How to Fix the Back Brakes on a BMX

Written by dan falk
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How to Fix the Back Brakes on a BMX
BMX brakes (bmx on the street image by Alexey Klementiev from Fotolia.com)

Instead of taking your BMX bike to an expensive repair shop to get the brakes looked at, there are a few techniques anyone can try at home to either tighten or repair the back brakes on their BMX bike. Extensive bike knowledge isn't necessary to complete this task, but it helps to have a basic knowledge of tools and bike parts. The entire process should not take over 30 minutes if nothing is badly broken. Depending on what's wrong with your bike, this process will check the tightness of your brakes, as well as installing new brake pads.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • 4 - 6mm Allen wrenches
  • Pliers
  • Bike stand
  • Bicycle brake pads (proper size determined by previous model)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Lift your bike onto the bike stand and tighten it down. You want to have a stable work environment because you're going to want to pedal your bike in it's stationary position in order to test the brakes.

  2. 2

    Squeeze the brake and see how far it depresses. If it is more than 50 per cent then you should tighten the brakes. Look at your back brakes and find where the brake cable is connected to the braking mechanism. Take the proper sized Allen wrench and loosen the bolt holding the tension of the brake cable.

  3. 3

    Pull the brake cable to increase the tension, and while holding it in it's new position tighten down the bolt on the braking mechanism with the same Allen wrench. Make sure it is tight, so when you pull hard on the brake lever, the bolt and nut will not come undone. Also make sure the brake pads aren't rubbing the rim.

  4. 4

    Pull on the brake lever and the new tension should not allow it to go past 25 per cent depression.

  1. 1

    Lift your bike onto the bike stand and tighten it down. You want to have a stable work environment because you're going to want to pedal your bike in it's stationary position in order to test the brakes.

  2. 2

    Take the right sized Allen wrench and loosen the bolt on your brake to release the brake cable so that the actual brake is completely spread out.

  3. 3

    Use the same sized Allen wrench and unscrew the brake pads from the braking mechanism. Make sure you keep track of all the spacers and washers which accompany the bolt in order to manoeuvre the brakes into the right position when installed. Remove the old brake pads.

  4. 4

    Take the new brake pads you've purchased which should match the size and brand of the stock/old ones. Put them in the same position with all the spacers and washers in the right place. Tighten the nut that secures the new pads to the braking mechanism.

  5. 5

    Pull the brake cable tight, which will bring the braking mechanism back toward the rim of the back wheel. You want to get it as close as possible without rubbing the rim. You will also want to check to make sure the brake pads are centred and rubbing evenly when braking. This is adjusted by using that same Allen wrench and adjusting the tension on the nut/brake pad with all those spacers and washers, and manually centring it and then tightening it back up.

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