v brakes adjusting booboo


Senior Member
E. London
i seem to always have this problem. i've just installed new v brake pads on the back and now they're not alligned properly. i.e one side is closer to the wheel rim than the other.

i put them on and adjusted the cable, one side was closer to the other so i started turning the small screws that are on each side of the v brakes - this is where i think ive gone all wrong.
i know (at least i think i know) that adjusting these screws affects the tension of one side of the brake but im not sure which way i need to turn it to get the pad closer/further away and if i tighten the cable further one pad sits on the rim.

at the mo, the brakes are safe enough; i've done two days worth of commutes, but i have to pull the brake lever too far down to get decent stopping power.

any help much appreciated


Active member of Helmets Are Sh*t Lobby
Bicycle tutor is your friend http://bicycletutor.com/adjust-v-brakes/


Lover of things that come in 3's
You're on the right lines, I maintain 6 bikes with v-brakes and they all seem to behave a bit differently. When putting on new pads I:-

fit pads and set angles/heights with them held against the rim

tighten the small screws almost as far as they go - tightening/clockwise moves the pad away from the rim - this means that you can loosen them to bring them in as the pads wear.

next I fit the wire and tighten it, I use a 'third hand' tool to help and I hold the arms so that the pads are about where I'd like them to be.

finally I hook up brake noodle and then make fine tuning adjustments via the screws.

I think that things aren't always dead centre and the springs wear/strength can vary. But I'll often end up with the screws at quite different positions on each side. You also don't need to turn the screws much to get quite a bit of change. Plus use the brakes a couple of times after each adjustment to make sure everything's moving freely.

It gets quicker and easier with time, some of my early attempts saw me giving up in despair and visting my LBS.
The pads, as I understand it, should be set symetrically before adjusting the return spring tension via the aforementioned screws. They are there to ensure the caliper arms return an equal distance away from the wheel.


Senior Member
E. London
MacB said:
tighten the small screws almost as far as they go - tightening/clockwise moves the pad away from the rim

not on my brakes! tried it yesterday after reading your comments and loosing the screw/ anticlockwise moves the pad ON THE OVER SIDE of the v brakes away from the rim and vis versa.

it seems tightening/clockwise moves the pad ON THE OVER SIDE towards the rim. #]
this is on the back wheel if that makes a difference.

is my bike being backwards
Top Bottom