Brake and gear issues

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I got this via message, and I expect the answer to help more than one person (the problems are common):

I've got a Srrus Specialized that I've had maybe a decade and it's been a really fine bike. Biggest things I've got right now are a little too much give in the front brake lever, I'd like to tighten that up a bit to give more immediate braking with more immediate response from the lever. And of course not have the disc be rubbing the brake pads on release after adjustment.

Other issue is probably some minor adjustments to the derailers, most especially the rear, sometimes it skips gears randomly and it's not as precise as it was when I first got the bike.

Could you recommend some written tutorials I could follow as to making my own adjustments, or some really great video tutorials? I have a mobile bike stand so I'm able to work on it without too much difficulty.

Sorry if this message isn't something you normally deal with or you'd prefer to have me go hunt for the answers myself, but it seems like you are the kind of person who likes to give information out freely. And if something works that you don't know about, you'd like to hear about it so that you can provide that information to the public yourself.


I'll try to help the best I can:

A bike stand can help make it easier. That's awesome.


Note that there could be several different problems causing the poor braking.

I would start by doing this (step-by-step tutorial):

Follow it with a brake bleed (brake fluid replacement). Procedures differ, but the first two (and the 9th) videos in this list explain the principle:

Why Total LHM Plus (Citroen) oil is awesome for brakes using oil:

Good bleed should help get a firmer feel on the levers. Some levers have a reach adjustment - that can also help them "bite sooner."

Of course, you still need to adjust the brakes properly, to prevent rubbing. Some tips:

Fun facts:
Organic pads bite better when cold, but when heated up, sintered (metal, metallic) pads overtake them by a long shot. However, not every disc ("rotor") is suitable for the metal pads ("sintered" pads, as an "in-between" combo are a bit more "forgiving").

I like organic pads at the rear (when starting cold), and sintered up front... on my motorbikes - I prefer rim brakes on bicycles for their simplicity. :)


A bent rear derailleur hanger could cause the problem you've described even if everything else is tip top. Also, a worn chain (and sprockets) could also cause some chain skipping and imprecise shifting.

I made two videos to help with shifting tuning and setup:

Before trying anything (or when all else fails):

A pretentious title, but it hits all the high points in great detail:

Hope this helps.

If you have any other questions - shoot. :)

Relja MadeVideoAboutIt Novović :)


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