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Old 07-11-09, 03:46 PM   #1
Luddite
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How to tighten brake cables?

Buenos dias, dudes.

I'm a n00b with bike repairs, my rear brake on my Hybrid isn't tight enough, if that makes sense. I have to reef on the brake handle much harder than I did before. I think the cable has stretched. The bike is less than 2 months old and I already had it tuned up. I ride my bike *A LOT."

I have some basic tools, how difficult or complicated is it to tighten brake cables? I could take it to LBS but if I can do it myself I can save a buck and not waste time going to LBS.
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Old 07-11-09, 04:22 PM   #2
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So the level travel is too long? i.e. You pull the lever, but it just feels loose and as though nothing happens?

Try turning the barrel adjuster on your brake lever. Turning it to the left should tighten your brakes a bit. If this doesn't work to solve the problem, then turn the adjuster all the way in, and do the following..

Loosen the bolt which attaches the cable to the brake, most bikes should be a 5mm allen head. Pull the cable through a bit, and tighten the bolt back down. Squeeze the lever and see how you like it. If it's still too loose, repeat. If it's too tight, let some cable out.

Also check out

http://www.parktool.com/repair/

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/

For help on things like these.
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Old 07-11-09, 04:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke52 View Post
Loosen the bolt which attaches the cable to the brake, most bikes should be a 5mm allen head. Pull the cable through a bit, and tighten the bolt back down. Squeeze the lever and see how you like it. If it's still too loose, repeat. If it's too tight, let some cable out.
Before you loosen the bolt, grip the end of the cable with a pair of vise-grips, with the nose of the grips against the end of the brake arm. Loosen the bolt, and pull the cable through a few mm with the vise grips and tighten the bolt again, Then when you try out the brakes and you find they are too tight or too loose, you will have a much better idea of how much to move the cable the second time,
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Old 07-12-09, 03:56 PM   #4
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I tried turning the doohickey near the lever, I had remembered that from a previous bike when I took it to LBS, didn't seem to really fix the problem, yeah it's "too much travel time" I ride my back brake pretty hard, I use it to slow down and check my speed on the several steep hills I go down every day. I don't like to go wildly fast downhill with all the cager traffic / stop signs / jay walkers / cats etc. I'm a bit chicken to fool around with the brake anymore than that, in case I totally bugger it up.
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Old 07-12-09, 04:49 PM   #5
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Loosen pinch bolt, squeeze calipers together, pull cable taut, or even tighter if you would like it really stiff, then tighten pinch bolt while holding the calipers shut.
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Old 07-12-09, 05:12 PM   #6
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I use a toe-clip strap to hold my brake-pads on the rim. Then I release the cable where it is attached to brake mechanism - then pull it tight and torque-down the bolt to hold the cable nice & tight. Use the adjuster the brakes should have for fine-tuning.

No toe-clip strap? Be inventive.
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Old 07-12-09, 08:09 PM   #7
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Maybe it's time for new brake pads. I like KoolStops.

Al
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