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Old 10-03-10, 03:51 PM   #1
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Brakes sticking...

Hi all...Still new here, still my first day.

Anyway, my daughter's brakes close on the back wheel then stay shut. Today on our long ride I had to pry them open twice when she forgot and used that brake. Not to mention I don't like her not having back brakes!!

My husband will fix it for us, but....I'd like him to stick to the cars and let me handle the bikes, so that repairs can get done the day we need them to... His plate is kinda full.

SO - is this a job I can handle? What do I do?

Thank you!!
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Old 10-03-10, 03:59 PM   #2
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Cable probably shot. Loosen the cable clamp bolt at the brake and see it the brake opens without the cable. If it does, replace the cable and housing.
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Old 10-03-10, 03:59 PM   #3
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WE need more info about the bike.
Check the cable and cable housing first, then the pivots.
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Old 10-03-10, 07:46 PM   #4
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Is this a road bike or mtn bike?

There sometimes is a little lever at the brake itself that allows for some opening/closing movements of the brake pads. You could try to open it up a little bit. It also could be that the cable just needs to be re-adjusted. A little technical if you don't know much about bikes. I would say to DIY, but since this is for your daughter it might be best to take it to the local bike shop and ask them for help. Since none of us can look at what you are dealing with, it would be hard to say exactly what is wrong and since you don't have much experience to describe things, the bike shop might be the safest solution. After all, it is your daughter's safety we are talking about here.
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Old 10-03-10, 10:31 PM   #5
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There's three parts to a cable brake system. The caliper and pads, the cable and housing and the brake lever itself. The source of the stickiness could be any of the three areas. You need to isolate the three parts so you can test and examine each in isolation.

First step is to loosen the pinch bolt at the caliper to release the cable. With the cable not in the caliper pull on the lever a few times. The first time will cause all the housings to jump out of their stops on the frame and the brake lever. That's fine since it makes the cable float so you can test only the lever for a smooth easy pull and a snappy return from just the light spring in the lever. So if the bind isn't at the lever then try sliding the housing segments on the cable. The cable should move easily in the housing(s). If the cable feels gummy or sticky then you can try pulling out the cable and shoot brake cleaner from an aerosol can down the housing and clean the cable with some on a rag. Also check for bad kinks or broken strands along the entire length. Any broken strands or sharp kinks is reason enough to get a new cable. If the cable still is sticky in the housing it is likely be cause it has worn a tight groove in the inner plastic liner. If so then the housing should be changed. If it was just some grunge buildup then the brake cleaner shot through the housings a few times will clean it out.

If the lever and the cable were OK then the suspect is the brake caliper. Grunge in the pivots can make the brakes stick on. A lip on the pad so it catches on the edge of the rim can also cause the brakes to stick on and scuff as you ride. Again you need to try some things and examine the pads and flex the arms to see where the issue is located and then deal with it.

Sticky pivots can often be freed up by spraying brake cleaner onto the pivot and working the arms. Repeat a few times to flush away the grunge as it dissolves and comes to the outside and to supply fresh solvent to get back into the pivot. Finally finish with a drop or two of oil and work it into the pivot. This should have done the trick if it was a light rust or grunge build up. However I've also seen some inexpensive brake pivots where the pin or bolt rusted badly. The rust jammed the plastic bushings and the arms moved only very sluggishly and didn't want to snap back open. The only solution for that was to take the pivot apart completely and then use some sandpaper to remove the rust and re-polish the pivot bolt. In this case apply a light coating of grease to all the parts while apart to aid in avoiding the parts getting rusty quite quickly.

If it's a misshapen pad face with a ridge that catches the rim then sanding or slicing away the lip will restore good operation.
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Old 10-04-10, 12:05 AM   #6
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The back brake is not as important as the front brake. 80% of the braking power is from the front brake, so she should still have good braking power assuming the brakes are adjusted correctly. I would replace the cable~ $4 and is pretty simple. i would then tighten up the spring adjustment screws. This link might help:
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