Adjusting V Brakes On Bicycle

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When it comes to maintaining your bicycle, one essential aspect is ensuring that your brakes are in top-notch condition. V brakes, also known as linear pull brakes, are a popular choice for many cyclists due to their excellent stopping power. However, like any mechanical component, they require periodic adjustment to maintain optimal performance. In this article, we will guide you through the process of adjusting V brakes on your bicycle.

Tools Required

Before diving into the adjustment process, it is important to gather the necessary tools. You will need:

  • 5mm Allen wrench
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Cable cutter
  • Cable end cap

Step 1: Inspecting Brake Pads

The first step is to inspect your brake pads. Ensure that they are not excessively worn or damaged. If they are, replace them with new ones to ensure optimal braking performance.

Step 2: Loosening the Cable

Use the 5mm Allen wrench to loosen the cable pinch bolt on the brake caliper. This will allow you to manipulate the brake arms more easily during the adjustment process.

Step 3: Centering the Brake Arms

With the cable loose, squeeze the brake lever to bring the brake pads close to the rim. Then, visually check if the pads are centered on the rim. If they are not aligned, use the adjustable wrench to adjust the spring tension on each brake arm until they are equidistant from the rim.

Step 4: Adjusting Pad Clearance

Using the 5mm Allen wrench, adjust the pad clearance by turning the pad adjustment screw. The ideal clearance is around 1-2mm between the pad and the rim. Repeat this process for both brake pads.

Step 5: Cable Tension Adjustment

Now, pull the brake lever and observe the movement of the brake arms. If one arm moves more than the other, use the needle-nose pliers to adjust the cable tension by turning the barrel adjuster at the brake lever.

Step 6: Fine-Tuning Brake Performance

With the brake pads properly aligned and the cable tension adjusted, it’s time to fine-tune the brake performance. Squeeze the brake lever and check for any excessive play or rubbing. If necessary, make small adjustments to the pad clearance or cable tension until the brakes feel responsive and smooth.

Step 7: Cable End Cap Installation

Trim the excess brake cable using the cable cutter, leaving approximately 2-3cm of extra cable. Install a cable end cap to prevent fraying and ensure a clean finish.

Step 8: Final Check

Once you have completed the adjustment process, perform a final check of the brake performance. Test the brakes by squeezing the lever firmly to ensure they engage smoothly and bring the bicycle to a complete stop.


Regularly adjusting your V brakes is crucial for maintaining your bicycle’s safety and performance. By following these steps and using the right tools, you can keep your V brakes in optimal condition and enjoy a smooth and reliable braking experience on your bicycle.