Brake is an important part of the function of braking (reducing) the speed of a bicycle while traveling. It can slow the bicycle at a slower speed or stop moving. When the brake is pressed, the torque in the opposite direction wins over the inertia of the wheel.
1. This V-brake is a direct pull even when the swing-arm moves according to the distance that the cable moves towards it: There is no interference mechanism between the cable and the upper arm
2. Shimano trademarks the term “V-brake”: It stands for the common execution of this design.
3. The V-brakes work well with suspension on many new mountain bikes. They do not require a separate cable stop on the frame or fork. With the mechanical advantage of the V-brake, it is compatible with many current models.
4. The V-brake is easy to install and set up, but you have to make sure your brake lever is compatible: longer brake levers and road levers can lead to poor performance.
5. Most V-brakes come with cartridge style brake pads: When replacing the gasket, remove a small pin or retention bolt, slide the old piece out, and replace it with a new the cable.
Table of Contents
- What Are Bicycle Brakes?
- Principle and Difference Between Bicycle V-Brake and Disc Brake
- How to Adjust a V-Brake?
What Are Bicycle Brakes?
Most bicycle brakes usually comprise two principal components:
- A component for the driver to apply the brake: handbrake lever and pedal for single speed bikes
- A signal transmission component: brake cable, hydraulic hose, rod, or chain of slugs
The self-brake mechanism includes a clamp to squeeze two surfaces together. Then, it creates a great friction force to overcome the dynamics of the vehicle and the driver. It also makes the heat energy dissipated, making the car slow or stop completely.
Principle and Difference Between Bicycle V-Brake and Disc Brake
The first point of view is that disc brakes are better than V-brakes as they are more upscale. Most newcomers who are unfamiliar with sports bikes like road bikes and mountain bikes, often think that disc brakes must be better than V brakes.
Here, it is dumbfounding. Whether it is a foreign competition or a domestic professional competition, V-brakes still account for the majority. Disc brakes are also popular. But for most casual riders and those who do not take part in amateur-level competitions, V brakes are still sufficient.
Of course, for those who like to go downhill, disc brakes are still a suitable choice. But you get what you pay for, and the choice between disc brakes and V brakes is itself. We still recommend that customers choose a more reasonable choice from their budget from the perspective of use.
Disc brakes are braked by a caliper (or called a caliper) acting on a steel disc fixed on the hub. V-brakes are braked by gripping the rim of the V-brake caliper. The radius of the V-brakes is much larger than the radius of the disc-brake ones. So, the brake arm of the disc brake is much smaller, and it is difficult to lock.
Locking is the most basic for the braking requirements of popular bikes. The easier it is to lock, the better, unless you are playing a tricky bicycle sport like climbing that requires you to lock immediately.
The friction of the V-brake is the contact friction between the rubber compound and the rim. The dynamic effect is still stronger than the disc brakes unless you continue to brake at high speed. If you touch the rim with your hand, the disc brake is hot. And it will weaken the braking force at such a temperature. The higher the temperature, the lower the braking effect.
Almost all experienced people say that low-priced disc brakes are not as good as mid-priced V-brakes. In this sentence, the price of low-end disc brakes ranges from more than $15 to more than $20, including some famous brands such as Assets or Promax. And even Shimano’s 475 and 495 disc-brakes come with an official price of more than $20. These disc brakes are average. Even though the quality of Shimano is better, it feels very hard.
V-brakes are easy to achieve mid-range brake effects because there are many brands to choose from besides Shimano. For example, the classic Avid FR5 double-sided embossed brake lever and Shimano M430 brake caliper. The price of the brakes for a set of cars is only $13, but the experience is much better than the disc brake systems above.
How to Adjust a V-Brake?
Good braking is a good brake change. For adjusting the pads, cable tension, and spring tension, we will explain everything to adjust a bicycle V-Brake.
You can follow the instructions of this YouTube video for the most accurate method.
Material to Adjust a V-Brake
- An Allen key or a 10 key
- A Phillips screwdriver
Check the runout, the wheel centering, and the condition of the brake.
- Sheer and wheel centering: Before adjusting a bicycle V-Brake, you must first check the runout and centering of the wheel. If your wheel is only off-center, to the right, or the left of the fork or the frame, proceed it to the centering.
- Adjusting a V-Brake on a great bicycle wheel: Spin your wheel to check the rim runout. If your wheel is too warped, we advise you to unveil it before adjusting your brake. Or you can call a cycle technician if you have never performed this operation.
- Check the condition of the brake cable, bellows, and elbow: You can lubricate the sheath and the elbow. Just insert a few drops of oil into the upper part of these elements.
- Checking the brake cable: Replace the cable, elbow, or bellows if these items are worn or damaged. Note that, unlike a rigid elbow, the flexible elbow adapts perfectly to the configuration of your brake while facilitating the circulation of the cable.
Adjust the cable tension of the V-Brake.
Before adjusting the brake cable tension, make sure that you screw the adjusting knob on the lever. It is a nut-lock-nut system.
- Loosen the cable clamp screw and hand tighten the caliper jaws.
- Tension the cable and moderately tighten the clamping screw. You can also hold the cable with universal pliers or multiple grip pliers while tightening.
- Now, test the brake lever free play. The brake is normally hard. Loosen the thumbscrew a little, then press the lever slightly, until you get to the clearance you like. Finally, tighten the clamping screw to lock the cable. If your brake needs a little more cable tension, use the dial to fine-tune the change. Otherwise, perform the cable tension operation again.
- Check that the pads are not touching the wheel. It could be a cable that is too tight, a wheel that is too warped or incorrectly adjusted brake springs.
What is a good brake lever stroke? It is when the brake is actuated after a movement of the lever of 2 or 3 cm.
Adjust the pad position
Check the condition of your skates. If we wear them out, change them before adjusting the cable tension. The brake pads should be centered and parallel to the rim for excellent support and braking.
- Loosen a pad, position it on the center of the rim neither too high nor too low. It must non-touch the tire during braking, nor be in a vacuum.
- Once it properly places the pad, brake hard with the lever to hold it in place, and tighten the pad moderately using the wrench.
- To complete the tightening, hold the pad firmly with your hand and tighten.
- Recheck the correct position of the pad.
- Perform the same operation on the other pad.
Are your skates bearing fruit when braking? Here is a tip! Position the skates slightly tilted towards the front of the bike, so that the front of the skate slightly touches the rear part before.
Adjust the springs
The springs return the lever to its initial position and center the brake caliper so that the pads touch the rim at the same time. There is one spring per caliper. We can adjust the springs using the small screw on the side of the calipers. Make sure that the springs are working properly.
- Check the springs: To check them, disconnect the V-brake caliper by pulling on the elbow. Then manually push the two parts of the caliper. Each of them must exert resistance. If both springs are working properly, replace the elbow.
- Adjust the springs: You have two solutions: tension the right spring by tightening the small screw or relax the left spring by unscrewing the small screw.
- Spring change: Go gradually. After the change, you can stop several times to reach the final spring tension. Adjust again to find the correct position of the caliper. For effective braking, the pads must touch the rim at the same time.
Some useful tips:
- No need to put too much tension in the caliper springs. Your brakes will be too hard to apply.
- A brake that lacks tension will not return. If so, give tension to both sides. It is up to you to find the right balance for adjusting the springs.
- Carry out a final general check after successfully setting a V-Brake! Check the lever travel and make sure the pads do not touch the wheel when you are not applying the brake.
- For effective braking, remember to check and adjust a V-Brake at the front and back of your bike.