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How to Adjust Brake Levers on a Mountain Bike

how to adjust brake levers on a mountain bike

It seems easy to do, but most bikers do not know how to adjust brake levers on a mountain bike. Furthermore, many of them do not know the proper parameters of brake lever adjustment, which can result in optimum performance. This is why many bikers are biking with the brake levers not in the correct position, which means it can affect the quality of the brake and the biker’s safety.

Optimal brake lever adjustments can be achieved with the proper positioning, reach, angle, and even bite point. If everyone knows all of these factors, each biker will have an easy time adjusting the brake levers from time to time. Always remember that the fundamentals of today’s disc brakes are having a lot of power and must be operated with one finger. And this can be achieved through proper adjustment of the brake levers.

Adjusting Brake Levers on a Mountain Bike

Please check below on the different parameters in adjusting the brake levers on a mountain bike:

Determining the Right Position of the Levers on the Bars

Determining the correct position is the first step to adjust the brake levers on a mountain bike properly. The brake levers should not be too closed to the biker’s grips or not too far away. To achieve the best leverage, the finger should rest on the end portion of the lever and form a straight line with the hands and the lower arms of the biker.

Finding the Right Angle of the Brake Lever

The primary purpose in looking for the right angle is to have the palms, arms, and fingers form a straight line when biking in a descending position. Adjusting correctly is crucial because it will determine the biker’s absolute position in the bike and also affects the hand and its ability to withstand fatigue, especially during long descents.

Also, when adding adjustments, it should be based on the standing position of the biker in the bike. Most bikers prefer a flat position because their bodies are lower on the bike, which means changing the angle of the biker’s arms.

Adjusting the Reach of the Brake Lever

In adjusting the reach of the brake lever, it will all depend on the brand of your mountain bike. Some brake lever can be adjusted with tools, and some can be modified without using anything. During the adjustment, you need to make sure that the initial joint of your index finger will lie on the lever. The reason behind it is to make the lever within reach all the time. Please take note that the adjustment screws of the brake lever are found at the front.

Adjustment of the Bite Point

The bite point is the place where the brake power will be applied after pulling the brake lever. It is also responsible for changing the quantity of the brake lever movement needed to start the braking motion. For this reason, you will need to adjust the brakes properly to generate the required maximum power with your hands.

However, the suitable adjustments made are purely based on the biker’s preference. Also, it is a must that the lever must not move too far that it should also touch the other fingers. Finally, please take note that the bite point is only present on the high-end mountain bike models.

How to Adjust V Brakes on a Mountain Bike

how to adjust v brakes on a mountain bike

Apart from learning to adjust the brake levers, it is also essential to adjust the V brakes of your mountain bike from time to time. This action ensures that everything is all working in your bike’s braking system to ensure safety while biking on the road. Periodic adjustment is also essential to prevent the brake pads from wearing at a difficult angle. When it happens, it will be difficult to adjust the pads and might need a new replacement.

Below are the step-by-step process in making the proper adjustment of the V brakes of your bike:

First Step:

The first thing to do before making any adjustments is to check the quality of your bike’s braking system. Then, all you need to do is pull the brake lever and see for yourself if the pads contact the bike’s rim. If it is, then you need to skip the next step, but if not, you need to make the brake cable tight. But how to do it?

Tightening the cable will need you to loosen the bolt holding the cable while winding the barrel adjuster found on the brake lever all the way clockwise into one of the brake arms. The next thing to do is to pull the cable bringing the pads together. But avoid pulling too much that will make the pads touching the rim. You will also need to tighten the bolts as support. While pulling the brake cable, I suggest using the other hand to squeeze the brake arms closer to each other. After doing this, proceed to the next step.

Second Step:

The next step is to realign the brake pad to make them line up iforboth to hit the rim flat when the brakes are on. To do this, you need to loosen the brake pads by pulling the brake lever on one hand while using the other hand to move the pad until the correct alignment is achieved. While the lever is still pulled, you need to tighten the bolt just slightly, then release the brake lever. Finally, use one of your hands to tighten the pad while holding it against the bike’s rim.

Do the same process with the other brake pad. After doing so, you need to pull the brake lever again and see for yourself if the pads and arms are in contact with the bike’s rim on both sides.

Third Step:

The next step is to check the right and left pads if it touches the rim together at the same time. If it is not, you need to adjust the returns springs, which retract the brake arms away from the bike’s rim. You will need a screwdriver to tighten or loosen the screws, and you need to adjust in increments until finding the proper adjustment. Please take note any change you will make on one side will affect the tension on the other and vice versa. You need to balance the adjustment on both sides somewhere in the middle to get the correct range.

Fourth Step:

After tightening the cable, the next step is to fine-tune the brake lever with your preference. You might need pliers if your bike has an old barrel adjuster that had been seized.
Adjusting the brake lever can be done by winding the barrel adjuster in or out. You will need to adjust the barrels on both brake levers until you find the right feel on the handlebar. The most important thing is that the lever should feel right to the biker.


Learning how to adjust brake levers on a mountain bike is essential to make sure that you have a braking system that is working perfectly during the ride. You need to make sure that your brake is in good condition to ensure safety and protection when doing any forms of biking activities.

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