April 19, 2005

    I’m trying to fix my girlfriend’s hand brakes. The pads are fine, but the cables need tightening. How does one do that? I don’t want to screw up and give her an unsafe bike. Plus, if I do it right I’d score some serious points. Thanks.

Seth L.

    You’d think that if I could guide someone thru bike maintenance via pages of a book, e-mail would make for a cakewalk, right?
    I don’t, however, accept the challenge—not when we’ve got all these dandy Web sites that practically do the maintenance for you. Park Tool has a particularly competent one, in my view.
    At Park’s "Bike Repair and Maintenance" page scroll down to "Brake Lever and Brake Caliper." You’ll find brake adjustment routines for each of four types of brakes; you’ll have to look at each one to see which applies.
    Once you find it, you can pretty much ignore all the other stuff till you get to the "adjustment procedure" section. Or not; once you’ve adjusted that cable, you just might score more points if you toe in the brake pads as well.

Mr Bike

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