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  1. #1
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    Loose brake lever

    Hi All

    I'm a relative noob when it comes to bikes and hope you can help with my problem.

    I bought a new bike about 2 years ago and its basically been in storage until this week. The problem I'm having is that the brake lever doesn't return fully after applying the brake, which works fine (pic 1). If I pull cable where it goes into the lever then the lever returns to its normal position but the cable then extend further from the lever than it did previously (pic 2). If I move the cable at the lever back and forth it feels loose and moves the lever back and forth. One of the brakes wasn't springing away from the wheel fully when I removed the cable and I have had to tighten the adjustment screw fully to correct this.

    If you need anymore details please ask.

    Thanks in advance

    Paul
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  2. #2
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    Usually this is because of cable friction. The brake's spring simply isn't strong to pull the cable back and open fully. Since you say the brake works I'll assume it isn't because the cable is set too loose.

    Try this, apply the brake and when the lever doesn't return fully, try pulling the shows apart to open the caliper more and see if that takes up all the slack. If so, then it's either a bad spring in the caliper (happens, but rare) or friction in the caliper pivots or the cable.
    FB
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    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

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    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Usually this is because of cable friction. The brake's spring simply isn't strong to pull the cable back and open fully. Since you say the brake works I'll assume it isn't because the cable is set too loose.

    Try this, apply the brake and when the lever doesn't return fully, try pulling the shows apart to open the caliper more and see if that takes up all the slack. If so, then it's either a bad spring in the caliper (happens, but rare) or friction in the caliper pivots or the cable.
    Thanks FB

    Yes when I pull them apart it takes up the slack. I have removed one of the shows and fully tightened the adjustment screw, however it still does move as far from the wheel as the other side when the cable is removed. Everything looked fine when I removed it. How do I assess if its the spring or friction?

    Thanks

    Paul

  4. #4
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    If you've removed the cable, it'll be obvious. Squeeze the caliper by hand and see if it snaps back sharply when let go. You can also test the cable by pinching the wire where it exits the housing and squeezing the lever to pull it through against finger pressure. Then hold the housing and try to pull the wire back out. It should take very little effort to pull the lever back this way.

    Then it's a simple rule of oiling what sticks.
    FB
    Chain-L site

    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  5. #5
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    Sorry I'm not completely sure of brake terminology. When I said I removed the cable I just mean I have unclipped it where it connects the v brakes (calipers?). One of the calipers definitely doesn't spring back as far as the other one even though I have fully tightened the screw. If this is the problem how do I go about fixing it.

    Thanks

    Paul

  6. #6
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    OK, leave the cable half attached and squeeze both brake arms together and let go to see if the springs pull both open with quick action. They don't have to open equally, as long as both pull away from the rim, and don't rub. Also if there are spring adjuster screws on both arms, it pays to loosen one rather than trying to put the burden all on one.

    Even though the end is attached to one brake arm, you can still test for friction as I described earlier, or even simply sliding the housing up and down or the slack cable. It should slip very easily.

    BTW- there are a number of good tutorials available on the net. Search "how to adjust V-brakes" or similar to find them. Review a few until you have a sense of the job, though I'm not sure they'll cover how to diagnose the cable friction problem.
    FB
    Chain-L site

    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  7. #7
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    Thanks I'll try tomorrow. Just to be clear what do you mean by housing?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul4444 View Post
    Thanks I'll try tomorrow. Just to be clear what do you mean by housing?
    The brake cable consists of two parts that work together. The wire and the housing it runs in.
    FB
    Chain-L site

    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  9. #9
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    So the cable seems to move freely in the housing. One of the arms doesn't spring back with much force (significantly less than the other arm and both back arms). When all of the cables are connected the bad arm is very close to the rim whilst the other arm is far away, giving the whole unit a lobsided look from the front. Is it possible that something is wrong with the spring in the bad arm and therefore it can't exert enough force to pull the lever back into place and because its weak then it can't oppose the force of the other arm when the brakes aren't applied, giving it this lobsided look.

    Thanks

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