How to Tighten Bike Brakes

How to Tighten Bike Brakes
Bike brakes are typically located on both the front and rear of a bike and are positioned on the support uprights. Brakes are most commonly found in two configurations: cantilever and side pull. Brake pads are attached to the mechanism which, when pressure is applied to levers mounted on the handlebars, contacts the rim of the wheel and slows the bike. Brakes may become loose due to use and need to be tightened to ensure proper operation.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Allen wrenches
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
Step 1
Locate the adjustment screw used to attach the brake pad to the brake assembly. Use an Allen wrench or adjustable wrench, depending on model, to tighten the pad.
Step 2
Inspect the barrel nut which is used to connect the brake cable to the brake assembly. Tighten the barrel down by turning in a clockwise or left to right motion. Use a pair of pliers to help with tightening.
Step 3
Adjust the brake cable wire retaining screw. This screw is typically located below the barrel nut and anchors the brake wire to the brake assembly. Use an Allen wrench or screwdriver based on the bike model.
Step 4
Tighten the brake assembly at the mounting point on the bike upright. Use an adjustable wrench to secure the brake assembly and prevent excessive sideways movement.
Step 5
Inspect the brake cable at the point of connection with the handlebar levers. Tighten the barrel nut or cable wire retaining screw if necessary.

Tips & Warnings

Refer to the manufacturer's instruction manual for more information on tightening brakes on specific bike models.
Make sure all components of the bike braking system are securely tightened to avoid potential injury during use.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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