Most bicycle brakes are activated by a set of cables connected to the brake levers, and most points along with your brakes could be solved by adjusting the stress of these cables. They may also want periodic changes to maintain them working correctly.
To check the stress of your brake cables, give your brake levers a squeeze. In the event that they contact the handlebar grips or get shut sufficient to crush a finger slipped beneath, you could improve your cable stress. On the flip facet, if solely the slightest strain on the levers causes your brakes to clamp down—or in case your brake pads rub if you spin the bike’s wheel with out squeezing the brake lever in any respect—then you could lower your cable stress. Normally, cable stress could be modified by twisting the barrel adjuster discovered on the level the place the cable meets the hand lever. There are tons of easy-to-follow YouTube videos that present you how one can adjust brake cables.
There are just a few varieties of brakes, however you are most probably to have rim brakes or disc brakes. The commonest rim brakes—V-brakes or caliper brakes—pinch either side of the wheel rims from the highest of the wheel. Disc brakes do not contact the rim in any respect and as a substitute use small calipers to pinch CD-sized discs mounted within the middle of every wheel. Disc brakes supply superior stopping efficiency, however they are often fussy to keep up.
Fancier disc brakes use hydraulic mechanisms to pinch the discs. Whereas hydraulic brakes will not be inconceivable to keep up at residence, they seem to be a bit greater than most individuals wish to sort out. Bear in mind to periodically get the strains checked and refilled with contemporary fluid at an area bike store. And if the brake fluid reservoir in your handlebars seems low, take it to a motorcycle store quickly.
Much less frequent are coaster brakes, which do not use levers and are as a substitute activated by pedaling backward. These are tough to regulate your self and are harmful when not correctly adjusted, so take your coaster brake to an expert.
Brake pads put on out progressively as you employ your bike and are simply changed. You simply have to know what measurement or kind of brake pad to buy. The writing on the worn pads ought to offer you a touch about what to purchase. Brake pads are largely common, although their mounting methods fluctuate. The start of this video explains the variations.
Swapping out worn V-brake pads for brand new ones takes no various minutes, and all you normally want is the suitable measurement hex key. We suggest Park Tool’s hex wrench ($14) with the three commonest key sizes on it. It should take you a bit longer to exchange disc brake pads as a result of the brakes are smaller and extra intricate; this video reveals just a few methods to strategy pad alternative. In each circumstances, it’s best to readjust your cable stress after placing new pads on.
You are going to want to wash these brake pads periodically too. Use an previous toothbrush or a shop towel ($3) to get into the hole between the brake and both the rim or the disc, and use some brake cleaner ($10) to take away any buildup.