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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 07-31-09, 04:41 PM   #1
JinDogan
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Why won't my brakes work!!

So I bought this new bike from bikesdirect, mostly assembled. Just had to put in the front wheel, seat post, etc.

I've tightened the brake cables and everything necessary for that(I think) but for some reason whenever I pull on the brake levers the cables barely even move!

I've included some pictures. Forgive me for the quality, I'm using my cell phone.
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File Type: jpg backwheel1.jpg (88.9 KB, 132 views)
File Type: jpg frontwheel1.jpg (88.1 KB, 165 views)
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Old 07-31-09, 04:46 PM   #2
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There should be cable-housing, and a ferrule (I think), going into the brake body from above.
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Old 07-31-09, 04:49 PM   #3
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Post pictures of everything between the brake-lever and the brake-caliper.
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Old 07-31-09, 04:55 PM   #4
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here's pictures of the housings and the nipple.
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File Type: jpg backhousing1.jpg (84.2 KB, 153 views)
File Type: jpg Nipple1.jpg (86.1 KB, 120 views)
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Old 07-31-09, 05:11 PM   #5
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Take it to a bike-shop and have them install and adjust everything correctly. You are a dark stain on the tarmac waiting to happen.
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Old 07-31-09, 05:11 PM   #6
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Start over. Look at pictures of the brakes on other people's bicycles. This is a beaut!

<EDIT> As Danno said! To the bike-shop! WALK it there.
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Old 07-31-09, 05:15 PM   #7
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well what should I look at specifically? I don't know what I am doing wrong at all. I have been looking at pictures of the bike to see differences. Watched a few videos etc.

EDIT: I talked to my LBS and they said to bring it in for them to take a look at. Won't I have to pay extra?(forgot to ask)

Last edited by JinDogan; 07-31-09 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 07-31-09, 05:21 PM   #8
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Brakes are the most important safety item on a bike. So much so, that a lot of bike-shops have build-sheets for every bike that comes into the shop and assembled. Each and every nut & bolt relating to the brake are tightened to the manufacturer's specifications with a torque-wrench and the actual torque is recorded on the build-sheet. The manager then inspects the bike & signs off on build-sheet before the bike leaves the building.

Do you have?

1. manufacturer's torque specs for all the brake parts?
2. a torque-wrench?
3. know how to use the above?

The problem is, you are so far away from having the understanding of brakes to work on your own bike, that this is a serious safety issue. Yes, it's life & DEATH and you have no idea how close to DYING you are!!! If you are skydiving or working on your own brakes, try-try-again does NOT apply!!!
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Old 07-31-09, 05:22 PM   #9
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cable housing.

in order for the cable to tighten, it needs to push against something. that is the housing.
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Old 07-31-09, 05:29 PM   #10
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AEO: ok. Can you see something wrong with the way I have it set up?

Danno: take it easy man I'm not gonna ride it if the brakes don't work!
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Old 07-31-09, 05:30 PM   #11
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The cable housing on your front brake needs to extend all the way to the adjuster on the front brake, so that when you pull the lever, the cable housing pushes against the pull of the cable, thus tightening your brake.

Please, take your bike to a bike shop. Pay the 50-100 bucks to have it assembled correctly.
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Old 07-31-09, 05:35 PM   #12
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there is a lot that is inherently wrong with the bike.

go to a shop, when you have time, watch them do the work on your bike.
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Old 07-31-09, 05:38 PM   #13
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yea well I can't move the housing on the front cable without removing the tape. Sounds like the manufacturer's fault.
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Old 07-31-09, 05:40 PM   #14
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And this is why I urge people to not order a bicycle from online venues such as BikesDirect - unless they are, or have, a skilled bicycle-mechanic. Bicycles should never be built-up by people who have never learned and done this before. Preferably many times over.

I'm linking this thread in a future article on what NOT to do.
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Old 07-31-09, 05:50 PM   #15
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You don't need to disturb the bar tape. Just gotta pull the extra cable through the cable clamp and snip it off. The rear brake housing needs to be put in the cable stops and might have excess cable as well.

