How to Adjust V-Style Bicycle Brakes

Written by wade shaddy
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How to Adjust V-Style Bicycle Brakes
Use the brake spring adjuster to centre brake pads. (radsport image by JanUFotO from

Modern V-style brakes work great, but sometimes they need attention. There are springs inside the arms of the brake pads on both sides of the wheel. If these springs lose tension or are set incorrectly by the manufacturer, the brake pads will rub against the wheel or have inadequate stopping power. It's a problem that can happen on both sides of the wheel or only on one side. Use the tension-adjusting screw on the bottom of the brake arm to centre your brake pads.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Phillips screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Squeeze the brake pads together with your fingers. With your other hand, grab the bent wire, or "noodle," through which the brake cable passes. It is a shiny, steel, hollow line with a bend in it, located directly above your front tire. It has a bullet-shaped end that is hooked into a square wire keeper. Push the wire keeper and the noodle together. The bullet end will drop out of the wire keeper.

  2. 2

    Pick up the front end of your bike by the handlebars. Use your hand and give the wheel a spin. Watch for the wheel to wobble back and forth. If it wobbles more than a 1/6 inch from side to side, take the wheel to a bike shop to get it trued.

  3. 3

    Set the front of the bike down. Hook the wire noodle and the wire keeper back together. Look at the brake pads on both sides of the rim. There should be equal distance between the pads and the rim. It should be about 1/16 inch.

  4. 4

    Turn the brake spring adjusting screw with a Phillips screwdriver. The screw is located on the very bottom of the brake spring arm axle, below the pivot point, facing out. If the brake is too close or rubbing on the rim when you spin the tire, turn the brake spring adjusting screw clockwise to bring the brake pad out away from the rim. Adjust both sides.

  5. 5

    Turn the brake spring adjuster screw counterclockwise if the pad is more than 1/16 inch away from the rim, to bring the brake pad in closer, until both pads are within approximately 1/16 inch of the rim.

Tips and warnings

  • Always make sure the wire noodle and wire keeper are hooked together before riding your bike.

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