How to Replace V Brakes

Written by eric cedric
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How to Replace V Brakes
Older mountain bikes were equipped with V brakes. (mountain bike image by JCVStock from

Shimano V-Brakes are found on mountain bicycles. These brakes operate with a "V"-shaped caliper that engages the pads along the bicycle rim, making them a "rim brake." When talking about replacing the V brakes, most are referring to replacing the V-Brake pads. V-Brakes were designed to make pad replacement easier than the predecessor brakes, such as the U-brakes. Replacing the V-Brake's pads is doable either on the trail or in the workshop.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Allen keys

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  1. 1

    Set the bicycle next to a solid object so it is standing up. Grip the V-Brake with your hand at the cable and top caliper bars -- where the cable crosses the top of the brake. Pinch very hard to release the cable from the housing, along the brake pads to leave the rim area exposed.

  2. 2

    Insert the Allen key into the setscrew on the V-Brake arm, where the cable is attached, and turn to the left until the brake pad is loose and can be removed. Slide the pad out. Repeat this on the opposite side pad.

  3. 3

    Slide the new pad cartridge into the pad housings. Grab the V-Brake arms, and pull together, pushing the cable into the U-shaped housing so the brake is once again closed and the pads are touching the rim. With the new pads, you will now need to adjust the brakes to get the pads off the rim, and set to your braking preference.

  4. 4

    Turn the barrel adjustment on the brake lever at the shifter pods on the bicycle's handlebars. Turn them to the left to bring the pad away from the rim. Adjust until your desired setting is reached.

Tips and warnings

  • Wipe off the rim when you have the brakes open and pads off.

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