Braking: the law - Bike Magic

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**How To

Braking: the law

Before we carry on though, a couple of mistakes you’ve spotted. First thanks
to Jody at Boneshakers and others who spotted that at one point I told you
to stick the star fangled nut in the crown, not the steerer. Doh!

Also thanks to those who wrote in and pointed out that carbon frames don’t
need greasing to stop metal to metal corrosion on seatposts (obvious if you
bother to think about it), and that grease can be harmful to the carbon
itself. We’ve wiped it all off again now.

Before we go any further we’d best tell you where the controls are sitting too.


Kestrel composite flat bar (


We’re interested to see how we get on with straight bars, after spending so long behind risers. This bar has since been updated and lightened (Kestrel ‘Snake’ bar £49.98) but it’s still a resilient 23″ wide unit. We’re waiting for the arrival of Answer’s new carbon riser bar and Easton’s new Sub 100g carbon bar soon though.


Undo the stem clamp and just slide it in. With carbon bars it’s particularly important to check there are no sharp edges on the stem to plough up the surface of the weave. A bit of gentle filing should solve that problem. Centre the bars using the markings or logo’s near the centre (or use a tape if you want to be really accurate) and tweak the rise and sweep of the bar by rotating it slightly.

Avid Fan

We always admire a company with a single minded focus. Avid ( do brakes, and the bits to make them work – and that’s it. Their brakes (even the cable discs, which is a definite exception to the rule) are totally reliable and functional meaning we’re always happy to see them on test bikes. The great thing is that (excluding the aptly named “Ultimate” brake set) you don’t have to pay over the odds for their expertise.

I’ve always fitted disc brakes to my bikes since I had a set of Hope cable units (that dates them) on a tandem years ago. The trouble is the STP can’t take a disc on the rear, as heat build up can melt the glue holding the dropout on. I am very tempted to fit a Hope Mini disc to the front end, but for the moment I’ll see how I get on with V brakes and ceramic rims.


Avid Single Digit Ti V brakes and Speed Dial Ti levers.


The big advantage of V brakes is their light weight. The big advantages of these babies is the fact they’re the lightest of the lot, thanks to the titanium hardware. Thanks to the speed dial, you still get full leverage adjustment though so you can set them short and sharp or softer but more powerful depending on your personal preference.


We’ll do the levers first as that’s pretty simple. First you need to work out which goes on the bar first. In this case, it’s fork lockout lever, then brake lever and then shifters, but Shimano shifter units fit inboard, not outboard of the brake levers.

Undo the clamp bolt, check for any sharp edges which might damage the bars, then just slide them on. Tighten them a bit so they don’t wobble about but don’t overdo it as you’ll probably have to reposition them after you’ve added grips.

The brakes sit on bosses screwed into the frame, so check these are tight before you continue. Coat them with a generous amount of grease, pick out the right arm for each position (check the rotation direction on the brake pads) and then slide them on. Make sure that the small prong that protrudes from the back of the brake slides into the reciever hole at the base of the brake boss, or the brake won’t have anything to push against. Now fit the brake bolts making sure to fit the washer to stop binding of bolt and brake. Most brake bolts come pre-impregnated with Loctite but if yours don’t stick some on to keep them in place.

As the Pace forks use brake bosses behind the fork you’ll have to swap cartridge brake pads over, as otherwise the braking force will drag them forwards out of the shoe if the holding pin breaks. If in any doubt of your pad direction, the open end of the cartridge trough with the metal pin should be at the back. Incidentally cartridge pads are a great cheap upgrade for brakes using moulded one piece pads. The metal shoe supports the full length of the pad and makes them feel much sharper, plus pad replacement is a lot simpler.

Now all you have to do is align the pad with the rim. This is a lot easier to do with all the cables fitted, but we’ll explain it now so you don’t have to go hunting for it. Stick the wheel in – making sure it’s properly settled in the dropouts, loosen the pad bolt and push the brake onto the rim. This should sit the brake flat against the rim so just rotate the pad so it follows the curve of the rim without rubbing on the tyre or hanging below the rim.

Now tighten the pad bolt up while holding the pad in place. If the brake squeals in use loosen the pads and “toe” them in, so the front part of the pad hits just before the back – a matchstick or anything else about 2mm thick jammed between pad and rim at the back of the shoe while you set it up should do the trick.

Now you’ve got both ends of the braking system ready you just need to add cables. Stay tuned for our next nerve, gear and brake tugging installment, here on the Scoop’s Scooter show….


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