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Problem with V brakes

Old 07-19-20, 08:01 PM
  #1  
debade
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Problem with V brakes

Hi,


I'm a nice guy. I like sports and have played something all my life. I enjoy non-fiction. I fix nothing right the first, second or third time.


While on a bike tour, a mechanic installed XLC brake pads like the ones in the link on my 2011 520 Trek. My back brake worked OK for a while but the brake lever was coming back too far. The project started because I wanted to tighten the cable. (That is a job I actually do myself). However, any tightening of the cable resulted in the brake pads coming in contact with the wheel. I moved the tension screw as far they would go but the pads still touched the wheel. The pads will not touch the wheel if there is no tension on the brake cable. But they are close and that is the only way I can create room but the brakes as you know, do not work then. https://www.xlc-parts.com/en/urban/b...v-brake-bs-v08


In my less than educated solution, I think removing some of the spacers would be a good idea in order to create more space between the wheel and brake pad. I am not sure if that is a good solution. If so, I am not sure which spacers should be left and which removed.


Is this something someone can provide some guidance? Please let me know if this is not clear.


Thanks for helping a budding mechanic. Don't worry, I am keeping my day job.
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Old 07-19-20, 08:26 PM
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V-brake setups typically have a large amount of leverage, so the pads need to be set extremely close to the rims in order to ensure that the brake pads can get good engagement before the brake lever bottoms out. Because the tolerances are so tight, v-brakes also tend to require that your wheels are very true.

This is how close the v-brake pads are set up on my gravel bike:



Tightening or loosening the cable is how you set how close the pads are to the rims, but it needs to be so precise that it can be challenging to get it right by messing with the pinch bolt on the brakes themselves. Most bicycles with v-brakes have a barrel adjuster where the brake cable exits the brake lever, which can help with fine-tuning.

The tension screws are for centering the brakes. If one of the brake arms of the v-brake is closer to the rim than the other, you can use the tension screws to adjust this. Screwing in the tension screw on a side will cause the brake pad to sit farther from the rim on that side (and the brake pad on the other side to sit closer to the rim).

Moving the spacers around isn't really a good option for adjusting the spacing between pad and rim. The purpose of the different spacers is to allow the v-brakes to work on different bicycles; the narrower spacers are handy if you're setting up the brakes for a really wide rim or if the frame's brake posts are close together.
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Old 07-19-20, 08:36 PM
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What does your brake cable look like? Any kinks?
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Old 07-19-20, 08:39 PM
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When I adjust my brakes, I turn the caliper adjustment screws so that the arms are furthest from the rims, then adjust the cable to bring the pads within a millimeter, and then use the adjustment screws if needing finer adjustment.
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Old 07-19-20, 09:01 PM
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Thanks so far. I think my cable is OK. I have not used the barrel adjuster. I have tried the other things but perhaps not in the best order. I did not try to true the wheel but I did make loosen the quick release and made sure it was seated properly. That did not impact the fix either way. The mechanic that installed them, had them set just like the photo HTupolev shared. I have put on several hundred miles since then. I will double check the true. It does seem that no mater where the wheel lands after spinning the crank, the pad lands on the rim.

I will keep trying. Thanks for your quick response!
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Old 07-20-20, 03:30 PM
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I DID IT! Typically not easy for me to say. Your words and photos were very helpful. It made the Park Tool youtube much easier to understand. I was making one major error by not putting the hardware on properly on on of the brakes. Once I fixed that, realized the clearance is less than what I thought it should be, and the brake lever coming as far back as it does (without touching the bar) was OK.

Test ride tomorrow as I also worked on the derailleur. Both brake and d are working well on the stand.
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Old 07-20-20, 08:26 PM
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A useful note, hopefully those are just pads and you can remove them and replace them. Get some higher quality SwissStop or KoolStop pads and enjoy much better braking. Having use XLC pads out of desperation I noticed a big difference. You don't need to remove the pads but you probably will want to remove the wheel or at least remove the noodle to disengage the brakes to remove the pads but you only need to remove the pads no shoes. Certainly you can run through these pads but a good set of pads can really improve braking.
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Old 07-21-20, 08:47 AM
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Parts for V brakes have a Noodle with an adjuster on it available for drop bar long pull brake levers..

Where straight bar brake levers include an adjuster. so typical packaging has a simple noodle.
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Old 07-21-20, 06:37 PM
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If you are using Shimano brifters with v-brakes this handy item is a huge help in adjusting the tension and by flipping the lever loosens the cable allowing you to remove the noodle. I use this on a tandem set up.

https://bike.shimano.com/en-EU/produ...0/SM-CB90.html
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Old 07-22-20, 09:48 AM
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I just looked up the 2011 Trek 520 on Bikepedia (https://www.bikepedia.com/Quickbike/...spx?item=22633) and it says the bike came with Avid SD5 brakes and Tektro RL340 levers. Strangely, these products are not compatible with eachother - the levers are road-style 'short pull' levers and the brakes are long arm 'long pull' brakes.

