How to adjust bicycle brake levers

adjust bicycle brake levers

The brake lever of a bicycle is the device by which either the front wheel or the rear wheel is braked via Bowden cable , hydraulic line or linkage. Depending on the type of bicycle, the existing brake levers differ: on racing bikes, for example, there are different brake levers than for touring bikes or mountain bikes, because the handlebars are shaped differently and therefore the position of the hands or fingers with which the brakes are applied deviates greatly. Our guide explains how to adjust bicycle brake levers for racing bikes, mountain bikes and normal bikes.

A special type of brake lever is the one in which the switching device is integrated in the brake lever. Especially with racing bikes, this combination is often installed. In order for the brakes to work properly, you must not neglect the maintenance of the brake lever. In addition, it may be necessary after the purchase of a new handlebar to readjust the position of the brake lever. Even if you realize that you can only cope poorly with the current position of the brake levers, it is advisable to change their position, so you need to know how to correctly adjust bicycle brake levers.

How to adjust bicycle brake levers

Racing bikes

The brake levers for racing bikes protrude to the front and are at the top of the bow on the handlebars attached. Unlike other types of bicycles, the brake lever sits vertically down. The suspension for the Bowden cable is located above the pivot point in the head.

If you want to adjust the position of your brake lever on your racing bike, you must first of all remove the Bowden cable from its anchorage in the head of the brake lever. All you have to do is put the rubber around the head back. In the head you will then find a fixing screw. This fixing screw determines the position of your brake lever and this screw also allows you to adjust the position of your brake lever. The fixing screw is screwed to the handlebar grip with a mounting clamp.

In general, you have little leeway on the handlebars of the road bike to adjust the position of the brake lever, However, serious changes in the position of the brake lever are usually not required. Since you need a bit of patience to get the fixing screw back into the thread of the mounting clamp, it is advisable to slightly loosen the screw by slightly changing the position of the brake lever and not to separate it from the clamp.

For the regular maintenance of the road bike, you should also remember to lubricate the brake lever . We recommend that you use a spray oil for this purpose . Pull the brake lever back. Now pour some of the spray oil into the fulcrum. Since you have just pulled the bowden cable, you can now lubricate the nipple of the Bowden cable and the protruding part of the cable. To distribute the applied oil evenly, you must now pull the brake lever back again and again.

Mountain bikes and normal bikes

There are no big differences as the shape of the handlebar is very similar. Typical of these brake handles is that they are mounted on the inner edge of the handles via a clamping screw on the handlebars. The brake levers should be positioned so that they are comfortable to reach with your fingers. By loosening this clamping screw, you can also bring the brake lever into the position that suits you.

The high-quality brake levers also have a small screw that allows you to regulate the distance between the brake levers and the handlebars. For someone with shorter fingers this is quite handy. However, if you have quite short fingers, we recommend so-called “short reach brake levers”.

Another special form are the brake levers of the V-Brakes, Since the braking power of V-Brakes is extremely good, you have to be very careful on the dosage of the braking force. This dosage is possible with shortened brake levers, which are operated with only two fingers. In any case, avoid using V-Brakes with other brake levers, such as the Cantilever brakes , which are essentially longer brake levers .

In general you will find a special adjusting screw on the brake levers through which the Bowden cable goes to the brake lever. This adjustment screw allows for fine adjustments to the length and tension of the brake cable, if you want to change the distance of the brake pads to the rim something.

The maintenance of the brake levers of the mountain bike is a bit lighter than on racing bikes, but since the brake levers of the mountain bike are exposed to stronger influences such as dirt, dust and moisture, you have to set brake levers more frequently than racing bikes.

Above all, make sure that the Bowden cable, especially in the area of ​​the adjusting screw, is in perfect condition and that the outer casing is not cracked. Damaged cable housings should be replaced, otherwise moisture and dirt will enter the cable. For maintenance of the brake lever you should clear the whole apparatus from dirt and dirt. When dry, then pull the brake lever back and apply spray oil to the suspension of the Bowden cable hub, to the rope itself, and also spray the pivot point of the brake lever, to distribute the oil evenly.

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