Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Oxford, UK or Mountain View, Ca
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...As already mentioned, its the caliper that provides the return/release force. There is a spring to force the caliper open when cable tension is released.
I have calipers that get sticky (especially after prolonged exposure to wet conditions). They can be stripped down, cleaned up and a little grease added to all the pivot points. Reassemble carefully to ensure free movement without excessive play.
Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live.