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.
For a while my rear brake has been ineffective. I originally thought it was contaminated either the pads or the discs.
Basically the lever has the be pulled all the way back to the bars to make anything work. But at the start of a ride they squeal a lot. Usually by the end of a long downhill if I have had the brake on all the way down it will start working effectively but then when I start my next ride its back to being ineffective and squeals.
I have replaced pads, rotors and bled the system twice. I have even cleaned both the pads and discs with brake cleaner and sa... Read more >>
When I pedal, there's no noise, when I brake there's no noise, but when I stop pedaling, there's this noise:
I opened up the back hub and sprayed it with WD-40 and it already had a bunch of grease on it too.... Read more >>
Is there a simple way to fix this, or will I have to get new parts?
... Read more >>
when I was biking today, I stopped for a break, when I started up again, I didn't realize that my lock was caught on my back break cable. The brake is now really loose and won't engage. The cable still appeared to be attached in the same place, but is really loose. I tried tightening it by pulling more of the cable through, but this pulls through a few inches of cable and, when I turn the wheel, the rest of the brake cable becomes too taught and causes the brakes to engage. Any ideas?... Read more >>
I need advice on a maintenance issue.
Ok, I am not a novice rider, but not a hard core rider either. Normally I have had someone nearby that could or would help with minor maintenance over the years, so I know nothing.
The bike is essentially new. Due to military obligations it was ridden a couple of times after purchase and then packed, stored, shipped, stored again and then packed and shipped again (purchased in '11). I am now in Saudi Arabia and want to ride it around the compound to and from work/store.
I had the tubes replaced since the ones... Read more >>
Just bought a 2nd hand bike and was told it needed new brake pads but am unsure what ones I need
... Read more >>
I am attempting to replace the brakes on my bicycle, and I have a set of side-pull caliper brakes. When I took them apart, they worked just fine. But putting them back together, I cannot get them to function properly...the arms are both pulling up, and pulling the entire brake assembly to one side, instead of squeezing together as they should. What in the world is going on? I put it back together exactly the same way as I took it apart...it doesn't make sense!... Read more >>
OK.. I been trying to fix up a bike we got but we have to replace the brakes, and shifters and front and back derailers.
Question is.. The front brake is disc back is v-brake. Can I use basic brake levers for both? Its will be a mechanical disc brake on front.
... Read more >>
My daughter has trouble activating hand brakes on her bike. She has small hands and she can hardly reach the handles, and the handles are too hard to pull. I saw the post on the adjustment but I was wondering if instead it would be possible to replace these terrible brakes with something better? I went to a store today and they told me that nothing better would fit the bike because it is a "price point bike". Well, I know it is a cheap bike but I have hard time believing that nothing can be done.
Th... Read more >>
I am having trouble adjusting some cross top / interrupter brakes on my cross bike. The brakes are Avid BB 7's. The trouble I am having is when the cross top lever is tensioned how I like it the main lever is soft. When I tighten the main lever to how I like it the cross top is way to tight. Is this due to different pull ratios of the lever styles or am I missing something? Ideally I would have both levers at even tension. Any suggestions appreciated!
Thanks... Read more >>
so I ordered a set of m615 brakes, I think, and i'm gonna go 180m on the front. I think I need an adapter but don't know which. anybody help out there? pictures are nice. thanks.... Read more >>
Today I replaced a shimano hangar and straddle wire brake assembly cable and sheath and was successful. What I would like to see now is a video on adjusting these type of brakes, my favorite brakes btw, to see if I missed any short cuts. I googled for a video but couldn't find one. Anyone have URL for a video on this repair?... Read more >>
H i wonder if someone could help me find out what this noise from my back brake is
a bubble type water liquid sound only under hard breaking its quite annoying front brake is fine
here is the same sound on youtube from someone else but no answer to the problem my brakes are
Tektro Gemi i no they are entry level should not make this sound any help thanks
youtube brake noise clip link
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F8Ugg-i4-s... Read more >>
I am converting a MTB with 26" wheels to 700c. I live in the UK and do not go off road, but would like a bike to ride on canal tow paths (some of which can be a "little rough". All is OK, have swooped out the front forks to a rigid type (with the correct bosses for mounting a V brake onto a 700c wheel) - but....i would prefer too fit V brakes on the rear, and the bosses are in the wrong place. I know that Mavic used to do a converter, but cannot find one anywhere. Has anyone else done this? and what did you do?
Many thanks in advance.
Kevan... Read more >>
I'm trying to get an old Cannondale M500 mtb back rolling again. I'm missing the post that screws into the fork on each side and the back seat stay post too, so I can install some v-brakes. I'm not sure what the true name for these post are or where to find them. Anybody know... ??
Thanks... Read more >>