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Lever modulation

The function of the balance screws

Each V-brake unit has a balance screw. You’ll find it at the bottom of the unit, usually a crosshead bolt but occasionally a small Allen key. The end of each bolt rests on the end of the brake-return spring, so that the spring is forced against the bolt when you squeeze the brake unit towards the rim. ...

Replacing and adjusting brake blocks (1)

Replacing and adjusting brake blocks

One of the points used to sell V-brakes was that changing the blocks would be easier than with cantilever brakes. This is slightly misleading – changing blocks is not difficult, but can be fiddly. You may find yourself wishing you had smaller fingers. The key is to set up the brake units so that they’re parallel and vertical before fitting the brake blocks into the units. Most new brake blocks come with a new set of curved washers but occasionally you’ll have to reuse the old ones. It’s a goo...

brake blocks (2)

Brake blocks : keeping your eyes open for regular wear and tear

Inspect your brake blocks frequently for wear, replacing them as they get thin and pick up grit and swarf. Worn blocks make for a useless braking surface and eat expensive rims for breakfast. Ignore this important task and your rims will wear right through the rubber of the block to the metal innards of the moulded pad. Brake blocks have a wear line indicating when they should be changed. If you can’t see a wear line, change the pads when they’ve worn to the bottom of the grooves moulded into th...

V-brakes : a general introduction and how to manage wear and tear

V-brakes were standard issue on mountain bikes until disc brakes took over but are still a very useful braking system for hybrid town bikes. They are cheap and simple to maintain and provide a good amount of braking power. Here follows an outline of the advantages and disadvantages of this braking system. ...

Brakes : build your stopping power

Well-tuned brakes make you go faster. This might seem like a contradiction, but it’s true. In order to be able to go fast, you need to be able to control your speed safely. Crisp, reliable brakes will make you feel more confident and get you out of trouble when you push things too far. ...