How to Install Brakes on a BMX Bike

By Justin Wash

The brakes on a BMX bike slow you down when you are going too fast, a useful safety feature on the track as well as at the skate park. However, many freestyle BMX bikes ship without brakes installed, and many bike manufacturers require you to assemble the brake system yourself when putting the bike together. Ride safely and effectively by installing and using the brakes on your BMX bike.

Set the bike on its handlebars and seat so it won't move around or fall over while you work. If the bike's frame has any plastic retainers or covers on the front brake mount or rear brake bosses (which stick out of the chain stay or seat stay), remove and discard them.

Remove the handlebar grips from the handlebars. Slide the brake levers into place on the bars and tighten the brake lever handlebar clamps using a hex wrench, a small L-shaped tool with six sides. Replace the handlebar grips.

Slide the front brake mounting bolt through the mounting hole on the fork. Use the front brake mounting nut (a long, cylindrical hex nut) to tighten the brake to the fork. Use a hex wrench to loosen the brake pad bolts. Align the brake pads with the rim of the front wheel and tighten the brake pad bolts to hold them in place.

Slide the two rear brake arms onto the rear brake bosses on the chain-stay or seat-stay of the bike's frame. Tighten the brake boss bolts using a hex wrench to secure the brake arms to the frame. Use a hex wrench to loosen the brake pad bolts, align the brake pads with the rim of the front wheel, and tighten the brake pad bolts to hold them in place.

Attach the end of the front brake cable to the left handlebar brake lever. Slide the front brake housing (the shorter of the two lengths of housing included with your brakes) onto the cable and insert the end of the cable into the cable stop of the front brake. Pull the cable taut and tighten the cable stop with a hex wrench so it will not slip. Test the brake by squeezing the handlebar lever a few times.

Attach the end of the rear brake cable to the right handlebar brake lever. Slide the rear brake housing (the longer of the two lengths of housing included with your brakes) onto the cable and attach the U-cable bracket to the end of the cable with a hex wrench. Attach the two ends of the U-cable to the two rear brake arms and attach the U-cable to the U-cable bracket. Test the brake by squeezing the brake lever a few times.

Take the bike for a test ride, checking that the brakes stop the bike quickly and effectively. If the front brake is too soft, loosen the cable stop, pull the cable tighter and then retighten the cable stop. If the rear brake is too soft, loosen the U-cable bracket and slide it further up the main rear brake cable. Tighten the bracket using a hex wrench.

References

About the Author

Born and raised in St. Louis, Mo., Justin Wash began his professional writing career in 2004 with an online freelance copywriting business. Over the years, he has written for a myriad of clients including China-Vasion and The Executives Closet.

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