34. How to Adjust V-Brakes
Learn how to adjust the brake pads, cable tension and centering on v-brakes (linear pull).
Today we’ll learn how to adjust v-brakes, which are otherwise known as linear pull brakes. For this job you’ll need a 5mm allen key, a phillips(+) screwdriver, a strip of sandpaper, and an optional cable puller.
The first step is to set up your brake levers. Start by loosening the clamp, and then align them so that they match the angle of your arms when you’re riding. Once the angle is set, tighten the clamp. If you have smaller hands and your levers are hard to reach, you can set them closer by tightening the reach adjustment screw on most levers.
Start by giving the cable some slack. Tighten the lever’s barrel adjuster in all the way. Then pull the protective rubber back and disconnect the brake cable’s quick release mechanism.
Then remove the pads. V-brake pads have two sets of positioning washers on each side of the brake arm. Be careful to watch how the washers are positioned so that you can re-install them correctly.
Inspect your pads. If they are worn past the indicator line, or have metal poking through the surface, you’ll need to replace them. If they look ok, use your sandpaper to re-surface both pads.
Now check your brake arm tension. The brake arms should have good spring tension, which makes them release when you let go of the brake lever. If there isn’t much tension, you may have to increase it on both sides. Undo both bolts one at a time, but don’t remove them completely.
You’ll notice a small piece of metal poking out the backside of the brake. This is the spring, and it slides into one of three holes on your frame or fork. Most brakes work fine in the middle hole. To increase your brake tension, move the spring into the top hole. To decrease the brake tension, move the spring into the bottom hole. Then tighten the mounting bolt.
Now re-install the brake pads, with the washers in the same order as they were before. Align the brake pads so the pad face is flat against the rim. V-brake pads are different from traditional pads in that they don’t require any toe-in. Both the front and rear of the pad should contact the rim at the same time. Because of this, v-brakes will sometimes squeak when applied. If you’ve re-surfaced the pads and they are still noisy, you may have to try a higher quality set of pads.
Take a look from the side to make sure the pad is in line with the rim’s brake surface, and not touching the tire or hanging off the bottom of the rim.
With the pads installed, check the brake arm position. Both arms should be facing straight up and down when the pads are contacting the rim. If they are too wide apart, or two close together, you may have to re-arrange the pad washers.
One set of washers is usually thicker than the other. To correct brakes arms that are too far apart, make sure the smallest set of washers are closest to the pads. To correct brakes arms that are too close together, make sure the largest set of washers are closest to the pads.
Now re-connect the cable and adjust the cable tension on the brake arm by pulling the cable through the pinch bolt and tightening. You’ll have to play with this adjustment until your brakes feel good. I like to have mine set so that the pads hit the rim when my lever is pulled about 1/4 of the way.
Make sure both pads now have equal clearance, and are not rubbing against the rim. Both pads should contact the rim at the same time. If not, you can adjust the centering by tightening or loosening the side adjustment screw with your screwdriver.
My original set of rear pads prematurely expired due to crooked wear on the outside pad. Upon closer inspection I see the piston extends at an angle, or crooked. This is not how the front brake extends (same model). Anyone know if opening the caliper to address this is possible? Thanks... Read more >>
Gitane Mixte circa 1970 or so.. Trying to find date-codes..
Did they have any?... Read more >>
Picked up some strong mtb(36h,dw) disc and rim brake compatible wheels for a great price. Was looking to convert my mtb from v-brake to disc(frame and fork have the mounts for disc brakes).
Been looking at some mechanical knockoff Avid BB5, BB7 disc brake kits that come with what is in the pic.
Anyone know anything about these? Will they work?
From what I can tell, they are just like the brand name stuff, just don't have the brand name branded on them.
Have not had any experience with disc brakes and I'm looking to try some out. If there is a better br... Read more >>
Bought some new wheels(36h, DW) for the MTB to replace the old beat up original wheels(32h) that my MTB came with. The original wheels had the machined V-brake rim surface for the brake shoes to rub on. The new set has a painted brake rim surface and the brake pads are leaving black marks on the rims. They also are making a lot of noise when braking(shoes have been toe'd in too).
