A well-informed person would recommend you to learn how to install front brakes on a bike. Well, only skilled riders can do that without front brakes. Otherwise, you’re prone to falls or accidents unexpectedly. But what to know about this bicycle front brake assembly? That’s also why we should learn how to add them to your bike in this article.
Before that, let’s find out how these brakes make your bicycle more productive.
Table of Contents
- How to Install Front Brakes on a Bike?
- How to install front brakes on a bike
- Things to keep a check on for your safety
- No brake on a bike is illegal in some places
How to Install Front Brakes on a Bike?
These two types of bicycle brakes are known as rim brakes and disc brakes. The latter is designed for better performance in wet environments while the former does well on dry surfaces. But, they’re both available to install on your bicycle. Just keep in mind how to install front brakes on a bike with 15 steps below:
- Step 1: For rim brakes, the first thing you need to do is remove your rear wheel. Then, remove the existing tire and isolate it from the wheel completely. Make sure you have all parts in front of you before proceeding to the next steps. Check out your bike manual as well as the online guides for more details.
- Step 2: The next things to do are removing the hub from the dropouts and removing the wheel hubs from there. You should now get a lot of slack on the chain. Remove it and keep it aside along with the wheel, so that you can work easier on your bicycle rim brakes installation.
- Step 3: Put all the brake pads on the rim. Before you do that, ensure that they’re right for your type of brakes. They should include a metal band behind the pad to latch onto the rim well. Make sure to place them in opposite positions if you have two brakes.
- Step 4: Find out how to align your front brakes on a bike with this step. If you’re using the disc brakes, be sure to tighten them with an Allen wrench to avoid any squeaking in operation. Refer to your bike manual if you’re not sure how to align these disc brakes properly.
- If you have rim brakes, just put on the pads into their respective positions. You can add a little bit of grease there too for better comfort in their daily use.
- Step 5: Let’s talk about the brake cable now. First, move the pads close to the rim so that you can install them onto your bicycle without any issue. Also, check out the cable guides to know where they should go after you remove them from their old location. You can use your hands to hold them in place while threading them through the guides.
- Step 6: Add a little bit of grease in between each rubber boot and cable there. You should now give the brake lever assembly a test with both hands. If it’s not working properly, tighten all cables and ensure that they have enough space within their outer housing terminations.
- Step 7: Remove the wheel and insert a spacer between the disc rim and brake pads. This should support them properly within your bicycle’s wheels to ensure that the rear one won’t interfere with the front one.
- Step 8: Install your bike’s wheels back onto their respective dropouts. Place your chain in between its respective chain rings and rear cogs. Make sure to check your wheel alignment too, for best results in this bicycle front brakes installation process.
- Step 9: Use a torque wrench to tighten all nuts on the spokes, so that they won’t come loose easily in use. They should have a gap of at least ¼” there. You can tighten the nipples as well for a better support to your bicycle rim brakes installation process.
- Step 10: Find out how to install front brakes on a bike with this step. Once you’ve installed them, make sure that they work perfectly with each other—otherwise, you won’t be happy with them after all. Then, spin your tire to know how your old rear brake pads are. If they don’t make any noise when spinning, then you can check if there’s rust or any other problems with them.
- Step 11: Put the wheel into position again. This will help you move forward faster down the road. You can put your chain there to make sure that it’s ready for use properly, just like before.
- Step 12: Check if your rear brake is operational as well. You should be able to operate it through a lever and pedal with ease. Ensure that you will be able to control them during sudden stop situations too, or else you won’t be safe while riding.
- Step 13: Clean up all parts of your bicycle rim brakes installation process with a dry cloth after this step. That way, you can ensure proper security when using your bike without having any problem at all in its correct functioning for sure.
- Step 14: Check your new brake pads for any dust or grease. If they’re clean, let your brake rotors clean themselves also. That way, you can avoid any friction that might cause an overheating problem with your disc brakes.
- Step 15: Check your bike’s alignment as well. It should have an identical position when both brakes are installed and working properly too, without any tilt-backs or warping of the wheels as well. You can use a level to measure all parts of your bicycle rim brakes installation process.
If you’ve installed the front brakes on a bike properly, you should be more secure in handling the wet roads now to ride on easily and safely.
Increase friction without skidding
Once the front bike gets used the right way, it will apply greater braking power without letting you suffer the risk of skidding. That quickly happens with the rear brake.
As you know, applying a rear brake means that your sole braking force here is the friction between the rear wheel and the ground. And the level of friction depends on the force pushing the rubber onto the ground. In other words, it’s your body weight.
See also how to adjust bike brakes?
Keep your weight behind the front brake
So another vital thing to keep in mind is that it’s essential to maintain your weight behind the front wheel and do not let it over the top while applying the front brake. With this front brake, your braking force will arrive from the friction between the front wheel and the ground.
At that time, the point lies in front of your mass. That means that both your weight and bike roleplay a level. In addition, it helps push the tire down into the ground, raising the friction.
Whenever you want to brake much more, then go to lock the tire and start flipping. With extra downward force, there’s more friction between the tire and the ground. That makes you stop quicker.
