How to Tighten Bike Brakes In 7 Easy Steps

If you own a bike, you might be very well acquainted how much its brakes play a paramount role in ensuring its safety. They are undoubtedly an indispensable part of the bike. How often do you adjust, fix, or tighten your bike’s brakes? Have you ever thought of doing it? If you want to ensure long-lasting functioning of your ride, your brakes must be in a meticulous condition and tighten them on a regular basis. Without a good braking system, you can’t cherish an exhilarating biking experience.

Bike Brakes- Its Undenying Importance

Over time, with the recent advancement in technology, the importance and the undying need for impeccable brakes has not changed. No matter you are riding the bike on smooth terrain or in the mountainous region, seamless brakes allow you to descend progressively. Without a good braking system, biking can’t be fun. Offering you a stopping power, it allows the rider to stop safely in an uncontrolled manner. In wet conditions, the efficient braking system clearly proves as a safety gain. Bike brakes designed for mountain biking application are to assist lower speed and higher spike of actuation.

Today, there are multitude types of brakes available in the market. However, the basic function of every brake remains the same i.e. to slow down the rider’s speed. But, each brake comes with its respective characteristics that make it different from others. Depending upon your bike, personal needs, and riding requirements; you can choose the type of bike brake. You may notice that a particular bike brake needs large maintenance whereas some other bike brakes may not require too much effort on the part of the owner. Mainly, there are three types of bike brakes- Rim brakes, Disc Brakes, and Drum Brakes. After being familiarized with each type of bike brake, make informed choices accordingly.

Rim Brakes

tighten bike brake

It is a pocket-friendly and light bike brake that works on a straightforward mechanism. In this, the brake pads apply force to the rim of the wheel which results in the bike to slow down. This brake is operated by the lever positioned on the handlebar. Though its maintenance is quite easy, it calls for the owner’s efforts on a regular basis. Rim brakes are further classified into Caliper Brake and Cantilever Brake.

Disc Brakes

adjusting brakes on bike

This reliable braking system works on the mechanism that the main disc brake component is located on the wheel’s hub. The caliper having two brake pads gives a squeeze to the rotor to bring the wheel to a halt. This bike brake is most commonly used by every type of bike as it can withstand every type of weather condition.

The mountain bikes come equipped with disc brakes as they offer consistent braking. Disc brakes can further be classified into Mechanical and Hydraulic Disc Brake.

Drum Brakes

fix bike brakes

These heavier forms of brake functions using a lever present on handlebars. Both rods and cables are used in their operation. Though it requires low maintenance, it works on a more complicated system than the above two braking systems.

Steps to Tighten Bike Brakes

No matter you own which type of bike brake, to ensure that it performs better, engage yourself in its routine adjustment. Give your brake a thorough check before you ride. You can either carry out the inspection yourself or get it serviced by an experienced and professional mechanic. It involves both tightening as well as losing the brakes. The two main components you need to adjust in your bike are brake pads and brake cables. To tighten the brakes, below is a step-by-step guide that should be followed.

Check the Tightness of the Brake Cable:

bike brake cable loose

The first step involved in tightening the bike brakes is checking how much the brake cable is tight. This is achieved by pulling the brake lever. Ensure that the lever must be 1.5 inches away from the grip attached on the handlebars. If the grip is touched, it implies that the brake cables are loose.

Loosen the Barrel Adjuster:

Loosen the Barrel Adjuster

If the brake cable is a little bit loose, you can lose the barrel adjuster which is located where the lever and cable meet. This will fix the problem. This can be achieved by turning the barrel adjuster anti-clockwise. Once it is done, pull the brake to check whether it is tightened or not. However, if this approached failed, work hard on brake calipers.

Working on The Brake Caliper:

brake caliper

This step calls for working on the caliper, to which brake pads are attached. Locate the bolt that is holding the brake cable, a thin cable extending off the caliper. However, it is not advisable to unscrew the bolt. By using an Allen wrench, rotate it anti-clockwise until the bolt gets loose.

Pulling off the Cable in An Outward Direction:

Pulling off the Cable in An Outward Direction

Once the bolt gets loosen, slowly pull off the cable in an outward direction. This will result in tightening of the brake pads on the rim of the first bike tire.

However, make sure that the extent of tightness must not lead to the non-movement of the tire.

Tighten the Bolt Holding the Brake Cable:

Tighten the Bolt Holding the Brake Cable-

Here the Allen Wrench comes as a great rescue. Using it, turn the bolt clockwise about 2-3 times until it stops rotating. Once the bolt is tightened, the cable would be secured in its place.

Tightened The Barrel Adjusters:

Tightened The Barrel Adjusters

Now, its time to rotate the barrel adjusters clockwise which was earlier loosened and rotated counter-clockwise. Tightening them will lose the brake pads clamped on the front tire. Now, your brake cables are all set.

Final Test:

Last but the least, finally test the brake cables by pulling the brake lever. If the gap between the lever and grip on the handlebar is 1.5, it signals the tightened brakes.

Don’t forget to give your brakes an overall check before every ride. Make sure your brake components are properly positioned and in good working condition.

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