Adjust/Center Side Pull Caliper Brakes That Are Hitting Rim Uneven

I show how to center side-pull caliper brakes on a road bike where one pad hits the rim before the other.

**If the video was useful or interesting please give it a “thumbs up” and consider subscribing.

-Subscribe Here:
-YouTube Channel:


Click here for the best online deals on bike accessories, electric bikes, kids bikes, mountain bikes, bicycle frames, and much more.


  • It doesn't make sense…I'm holding the brakes in place while tightening the back bolt, but once it's at it's tightest, and I let go, it just falls back out of center…There's excessive lean toward the pull side.

  • RJ- I've followed the directions however I have an interesting issue, the rear fork on my caliper does not return to an open position once the brakes are applied. I replaced the tension spring (twice to be sure), that does not seem to be the issue. It's as if one side of the caliper is "too tight" which doesn't seem logical. Any thoughts on that

  • Hey RJ – what are the steps for adjusting the cable to proper length for proper tightness or response of the brake? I changed rims recently and now my brakes are way too loose and am struggling with setting this up. Seems like it should be easy but, argh, I just can't get it right. And can't seem to find a video addressing this, but maybe I missed it. Thanks!

  • What do I do if the two brake pads are not returning back to their position? there's always one pad which is moving and the other one is almost static… after doing the alignment you showed us on the video both sides will move towards the rim for a couple of braking tries but after that it's just one side as I said earlier…

    If I loosen the nut which holds the two brake arms together the whole braking system will be wobbling while braking… and eventually the nut will loosen itself too (even the nut on top of it doesn't help with that)… I am usually very with tools and understanding stuff but I cannot understand what is the problem here… The rim itself is straight and spokes are not lose.

  • This technique doesn't always work. Two things can prevent it from working. One is unequal spring tension. The other is that the brake made an impression in the mounting place on the frame, and it tends to sit there and refuses to take a new position. The solution to both of these problems is the same. Use a punch or the side of a wrench and place it on the spring of the side that sticks out too much. Hit it with a hammer. Do this while the brake is bolted to the frame at normal tightness. I'm surprised I haven't found a video that shows this technique. I might have to make one myself.

  • A little off-topic, but I want to convert my old Schwinn from having center-pull brakes to side-pull. I'm pretty certain that the front brake hanger is easy enough to rotate and shouldn't have any clearance issues with the top tube (though I won't know until I get fully into it, I guess), but the rear hanger is a little trickier. It uses the seat post clamp bolt (as do most, I think), and as such it won't rotate at all. As it is, the cable runs a (roughly) center line down the seat tube/splitting the seat stays to the top of the brake caliper's center-pull cable (sic?). My question is, will it be OK to slap on some side-pull calipers with it like that, or should I try to find a side-hanging hanger?

    Thanks for all you do! Your videos and knowledge have helped me take this bike from a POS craigslist mistake to something I love to ride every day!

  • RJ, thanks for all the time and effort you invest in your video encyclopedia of bike repair. It's a standard tool in my workshop. Question on this video. What method would you use, even if after centering the brake arms, one of the arms is stiff and refuses to move the same distance as its brother on the other side? I'm referring to older side-pull, single pivots found on vintage road and city bikes. I've read some suggest the spring on the weak side should be bent to add more spring force.

  • solution if bolt adjustment doesn't help: take the spring out, heat it on the stove and reduce tension of the more extending arm's side~

  • hi rj I have a peugeot uo 8 with friction shifting, I'd like to change it so the back derailleur using index shifting, what do I need to get?

  • One day after I watched this video, I bought a bike with this exact issue.

  • Thank you for this video and others you have done. I have some repair manuals and often they are not clear but your teaching is.

  • Thanks, I never thought that kind of adjustment would fix that kind of problem.

  • i just unscrew bolt,push breaking lever,and breaks stand in nornal position (they push the rimm at hte same time) and tighten up the bolt.

  • Just a comment, maybe add "center" or "centering" to the title. I know if i were googling or searching on Youtube, I'd probably type something along the lines of "centering side pull caliper"

  • Thanks for the video! I fixed the same issue on my bike yesterday. Holding brake lever while tightening a fixing bolt helped a lot to center my front caliper brake.

  • Are you a wizard RJ? How did you know I was looking for that specific video? hehehe

Leave a Reply