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V-Brake nearly impossible to reclose

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V-Brake nearly impossible to reclose

Old 02-18-11, 05:01 PM
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derekthelion
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V-Brake nearly impossible to reclose

I recently got a new bike and for the first time I have V-Brakes. The guy in the shop showed me how to open the front brake, and remove my wheel, then put the wheel back on and reclose the brake. Today, however, I was putting fenders on the back portion of the bike, and upon trying to reclose the back v-brake after putting the wheel back, I had one hell of a time. I can do the front one no problem, but I could not get the two sides to get close enough to reclaspe. I had to put so much preussre and finally just got it on there.

I am wondering if anyone knows what I can do to avoid this happening again. I have never tightened or adjusted any brakes, so bear with me if I have a lot of questions to your suggestions.

I appreciate your help.

Derek
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Old 02-18-11, 05:25 PM
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I can think of three possible problems -

1. When the brakes were disconnected the cable housing moved out of one of its stops and this is impeding cable movement
2. THe wheel is not mounted 100% straight and not allowing the brakes to fully close
3. The brake cable is slightly tighter than it needs to be.

Solutions:
1. Trace the cable from the handlebars down to the brake, checking closely at each point where cable housing stops and bare cable comes out... look for any places where the housing does not seem to be in a cable-stop correctly, and correct it. THis usually happens at the brake lever. You may need to release the brake at the wheel again to get enough slack in the line to correct the housing issue.
2. If the cable housing is seated properly in each of its stops, check that the wheel is mounted properly. With the bike upright on its wheels, flip the quick release open, push the bike down lightly to ensure the axle is fully seated in the dropouts, then flip the QR closed again.
3. IT is possible that there is no problem - the cable is just slightly tighter than what allows easy brake connection/disconnection. Look at the brake lever - there is a barrel adjuster there and if it is screwed out from the lever body at all then screw it in a turn or two. If the barrel adjuster is not screwed out at all you only need to loosen loosen the cable anchor bolt on the brake arm, slip 1 or 2 mm of cable through toward the lever-end of the cable, and re-tighten the anchor bolt.
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Old 02-18-11, 05:30 PM
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Assuming there's some range, ease off the adjuster (screw it into the lever) to make it easier. Then, after putting the noodle back, adjust it out as much as you can without the pads rubbing. Easier, but harder (!), count the number of turns you can screw it in, then reverse the same number after putting the noodle back.
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Old 02-18-11, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
1. When the brakes were disconnected the cable housing moved out of one of its stops.
I'm betting my chips on this one.

If it was right once making a cable adjustment isn't the right thing to do.
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Old 02-18-11, 07:12 PM
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Derek: You say you just installed fenders; is the fender interfering with the brakes?
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Old 02-18-11, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
I can think of three possible problems -

1. When the brakes were disconnected the cable housing moved out of one of its stops and this is impeding cable movement
2. THe wheel is not mounted 100% straight and not allowing the brakes to fully close
3. The brake cable is slightly tighter than it needs to be.

Solutions:
1. Trace the cable from the handlebars down to the brake, checking closely at each point where cable housing stops and bare cable comes out... look for any places where the housing does not seem to be in a cable-stop correctly, and correct it. THis usually happens at the brake lever. You may need to release the brake at the wheel again to get enough slack in the line to correct the housing issue.
2. If the cable housing is seated properly in each of its stops, check that the wheel is mounted properly. With the bike upright on its wheels, flip the quick release open, push the bike down lightly to ensure the axle is fully seated in the dropouts, then flip the QR closed again.
3. IT is possible that there is no problem - the cable is just slightly tighter than what allows easy brake connection/disconnection. Look at the brake lever - there is a barrel adjuster there and if it is screwed out from the lever body at all then screw it in a turn or two. If the barrel adjuster is not screwed out at all you only need to loosen loosen the cable anchor bolt on the brake arm, slip 1 or 2 mm of cable through toward the lever-end of the cable, and re-tighten the anchor bolt.
Thanks for the reply. I went downstairs and checked option 1 and 2, it certainly wasn't that.

Can you be a little more descriptive with 3? I'm sorry, like i said, i'm a bit lost with the v-brake .. thank you!
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Old 02-18-11, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I'm betting my chips on this one.

