How to Install Dual Pivot Brakes on an Old Bike

Written by matthew ferguson
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How to Install Dual Pivot Brakes on an Old Bike
Older bikes can be retrofitted with dual pivot brakes. (cdgale21 image by Paco Ayala from

Older road bikes are sometimes fitted with a brake design known as a "side-pull." As the name implies, the brake cable pulls from the side of the brake, causing the two arms that constitute the brake to move in toward the wheel. A more recent design, the dual pivot brake is also cable-actuated but pivots at two, rather than one, point. Older bicycles are sometimes retrofitted with these new brakes to benefit from the latest in bicycle technology.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 5mm hex wrench
  • Bicycle grease
  • Brake cable
  • Brake cable ferrule
  • Pliers

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  1. 1

    Unscrew the nut from the back of the dual pivot brake. The brake is fitted with a metal post on its backside. The post is the part of the brake that attaches to the bicycle and is held in place on the bicycle by a nut. The nut must first be removed before installing the brake.

  2. 2

    Apply bicycle grease to the threads at the tip of the post.

  3. 3

    Slide the post portion of the dual pivot brake through the mounting hole in the bicycle frame. The mounting hole is located on the fork directly above the wheel.

  4. 4

    Hold the dual pivot brake in place while threading the nut onto the tip of the post. The tip of the post will be accessible through the other side of the fork.

  5. 5

    Check that the brake is centred above the wheel. Use a 5mm hex wrench to tighten the nut.

  1. 1

    Squeeze the brake lever that corresponds to the brake being installed. Brake levers are located on the bicycle's handlebar. The left side lever operates the front brake. The right side lever corresponds with the rear brake. Squeeze the brake lever to access a small hole at the top of the lever. Install the brake cable through the hole.

  2. 2

    Push the brake cable all the way through the hole until the metal fitting at one end of the cable anchors inside the brake lever.

  3. 3

    Loosen the anchor bolt on the side of the brake with the 5mm hex wrench. Loosen the bolt just enough to allow the cable to pass beneath it. Once tightened, the bolt secures the cable to the brake.

  4. 4

    Pass the cable through the hollow adjuster barrel at the very top of the brake and slide the cable beneath the anchor bolt.

  5. 5

    Pull the cable tight. Secure the anchor bolt onto the cable with the 5mm hex wrench.

  6. 6

    Note the distance between the brake pad on each side of the brake and the side of the wheel. Each pad should sit 3 to 4mm from the side of the wheel. If any adjustment is required, proceed to Step 7. Otherwise, skip to Step 8.

  7. 7

    Turn the adjuster barrel at the top of the brake counterclockwise to decrease the distance between the pads and the rim. Turn the adjuster barrel clockwise to increase the distance.

  8. 8

    Grab the cable 2 inches past the anchor bolt and use cable cutters to cut the cable there.

  9. 9

    Press a brake cable ferrule onto the tip of the freshly cut cable. Use pliers to squeeze the ferrule onto the cable.

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