Adjusting your brakes is important to ensure that you can slow down or come to a stop quickly and effortlessly each time you squeeze the brake levers. In this section, we tell you how to adjust your brakes in order to maximize their effectiveness.
In order for your brakes to grab the rim of your bike’s wheel firmly, they need to be in the proper position. Follow these steps to adjust your brakes’ position:
1. Hold the brake pad with one hand and undo the nut or bolt holding the brake shoe one or two turns to loosen it just slightly.
2. Squeeze one of the brake levers so that the pad is pressed up against the rim.
3. While holding the lever with one hand, position the pad so that it lines up parallel with the rim. Also adjust the pad so that the front part of the pad is closer to the rim than the back part. This alignment of the brake pads is called toe in. Some brakes have concave and convex washers to help with the toe-in adjustments. Sometimes, with center-mount brakes, you need to put an adjustable wrench on the brake arm itself and bend it slightly to make the toe-in adjustment.
4. Hold the pad in place and release the lever. As you’re holding the pad, tighten the bolt to secure the pad in its current position.
5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 for the other brake pad. When you’re finished, the front part of the brakes should be angled in slightly (toe in) such that that the end of the brake pads closest to the front of the bike is 1mm from the rim and the back part of the brakes pads are 2mm from the rim.
Sometimes brakes are a little temperamental when it comes to adjustments. Just have a little patience and try not to get temperamental yourself when it takes several tries to get the position just right. With a little practice, you’ll be able to do it in a snap.
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