How to adjust bicycle v-brakes

adjust bicycle v-brakes

The V-brake has almost completely replaced the cantilever brake in recent years, which means at some stage you will have to adjust bicycle v-brakes. Since the brake pads are attached to the bicycle fork in the same place and those are the same with the Cantilever brake, you can always replace this bicycle brake with the much more brake-strong V-brake. Today, V-brakes are often used on light hardtails , mountain bikes as well as cheaper city ​​bikes and trekking bikes. You should check adjustment often, and also check pad wear periodically when doing bike maintenance.

Shimano coined the term ” V-brake ” by bringing out a modified version of the cantilever brake. V brakes are therefore also part of the family of rim brakes. 

Adjust bicycle v-brakes: construction

To adjust bicycle v-brakes, you should know the brake arms are no longer pulled together via a center cable, but via a brake cable, which is pulled over a pipe angle at right angles to the side of the brake arm. The long brake arms are also almost parallel to each other perpendicular to each other. The brake arms are in contrast to the cantilever brakes also longer, so at low power better braking performance is possible. 

Because the V-brakes are very powerful and therefore need to be pulled with less force, they also come with significantly shorter brake levers, which can be drawn with two fingers. 

Parts and maintenance

But for the V-Brake to function perfectly, it needs regular, meticulous maintenance to check whether the brake shoes are also optimally seated and the two brake arms move almost simultaneously when braking.

Screw for adjusting the preload

Bolt for preloading the V-brake

Tension bias of the brake cable

Bolt for tension pretension of the brake cable

By means of small screws on the side of the V-brake, the preload of the brake and the distance to the rim can be adjusted. Setting the V-Brake is not rocket science, but sometimes requires a bit of practice and patience.

The easiest way to adjust a V-Brake brake, if you unscrew the screw for the tension of the brake cable 4 to 5 turns, then press the brake shoes firmly to the rim (making sure that the legs of the V-brake are parallel) and as Finally, by screwing in the tension screw, set the brake pads with a distance of 1-2 mm from the rim.

Once you have finished the adjustment, check the brakes carefully before going out on the road for your next ride.