Should I be using a different type brake shoe with the painted rims??
Thanks... Read more >>
Hello, I bought a bike the other day simply for getting from a to b. It was second hand with a back flat, no biggie. However the back breaks, when I pulled them they don't seem to spring back out for the wheel to turn, so I was fiddling about with it and made it a little better but then I noticed the break cable by the handle bars have come out of its mount, the wire is still in the lever but there is no tension.
Could someone help me with this? Tried looking on the Internet but can't see any clear videos or information about fixing it. thank you!... Read more >>
where can I get the best price and decent equipment for an XR200 front disc brake???All that is there is an old stretched cable and the disc. I am a golf course rider....... Read more >>
Fixing up a vintage Gitane and just tried putting new brake levers on the handlebars. I realized that the opening where the cable is supposed to come out of each lever doesn't match up with the hole in the handlebars. Is this going to be a major problem to find levers that will fit this particular handlebar? Should I just replace the handlebar? Any help would be appreciated!... Read more >>
I'm trying to fix up an older bike. The brake cant on the front tire, right side is way off. It's already destroyed the break pad. I need to figure out how to change the cant, or any new brake pads I install will be destroyed in similar fashion. How exactly do you do this?
Read more >>
Hello today whilst riding my bike i lost concentration (stupid i know) im only am amateur though :/ anyways i hit a wall with the right side of the bike and my right which is the front brake snapped off. The brake still works i was wondering is this repairable or will i have to use black tape and connect the brake handle back on to the handle of thr bike? I only just bought the bike a week ago from halfords its a mountain bike and really cheap. Any help would be appreciated.... Read more >>
Having a problem with my front break line, whenever the I steer the handlebars right too much, the brake line comes out of the mount at the front of the frame. The tension of the wire is not tight enough and i've tried pulling it through more at the brake end to no avail. I don't feel i'm experienced enough with bikes to know what to do and so thought I would ask for some advice on here. If I'm not being specific enough or you need more info. to help me please let me know.
Thanks.... Read more >>
I do lots of home and car repair but never done anything on bikes besides basic cleaning. Found a couple of stolen and abandoned bikes no one has claimed and would like to fix them up to give to kids in need.
This bike had super worn and uneven pads so I replaced them. The rear brake feels loose/little resistance when you pull the handle, although it closes. It doesn't open evenly. As you look at in the pic, the L side stays closed and the R opens a little. Of course the pads I replaced were way super worn on the L a... Read more >>
I replaced the forks on my Trek 4300 for some First Air forks just a couple of days ago. I did the same with my trek 4500 a couple of months ago with no issues.
This time I cannot seem adjust the wheel or the actual disc brake unit correctly. No matter how many times I have tried, the pads still rub ( only lightly but annoying) on the disc. When I am free wheeling there is no noise but when I move the steering erratically, it is much worse. any ideas why this may be? Are the wheel bearing on their way out?
Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Matt... Read more >>
So today I bought all the necessary equipment to do a 700c conversion on my Falcon Majorca. Unfortunately the Shimano 105 brake calipers that are on the bike aren't long enough so they are to be replaced with a set of Tektro long reach calipers. I really like the 105's. They are responsive and stop the bike well and I'll be sorry to seenthem go......but do they have to?
I have another bike, a 2013 Carrera Vanquish that currently sports Tektro short reach calipers. I guess my question is this; in the grand scheme of things is it worthwhile swapping the 105's onto t... Read more >>
I decided to clean my front disk brake pads by heating them. Instead of sticking them in the oven, I took the medieval approach and threw them into a pile of glowing charcoal. Apparently not a good idea, it took just a few minutes to completely turnoff the pads leaving the bare metal plates.
LOL.. off to my LBS to get replacements.... Read more >>
I have loosened 2 screws on the front brake calliper and since then the front brake no longer works, could someone help me please.... Read more >>