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Bicycle brake repair is one of the essential skills any cyclist should be familiar with because this directly influences your cycling performance and safety. Bicycle brake repair is necessary because braking is probably the most critical requirement for a safe, comfortable, and smooth ride. On this page about bicycle brake repair, you will find information about:

Bicycle Brake Repair
Bicycle Brake Repair
Bicycle V-Brake Repair
Bicycle Disk Brake Repair

Bicycle V-Brake Repair

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One of the most common types of brakes is the V-Brakes system. Here are some step-by-step guides that will help you in your v-brakes repair tasks.

Pre-Brake Adjustments

  • Inflate the Tires: It is important to inflate your tires before adjusting your brakes because metal rims respond slightly to the tire pressure. If you try repairing your brakes on flat tires, you may get undesired results after inflating.
  • Inspect the Brakes: Most bicycle brake repairs do not have to be very extensive. Sometimes a simple tuning might be enough, but before you make up your mind, thoroughly inspect the brakes.
  • Check The Rims: Make sure the rims are clean because if there is dirt or decree stuck on the rims, it could affect the adjustment of your brakes.
  • Check The Brake Pads: It is very important to examine the brake pads for wear and tear. If they are worn out, you need to replace them as soon as possible. However, always make sure that you replace both at once.

Repairing V-Brakes

Bicycle Brake Repair
  • Bicycle brake repair does require a lot of patience and persistence. Constantly keep checking the clearance between your brake pads and the rim, the cable tension, and of course the alignment and condition of your brake pads.

    My advice is to make sure there’s at least 2mm between the pad and the rim. That way you’ll be sure that the hold of the brake will be greater, increasing braking performance. You don’t want to pull the lever to the max and feel that the bike is still rolling.

  • The first step when it comes to bicycle brake repair with regards to V-Brakes is to align your brake levers. You can do this by loosening the clamps and then aligning them symmetrically. Once you are done simply tighten the clamp.
  • Next, remove and examine the brake pads. Remember that while removing the brake pads always pay attention to the order in which any washers have been installed. This is important when re-installing the brake pads. Once you have removed them, examine them thoroughly and replace them if they are worn out. Otherwise, simply sandpaper the pads to even the surface area.
  • Did you know...?

    Bicycle Brake Repair

    Did you know that a little regular service goes a long way when it comes to bicycle brakes?

    As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. While the bicycle brake repair techniques in this article are important, you also need to learn to maintain your brakes so these techniques will rarely be necessary. Lubricate your lever pivots, tighten your brake calipers, and inspect the brakes for wear and tear regularly to keep them in good working condition.

  • Afterwards, check the brake arm tension. To increase tension, move the spring (which you can find on the backside of your brake) from the middle hole (where it is normally installed) to the top hole.

    To decrease tension, then move it to the bottom hole. Afterward, tighten the mounting bolts. It is important to maintain a good degree of tension: too much will make the braking too sensitive while too little will make it difficult to brake in emergencies.

  • Once you are done, re-install and align the brake pads. At this stage, it is important to ensure that the brake pads are not in contact with the rims. Finally, you can reconnect the cable and fine-tune the cable tension until you are satisfied.

    Tip: When tightening the brake pads, place the cable and pull the lever so that the brake pads are being pushed towards the rim. This causes them to remain still while you tighten them, saving you the trouble of aligning them over and over when you tighten the screw of the pad.

Read here more about bicycle V-brakes (Rim Brakes).

Bicycle Disk Brake Repair

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Bicycle Brake Repair

Bicycle disc brake repair is not as complicated as you may have been led to believe. Some of the common problems that are subjected to bicycle disk brake repair include bent disc rotors and unusual noises.

These noises can come from different sources: a common one is simply rotor contamination - cleaning the rotors properly should solve the issue. Here are some tips for tuning and fixing them:

When to Replace Your Bicycle Disc Brakes

First, you should know that bicycle disk brake repair is not an option for severe problems. For instance, if the rotor were seriously damaged due to wear and tear or some accident, then the best course of action would be to replace it. Having unstable components may not only damage other parts of the bicycle but will also make it very unsafe for riding.

To evaluate if the rotor is beyond repair, you need to examine the rotor concavity. You will have to compare the surface of the rotor area, which has been eroded with the former surface area. The more concave the rotor is, the less braking power is available.

If you want a more precise measurement, then it is best to place a ruler along the surface of the rotor. This will let you see the difference in surface area between the edge and the center of the rotor. If it is more than a few millimeters, then it's best to replace the rotor immediately.

Remember that bicycle disc brake repair does not work on seriously stressed or bent rotors either, so if this is the case, change the rotor immediately. However, if the damage were minor, then it would be easier and cheaper just to repair it.

Straightening a Bent Disc Brake Rotor

Straightening a bent disc rotor requires a lot of patience. First, assemble the following items.

  • Zip Tie
  • Wire Cutters
  • Disc Tuning Tool/Adjustable wrench
Bicycle Brake Repair
Bicycle Brake Repair
Bicycle Brake Repair
Bicycle Brake Repair

Install the zip-tie around the fork or frame and cut it about 1 cm away from the disc. This allows you to estimate exactly how much the disc is bent visually. Once you have a good idea of how much tuning is necessary, use your disc tuning tool/adjustable wrench to bend the disc delicately.

In the process, constantly rotate the disc to check if it is being straightened properly. Keep your hands away from the disk rotor - they can be extremely sharp and harmful. Do not be frustrated if the disc does not become perfectly straight right away. Be patient and spend some time with it - you want your rotor as straight as possible. Remember not to remove the disk from the wheel as it will be extremely hard to straighten that way. Also, be careful not to get the rotor contaminated with grease or oil during the process of straightening it.

Fixing Unusual Rotor Noise

Another major problem that is subject to bicycle brake repair is the noise factor which can be described as a "ringing motor" or a loud "honking" tone. The reason for this is that the edges of the holes of the rotor are not smooth enough and come in contact with the pads, not allowing them to stick to the rotor as they should.

To fix this, remove the disk rotor from the wheel and place it on top of a clean rag. Use a piece of sand paper to make sure that the edges of every hole are smooth and not sharp. Get rid of the excess material by cleaning the disk with a rag and then put the rotor back on the wheel. Make sure you don't contaminate the rotor with grease or dirty hands!

After sanding the disk rotor, you need your brake pads to be sanded as well, so remove them and use sandpaper again. Be very careful not to contaminate the pads. After sanding, remove the excess material from the pads and put them back in place.

After sanding wait a while - ride your bike on a parking lot or somewhere with no traffic for about 5 minutes with your brake lever pulled 90% of its way, making it hard to pedal. Repeat the process 2 or 3 times. This will allow the pads to adjust again.

Aside from contaminated brakes, another thing that could cause the noise is bad bedding or undesirable material on the pads and the disk. In that case, you'll have to do a similar process for bedding the disk to the pads, this time though, grab 1 liter of water, ride for 5 minutes on a parking lot with your lever pulled 90% of its way and once you are done, quickly pour the water onto the disk. Repeat the process 2-3 times as well. This will remove any material that wasn't gone when you cleaned the disk rotor and will allow proper bedding of the pads onto the rotor.

Overall, bicycle disc brake repair does not require professional expertise, but it does require patience and the right sort of tools, so make sure you have both.

More Information About Bicycle Brake Repair

To learn more about bicycle brake repair you are invited to visit the page about bicycle disk brakes. If you also want to learn about the three major types of bicycle brakes, you are invited to visit these pages:

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