An Easy Adjustment

Today I did my monthly thorough bike wash. Good thing, too, since I haven’t done it in about five months.

Besides ¬†getting all the grit and grime off my bike, I treated myself to the always relaxing task of replacing the bar tape. The new stuff, an upgrade from the stuff I usually buy, looks good and feels better. I’m anxious to get out tomorrow and see what it feels like during a longish ride.

But I also thought I would give some attention to something that’s been bothering me during the last several rides. The brake pull for the rear brake really had a lot of travel. I had to pull it almost to the handlebar before I could feel the brakes kick in. The brakes are pretty good — I replaced the pads two years ago, and they’re nowhere near worn down yet. But compared to some other bikes I’ve been on, braking didn’t feel sharp. I guess I’d just gotten used to the way they worked, and I made them work for me.

Adjusting the reach of the brake levers is easy. First, loosen the bolt that holds the brake cable.

Loosen the cable fixing bolt.
Loosen the cable fixing bolt.

Then, squeeze both sides of the brake caliper, and hold them at the distance from the wheel rim you’d like. It should be closer than it is now.

Squeeze the calipers until they almost touch the rim.
Squeeze the calipers until they almost touch the rim.

That squeeze will move the brake cable through the bolt. Tighten the bolt, while still squeezing the caliper, then let it go.

Check the brake lever travel. If it hasn’t changed enough, you can go through the steps again — the process takes less than three minutes — but I’ll bet it works out fine the first time.

Now, I have to get ready to do the thorough monthly cleaning of my wife’s bike. Let’s see — I think it’s been about a year since I’ve done that one.


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