How to Adjust Shimano Brakes

How to Adjust Shimano Brakes
Shimano brakes are known for reliability and efficiency, but even they will need to be adjusted from time to time. Through time and use, the various parts that comprise a bike brake will gradually either stretch or shift position, affecting the general performance of the component. Brake adjustment involves a number of factors, from cable tension to brake pad alignment, all of which can be carried out by following a progressive, step-by-step repair.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • 5mm Allen wrench
  • Needle nose pliers
Step 1
Loosen the brake cable anchor bolt using a 5mm Allen key. The anchor bolt will be located on the brake and secures the brake cable to the brake.
Step 2
Back out the adjuster barrel by turning it counterclockwise. The adjuster barrel will be found where the brake cable enters the body of the brake. Backing out the adjuster barrel will remove slack from the cable.
Step 3
Press the arms of the brake against the surface of the wheel. The pads should strike the rim evenly. If they do not, use your Allen key to loosen the bolt keeping the pad holder in place and then align the pad. Re-tighten the bolt.
Step 4
Continue to hold the pads flush against the rim. Have a friend pull the end of the brake cable taught with a pair of needle nose pliers and then tighten the anchor bolt over the cable. This operation, performed simultaneously, requires three hands.
Step 5
Turn the adjusting barrel once again, this time clockwise. This will cause the brake pads to clear the rim. There should be enough clearance so that the wheel does not strike the pads when rolling. Give the pads enough clearance to soften braking. Brakes that are too tight make for harsh braking.
Step 6
Center the brake. Shimano features a centering screw for this purpose. The screw is small and will require an Allen key. The screw will be located on one of two of the brake arms that comprise the body of the brake.

Article Written By Matthew Ferguson

Matthew Ferguson is a writer living in Savannah, Ga. He has been writing for over 10 years and his work has appeared on various online publications. A collection of his short stories was published in spring 2010. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University.

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