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How To Tighten The Brakes On a Bicycle

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Being able to perform basic maintenance on your bicycle is both useful and necessary. One such basic maintenance task is the tightening of brakes which can easily work themselves loose, making it unsafe to ride.
What you'll need: 
Bike tool/Allen keys
Screwdriver (Phillips or flat)
Cloth
Soapy water
Old toothbrush
Spray lubricant
1: 
If working on the bike at home, begin by washing the area around both the back and front brakes with warm, soapy water, a cloth and an old toothbrush. Removing dust and grease will not only make it easier to work on the bike but will also help to maintain the brakes by removing abrasive compounds.
2: 
Determine what tools will be required on your bike's specific brake set-up. Most bikes now use allen keys but some may still require a screwdriver. A bike tool is a worthwhile purchase as they often contain all the tools required on your bike.
3: 
Turn the bike upside down and rest it on its saddle and handlebars thereby allowing you to work with both hands. Using the appropriate allen key slightly loosen the bolt on one of the brake side-arms. You will then be able to pull the cable through until the brakes are sufficiently tight.
4: 
Re-tighten the bolt with the allen key checking to see that the brakes are evenly tightened. If minor adjustment is needed, slowly tighten or loosen the small Phillips screw on the back of one of the arms until the brakes are evenly centred.
5: 
Check that all screws and bolts are properly tightened and that the brake pads are not rubbing on the rims. The bike should now be more responsive upon braking.
Warnings: 
If you are at all unsure about adjusting your brakes you should take your bike to a specialist shop.

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