How To Adjust Road Bike Brakes (Step By Step Do It Yourself Guide)

Adjusting road bike brakes is the first thing for having a secure bike riding. It ensures the maximum safety when you are on the road bike.

Brakes of a road bike are known to be the most essential part. If you are wondering why this is, the answer lies on the usability of a bike in an urban area. When you ride a road bike, it is a must to have control over the speed, acceleration, and direction.

Without having brakes, this will not be possible. And, the adjustment of these brakes is the only thing that you should know for such controlling processes.

As brake adjustment is a mandatory knowledge for a biker, you should know how to adjust road bike brakes. It will reduce your effort for taking the bike to the repairer.

The task begins with observation. Find out either the braking pads have moved from tires or not.

Simply grip the brake lever and squeeze it. See the distance between the pads and tire when you apply the brake.

Use the brake-barrel adjuster and tighten the cable for getting a good grip. You can use an Allen Wrench for this task.

Well, this is the simplest way for such brake adjustment.

In the later discussion, we have described more on how to do it precisely.


When Will You Know that the Road Bike Brake Requires Adjustment?

The common question of the most of the bikers is about the justification of a bike-related problem. Generally, the biker needs to find out the answer from practical experiences.

When you start feeling softness or get squeaking sound while stopping the bike, it clearly indicates that the brakes have already faced a lot of wires and tears.


You may also apply the following tests for knowing the brake condition.

  • Sound

Is there any sound coming out from the bike tires when you stop it with the lever? New road bikes are as smooth as butter. Eventually, the smoothness fades away and braking-pads start to seem torn. An irritating sound comes out whenever it happens.

You will clearly hear the squeaking. This indicates that the braking pads are not in good shape and you may have to take a look at them.

  • Slipperiness

What does it feel when you pull the brake lever? In general, this should be strong and quick. The tires have to stop as soon as you pull the lever.

If it does not act like this, you should probably go for the adjustment. The softness of the cable takes away the pads from tires. This affects the bolts too.

You have to tighten the cable, bolt, and adjuster to make it perfect again.

  • Lacking in Control

The best part of riding a road bike is having the control of the speed and direction.

Because of unintended brake maladjustment, there is a chance of losing control.

You will not be able to stop at your will. This brings you to a conclusion that the brake requires adjusting as soon as possible.

When any of these three things happen, you should start taking care of the brakes of your road bike. A proper alignment will give the best riding experience for you.

How To Adjust the Brakes of a Road Bike (in Detail)

road bike brake adjustments tips

The brake cable of any bike like mountain bike or road bike is quite flexible and strong. It can hold a lot of strength. The brake barrels and bolts are the only parts of this system which may go out of order.

As you need to pull the lever again and again for stopping the bike, the brake pads start getting torn apart.

Then you need to follow some steps for getting it adjusted. In the following step by step guideline, we have described the most convenient way for adjusting brakes without taking it to a repairer.

Let’s take a look at them.

Step One: Test how much force you need to apply for stopping

At first, you have to be sure either the brake requires adjustment or not. So, take the bike at the highest speed and stop it using the lever. If it feels softened, the brake has already out of maintenance.

Keep it standing and see the brake pads closely. Pull the cable using the brake lever to measure the distance. You can also use a caliper for this measurement purpose.

Step Two: Loosen the bolts from the brake lever adjuster

Now, you have to loosen the bolt and screws. Pull the brake cable and turn it over. Make sure that it creates enough friction to the tire surface.

When you feel the cable is at the right place on the tire, simply attach the brake lever adjuster.

Step Three: Tighten the adjuster

Use an Allen wrench for tightening the lever adjuster. Apply at least force as required. Otherwise, there is a chance that the cable will get torn apart.

When the lever is tightened, pull the brake lever and observe the friction between the brake pads and the tire.

This is a small type of adjustment. If you are using the road bike for a long time and the brake pads are not fully functional, you may have to change it.

Follow every step and loosen the bolts. Replace the brake pads with new ones. And, the brake will start to work again.

Taking Care of Brakes in Road Bikes

taking care of biking brakes

Along with adjustment, you have to consider some other things about the road bike brakes too. Apply a high-quality metal lubricant on the cable.

Wash the road bike on a regular basis with washing liquids. To get rid of stains, you must use stain-remover on the brake cables.

Brakes of road bikes are not fragile. Rather, they have the strength of holding plenty of pressure.

Brake pads, on the other hand, are perishable.

They get damaged in a short time. You can keep some spare brake pads at home to deal with this type of situation.

What Do You Think About This Adjustment Procedure?

There are always a plenty of ways for doing a single thing. You may have experienced similar repairing situations. Let us know about it. Your opinions will be appreciated.

Also, it will be helpful for us to know how much this guide helped you. Brakes are used every now and then on a road bike. You will get absolutely no chance to ignore the condition.

Leave a suggestion, opinion or your feeling about the guideline in the following. This may help another biker. Thanks.

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