How Come My Mountain Bike Center Pull Brakes Don't Work?

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You'll need a few specific tools if you want to fix center pull mountain bike brakes. Learn how to fix center pull mountain bike brakes with help from the co-owner of Berkshire Bike and Board in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: BMX & Mountain Bikes
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Video Transcript

Hello, my name is Steffen Root, co-owner of Berkshire Bike and Board in Great Barrington, Massachusetts and I'm going to show you how to fix center pull mountain bike brakes. The potential tools that you might need are a flat head screwdriver, a Phillips screwdriver or a set of Allen keys and for the center pull brakes I'll be working on I will be using a two millimeter Allen key. The problem we're experiencing with this center pull brake is only one arm is actuating. Only the left arm is moving, therefore the brake is rubbing on the right side as the wheel spins, creating friction when we ride. First thing we need to make sure that is correct is that the wheel is centered in the dropouts. Making sure that the wheel is centered between what is called the chain stays and the seat stays. So, by looking here we have even space between the chain and the seat stays, therefore we know that it's the wheel not being in place right. The next thing we need to make sure is that the rear wheel is true. So, when you spin the wheel, make sure there's no serious wobbles and with this wheel we have a little bit of tiny wobble, but there's not, not a lot. So, we've diagnosed our problem as the right brake arm is up against the rim. All center pull cantilever brakes have a tension screw on either side. Some have both. This particular brake only has one. So, we know the arm is pushed up against, so what we need to do is pull the arm away. The way we're going to do that is by tightening, adding tension to this set screw. And some cantilever brakes will have a Phillips head to tighten the tension or a flat head. Ours is an Allen key. What I'm going to do is just add tension. I'm going to check it, make sure the center pull is even. Still a little bit more. Tighten a little bit more. Now the brakes are pulling evenly on both sides. I can spin the wheel and the wheel spins drag free. And that is how we fix a center pull mountain bike brake. My name is Steffen Root, at Berkshire Bike and Board in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

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