and pressing the brake. The sooner the wheels stop when pressed, the faster the bike can stop.

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If during braking it is possible to press the brake lever more than half the distance to the steering wheel without much effort, you must tighten the brake cable. A slight cable tension can be tightened on the brake lever using a shaped bolt.

If the handle is easy to push all the way to the handlebars, pull the cable from the side of the brakes themselves. The cable is attached to the brake with a special screw. To tension the cable, it is necessary to unscrew this screw, tighten the cable with pliers, and fix it by tightening the adjusting screw tightly. As a rule, when fixing the cable, a small tail remains, which should not be too long. To prevent the cable from getting into the wheels or other bicycle systems, the excess part of the cable must be wound or cut off, leaving a small margin, not exceeding a few centimeters.

Adjusting disc brakes

Pads on disc brakes wear less than pads on a bicycle equipped with a rim braking system. Braking with disc brakes can be more effective than with rim brakes, but in the same price category, v-brakes can be more practical and more effective than disc brakes.

Disc brakes are mechanical and hydraulic. Adjusting mechanical disc brakes involves adjusting the cable tension and adjusting the position of the pads. The design of the hydraulic brake system allows you to limit yourself to adjusting the cable tension, since the pads adjust independently as they wear out, except for the closed-type system. Closed-type hydraulic brake pads must be adjusted using special valves.

The position of the shoes is adjusted using the adjusting bolts. The distance that must be set between the pads is within tenths of a millimeter. The pads, as in the case of rim brakes, must be installed symmetrically relative to the disc, and are located at the same distance relative to it. After setting the clearance, it is necessary to check that when the wheel rotates, the pads do not come into contact with the disc. The correct setting of the gap must ensure timely brake engagement. For maximum braking performance, the brake lever travel should not exceed half the distance to the handlebar.

After checking the disc brake setting with the raised wheels, a small test drive should be done. In this case, you should act carefully, gently pressing the handles. If the braking is not effective enough, the cable should be tightened, this is done in the same way as when using v-brake.

Adjusting the brake pads

A braking system using disc brakes is structurally different from a rim brake system, therefore, setting the pads for both systems should be considered separately.

Installing disc brakes on your bike

When the brakes on the bike are already very worn out, or they are not satisfactory in their characteristics, it is not necessary to buy a new bike. With sufficient desire and opportunities, the installation of better brakes is a completely solvable task. Of course, it will be much better to solve it if the design of the bike allows it to be done without significant costs.

If the current braking system is in good condition, you can choose an option that will save on brake levers and cables. If the condition of the brakes is in doubt, it would be better to replace all elements of the system with new ones. In the case of installing hydraulics, without options, you will have to replace the entire system as a whole, and additionally solve the issue of laying hydraulic lines. Old brakes should not be thrown away, especially if the bike is being used for long journeys. In the event of a breakdown, they can do a good job.

Replacing disc brake pads

The ability to periodically repair and maintain brake discs can significantly save.

Due to this, you can also:

  • Eliminate the possibility of damage to the system.
  • Reduces the risks of active skiing.

Disc brakes

A bicycle disc brake is a combination of a steel disc (rotor) located on a hub with a caliper. a device that actually clamps the disc with the brake pads. From the brake lever on the handlebar, the force is transmitted to the brake by a cable (mechanical disc brake type) or through a hydraulic mowing line (hydraulic disc brakes).

Bicycle disc brakes also have their advantages. They are:

  • less clogging when driving;
  • can work without problems while driving on snow or mud;
  • as smoothly as possible (in contrast to rims) adjust the braking force;
  • do not react to slightly curved wheel geometry (small “eights” are not a hindrance for them);
  • do not affect the wear of the rim;
  • and do not require expensive maintenance.
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Many bicycle disc brakes have only one moveable brake pad. The second is fixed statically relative to the frame structure. This greatly simplifies and reduces the cost of the caliper. But, however, as the wear and tear, the cyclist will have to tighten the brake pad, which is stationary.

Brake discs are standard sizes. These are 140, 160, 180, 185, 203 or 220 millimeters.

Replacing rim brake pads on a bicycle

Over time, rim pads (like any other bike part) fail. And any self-respecting bike enthusiast, not to mention professionals, should be able to replace them. over, this is easy to do with v-brakes. The main thing is to do everything slowly, clearly observing the technological stages in the required sequence:

  • Open the brake. bring its levers together and remove the iron tip of the “shirt” from the groove formed (the cable comes out of it).
  • Remove old pads, remembering in which sequence the fasteners were used.
  • Install new pads, sequentially collecting all fastening washers and washers.

It’s even easier when it comes to cartridge pads! It is only necessary to replace the rubber gaskets. remove the retaining cotter pin, remove the old one and put a new gasket, and then secure it with the same (or new) cotter pin.

Care must be taken when changing v-brake pads as they can be left or right (the markings are directly on the pads). Then they should never be confused.

In addition, it is not enough just to change the pads, you also need to adjust them. And before that, check the brake cable for wear or breakage. He must be absolutely intact and easily move around in a “shirt”. It is also necessary to check the shape of the wheels so that there are no “eights”.

The brake pads must be properly pressed against the wheel rim. And the pressure can be adjusted (configured) with the shoe mount. It is not difficult to get the desired angle if you hold down the brake and loosen the nut on each of the pads.

The v-brake cartridge pads should be located strictly horizontally, touching their entire surface to the rim, but not touching the tire. And when the required position is reached, you should fix it with a shoe nut. Regarding conventional brake pads, the rear of the pads must first come into contact with the rim horizontally.

During the tuning process, it is also necessary to ensure that the brake levers come together equally. Position adjustment is possible with a Phillips spring tension screw. If the lever barely moves, then the screw should be tightened, and when the lever moves too easily, unscrew.

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

The video shows how to replace brake lever of a bicycle


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.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Disc Brakes

Many consider disc brakes to be a progressive step in the bicycle industry. The design is similar to that installed on a car. The use of discs eliminates the likelihood of rim wear.

Other benefits include the following:

  • The eight of the rim does not affect the efficiency of the braking system.
  • It is possible to use the system in harsh conditions.
  • Clear modulation.
  • Longer service life.
  • Disc design handles the task well when there is a lot of dirt.
  • Modulation stable, no periodic maintenance required.

In many cases, the structure can last for several seasons, but even with careful treatment and inactive riding, maintenance will be required.

The disadvantages of the design include the following:

  • The entire system and individual components are expensive.
  • The design cannot be called universal in application.
  • Most of the options are not DIY repair.
  • Heavy enough weight.