V brake / lever help

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  • Any help sorting out some V brake issues that I've been struggling with for a while?

    Got some fairly cheap tektro brakes and levers for my partner's beater/commuter a while ago and was really unimpressed. It felt like there was way too much 'travel' in the brake arms to get them to engage on the rim, and even when the lever was bottomed out against the handlebars you could still pedal the back wheel and it would spin. Tried swapping some washers around on the pads to get them to sit closer to the rim, and have recently tried it with some different levers, thinking that the ebay seller might have mistakenly sent us canti levers, as the description of mis-matching canti levers with V brakes from sheldon seemed to suggest that might be the issue

    With the new levers the braking is marginally improved, but still feels super spongey, and nothing like the very stoppy V brakes I had on my old mountain bike I had as a kid which would let me do stoppies and skids for days... So what am I doing wrong?

    • are the brakes just crap? should I not have placed any faith in cheap tektro brake sets from ebay?
    • should I be using different pads/add more washers to get them closer to the rim?
    • is there something quirky about the canti stud spacing on this frame that I don't know about (it's a 1990/1 trek singletrack)

    Brake lever fully engaged:

    Pad positions:

    Brake fully engaged (the rubber bit got completely shredded from the levers needing to be pulled in so tight)

  • It looks like it may have two options for lever pull rations, make sure it’s in the v brake one?

    The first image seems to have a grey spacer that allows you to change the lever point to give more or less pull, which may be why you feel it’s for cantis

  • This grey bit here. If you move the cable anchor point to the other position this may help

    1 Attachment

    • 50B1D4DE-642F-4505-94A3-81C6E0D5C1C4.jpeg
  • Ah yeah cheers, I did spot that actually and tried it, didn't seem to make much difference though?

    Edit: should that have worked though? I mean is this lever designed to work with both brake types, or is this feature for adjusting the amount of cable pull for V brakes only e.g. for different preferences/setups?

  • Are the levers designed for mini-v brakes rather than long arm v-brakes? If so that could very well explain it, your symptoms do sound very much cable pull ratio related.

    If you Google v brake vs mini v brake cable pull ratio there is an excellent article explaining exactly that which I'm failing to articulate any better. It may have even been a Sheldon but I can't remember. Hope that helps!

    And the above poster is correct. The two anchor points are indeed to allow for usage with different brake types. However if you are in the v position and yet the lever is designed for mini v you will still experience the sponginess described.

  • Interesting thanks. Fairly sure they're normal v brake levers but it wouldn't be the first time my hasty ebay purchasing has let me down!

    Will try again with the different anchor point and make extra sure I have the pads set up properly... Any idea on which anchor point would be for which type of brake? Intuitively the upper one would have more cable pull but I might be missing something

  • If you look up the tech doc for your particular brake levers I'm pretty sure it'll show you which is which. I wouldn't want to guess or trust my intuition on that, personally speaking, but you may be right. I'd just want to know for sure. Good luck!

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V brake / lever help

Posted by Avatar for jtfh @jtfh