How to Adjust Caliper Brakes

The bicycle brakes help you control your speeding bicycle and to come to a halt when you need to. The brakes need to be in perfect condition for your safety and to avoid any hazardous accident. The bicycles usually have caliper brakes. These brakes actually are pivoting arms pair that can be closed and opened according to the lever. When one applies brakes, the cable attached to these pivot arms moves the arms towards the wheel (close). When the arms move inwards, brake pads of the cycle, grip the cycle wheel on its sides, and thus the bike slows down. In order to slow down and stop your bike, the cable of the caliper brake should have the right tension. The cable tension is responsible for application of brakes. At regular intervals, the brakes should be checked, and for this, you do not need a cycle repair mechanic every time. You yourself can keep the bicycle brakes in right condition, by knowing how to adjust caliper brakes. If you do not know the procedure for adjusting the brakes, the following information can help you out.

To begin with, you might think that you would need a big toolbox to adjust the brakes, but that is not true. You just need a ‘5mm Allen Key’ and a cable adjuster to adjust the caliper brakes.

How to adjust caliper brakes?

  1. There is a pinch bolt on the brake cable. This bolt holds the cable and the caliper brake body together. To make any adjustments, you need to loosen this pinch bolt with the Allen wrench.
  2. At the point where the brake cable enters the caliper brake body, you can see a barrel adjuster. Insert the cable adjuster here, in the body of the caliper brake. Rotate it up to 3-4 turns in clockwise direction.
  3. Next step is pinching the brake sides, which will let the brake pads and rims sides come in contact. Hold the brake in the same position, and using the same hand’s forefinger and thumb, start pulling the brake cable till it is tightened completely. Keep the brake in this position.
  4. With the other hand, use the ‘5mm Allen Key’ and tighten the cable pinch bolt. Once the pinch bolt is tightened, completely leave the cable and the brake you were holding.
  5. Next step is refitting the barrel adjuster. Place the barrel adjuster close towards the body of the caliper brake. Using the cable adjuster again, turn this barrel till all the brake pads are at a distance of 3-4 mm from the rims of the wheel.

With this, the caliper brakes of your bicycle are adjusted. Check the brakes in your work area itself before taking it out on the road. The brakes should not be very tense or very relieved. Very tense brakes will stop the bicycle at one go and might lead to an accident. Very relieved brakes will take a long time to slow down or halt your bicycle making it useless to apply brakes. Keep the right tension on the brake cable and experience safe riding.


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  3. How to Adjust Disc Brakes
  4. How to Adjust Drum Brakes
  5. How to Replace Brake Caliper

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