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Commuter Bike Maintenance

How to: Adjust your Brakes with Barrel Adjusters

Jenni from the London Bike Kitchen presents our bike maintenance series in association with Juice Lubes, with this next video instalment showing you how to adjust your brakes with barrel adjusters.

Both brakes and gears on most bikes use cables. Cables will stretch over time, and an easy and quick way to tighten things up is to use barrel adjusters. Barrel adjusters are small cups that have a hole in the bottom, and are screwed into different points around your bike.

They are usually located by your brake levers, brake calipers, gear levers, and derailleurs. They work by increasing the amount of distance an inner cable will travel. This happens because the cable housing is sitting in the cup, while the inner cable travels through the cup and is bolted elsewhere.

By unscrewing the barrel adjuster, you are pushing out the cable housing, essentially extending the housing, forcing the cable to travel a further distance, which in essence is tightening the cable.

If you don’t get it straight away, that’s ok – it took me 2 weeks of pondering this before I understood what was going on.

Make sure your brake’s quick release is done up!

If your brakes are too loose:

If your brakes are too tight:

And don’t forget to make sure your brake’s quick release is done up!

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