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Bike Brake Maintenance

Finally reattach brake cable. It has to be attached to both brake arms - otherwise you brakes won't work. For the first brake arm, you just pull the cable through the extension part. The second one is attached with anchor bolt. 

Hold the brake arms in the position you wish to have them when brakes are not used. Too wide and you have to pull the lever longer and brakes won't be so effective - too close and brake pads will create friction against the rim when you ride. You might have to adjust this a couple of times. Note that if you didn't change your brake cable you can probably see where the anchor bolt was fastened before changing the pads - but usually that's not the place where you want it, because the new pads are thicker than the old - worn out pads. 

You can test it by spinning the wheel. If it's spinning freely, the brake arms are not too close. Then pull the brake lever, if the brake feels good and pads grip the rim by just a small movement of lever, you're good to go.

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Step 2 - Detach the  old brake pad

The three main categories are road, threaded stud and â€‹smooth stud. In all categories it's possible to have braking system where you just change the cartridge (that's in contact with the rim) or a system where you change the whole shoe. The video at the end of this site (made by Park Tool) demonstrates this operation for all three systems.

First, step by step instructions. Demonstration is done on rear brake, but the procedure is exactly the same for front brake. 

Brake pads are attached to brake arm with just one bolt. Release the "nut" from the outside with a hex key (as shown in the picture above, pull that and the trays off the bolt, and finally pull the brake pad away from the brake arm from the inside (towards the rim). You can adjust the angle of the brake pad, so there is no need to remove the wheel for this operation. 

CHANGE BRAKE SHOES (PARK TOOL)

Before tightening the new brake pad all the way, you need to adjust it to the right angle. The easiest way to do it is that tighten the nut slightly so that pad holds its position, but you are able to adjust it with your hands. Then pull the brake arm in, so that the pad touches the rim. This is where you see where it actually lands on the rim when you pull the brake lever. The position is correct when the whole pad touches the rim, but is not in contact with the tire. That's where you get maximum braking efficiency. 

When the position is correct, tighten the pad all the way. Still - no need to use excess force. If you can't easily change the position of the brake pad with your hands, it's tight enough. 

Step 3 -Attach new brake pad

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Step 4 -Adjust new brake pad

Change bike brake pads to Shimano V-brakes  - step by step

Step 1 - release brake cable

Brake pads wear out. How often they must be changed depends on how much do you ride and how much do you use your brakes. Make sure you get the right set of new pads before starting the work, as there are a few different ones available. 

And here's changing brake pads for V-brakes in video format, if you prefer that. Best instructions available on youtube. 

Start by releasing the brake cable from brake arm. Brake system includes springs that pull brake arms away from the rim, by releasing the cable they are free to do so and open up space for you to change the brake pads. 

All you have to do is release the anchor bolt shown in the upper picture with a hex key and the result will be like the second picture.

Change Bike brake pads (V-brakes)

What you need


- 8mm wrench 

- Hex keys

- Needle nose plyers

Step 5 -Attach brake cable

I'm using Jagwire's brake pads, which do not have a centered bolt. It might be that your pads can be installed both on right or left side, but for these you have to check the "R"/"L" mark to make sure you install the pads on the right side. 

For these pads the positioning of trays is also easy; you can directly see that two should be on the inside of brake arm and two should be on the outside. It's important to have them positioned correctly, and especially the right and left brake pad should be installed the same way, so that are centered and equally far from the rim when installed. 

The installation is done in the opposite direction than dismantling the pads (described previously). Remove the nut and the trays that are installed to the outside of brake arm. Then push the bolt through the hole in brake arm and insert trays and nut from the outside on the bolt.