How to Adjust the Bulldog Front Brakes on a BMX Bike

Written by harry havemeyer
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The Dia Compe Bulldog brake is a cable actuated brake designed specifically for BMX style bicycles. The Bulldog is a traditional side-pull caliper design making it a durable brake with ample stopping power for BMX racing. These brakes are chosen for their relative simplicity in adjustment compared to cantilever, vee or hydraulic model braking systems. The Bulldog front brake adjusts exactly as the rear brake would, making this process a simple one even for first time bike mechanics.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Hex wrench
  • Allen wrench
  • Nail polish

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Use the brake lever to apply the front brake and examine the location of contact between the brakepad and the rim. Ideally, the brake pads will be square with the rim when making contact. The pads should contact the rim slightly closer to the tire edge than the spoke cross-section but should never touch the rim. Use a hex wrench to loosen the bolt that holds the pad into place and make adjustments as necessary.

  2. 2

    Examine how the brake comes into contact with the rim. The leading edge of the brakepad should come into contact with the rim slightly before the middle and rear section of the pads. Use your hex wrench to loosen the pads and make adjustments as necessary. Too keep the contact height the same as it was from the adjustments made in Step 1 you can use nail polish to mark the bolt's placement. Toggle the front of the brake pad inward as necessary, while maintaining the same vertical placement.

  3. 3

    Grab the brake level and note the modulation of the brake as it grasps the rim. Make adjustments in tightness at the brake lever, by twisting the bolt on the inward side of the brake lever. Twisting inward towards the lever will loosen the cable tension, while twisting the nut outward will make for a firmer brake. Do not twist more than a few revolutions outward. If you twist the bolt more than 3/8 of an inch out then you will have to adjust the cable tension at the caliper itself.

  4. 4

    Use an Allen wrench to disconnect the cable from the caliper if further cable tension adjustments are necessary. Feed as much or as little cable to the brake as necessary to achieve desired brake feel.

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