You REALLY should take it to a shop. Otherwise, on your first ride, your bars will snap off. That can frequently be a little uglier than riding with no brakes.

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 07-31-09 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 07-31-09, 05:56 PM   #16
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And I just sold a bike for $100 too.
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Old 07-31-09, 06:04 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JinDogan View Post
yea well I can't move the housing on the front cable without removing the tape. Sounds like the manufacturer's fault.
No... Loosen the nut on the brake caliper that holds the cable. Now pull that cable down many, many inches until the black cable housing is in its spot at the brake caliper. Now get someone to squeeze your brakes a little bit to the position you'd like them to be at "rest" (i.e. pads barely off the rim surface) and pull the cable tight and then tighten its nut. Your front brake will then work. Your rear brake is set up all wrong too, but we'd need better pictures to see what's going on there...

Disclaimer: this is how it is done but if you don't do it correctly, you can get hurt. You sound just clueless enough to mess up even this easy job so going to a bike shop or buying a repair book is a good idea.

Last edited by pacificaslim; 07-31-09 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 07-31-09, 06:09 PM   #18
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Disclaimer: this is how it is done but if you don't do it correctly, you can get hurt. You sound just clueless enough to mess up even this easy job so going to a bike shop or buying a repair book is a good idea.
Good idea?? I'd say it's mandatory to take it to a good shop. If not - I hope someone steals it before you get hurt or killed.
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Old 07-31-09, 06:12 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JinDogan View Post
AEO: ok. Can you see something wrong with the way I have it set up?

Danno: take it easy man I'm not gonna ride it if the brakes don't work!
Sorry, I've just seen way too many people get mangled, disfigured, maimed and dismembered from improperly adjusted brakes. Then they try to sue the bike-shop and/or bike-manufacturer for the improper installation that they did themselves. In this case, it's a bigger-picture issue than just "getting the brakes to work". There are years and years of experience and practice needed to get you from where you are now, to where you can install and adjust those brakes correctly. I would suggest taking it to someone who've already put in the time and practice to get those brakes working... safely.

When it comes to bike-adjustments and mechanicals, you should not fear the "what it takes" to get something to work. Because frequently, it's a performance, durability or safety issue that will be prevalent. If you have to remove the bar tape, remove the bars, remove the stem, remove the fork, both wheels, the chain, the crank, all the gears and unlace half the spokes to get the brakes working, then that's what you need to do. Cutting corners will always come back and bite you in the ass!
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Old 07-31-09, 06:25 PM   #20
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I believe an old adage is in order here:

"Pride goeth before a fall."
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Old 07-31-09, 09:38 PM   #21
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Looks like the front cable was left extremely loose to get the handlebars off the steerer tube for packaging. Undo the bolt on the brake just bellow the adjuster that holds the cable in place, pull in all the extra slack and adjust from there.

There's Umpteen guides on google for adjusting brakes, start there. The rear cable housing needs slid into the braze on (slot) on your top tube, then adjusted if they don't stop well enough.

LBS's take care of this stuff for free on bikes you get from them.
I vote you do the work yourself, only one way to learn. Don't go at it without research first or you'll likely break/damage something. When done though, go to a LBS and have them check torques and make sure everything is safe. Not getting pre-loads on bearings correct can cause some serious damage.

Last edited by MilitantPotato; 07-31-09 at 09:44 PM. Reason: Mis-read a post and commented incorrectly.
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Old 07-31-09, 09:45 PM   #22
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. . . and you thought you were saving $$$!
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Old 07-31-09, 10:13 PM   #23
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I'd say he paid a fine so as not to get a pesky warranty.
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Old 07-31-09, 10:13 PM   #24
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None of the housing are in any of the cable stops. Un-bolt the wire from the brakes and pull it through until all of the housing is snugly inserted into the stops. But please, go to a shop and ask them to make sure your bike is isn't going to kill you.
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Old 07-31-09, 10:15 PM   #25
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BD scares me.

They make me wonder if those that would complain the most don't because they're dead.
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