There are basically two types of bicycle brakes that are currently in use. The first one is a normal or conventional brake that makes use of brake pads to create friction around the rim of the wheel in order to stop the bicycle. The second one is the disc brake. A metallic disc is attached to the wheel of the bicycle in order to reduce the centrifugal force of the wheel. To make the brakes foolproof, frequent repairs and alignments are required.
Loosening and Tightening of Brakes
To ride safely, it is always important to have brakes maintained in a good condition. The brakes should neither be too tight or loose. In case, if the brakes are too tight, the rider will have to put in more energy while paddling, and on the other hand, if the brakes are loose, it becomes rather risky to ride the bicycle.
There are basically two screws that need to be tightened or loosened to set the brakes right. The first screw is situated in the middle of the bracket, and is used to balance the pressure of the brake pads. Adjusting this screw balances the pressure of the brake pads. The second screw is used to increase the pressure of the brake wire. The best way to adjust the brake wire is to loosen the screw and then adjust the wire as you want with your fingers. Repairing disc brakes is rather simple, as it is done by just adjusting a simple screw. The tightening increases the force of braking and, loosening the screw reduces the force.
Changing the Brake Cable
When you press down the lever of brake on the handle of the bicycle, the brake cable is pulled, activating the brake mechanism. This everyday usage of the brake makes the cable weak and unreliable. An unreliable cable is dangerous as it, often, does not activate the mechanism. There is also a possibility that an old cable will break, leaving you helpless on the road. It is also very dangerous to use only one brake.
Oiling the Brake
The brake wire is enclosed in a hollow, plastic tube of a very small diameter. It is advisable that as a part of repair, you should oil the wire thoroughly before you put it into the tube. Oiling the brake wire ensures that it activates the brake mechanism when you pull the brake lever. Oiling the tightening screws is also an important part of bicycle maintenance. A well-oiled brake system ensures a guaranteed, gradual, and safe braking.
Many bicycle manufacturers provide their customers with a bicycle brake repair kit and a manual. It is advised that you use the kit and ensure a safe ride. As a fellow bicycle enthusiast, I would recommend that you oil your brake system once a month and change the brake wire once a year. Tighten and loosen the brakes as and when required, and if your bicycle has very good brakes that never become loose, then adjust the balance once a month. It is also advisable that you purchase a riding helmet. Wearing a helmet ensures that your head is protected form injuries in case of accidents or mishaps. Remember to ride safe!