Cantilever and linear-pull brakes have excellent stopping power
Among types of bikes to select, you need to know the two basic types to put on it. These are known as the cantilever and linear-pull brakes. It’s easy to find them on a pivot point on the front fork of the bicycle. If the linear-pull brake system gets used on bikes with suspension, the cantilever won’t be like that.
After all, both of them own a particular mechanical system that helps the rider run the tool through one level. The system also has a wire sticking to the brake. You can find both of these systems on the front fork of your bike, as said above. Are you still unsure about it? Come to test them yourself. Find a secure and open space to try braking like a parking lot, for instance.
First, use only the front brake, and then use the rear brake. We suggest you stop quicker with the front. After that, go to speed up a bit, and stop as fast as possible with only the front brake. It might take your practice a bit to do that. You will get amazed at how fast you can stop after getting used to it.
Alright, now take a look at how to put brakes on a bike with a few steps:
How to install front brakes on a bike
First of all, check to find out whether the front brake level owns the cable attached to it or not. Then, locate it on the left side when you sit on the awesome road bike. If the cable hasn’t been installed, line the slots up in the barrel adjuster of the lever. Next, pull the cable through and get the head out of the lever. Then you can install your cable into the lever in the same way as the old one gets removed.
In this step, you will link the front brake to the bike. Use only one hand to pinch the left and right sides of the brake so that they can hit the wheel. Next, lift and put the metal elbow in the brake hanger under the handlebars. There will be a plastic cover on the cable. It should be there and fit in the hanger.
If you find it challenging since there won’t be enough space between the handlebars and the hanger, raise the handlebars. Do it by loosening the bolt before tightening it again.
Again, you use one hand to pinch both sides of the brake to let them touch the wheel. Then, hook the loose end of the wire into the right side of the brake. Notice that if the cable can’t get housed the right way, it’s due to the reduced length that causes it not to reach.
Things to keep a check on for your safety
Observe the calipers
Ensure your caliper brakes get moving once the cable gets pulled. To do that, you should squeeze the handle to observe how the caliper closes and opens. Another good way here is to have somebody adjust while you’re checking on the alignment.
Change the brake pads
It happens commonly, especially when many riders don’t keep a check on their brake pads or check when to replace bike brake pads. Since these are easily worn out, they can lose their efficiency without you knowing. Thus, keep monitoring them as much as you can, and replace them at once if they’re not effective anymore.
Check the cable servicing
Once you start squeezing the handles and finding out that they cannot move, ensure their services are done. If not, the cable is likely to break due to friction. Always remember to lubricate the cables as well.
Check the brake lever servicing
Do that again with the brake lever. These levers own cable clamps, so they need to get checked for safety. If you don’t do that, go to lubricate the pivot point on the handler for a more practical riding experience.
No brake on a bike is illegal in some places
Another reason you put front brakes on a bike is that biking without brakes is illegal in some places. It varies from state to state; it’s illegal in the United Kingdom to ride without brakes. A legal bicycle in this country should own two bakes. If you understand this law, you’re sure that a conventional fixed gear bike might be illegal.
In the United States, most states force you to own one brake at least, but that doesn’t mean you must have only one on the bicycle. In case you’re riding a traditional fixed gear bike without brakes, it’s easier to assemble brakes. It can make you safer out there, especially on busy roads.
Also, setting up a front or a rear brake on a fixed gear bike or a commuter bicycle won’t cost you too much money. It costs $30 -$50 for brake pads. And you only pay around $15 or $40 for the levers. Meanwhile, some brake cables need you to pay $10 or $20. So for a rear and front caliper, it costs about $20 – $40.
What types of brakes do I install on my bike?
First of all, let’s consider what kind of biking you’re going to do.
You should select V brakes if you:
- Ride a bike with a heavy load and need more stopping force.
- Ride a heavier bicycle and get scared that caliper brakes can’t handle that.
- Ride a bike that owns suspension.
- Love to ride off-road
- Own a bike with broader tires
- Want to ride in moist conditions
You should select caliper brakes if you:
- Ride a lightweight bike
- Plan to ride in the town
- Do not need instant stopping force
- Ride in a dry condition
- Own a bicycle with narrow tires.
How often should my bike’s brake pads get replaced?
- The lifetime of your bicycle’s brake pads depends on your frequency of use, external conditions, and maintenance. Generally, most brake pads last between 500 – 1000 miles.
Do my bicycle’s brake pads turn bad?
- Nearly any item made of rubber degrades as time passes by. It tends to lose some necessary properties. Besides, various rubber compounds degrade differently. It depends on specific formulas, fabrication methods, and other environmental elements. That happens the same with tires, valve seals, grips, and inner tubes.
When do you have to use the front brake on a bike?
- It’s when you brake in a straight line. At this moment, you’re recommended to use the front brake every single time. It’s considered the most efficient brake you can use, but you also need to beware of going over the bars. For those who bike slowly or when you must brake while cornering, utilize the rear back.
Now you’ve known how to install front brakes on a bike. Though this task seems slightly daunting, it’s fast, budget-friendly, and simple to do in reality. Once removing the old brakes, you need to decide how to put the new ones. Ensure that your new ones are the same as the old ones. Having front brakes is a crucial part of your whole unique bike riding experience. It doesn’t only boost safety but also plays a significant role in your road riding.