View Full Version : Breaks adjustment

08-07-2006, 07:38 AM
I had my bikes for few months now, and from the first time I picked it up from the tune up and assembly my breaks felt funny, they weren't tight enough and stopping power was bad. So I took it to adjust them, which they did by putting break pads very close to the rim, I never seen it being that close on any other bike. On one of my recent rides I had a hard time stopping at a red light and that got me really mad, so I took it to the shop again where they tightened break cables , which really helped. So yesterday, on my ride everything seemed fine until I started hearing a rubbing noise. I stopped and checked my wheels, and the rear one was rubbing on the pads. My bf adjusted the pad so they don't rub but we still decided to take it to the shope.Took it to the shop again :mad: where all he did just put the pads back close to the rim, I checked the tire and it didnt rub. Came home and it ......rubs again. I am so frustrated, the guy at the shop told me that if I want good breaking it has to be close to the rim. I personally don't believe that. Did any of you have same problem or know what should be done? Please need advice

08-07-2006, 07:56 AM
What kind of brake pads are you using? I use Kool Stop brake pads. I think the best thing would be to learn how to adjust your brakes yourself. That way you get exactly what you want and you're not relying on the LBS guy.

Don't be afraid to just tinker with the various bits of your brake and see what they do, how they move. It's unlikely you'll break anything. :)

Good luck!


08-07-2006, 08:08 AM
:rolleyes: hmmm it definatelly is worth of learning it myself. I think I am going to start looking for a class around in my area.
The bike is 2005 Specialized Dolce multi sport, and these are the specs i got from the site.
FRONT BRAKE Dual pivot, forged alloy, with cartridge multi-condition pads

REAR BRAKE Dual pivot, forged alloy, with cartridge multi-condition pads

BRAKE LEVERS Shimano 105, STI, with short reach adaptors

08-07-2006, 08:30 AM
Brakes don't need to be super-close to the rim for effective braking. It's not so important how close they are to the rim, as how far you are depressing the levers to stop. You should be depressing them far enough that your hand is in a comfortable place for applying pressure, but nowhere near bottoming out against the handlebar. Having the pads hit the rim with the lever about 1/4 depressed is generally about right. If the brakes are rubbing, spin the wheel and observe the pads in relation to the rim. Either (1) the rim is out of true, (2) the calipers are off-center, or (3) the pads are really closer than they need to be and the rims are only a tiny bit out of true. For your description, that the pads are not rubbing and then they start rubbing again, I'd guess you have a caliper centering problem. You can probably center the calipers by hand and then you use the brakes a few times and they are rubbing again. There is no universal way to center brake calipers because every brand is different. Some have a small screw on one caliper arm that will adjust the centering. On others you have to loosen the nut that holds the caliper to the frame, center, and retighten. Sometimes you can hold the caliper position with a cone wrench or flat 10 mm on the front side of the frame anchor as you tighten. On some older brakes you need to bend the caliper spring with a hammer and punch. If the calipers seem to be adjusted well and you still aren't getting good braking power, it could be the pad compound or grimy rims. You can try sanding the pad surface and cleaning the rims.

08-07-2006, 09:27 AM

It does need to be pressed really hard almost into a handlbar if the pads are looser than they are ( which is close to the rim) I think the guy at the shop did check the alignment and it was fine. But I will def check again myself. Thanks for advice.

08-07-2006, 09:59 AM
If the pads start very close to the rim and you are still pulling the lever almost to the bar, there is something mushy about that braking system. If the pads hit the rim at 1/4 lever depression, they should stop the bike by about the 1/2 way lever point. If not, there is too much stretch in the cable or compression in the housing or bending in the calipers or squish in the pads. The more you pay for a brake, the stiffer and less of a mushy feeling you'll get. I don't know about the models of brakes currently on the market, but if you post the make and model here, maybe somebody can tell you if they've use that brake and how it should feel. I do know that DiaCompe brakes made in the 70s felt like mush. You might get some braking improvement by replacing your cables and housing with high quality ones. But if the calipers are bending, only a brake replacement will fix the situation. Do you have drop bars or straight handlebars? With straight bars, you'll have less lever travel to begin with.

08-07-2006, 10:17 AM
I have drops. What I meant is that when the guy at lbs moved pads further away from rims I had to really press on the breaks. When they were close to the rim (the way they put it origionally) the breaking was fine.