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Single pivot caliper brake help

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magicmayonaise Offline
New Member

Columbia, MO
Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 2011
Post: #1
Single pivot caliper brake help
Hi everyone,
I am a bicycle newbie and this is my first time here! I read a couple threads but I'm having trouble understanding the jargon you guys use.

Anywho, I moved to Missouri from California for school and I'm in desperate need of help adjusting my front bike brakes to use for commuting. I've been using it for 3 years but have always relied on my friend for my bicycle's maintenance. When my bike was boxed and packed, the front brakes were removed but the back were still retained in place.

After re-mounting my front brakes onto my bike, I noticed that when I use my front brakes, the arms do not retract back into place and are in contact with the rim. Likewise, my back brakes are working fine. I tried aligning the front brakes with my wheel and re-tensioned the cable using pliers (not sure what the correct terminology is but I followed this youtube video: I'm thinking that maybe I need a "third hand tool" to pull the cable tighter than my pliers is able to. I hope I'm overlooking something very simple. Please help. I look forward to indulge in an "Ah Ha!" moment. :]

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Aug 11, 2011 05:27 PM
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nfmisso Offline
Veteran Member

San Jose, CA
Posts: 2,047
Joined: Jul 2010
Post: #2
RE: Single pivot caliper brake help
First MM, you have dual pivot side pull brakes, not single pivot.

The black lever released the cable tension. You need a wrench that fits the nut on the back side of the fork that holds the brake in place.

Release the cable tension.
Loosen the nut the holds the brake in place slightly, so that you can rotate the whole brake assembly around the bolt that goes through the fork, but not twist it in any other direction.
With the cable tension released, center the brake over the rim, so that both pads are the same distance away from the rim - some spacers (cardboard, plastic, whatever) and a ruler will help.
Now keeping the brake centered, tighten the nut that holds it in place so that the assembly can no longer move.
No flip the black lever to put tension on the cable, and all should be good, if what you did before did not mess things up.

If this doesn't work, you are going to have to spend a few bucks at a bike shop.

Nigel
Aug 11, 2011 09:53 PM
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magicmayonaise Offline
New Member

Columbia, MO
Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 2011
Post: #3
RE: Single pivot caliper brake help
(Aug 11, 2011 09:53 PM)nfmisso Wrote:  First MM, you have dual pivot side pull brakes, not single pivot.

The black lever released the cable tension. You need a wrench that fits the nut on the back side of the fork that holds the brake in place.

Release the cable tension.
Loosen the nut the holds the brake in place slightly, so that you can rotate the whole brake assembly around the bolt that goes through the fork, but not twist it in any other direction.
With the cable tension released, center the brake over the rim, so that both pads are the same distance away from the rim - some spacers (cardboard, plastic, whatever) and a ruler will help.
Now keeping the brake centered, tighten the nut that holds it in place so that the assembly can no longer move.
No flip the black lever to put tension on the cable, and all should be good, if what you did before did not mess things up.

If this doesn't work, you are going to have to spend a few bucks at a bike shop.

Thanks for the reply, sadly the brake arms are still keeping shut after I pull the lever. If anyone has any other suggestions before I eat $20 bucks for a brake adjustment at my local bike shop I'll be very grateful.
Aug 12, 2011 05:39 PM
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painkiller Offline
Veteran Member

Peoria, IL. USA
Posts: 1,249
Joined: Mar 2011
Post: #4
RE: Single pivot caliper brake help
they look like dual-pivots to me. Is there a screw on top slightly off center? If so turn it one way or the other to center the pads to the wheel.
Do you have this screw?


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There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
Aug 12, 2011 05:51 PM
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painkiller Offline
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Peoria, IL. USA
Posts: 1,249
Joined: Mar 2011
Post: #5
RE: Single pivot caliper brake help
If you disconnect your cable and squeeze calipers by hand and they work then your problem lies in your cable and or housing binding somewhere


There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
Aug 12, 2011 06:07 PM
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magicmayonaise Offline
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Columbia, MO
Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 2011
Post: #6
RE: Single pivot caliper brake help
(Aug 12, 2011 06:07 PM)painkiller Wrote:  If you disconnect your cable and squeeze calipers by hand and they work then your problem lies in your cable and or housing binding somewhere

Thanks for replying painkiller. When I disconnected the cable and squeezed the brake arms towards the rim, they do not retract away from the rim. Does this mean I need to buy new front brakes?
Aug 12, 2011 06:14 PM
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painkiller Offline
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Peoria, IL. USA
Posts: 1,249
Joined: Mar 2011
Post: #7
RE: Single pivot caliper brake help
It would appear you have a brake upgrade from stock. look closer at the way your front brake is mounted compared to the back. I am talking about spacers and placement of washers and such. It could be missing or in the wrong spot. assuming they are the same front and back. Nasbar still offers similar brakes if need be, around $40 shipped
make sure your spring is in its proper place also


There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
Aug 12, 2011 06:45 PM
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magicmayonaise Offline
New Member

Columbia, MO
Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 2011
Post: #8
RE: Single pivot caliper brake help
(Aug 12, 2011 06:45 PM)painkiller Wrote:  It would appear you have a brake upgrade from stock. look closer at the way your front brake is mounted compared to the back. I am talking about spacers and placement of washers and such. It could be missing or in the wrong spot. assuming they are the same front and back. Nasbar still offers similar brakes if need be, around $40 shipped
make sure your spring is in its proper place also

I checked the spacing/washers on both front and back brakes and they're identical. The spring is in the correct position as well. Hmm, do you think I just need to grease the pivot points or clean the gunk built up in my front brakes?
Aug 12, 2011 06:58 PM
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painkiller Offline
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Peoria, IL. USA
Posts: 1,249
Joined: Mar 2011
Post: #9
RE: Single pivot caliper brake help
If you could, take some closer pictures of the the front and back of each brake from a side view.
And yes if you have gunk build up on your brakes at the pivot points it would not hurt to clean and lube. You never said if you have the center adjusting screw or not, just curious.
If you slightly loosen the anchor bolt and squeeze by hand what happens then?
If they are the nashbar brakes I think they are, they are recessed bolt mount spec and your frame does not look like that in the pics. so maybe someone modified them. On the brake reviews someone also stated the springs go weak after a couple years and maybe this is your case


There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
Aug 12, 2011 08:02 PM
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magicmayonaise Offline
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Columbia, MO
Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 2011
Post: #10
RE: Single pivot caliper brake help
Phew I solved the problem, my brakes are working fine now. I guess I just overtightened the front right screw on my brakes. It looks like that screw holds both of the pivoting arms together. Boy, I hope I didn't cause any long term damage on my brakes though. I'll start riding around tomorrow morning, if I don't post again I might be dead.

Thanks for your efforts nfmisso and painkiller.
Aug 12, 2011 08:15 PM
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painkiller Offline
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Peoria, IL. USA
Posts: 1,249
Joined: Mar 2011
Post: #11
RE: Single pivot caliper brake help
Rest in peace


There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
Aug 13, 2011 03:59 AM
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magicmayonaise Offline
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Columbia, MO
Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 2011
Post: #12
RE: Single pivot caliper brake help
(Aug 13, 2011 03:59 AM)painkiller Wrote:  Rest in peace

lol. Not dead Tongue
Aug 13, 2011 07:08 AM
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