If it was right once making a cable adjustment isn't the right thing to do.
when I was taking the bike for a "test drive" he had told me that bikes were tight, so to ease up on them and not be hard. I'm assuming he meant this exact problem? They were difficult to get off at first, so I don't think its a new thing that happened only after I started messing w/ them.
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Old 02-18-11, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
Derek: You say you just installed fenders; is the fender interfering with the brakes?
I ended up not using the rear fender, because of fitting issues ..
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Old 02-18-11, 10:24 PM
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I decided to take some photos/videos to help illustrate things:

Here are some photos:


It just appears too tight, when pushed together, they barely move.



this piece (the silver one) is completely tight. This is how it was when I got the bike.
Here's a video:


Thanks for you help.

Sorry for the poor quality, its a dark basement..

Last edited by derekthelion; 02-18-11 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 02-18-11, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by derekthelion View Post
this piece (the silver one) is completely tight.
No. It's being held in place by the lock ring (the black piece). Loosen the lock ring, and then turn the adjuster into the lever. That will give you more play to work with.
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Old 02-18-11, 10:38 PM
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From the picture of the barrel adjuster (the little knob on the brake lever), it looks like you could loosen the cable a bit using that.

There are two components to the barrel adjuster - the barrel and the lock ring. The lock ring is the black ring around the silver part. That is likely tightened down against the lever to keep the barrel from moving. You can unscrew that slightly with a little bit of force - you should be able to do it with your bare hand. Uncscrew it a couple of turns then screw the barrel into the lever body a couple of turns. This should make the brake feel a bit looser and give you the ability to more easily detach and reattach the brake.
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Old 02-18-11, 10:58 PM
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Uncle Sixty's Easy V Brake Set Up

Release the brake cable at the brake arms.

At the brake lever, turn the barrel adjuster all the way in and then turn it out 6-7 complete revolutions... I find there is a little variance between brake models.

Make sure that all the cable ferules are seated properly and that none have slipped out.

Going back to the brake arms, snug up the brake cable so that both brake pads are hitting the rim and then tighten the cable.

The wheel should not move.

Go back to the lever and screw the barrel adjuster back in.

The wheel should spin freely, if not, the brakes may need to be centered.

Make any needed centering adjustments at the brake by using the small adjustment screws, these control spring return tension.

You usually adjust these in tandem in that if you loosen one, you also tighten the other a little and with new brakes both screws may need to be tightened to increase the spring tension. If the springs are in similar condition the screws should be close to each other in where they are set.

After all this is done the brake lever should max out at no more than 50% of it's travel, braking should be quick and firm, and there should be no issue releasing the brake by detaching the noodle.

Give the lever 10 hard pulls to ensure that there is no slippage and that no ferules have unseated themselves.
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Old 02-19-11, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by derekthelion View Post
I recently got a new bike.
There's your answer.

I think that for a bike shop to let a bike out the door with the brake that tight borders on criminal. It took me longer to type this sentance than it would have taken me to fix the problem.
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Old 02-19-11, 08:39 AM
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I file the noodle down to make them easier to use. They typically have 8 mm take off 2 mm or so and try it.
 
Old 02-19-11, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles Ramsey View Post
I file the noodle down to make them easier to use. They typically have 8 mm take off 2 mm or so and try it.

Waaaa-a-a-yyy more work than just loosening the cable by 2mm.
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Old 02-19-11, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Ramsey View Post
I file the noodle down to make them easier to use. They typically have 8 mm take off 2 mm or so and try it.
That seems to be attacking the problem from the most difficult direction. Just loosen the pinch bolt and let out a small amount of cable.
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Old 02-19-11, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
Waaaa-a-a-yyy more work than just loosening the cable by 2mm.
You only have to file it once, so it's not more work if you often release your brakes. OTOH, if a brake arm sticks, and the noodle pops out, you're screwed.
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Old 02-19-11, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by mike_s View Post
You only have to file it once, so it's not more work if you often release your brakes. OTOH, if a brake arm sticks, and the noodle pops out, you're screwed.
You only have to loosen the brakes once, too.
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Old 02-19-11, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
You only have to loosen the brakes once, too.
Huh? Good luck stopping, if you don't retighten them after putting things back together.
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