Adjusting bike brakes requires the correct tools, and following a few simple steps to make sure your breaks are working as efficiently and safely as possible. Tune and adjust your brakes to the correct setting with advice from an experienced bicycle mechanic in this free video on bike maintenance.
I'm Tim, here at Camas Bike and Sport in Camas, Washington and this is how to adjust bike brakes. Most tools required for these types of brake adjusts can be a nice set of Allen wrenches. Shop quality, like these, last a long time, do a really good job, reach in a lot of places with narrowed ends. Or, my shop favorite is just the little simple multi-tool. It's got a lot of sizes on there, keep it quick in my pocket, any time I need it, I can just pull it out and use it, put it back in my pocket, I know right where it's at. There are many styles and very different types of bike brakes, and every one requires a little different adjustment. So, today I'm just going to work on the road bike brake. So, what we want here is a brake that'll stop us continuously and with minimal effort. And as we can see this brake lever travel way too far, so the brakes are really loose. Generally associated with pad wear, but what we need to do is tighten these brakes up. So, there are two options. We can unscrew this barrel adjuster and tighten it that way, or we can actually loosen this bolt and pull this cable through and tighten it, which is what we're going to do. Generally, you want to save the barrel adjuster adjustments for whenever you're out on the trail and you don't have a tool to tighten the brakes. A five millimeter Allen wrench is all you need here. It helps to take your other hand and squeeze the brakes because, as you can see, they want to undo on their own. So, you squeeze the brakes, pull this cable, tighten this bolt and you don't want to tighten the bolt too tight, just snug it. So, this amount of lever travel is ideal. And now we want to look at the brake and see if it's rubbing or not. And it rubs continuously, so we know that this whole caliper needs to move over. And there's a little adjustment screw here on the top. And this for small, small adjustments, fine tuning it. So, this amount of adjustment we need to actually unbolt the caliper and straighten it out. So, we're going to apply a five millimeter wrench right in the back; that one is a little tight. So, now what we want to do is kind of get it to where it's situated in the middle and tighten it with our wrench. And you don't need to snug this one too hard either. And now we're going to pull the brake and see how it works. Now even though it spins freely, you still need to make a little adjustment. Because, as you can see, when you squeeze the brake, the tire moves over to this. So, you know that this pad is hitting first. This is where we go to our micro-adjust. So, when we unscrew this screw, the whole brake caliper will move over just a tad bit. And I'll do it real fast, so you can kind of see. So, we're just going to unscrew that a little bit and it needs a little bit more adjustment. So, I'm going to just unscrew that screw a little bit more. And usually when they're adjusted just right, they make a tapping noise. So, that's what we're going to look for here. And there's our tapping noise. And now our tire rolls smooth and both the brakes hit the rim at the same time, which is very important. And then we can adjust this barrel adjuster just a tiny bit, just to get the lever to feel just right. And that is it. Our bicycle brake is adjusted. Keep in mind that this is a very general instruction on how to adjust a brake. There are so many different types, styles, compatibilities that you should really take it to a professional and get professional advice from somebody that's trained, qualified and insured; because brakes are very important, not only to your experience but also to your safety. And this is Tim, and that's how to adjust a bicycle brake.
- How to Change the Pedals on a Road Bike
- How to Know When You Need New Tires on Your Road Bike
- How to Inflate Road Bike Tires
- Bicycle Saddle Repair
- How to True a Bicycle Wheel
- How to Straighten a Bent Bicycle Wheel
- How to Adjust Bike Brakes
- How to Apply Bicycle Handlebar Tape
- How to Raise Handlebars on a Bicycle