I find it weird that Trek would have been including this setup in 2011... The result of this mismatch has been known since 1995 (dawn of the V-brake era) - the brakes have to be set extremely close to the rims, and even when set extremely close will possibly still rub on the rim, especially after a few years when the brake cable is not performing as new, and especially on the rear which is more susceptible to problems caused by cable friction. When everything is perfect, the brakes might work ok, but with very squishy lever feel and potentially requiring too much lever movement.

Possible solutions:

1. Replace levers with 'long pull' levers - Tektro RL520 is the long-pull version of the RL340.

2. Replace brakes with 'mini-Vs' - shorter arms on mini-Vs require less cable pull than long armed brakes, and so will work with short pul levers.

2.a (edit) Replace brakes with centre-pull cantilever brakes. Canti brakes are trickier to set up, and require cable stops on the rear brake bridge and fork crown. Canti brakes are compatible with short pull levers.

3. install Travel Agents (https://problemsolversbike.com/produ..._agents_-_6416) to multiply the cable pull from the short pull levers. I find these very ugly, but they are effective, especially if you have other limitations like combined brake/shift levers that are only available in short pull, and/or have tires too big (or tires and fenders) to fit short-armed mini-Vs

4. Replace al cables, remove brakes and clean and lube pivots, true wheels to as close to perfect as possible. This may or may not be an acceptable solution, and even if it works it will go back to rubbing and feeling squishy as soon as the cables wear a bit and the wheel gets a bit of runout.
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Old 07-22-20, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
I just looked up the 2011 Trek 520 on Bikepedia (https://www.bikepedia.com/Quickbike/...spx?item=22633) and it says the bike came with Avid SD5 brakes and Tektro RL340 levers. Strangely, these products are not compatible with eachother - the levers are road-style 'short pull' levers and the brakes are long arm 'long pull' brakes.

I find it weird that Trek would have been including this setup in 2011... The result of this mismatch has been known since 1995 (dawn of the V-brake era) - the brakes have to be set extremely close to the rims, and even when set extremely close will possibly still rub on the rim, especially after a few years when the brake cable is not performing as new, and especially on the rear which is more susceptible to problems caused by cable friction. When everything is perfect, the brakes might work ok, but with very squishy lever feel and potentially requiring too much lever movement.

Possible solutions:

1. Replace levers with 'long pull' levers - Tektro RL520 is the long-pull version of the RL340.

2. Replace brakes with 'mini-Vs' - shorter arms on mini-Vs require less cable pull than long armed brakes, and so will work with short pul levers.

2.a (edit) Replace brakes with centre-pull cantilever brakes. Canti brakes are trickier to set up, and require cable stops on the rear brake bridge and fork crown. Canti brakes are compatible with short pull levers.

3. install Travel Agents (https://problemsolversbike.com/produ..._agents_-_6416) to multiply the cable pull from the short pull levers. I find these very ugly, but they are effective, especially if you have other limitations like combined brake/shift levers that are only available in short pull, and/or have tires too big (or tires and fenders) to fit short-armed mini-Vs

4. Replace al cables, remove brakes and clean and lube pivots, true wheels to as close to perfect as possible. This may or may not be an acceptable solution, and even if it works it will go back to rubbing and feeling squishy as soon as the cables wear a bit and the wheel gets a bit of runout.
Thanks for the time to make these suggestions The clearance is TIGHT. But I do have thousands of miles with little trouble. I will investigate your suggestions further as I still have some tours in my future.
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Old 09-21-20, 09:04 PM
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MY long pull Tektro brake levers arrived. My cable looks OK but would you change it anyway while doing this work? Thanks

Last edited by debade; 09-22-20 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 09-22-20, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by debade View Post
I long pull Tektro brake levers arrived. My cable looks OK but would you change it anyway while doing this work? Thanks
I think after cutting off the cable end to pull the old cable out, youíll have a hard time re-threading the old cable through the housing without fraying. You may also have a hard time pulling the cable out where itís been deformed by the brake caliper binder bolt.

Iíd go ahead and replace the brake cables while youíre at it.
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Old 09-22-20, 01:02 PM
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I budget for a new cable pretty much every time I am doing work on my brakes. If I can easily reuse the old cable and there are no problems with it, then I keep the new cable for next time. But if there is anything wrong with the old cable (a kink, frayed, broken strand, rust) then it gets replaced as soon as a wrench is near my bike. $5 saves me potentially an hour or more in some circumstances.
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Old 09-27-20, 07:15 PM
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Installed this weekend with new cable. Housing still in good shape. Perfect recommendation. Thanks
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