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  1. #1
    Cheers! 2wheeled's Avatar
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    Adjusting hydraulic brakes

    I have a lot of brake lever pull on my MTB (hydraulic) and was wondering how do I adjust these. Do they need to be bled?

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    Senior Member mtbikerinpa's Avatar
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    It depends on the variation of Hyd brake you are using. I use shimano 525, which vary a good deal from Hayes, etc.
    Aviation Mechanic, Bike racer, Fitness Equipment Restorer

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    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2wheeled
    I have a lot of brake lever pull on my MTB (hydraulic) and was wondering how do I adjust these. Do they need to be bled?

    ^^^ what he says. Please post brake model/brand.

    I have a set of Hayes hydraulic and there is a screw that sets the amount of lever travel. This sounds more like your situation.

    If your brakes feel spongy (regardless of where the braking action starts), then you probably have air in the lines and need to be bled.

  4. #4
    Cheers! 2wheeled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudPie
    ^^^ what he says. Please post brake model/brand.

    I have a set of Hayes hydraulic and there is a screw that sets the amount of lever travel. This sounds more like your situation.

    If your brakes feel spongy (regardless of where the braking action starts), then you probably have air in the lines and need to be bled.
    Thanks for the response. They are Hayes Solo from a 2003 Giant VT one. I just got back from my LBS and he stated just as you said, that there is a screw on the lever somewhere that you can adjust. Right now I'm grabbing fistfuls of brake before the pads are applied, but they do not feel spongy.

    Also the pads are rubbing a little on the front. He said to undo the caliper bolts, stick a couple of business cards in between the pad & rotors, apply the brakes and tighten the caliper bolts.

    This is my first bike with hydraulic brakes and don't want to screw anything up. Give me a little further direction if the info above isn't quite on the money.

    Cheers

  5. #5
    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2wheeled
    They are Hayes Solo from a 2003 Giant VT one. I just got back from my LBS and he stated just as you said, that there is a screw on the lever somewhere that you can adjust.
    Also the pads are rubbing a little on the front. He said to undo the caliper bolts, stick a couple of business cards in between the pad & rotors, apply the brakes and tighten the caliper bolts.

    This is my first bike with hydraulic brakes and don't want to screw anything up. Give me a little further direction if the info above isn't quite on the money.

    Cheers

    1. I have the Hayes Nines, and assume your levers are similar. For mine, I need a 2 mm Allen wrench to operate a little screw located at the pivot point of the levers. The screw is on the end of the piston rod and faces outward from the bike. For me, I cannot use a 2mm wrench on my multi-tool kit because of space limitations, so I use a loose wrench for that screw. If memory serves, turn it clockwise to decrease the amount of brake lever travel. You can pick up a loose 2mm wrench from hardware store for about 50 cents.

    2. I have to do the business card trick to center my pads. In fact, I use a plastic credit card (the kind they send in junk mail) or one of those plastic hotel keys. Essentially, loosen the caliper mounting bolts, shim a card onto each side, squeeze the brake levers, and while holding the brake levers, tighten the caliper mounting screws. On mine, I seem to have to use a slightly thicker shim on the inner pad than on the outer pad. Experiment with yours.

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    OT - I ride a Cannondale Cyclocross with cabled discs. People have asked me if I prefer cables to hydraulic - of course, I have no answer for them. Can you comment on what (if any) advantage you feel the hydraulics give you?

    Caruso

  7. #7
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carusoswi
    OT - I ride a Cannondale Cyclocross with cabled discs. People have asked me if I prefer cables to hydraulic - of course, I have no answer for them. Can you comment on what (if any) advantage you feel the hydraulics give you?
    I think that's another one of those steel vs. aluminum bike frame questions in another form.

    You really have to evaluate the whole brake. I just got rid of the hydraulic disc brake (Formula) on my tandem and replaced it with a cable operated (Winzip) one. Overall I preferred the operation of the hydraulic brake when it was new, but it required more maintenance than I like and, as it aged, it developed wear that caused the pads to tilt slightly and lock up. The pad tilt thing isn't related to the hydraulics, but the only real cure is replacing the caliper so I decided to replace the whole brake.

  8. #8
    Cheers! 2wheeled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudPie
    1. I have the Hayes Nines, and assume your levers are similar. For mine, I need a 2 mm Allen wrench to operate a little screw located at the pivot point of the levers. The screw is on the end of the piston rod and faces outward from the bike. For me, I cannot use a 2mm wrench on my multi-tool kit because of space limitations, so I use a loose wrench for that screw. If memory serves, turn it clockwise to decrease the amount of brake lever travel. You can pick up a loose 2mm wrench from hardware store for about 50 cents.

    2. I have to do the business card trick to center my pads. In fact, I use a plastic credit card (the kind they send in junk mail) or one of those plastic hotel keys. Essentially, loosen the caliper mounting bolts, shim a card onto each side, squeeze the brake levers, and while holding the brake levers, tighten the caliper mounting screws. On mine, I seem to have to use a slightly thicker shim on the inner pad than on the outer pad. Experiment with yours.
    Thanks, crystal clear and will work on this today.

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