Troubleshooting Brake Problems On A Bike

Introduction

A cable operated rim brake has three elements. The lever, the cable and the brake itself. Separating the elements helps decide which element needs attention, and where your brake problems lie.

Step 1

Dismount - Troubleshooting Brake Problems On A Bike

Dismount

Dismount the cable to isolate the various elements, and help diagnose your brake problems.

Step 2

Lever - Troubleshooting Brake Problems On A Bike

Lever

Check the operation of the lever. levers are simple so braking problems with them are rare and usually the result of crash damage.

Step 3

Brake Mechanism - Troubleshooting Brake Problems On A Bike

Brake Mechanism

Once the cable is released you can inspect the operation of the brake and check for further brake problems.

Step 4

Push The Blocks Against The Rim. - Troubleshooting Brake Problems On A Bike

Push The Blocks Against The Rim.

Does all the block hit the rim? Does the block hit the rim flat?

Step 5

Release The Blocks - Troubleshooting Brake Problems On A Bike

Release The Blocks

Does the return spring – or springs – push both blocks sharply away from the rim? If the brake has two arms – V brakes, or cantilevers – do the springs push equally hard?

Step 6

Pivots too loose? - Troubleshooting Brake Problems On A Bike

Pivots too loose?

Brake problems can stem from loose parts. push each brake arm forwards and backwards to feel for looseness in the pivots.

Step 7

Cables - Troubleshooting Brake Problems On A Bike

Cables

Inspect the cables. Are the inner-cables shiny? Are the outer-cables free from cracks or splits? Does the inner-cable slide freely inside the inner-cables?