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V Brakes just wonít adjust properly

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V Brakes just wonít adjust properly

Old 10-14-21, 02:01 PM
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AlexRa
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V Brakes just wonít adjust properly

So I have a problem adjusting the V brakes on my bike. If I set them up so the pull on the lever feels normal, the wheel is wonít move because the pads are already on contact. If I set them up so the wheel will spin freely, then the they are so mushy that fully pulling the lever barely has any effect. Iíve tried a few things: checked the housing and cable, checked for points of flex / wobble in the run, etc etc.


Iím not a massively experienced but Iíve set up a few sets of v brakes in the past.

This is a brand new set of V brakes, new housing, new cable, new noodles - the lot! The brakes and the levers were bought together as a set.


Theyíre going on my Surely Cross Check. Any hints and tips very very welcome!
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Old 10-14-21, 02:47 PM
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Bill Kapaun
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You need to find the place where the wheel just BARLEY DOESN'T RUB.
An out of true wheel and/or CHEAP brakes (why not mention brand & model which is more important then the bike) and/or incompetent installation are your enemy.
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Old 10-14-21, 02:51 PM
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You're sure the levers are for V-brakes, and not cantilevers, right? Pics or parts details might be helpful here.
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Old 10-14-21, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by AlexRa View Post
So I have a problem adjusting the V brakes on my bike. If I set them up so the pull on the lever feels normal, the wheel is wonít move because the pads are already on contact. If I set them up so the wheel will spin freely, then the they are so mushy that fully pulling the lever barely has any effect. Iíve tried a few things: checked the housing and cable, checked for points of flex / wobble in the run, etc etc.


Iím not a massively experienced but Iíve set up a few sets of v brakes in the past.

This is a brand new set of V brakes, new housing, new cable, new noodles - the lot! The brakes and the levers were bought together as a set.


Theyíre going on my Surely Cross Check. Any hints and tips very very welcome!
Are you using long-pull brake levers? V-brakes have very high mechanical advantage, so they should be used with levers that pull a lot of cable. Alternately, you can use a Problem Solver's Travel Agent to adapt the pull of short-pull levers to be more friendly to v-brakes. The high mechanical advantage also makes it extra-important that the wheels have good true.
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Old 10-14-21, 02:56 PM
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Set them up with the pads touching the wheel.
Then pull them. Hard. See what moves.
Do it a few times.
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Old 10-14-21, 03:21 PM
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What your describing could be related to mis-matched components, maybe give specifics of what you have, the exact model of brake lever and brakes, as that will help identify if they are compatible.
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Old 10-14-21, 03:35 PM
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Thanks for all your replies everyone! I will give all of your suggestions a go.

Yeah, they are cheap brakes. And they do feel like the could be mismatched but I bought the whole lot as a set, so they shouldnít be!

They are Clarkeís - I got the whole lot new for about 25 quid - perhaps this was my error.
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Old 10-14-21, 03:51 PM
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You still fail to provide WHAT brand/model.
Someone may be familiar with them and would know if THAT'S the problem or NOT!

We have no idea of your skill level.
Maybe a cable housing end isn't sitting in the stop well because it wasn't cut/adjusted properly??


No idea what "Clarke's" are.
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Old 10-14-21, 03:54 PM
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If you bought this set, your levers should be good:



If that's the case, it might be a cable issue. Check that:
  • The cable housing is securely inserted into the cable ferrules
  • The housing and ferrules are securely inserted into the cable stops on the frame
  • The housing and ferrules are securely inserted into the brake lever barrel adjusters
  • The housing is securely inserted into the "noodles" at the brake arm.
Next, take a look at the spacers on the brake pads. You can change the order of the thick and thin ones to position the pads closer or further away from the rim, in relation to the brake arms.



Last edited by Rolla; 10-14-21 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 10-14-21, 04:02 PM
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Old 10-14-21, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
.............Next, take a look at the spacers on the brake pads. You can change the order of the thick and thin ones to position the pads closer or further away from the rim, in relation to the brake arms.


THIS can be "vital".
Make sure the spacing is such that the pad is being "forced" to the rim's BRAKE TRACK at 90 degrees.
Too wide of spacing and the pads are angling down upon contact and get worse as force is applied.
When I switched to a set of Sun Rims M13II's on my hybrid, I had to add extra spacing to move the pads in.
I'm basically 1/2 thread shy of a full nut engagement on the studs. Not where I'd want, but I'll live with it.
Just one of the small pitfalls when doing things to a bike that it wasn't "quite" designed for.

Last edited by Bill Kapaun; 10-14-21 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 10-14-21, 05:48 PM
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If you follow the Park Tool video that Rolla posted above, you can't go wrong. Or...if you still are, tell us what part of the process is tripping you up.
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Old 11-14-21, 07:54 PM
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So ... I think I know what is bothering the o.p and I've read every post and I'm not seeing it mentioned. I just spent some quality time with a set of v's this week so on the off chance that this helps someone ... : One thing rarely mentioned about v's is that they are notorious for not being balanced in tension level. If one arm pulls even a little bit harder than the other it will pull the weaker arm into light contact with the rim, either all the time, or when the high spot of an out of true rim comes by.

When you operate V-brakes the Holiest of Holy's of setup is that both arms move equally towards and from the rim! If one of the arms remains in light contact with the rim upon brake lever release it's return spring tension must be increased. I wouldn't try lessening the tension on the other side, especially with ... affordable brake models. Most v's I encounter rarely have tension to spare. And rarely are they ever optimally balanced in operation. One side always drags. Even SLIGHT contact with the rim of a pad will drag the tire perceptiby.

You can increase the spring tension two ways. The classy, elegant, way is to use the fine point of a Phillips #1 screwdriver to turn the tiny tension screw clockwise a small amount. The less elegant, but more effective, method is to unhook the top of the return spring and bend it away from the bike just enough to increase its tension enough to balance the other side. Obviously you may have to do this more than once. It is deffo a trial and error operation. All bets are off if your rims are out of true. V-brakes, especially rear v-brakes are very unforgiving of rim wobble!

Last edited by Leisesturm; 11-14-21 at 07:59 PM.
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