How to Adjust your Bike Brakes to Not Touch the Wheel

A poorly adjusted bike brake is an inevitable issue when you frequently use your bike. But don’t worry! Fixing it is a simple task that can be accomplished in just a few minutes. Even if you have minimal mechanical skills, you can still do it yourself, saving you time and money. So how to adjust your bike brakes?

We’ll guide you on how to adjust your bike brakes, in case you experience rubbing against the wheel. Both disc brakes and caliper brakes will be covered in the tutorial. Additionally, we’ll also inform you about the signs that indicate the need for professional help.

For Disc Brakes

How to Adjust your Bike Brakes to Not Touch the Wheel - For Disc Brakes

To troubleshoot your rubbing bike brakes, start by mounting your wheel on a bike stand and spinning it. Inspect the rotors to see if they are bent and rubbing against the brake pads. If so, use a special disc brake tool or your hands to carefully straighten the rotor.

If the rotors aren’t centered, follow these steps:

  1. Loosen the bolts that attach the calipers to the frame, allowing the caliper body to move freely.
  2. Squeeze the brake lever to center the disc.
  3. While squeezing the lever, tighten the bolts that hold the caliper to the frame.
  4. Repeat the steps as necessary to ensure the calipers are centered.

If the previous method doesn’t solve your brake-rubbing issue, you may need to reset the pistons. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Remove both your front and rear wheels.
  2. Take out the disc brake pads. Depending on your disc brake design, remove the retaining pin with an allen key or bend the end of the cotter pin straight with pliers.
  3. Slide out the pads after removing the pins that keep them secure.
  4. Use a flathead to push the pistons back into the recess.
  5. Check if the pads need to be replaced and do so if they are worn out.
  6. Reassemble the components and verify if the rubbing has stopped.
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If the above steps do not work, the discs may be warped to the point where they need to be replaced.

For Brake Calipers

How to Adjust your Bike Brakes to Not Touch the Wheel - For Brake Calipers

When your bike’s calipers aren’t centered, it can cause brake rubbing. To center them, follow these steps:

  1. Unbolt the brake mounting behind the fork for the front calipers and behind the seat post for the rear calipers.
  2. Line up the calipers so they’re centered and then bolt the brake mounting back up.
  3. Fine-tune the adjustment by adjusting the screw or socket head on the calipers.
  4. Squeeze the lever to ensure that both brake pads touch the rim at the same time, indicating they’re aligned.

If these steps don’t solve the issue, the wheel itself may need to be trued. This is a job best left to an expert or local mechanic as it involves delicate parts of the bike.

Read Also: Measuring a Bike Tire: How to do it?

Related Q&A

How to Adjust your Bike Brakes to Not Touch the Wheel - Related Q&A
What are bike brakes for?
  • Bike brakes slow down or stop the bike.
Why do bike brakes touch the wheel?
  • Brakes touch the wheel when they are too tight or too close to the rim.
What tools do I need to adjust my bike brakes?
  • You need a 5mm Allen wrench and a Phillips head screwdriver.
How do I loosen the brake caliper?
  • Use the 5mm Allen wrench to loosen the bolt holding the brake caliper.
What do I do if my brake pads touch the rim?
  • Loosen the brake caliper and move it away from the rim.
How do I tighten the brake caliper?
  • Use the 5mm Allen wrench to tighten the bolt holding the brake caliper.
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What happens if I tighten the brake caliper too much?
  • If you tighten the brake caliper too much, the brake pads will touch the rim.
How do I adjust the distance between the brake pads and rim?
  • Loosen the brake caliper and use the Phillips head screwdriver to adjust the distance.
What do I do if my brake pads are too close to the rim?
  • Loosen the brake caliper and move it away from the rim.
How do I adjust the angle of the brake pads?
  • Loosen the brake caliper and use the Phillips head screwdriver to adjust the angle.
What happens if the angle of the brake pads is incorrect?
  • If the angle is incorrect, the brake pads will not make proper contact with the rim.
How do I check if my brake adjustment is correct?
  • Spin the wheel and see if the brake pads touch the rim.
What happens if the brake pads still touch the rim?
  • Repeat the adjustment process until the brake pads do not touch the rim.
How often should I adjust my bike brakes?
  • You should adjust your bike brakes every 6 months or as needed.
Why is it important to have non-touching bike brakes?
  • Non-touching brakes ensure proper braking performance and avoid damage to the rim.

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