How to Check Road Brake Equipment and Make Adjustments


How to adjust your brakes:

For this job, you’ll only need a 4,5, and 6mm allen wrench, and a phillips screwdriver.

Before you get into adjustments, it is a good idea to make sure that your equipment is in tact. Start by checking the cable and housing to make sure it isn’t cracked or broken. Now look at your brake pads. Are they worn down? There usually is an indicator line on the pad to tell you when you are getting close. Otherwise, just use your judgment. If they look worn, then they probably are. Next, check the caliper mounting bolt to make sure it is tight. The bolt head is located on the backside of the fork or bridge. It should be pretty tight, but not overly tight. Now, squeeze the caliper together. Does it return properly? If not, the spring may be broken and the caliper should be replaced. Do the barrel adjusters work correctly? Once you think your equipment is in good shape, move on to pad adjustment.

Adjust Caliper Mounting Bolt with an Allen Wrench

Pad adjustment: before doing any adjustment to your brakes, first make sure your wheel is in the dropouts correctly (meaning it isn’t crooked). To adjust, start by loosening the brake pad bolt. It will now move freely. Align the pad on the middle of the rim, running even with both edges. You can even squeeze the lever to hold it in position while you tighten the bolt.

Align Brake Pads on Middle of Rim

Caliper alignment: with your pads in the correct position, the right way to align your brakes is to first loosen the caliper bolt, center the caliper by eye, then tighten the caliper bolt back down. Now all you have to do to fine tune it is use your hand to twist it into position. You want the pads to be evenly spaced on both sides of the rim.

Cable tension: start by retuning all barrel adjusters to the closed position. Now release the cable from the caliper by loosening the cable clamp bolt. Use your hands to squeeze the caliper against the rim and pull the cable tight.

Adjust Cable Tension By Holding Down Caliper with Hand

Fine tuning: squeeze the brake over and see if it pulls to where you want it. If not, fix it with cable tension. If the lever engages too soon, then loosen the cable clamp bolt, while holding the caliper, and open the brake just a little more. If the lever goes to far or doesn’t engage enough, then tighten the cable by opening the barrel adjuster, or by loosening the cable clamp bolt, closing the caliper, and tightening.