How to adjust bike brakes rubbing

Adjusting the brakes can be a daunting task for novice mechanics, but this fear is unwarranted: it’s easier than you think at first. The following tips on how to adjust bike brakes rubbing are commonly used brake systems and do not require sophisticated tools.

If you have a set of Allen keys, two hands, and 10 minutes, you will do just fine. Today we explain how to solve one of the most common: the friction of the disc brakes when reinstalling one of the wheels.

The rule of thumb for adjusting the brakes, no matter what system it is, is to make sure the wheels are placed correctly on the replacement dropouts. Loosen the quick coupler on the wheels and move the wheel from side to side until you make sure the wheel is positioned correctly. Then tighten the quick coupler again.

Identify which brake system you have. There may be differences in appearance among different models and brands, but the necessary parts will always be the same.

Things you will need:

  • Bicycle stand
  • Hexagonal screwdriver
  • Marker
  • Adjustable wrench

First, it is time to reposition the wheel and rotate it to check for friction with the brake disc. If the answer is affirmative, we must obtain an Allen key from number 5 before starting the process.

Already with the Allen key in your possession, you can start to eliminate the friction of your disc brakes.

The second step is to squeeze the brake lever to check that they are configured correctly, both in touch and in tension, thus ensuring that the problem comes from the position of the disc.

Then, in the third step of the process, you will have to loosen the screws that hold the caliper with our Allen 5, avoiding to unscrew them entirely so that they do not fall off, and you will re-tighten the brake lever: the caliper will crush against the disc and will focus on him.

Finally, and, very importantly, without releasing the brake, you need to screw the caliper again. In the absence of little to do it completely, you will turn the wheel back to check that you have managed to eliminate the friction of your brake discs, and, if so, you will have to finish tightening the screws.

To complete, you have to repeat the wheel turn, and you will repeatedly press the brake lever to make sure 100% that the process has achieved the desired objective.

How to maintain the bike brakes to avoid such problems?

The maintenance operations that we can carry out on our braking system are of two types: ordinary and extraordinary.

The first includes the most frequent maintenance that we can safely carry out independently, with minimal equipment and with little expense.

The second one instead includes more sophisticated operations, which can be done without any problem, but which needs more specific equipment and a bit more malice. Fortunately, they are also rarer.

Ordinary maintenance operations include

  • Pad replacement
  • Cleaning the brake body and disc
  • Reset of piston stroke
  • Rotor-brake body centering
  • Pumping levers modulation adjustment

The extraordinary ones include

  • Bleeding the brakes
  • Oil replacement
  • Dismantling the pumping element
  • Replacement of hydraulic cables
  • Removing the brake body
  • Lubrication of offset pistons
  • Rotor replacement

How do you know if your brakes are incorrectly adjusted?

It’s easy to find out if your brakes need adjustment. After checking if your pads are not too worn, you need to check their position about the rim. In the regular place, the brake pads should not touch the rim but remain relatively close to the rim.

When you operate the brake lever, your two brake pads must stick entirely to the rim at the same time. They should neither be too low nor be too high (to the point of ending up in a vacuum or rubbing the tire).

The pads should, when you pull the lever, be perfectly aligned with the rim. If not, you should consider making adjustments.

Is it essential to maintain bike brakes?

It is necessary to carry out constant maintenance on our bike, and it ensures us to keep all the components in optimal conditions for their use and, also, considerably lengthens the life of our bicycle.

But when carrying it out, new problems can arise if, as usual, we are not specialized mechanics.

Final Words

In recent years, bikes equipped with disc brakes have been launched on the market, arousing some interest. What we know for sure is that braking performed with disc brakes does not guarantee better performance than headband brakes. The real difference lies in maintenance. Therefore it is necessary to know how to adjust bike brakes rubbing in both the systems.

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