Saturday, September 11, 2010

Brake Adjustment

Finished! All three wheels rotate freely w/o any friction from warped rotors and poorly adjusted calipers. The front wheel setup is in good shape and the rear wheel spins more freely than ever!

I had previously been adjusting the brakes incorrectly! No wonder it took me so long! I've finally figured it out. 10 steps to proper brake adjustment:

1. Remove the cable completely free from the caliper.

2. Loosen the caliper so that there's a bit of play with the trike frame.

3. Push the caliper towards the stationary brake pad. This is to ensure that the caliper is parallel with the pads. A gap will be made later.

4. Tighten the two screws to secure the caliper in place.

5. There should now be no gap between the rotor and the stationary brake pad. There is a gap between the rotor and the active brake pad. Slip a thick business card (credit card is too thick, 0.76mm) in this gap. I've found that placing a white sheet of paper as a background will help you see the gaps more clearly especially when working in a dark garage that has a dark colored floor.

6. Pull the active brake pad towards the credit card gently - not too hard.

7. While holding the active brake pad against the business card, reattach the cable and secure it with the screw. The business card is meant to maintain the gap. Securing it too tightly will not allow the wheel to spin freely. Nor will it allow you to remove the business card in the next step.

8. Slip the business card out. If it can't be removed, the cable is secured too tightly. Loosen it and try removing the business card out again.

9. Using a 5mm allen wrench (the same size used for the other adjustments) adjust the stationary pad so that it has a sufficient gap between it and the rotor. The closer the better. But spin the wheel intermittently to be sure the gap is wide enough and there is no friction. There should obviously be no friction before the brake lever is engaged.

10. There should now be a perfect gap on either side of the rotor. Test the brake lever. A full stop should occur before the brake lever touches the handlebar. If it touches, the gap between the rotor and the pads is too wide. Make necessary adjustments using the hand-tightening (w/o tools) the screw by the cable.

The only thing to worry about now is fine tuning any adjustments for brake steer. I haven't yet had a chance to take it on the road. Once adjusted, everything should be set and the efficiency should drastically be improved.


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