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Caliper Adjustment / Brake Cable Adjusment

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Caliper Adjustment / Brake Cable Adjusment

Old 10-26-07, 02:22 AM
  #1  
Adamjc86
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Caliper Adjustment / Brake Cable Adjusment

Hi all,

I recently bought a road bike (woo I can go faster!), but, i'm having some problems adjusting the front caliper. Now, I'm not a rookie when it comes to bike maintenance - but my other bike uses V-brakes. I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing with these new-fangled caliper brakes (and I'm not too impressed you cannot adjust for toe-in other than bending the pad).

Now. When I pull the brake, it feels spongey. It also doesn't retract fully, the brake lever doesn't go back all the way into it's housing unless I pull the lever back (and then the calipers go back to their place).

I've checked that fountain of wisdom, Sheldon Brown's website, but there doesn't seem to be a guide for this sort of thing.

How do I sort this out? Is it because the housing is too long? Or the cable? Or.. well, what?

Thanks!

Adam.
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Old 10-26-07, 03:15 AM
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It sounds like the cable and/or housing are dirty or frayed. Try disconnecting the cables and operate the calipers and brake levers independently by hand. The source of the binding should be easy to isolate that way.

What make and model of brake do you have? Newer Shimano models can have the pads adjusted for toe-in and Kool Stop makes pad holders for either Shimano or Campy brakes that allow toe adjusting with out resorting to bending the arms.
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Old 10-26-07, 08:50 AM
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The cable is not returning, worry about the adjustment of the pads after fixing this seperate problem.

disconnect your brake cable at the brake and use your hand to close the brake, verify that its springs are returning it back open with smooth force. If it does, you have narrowed the problem to your brake cable/housing, or the lever.

Pull cable a bit out of the brake lever, the cable will be free on both ends

Try to move the cable through the housing with your hand. Feel any resistance? If you do (this is probably it), replace the cable and housing and make sure to lubricate the cable before inserting it.

You will need a cable snip tool which you should have anyway as a basic repair tool. Also get a brake cable (there are mtn and road varieties, but do not get a derailler cable) and plenty of housing. The snips cut both the housing and brake cable. The trick is getting the brake cable clean on the ends after snipping them. I recommend the book "Zinn and the Art of [Road|MT] Bike Maintenance" for more repair info or the PArk Tools web site has great instructions for free

Also, if the cable moves freely. Make sure the lever is snapping back open with smooth force

Hope this helps.

Originally Posted by Adamjc86 View Post
the brake lever doesn't go back all the way into it's housing unless I pull the lever back
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Old 10-26-07, 09:16 AM
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Thanks a lot guys I'll check out the cable tonight, It may be that the cable isn't lubed properly. Cheers!

Adam.
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Old 10-27-07, 03:58 AM
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The Cable and housing may also be kinked. Cable should slide effortlessly. If there are no kinks, maybe you have unlined housing. You'll need to lube the housing with a light oil.

Remove the cable from each caliper, now remove the wheels, squeeze each caliper together by hand to gauge for smooth movement or binding. If they bind, try lubing. If that don't work, you may need to disassemble and overhaul them. Look for damage.
If they are late model Shimano road brakes, go to Shimano's website and go to their technical page. They have pdf files on proper installation, tuning, and maintenance of most items. Plus exploded parts views.
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Old 10-27-07, 04:39 AM
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Too much toe in would account for the spongy feel. Just sayin'.
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