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  1. #1
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Caliper brake lever travel and pad clearance

    I just noticed that my Felt bike's front caliper appears to have a bit wider opening between the pads than the rear caliper. Both calipers are in the "closed" position for normal use (the cam lever to help when removing wheels is in the down/closed position). As a result I have to pull the front brake lever a bit more than the right one before the pads actually make contact with the rim brake surface.

    Do caliper brakes have an adjustment for how far apart the pads are? I read through the rim brake page on Sheldon's site but didn't see anything about adjusting the pad opening on caliper brakes.
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
    90's-ish KHS Alite 1000 MTB, *hybridized*

  2. #2
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    All caliper brakes have an adjusting barrel where the cable housing enters the brake arm. Unthreading it brings the pads closer to the rim. That adjuster will let you set the amount of lever travel and can be used to compensate as the pads wear down.

    If that adjustment isn't adequate, you loosen the pinch bolt where the cable is clamped to the caliper, close the calipers by hand, pull some slack out of the cable and retighten the pinch bolt.

  3. #3
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Ah I see, great thanks. It's probably because the front pads have worn more than the rear. I really do need to junk these OEM pads and get some KS Salmons in there.
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
    90's-ish KHS Alite 1000 MTB, *hybridized*

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    If you need to loosen the pinch bolt and pull out some slack cable, make sure to turn the adjuster about a turn from fully threaded inward first; you are more likely to need to adjust it out than in. A "fourth hand" tool or a helper may make the adjustment easier. Remember to pull the lever very hard several times afterwards to be sure that the adjustment won't slip when you really need the brakes.

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Many calipers have a small screw on the top of the inner arm that limits how far the calipers will open. It's sometimes called the "centering screw" but it has more of an effect on how far the calipers will open. It's on the top right of the caliper below, above the A in ULTEGRA:

    shim_br_6600_1_06_m.jpg

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    Many calipers have a small screw on the top of the inner arm that limits how far the calipers will open. It's sometimes called the "centering screw" but it has more of an effect on how far the calipers will open. It's on the top right of the caliper below, above the A in ULTEGRA:

    shim_br_6600_1_06_m.jpg
    That screw won't help with lever travel is the cable is too slack.

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I have adjusted my brakes so the pad hits the rim where my fingers have the best grip.

    As the leverage of the brake and lever has gotten greater, the pad to rim gap has to be set closer
    because of the nature of MA,
    there is more hand lever motion, for the movement of the pad towards the rim.

    Example : what makes V brakes work, is the pairing of High MA caliper and Low MA lever.

    Aero brake levers are Higher MA so the caliper has to have a Lower one.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
    I just noticed that my Felt bike's front caliper appears to have a bit wider opening between the pads than the rear caliper. Both calipers are in the "closed" position for normal use (the cam lever to help when removing wheels is in the down/closed position). As a result I have to pull the front brake lever a bit more than the right one before the pads actually make contact with the rim brake surface. Do caliper brakes have an adjustment for how far apart the pads are? I read through the rim brake page on Sheldon's site but didn't see anything about adjusting the pad opening on caliper brakes.
    OP; Adjust your brakes first, then recheck. Should be ok then.

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