How to adjust bicycle brakes and pads

adjust bicycle brakes and pads

One of the most important parts of vehicles is the brakes. A road bike is certainly one of the faster vehicles powered by pure human power. In the professional segment, such as the Tour de France, steep serpentine roads are ridden down at extremely fast speeds. Certainly many hobby athletes will have sought this speed range. Good if you can rely on your bike brake , bad if you leave them out of mind and do not perform any regular maintenance. This is especially true for braking in the wet. That’s why the bicycle brake adjustment is an important point that every cyclist can make. Our guide explains how to to adjust bicycle brakes and pads correctly.

Steps to adjust bicycle brakes and pads

Check – Set the bicycle brake

A review of the bicycle brake, and in concrete the brake pads, can be done before each tour with little effort. A timely detection of wear can also save a lot of money. It may sound paradoxical, but a new set of brake pads will save you in the long run. This is clearly due to the fact that the bearing surfaces of the rims also generate abrasion during braking. Every time you brake, material is rubbed or worn off the brake pad and rim. These small metal particles like to sit in the brake pad and make grinding noises with every braking, from ridges on the rim. 

But it does not have to be just the material of the rim which gets stuck in the brake pads, it can also be whirled particles from the air or small stones. The grooves on the rim are usually ugly, a serious danger is seldom assumed. Nevertheless it is advisable in such a case to exchange the covering or to try to get the foreign body out of the covering with even wear. Even wheels fitted with deep grooves will no longer help a new brake pad, because new brake pads would quickly adapt to the uneven rim contour and no longer get the maximum performance possible.

One recognizes such a defect or weakness most easily by attentive listening. If there are unusual grinding noises when operating the brake lever, you should look at the lining as quickly as possible. Visually, small foreign objects usually stand out from the black rubber due to their shiny surface.

Wear condition of the brake pads

Part of the ongoing information that will help you to adjust bicycle brakes and pads is to have regular checks of the linings provide information about the state of wear of the brake linings. One does not notice decreasing brake pads, if one regularly puts the tension on the brake lever after. 

A worn surface becomes noticeable with a surface marked by grooves. In general, brake pads of racing bikes have some grooves and profiles, these can be seen in mint condition very well. If these furrows are no longer available, an exchange is urgently needed. If you continue with such a bike, you risk the breakthrough of the mounting bolt, which is sealed with the rubber. Incidentally, these grooves and furrows are not there for decoration, they should instead pull dirt, debris and moisture from the rim and drain through the pad.

Many road bike brakes have a tendency to squeak, this is often done with slightly sloping pads to eliminate. With such oblique mounting is expected to increase wear on the first impact on the rim surface. Often, such mounted brake pads on the other end as new, without wear.

Glazed brake pads

Another serious mistake is driving with smeared or glazed brake pads. Brake pads (also disc brake pads on mountain bikes ) glaze and harden in tough conditions with high outside temperatures. Once such a surface is glazed, only the garbage bin can help. Glazed surfaces are not necessarily visually noticeable. Acoustically, however, a louder brake noise is heard. The braking performance drops in some cases considerably.

When racing bike wash it is urgent to ensure that the brake pads do not come into contact with lubricants. Should that happen, only the complete replacement of the brake pads will help.

Change brake pads

Changing brake pads is also relatively easy for the layman to design. Depending on the type of brake ( rim brake , V-brake, cantilever ….), The lining sits on a carrier plate or is cast with the previously mentioned mounting bolt. A change to the respective types is also subsequently possible and possible without a special bicycle tool.

On the brake pad there is a screw, this is released and the pad is then taken out. The current opportunity should be used to thoroughly clean the brake body. The new brake pad is inserted back into the holder. 

The adjustment of the brake is usually the biggest obstacle. Even if you work so meticulously, the bicycle brake must always be readjusted. First, you take the topping and put this horizontal with its entire surface on the rim. The lining must not stick over and not touch the tire. 

Once the correct position has been found, the pad is fixed. Then you set the tension and thus the response. The fine tuning is done by small spring screws. Should a squeak appear after mounting you can try the previously mentioned solution with the oblique setting. 

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