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Stiff Rear Brake

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Stiff Rear Brake

Old 07-21-15, 03:11 PM
  #1  
martslc
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Stiff Rear Brake

I have a "2007 cannondale synapse road bike" that I gave a complete cleaning. Degreesed derailer etc. I removed wheels as well but now my rear brake is quite stiff to squeeze. I have Shimono's 105's with single pivot calipers. I re-oiled the calipers but to no avil. Is it possible for water or something to of messed up the brake lever, what would cause the sudden stiffness? As I see it there's 3 possibles: 1-lever, 2-cable and 3-caliper. Where should I start to narrow this down??

Thanks a bunch guys for the help!!!
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Old 07-21-15, 04:26 PM
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Calipers, lever or cable are indeed the three places to look. Any one of them can acquire friction from a number of sources. You need to isolate to see where the problem is, and it does not matter where you start. That you oiled means little if you have not checked to see how easily the caliper arms moved. Detach the cable and check lever movement and the ease with which the cable passes through the housing. You could have bent the lever, kinked the cable, etc. during the process of working on the bike. We can't tell from here what the problem is, just how to approach finding it.
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Old 07-21-15, 04:27 PM
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You should start considering your cable housing. Is it kinked anywhere? (Or is the cable possibly kinked inside the housing?) Pull the housing out of its cable stops (loosen tension at the brake fine-adjuster if necessary), and try sliding the housing up and down the cable -- is it smooth? Whether it's smooth or not, while you have it out, drop a dozen or so drops of chain lube into the housing and slide it back and forth to distribute. If none of that works, consider replacing the cables and housing, which is a typical annual or semiannual maintenance anyways.
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Old 07-21-15, 04:54 PM
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First thing is to test each part separately to isolate where the problem is.

Detach the brake cable from the caliper.

Squeeze the brake lever, slide the cable back and forth in the housing, and work the caliper.

Where is the problem?

(My money is on the caliper; you likely tightened the center bolt)...
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Old 07-21-15, 05:34 PM
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I don't think that washing out oil would make a sudden day/night difference in brake stiffness. A slight increase in stiffness, maybe but you seem to be describing something more material. So what else might have changed. Maybe you dislodged a fitting, and it's not seated right, or something else.

I'd start by checking that all fittings seem to be seated properly and the housing free of kinks. Then, removing the rear wheel to have room to work, and testing parts separately.

First squeeze and release the caliper directly. If that's OK, hold it squeezed and see if you can slide the cable housing back and forth on the now slackened cable. Lastly, with the cable slack, see how the lever feels. If that doesn't reveal the problem area, disconnect the cable and repeat the test, and squeezing the lever against tension applied by pulling on the end.

Or put oil everyplace and cross your fingers.
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Old 07-22-15, 09:50 PM
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Thanks so much for all you help, it ended up being the cable, it was kinked down under the crank.
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Old 07-23-15, 08:44 AM
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Hooray! I would have "won", except cny-bikeman was faster and snuck his comment in while I was typing!
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Old 07-23-15, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Hooray! I would have "won", except cny-bikeman was faster and snuck his comment in while I was typing!
is it a race?
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Old 07-23-15, 09:15 AM
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Totally! I can't win any bike races on the road, but maybe I can get in a few correct, helpful answers before the thousands you give everybody!
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Old 07-23-15, 09:27 AM
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I always wonder which is better. A fast short answer, or a slower more detailed answer. Since I type slowly and badly, and tend to do longer answers I should certainly be easy to beat.

Either way, it's not one answer or who's the first, but the totality of answers which together paint a more complete picture. Even when I'm first, I'm happy to see others follow and flesh in details I've glossed over. That's the beauty of the forum.
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Old 07-23-15, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by martslc View Post
Thanks so much for all you help, it ended up being the cable, it was kinked down under the crank.
I guess I am not up on all the different bike models. This bikes rear brake cable is routed underneath the crank/bottom bracket.
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Old 07-23-15, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
I guess I am not up on all the different bike models. This bikes rear brake cable is routed underneath the crank/bottom bracket.
That struck me as odd also. I decided that the bike must have a chainstay mounted brake, which a few dabbled with back then. OTOH if the brakes are seattay mounted, under the BB seems like the long way around.
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Old 07-23-15, 09:38 AM
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Opps, sorry I got this post confused with the other post on shifting problem, it was a kink. When I was cleaning it I put the bike leaning on the levers upside down and kinked the cable.
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Old 07-23-15, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by martslc View Post
Opps, sorry I got this post confused with the other post on shifting problem, it was a kink. When I was cleaning it I put the bike leaning on the levers upside down and kinked the cable.
Another mystery solved.
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Old 07-23-15, 09:43 AM
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OK, Thanks for clearing that up.. I was having a visualization problem.
In the future, I would refer you to rule number 49... please abide by this rule.
Velominati ? The Rules

Last edited by trailangel; 07-23-15 at 09:45 AM. Reason: Something was wrong on the internet
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Old 07-23-15, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
OK, Thanks for clearing that up.. I was having a visualization problem.
In the future, I would refer you to rule number 49... please abide by this rule.
Velominati ? The Rules
Haa haa, you busted me. Hey but it least I owned up to it and took it like a man. LOL
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Old 07-23-15, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I always wonder which is better. A fast short answer, or a slower more detailed answer. Since I type slowly and badly, and tend to do longer answers I should certainly be easy to beat.

Either way, it's not one answer or who's the first, but the totality of answers which together paint a more complete picture. Even when I'm first, I'm happy to see others follow and flesh in details I've glossed over. That's the beauty of the forum.
First is nowhere near as good as giving the OP the details needed to actually solve his/her issue, and I don't think anyone comes close to doing that as well as you do...
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