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.
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?
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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 >>
I was given this MTB which has the right support for the rear brakes broken on the frame.
Here is the bike seen from the left side
And here is the details on the "pins" coming out of the frame in the rear, where the rear brakes were mounted (I didn't disassemble them myself, was already like this).
I'm not sure what I can / should do here. I guess to put the same brakes back on, the loose/broken part would need to be re-soldered onto the f... Read more >>
So i have pad brakes and on the back 1 works and one doesn't, the one that doesn't work, when places in position it is automatically pulled towards the wheel causing the pad to rub the wheel as soon as i tighten it, I've tried taking it off an repositioning it, doing my cables looser and tighter an changing it round for one of my old front brake holders but it just does not stay off the wheel.
Please help... Read more >>
I bought a Schwinn Deluxe Breeze and tried it out, back pedaled and bike braked quickly (maybe a 1/4 rotation) and firmly. Took it for a ride later and about 3 times I pedaled back 3-4 complete rotations and a time or 2 it never did brake.
When walking up a steep hill I noticed the pedals turning with the chain. A bit later pedals remained stationery when walking it.
This is what I've found when researching: 1960-65. There is a serial #
It has a Bendix automatic red band brake - no kickback
I read the arm has to be in proper place with the cone to work ... Read more >>
Been discussing this on a different post, but with what has happened I thought I would just make anyone interested aware of a problem. I bought a new carbon fiber road frame and a new 105 groupo. I now find that, due to the chunky nature of the new carbon frames, the standard front brake centerbolt is about 1 1/4" short of making it through the bridge and the rear is about 3/4" short for the rear bridge. With the frame construction, finding longer nuts is not an option.
Does anyone know where I can find a 3 3/8" long (total length)bolt for a shimano brake? I will be calling Shimano t... Read more >>
I have a bit of a noise coming from the rear brake, it makes no noise whatsoever when moving it's only at a stand still when you hold the rear brake on tight and put some tension on to the pedal or if you try to push the bike forwards.
I have had everything apart and cleaned it all, the rotor has been off the wheel and cleaned and refitted everything, made sure there are no loose items.
I do not remember this happening on old alu kona frame, I have a carbon cube frame now.
My next move was going to fit some washers between the callipe... Read more >>
I would like to ask for some help from you.
Brakes: Shimano Hydraulic. Used for 1000 km.
Problem: It started to leak. It seems that it is leaking from the "Pushroad to Brake padal/lever" (view image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/47/Hydraulic_disc_brake_diagram.gif). I do not know the terms but the metal "cable" that connects the reservoir and the lever and the lever itself is oily.
Brakes lost the power.
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Building up my new bike and in preparation (waiting on frame) I have installed my 105 5700 STI levers onto the bars. However, they look funky, looking from the front, the change levers stick outwards a lot, do they 'pull in' when the cables ar hooked up, or is their normal 'rest' position ? The body of the changer is not too far up the bar and the body sticks straight out.... Read more >>