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  1. #1
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    "tightening" Avid Speed Dial 7 levers with rim brakes

    Currently using these levers with rim brakes and while I do have good settings for the brakes themselves, the levers are a bit soft when I pull them to engage the brakes. The left/front is softer than the right/rear. The little red knob does not seem to do much and since the instructions didn't give much detail, I'm a bit lost. Anyone have any suggestions on making the levers a bit tighter?

  2. #2
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    I'm not sure I understand exactly what you're after. Are you saying that once the pads make contact, the levers feel soft, like there's a lot of pull left in them? This is flex somewhere in your cable system, and a good set of cables (jagwire?) will help a good bit with that. The little red knob adjusts the leverage point for the cable pull on the lever. The closer to the bar, the more leverage, but the lower the action of the brake vs the lever. Further from the bar gets you less leverage, but more speed on the brakes vs your pull distance on the lever.

  3. #3
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    What is the correct method of adjusting the lil red knob? Mine only turn 3/4 of a turn but the lever doesn't move in or out.

  4. #4
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    The brake lever does not move in relation to the red knob. Re-read the post above regarding how the red dial controls leverage.

  5. #5
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    thanks Cotharyus for the detailed response! There was definitely flex in the cable and I was able to tighten that up so the levers are more stiff. As for the little red knob, does that work in conjunction with the screw that handles the brake lever reach?

  6. #6
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    No, the red knobs have nothing to do with reach. They simply adjust something it's easiest to call pull ratio. The further out (away from the bar) you make the adjustment, the greater the ratio, the more braking action you get per distance you pull the lever, like being in a high gear, it's harder to peddle, but you get further each turn the cranks. The closer to the bar, the less brake pull you get per distance traveled by the lever. But like being in a lower gear, you get more power from less effort.

  7. #7
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    When the levers veel soft, also check if the ends of the outer cables are cut straight. Another is the correct tension

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn GT-S7562 met Tapatalk 4

  8. #8
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    so what exactly is the process to get the little red knobs working for me? I want the levers to be stiffer and to engage the rims with shorter pulls. Maybe I'm missing a step, but I've been going through a bunch of videos and sites to get better acquainted with rim brakes, but still can't get them to the way I like.

    rotate the red knob until lever requires more pull until it can't turn anymore
    loosen the hex bolt on the brake to loosen cable
    loosen adjusting knob away from the lever to about 1/8"
    loosen tension screws for the brake
    insert credit card on both sides of the rim between the brakes
    hold brakes together to hold the credit cards in place
    tighten tension screws so brakes have some tension
    pull brake cable through hex bolt to make taut
    tighten hex bolt
    adjust tension screws until brakes are even on both sides
    turn adjusting knob until brake levers are stiff
    rotate red knob in other direction

  9. #9
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    If the point on the leavers the cable attaches to moves when you adjust the red knobs, then they are working for you. You shouldn't have to do *anything* with the red knobs to set the rim brakes up. You can put the red knobs all the way out, and leave them there, because that's what it sounds like you're after. I'm going to ask you a question - and please, don't take offense to this: Have you ever used rim brakes before? Honestly, it sounds like you're having an issue with the amount of pull necessary to activate the brakes. If all you've used in the past is disc brakes, I've got news for you: Even the most horrible disc brakes on the market today are vastly superior in feel to a set of rim brakes. With that said, all you can do is keep fiddling with adjustments. If everything still feels soft, get better cables like I recommended at first. The housings will always compress on your current ones if that's what you found them doing, and that will always affect the feel and travel of the lever when you're braking.

  10. #10
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    No offense taken Cotharyus. I've been with rim brakes since I've been biking and for the most part I've never really had to mess around with them until know when I'd like to learn and tweak them.

    My current wires are actually Jagwires and unless they're breaking down, they were supposedly changed recently when I had my bike overhauled at the LBS from a flooded basement.

    So to make things clear, if I wanted more clearance between the rim and the pads but still maintain the same amount of "actuation" I would fiddle with the red button. If I want the levers closer because of small hands, I would mess around with the lever adjuster screw. Both of these are independent of the brake cable itself.

  11. #11
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    There are three adjustments on the levers. The cable adjuster which you use to adjust pull as the pads wear down. Reach which is how close or far the lever is from the bar when at rest and leverage which is the red dial. If you look at what that actually does you can see that changes the leverage of the lever. It adjusts the distance between the lever pivot and where the cable end sits which means it adjust leverage. Or power. Farther out will move more cable, feel stiffer and offer less power. Close in more leverage, more power feel softer because increased leverage means more flex or you feel the flex more. There is no 'pad contact' per se as on hydraulic disc brakes.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by someoldfart View Post
    There are three adjustments on the levers. The cable adjuster which you use to adjust pull as the pads wear down. Reach which is how close or far the lever is from the bar when at rest and leverage which is the red dial. If you look at what that actually does you can see that changes the leverage of the lever. It adjusts the distance between the lever pivot and where the cable end sits which means it adjust leverage. Or power. Farther out will move more cable, feel stiffer and offer less power. Close in more leverage, more power feel softer because increased leverage means more flex or you feel the flex more. There is no 'pad contact' per se as on hydraulic disc brakes.
    Interesting. Thanks for explaining a few of the terms I had trouble understanding. After reading your response and the previous ones though, I dug a little deeper since I thought "stiffer" meant more stopping power and the softer meant less... found the following passage to illustrate:

    With automobile brakes, a nice "hard" pedal feel is a sign that the brakes are in good condition. A soft, "spongy" feel at the brake pedal is a sign of trouble, perhaps air in the hydraulic lines. This is not the case with bicycle brakes. A hard, crisp feel to the brakes on a bicycle may be a sign that the brakes don't have much mechanical advantage. You squeeze them until the brake shoes hit the rim, then they stop. Brakes with a high mechanical advantage will feel "spongy" by comparison, because the large amount of force they deliver to the brake shoes will squash the shoes against the rim, deforming them temporarily under pressure. You can feel this deformation in your fingers. The brakes with the rock-hard feel may seem nice on the work stand or the showroom floor, but when it comes to making the bike actually stop, the spongy set-up will do the job better, with less finger pressure and greater margin for safety in wet conditions.

  13. #13
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    Right, so - given the post above, here's the thing. If you completely disconnect the cables from the levers, and pull the lever to the bar, and turn the red dial until the adjustment (which you should be able to see at this point) is all the out - further away from the bar/pivot point of the lever - that's going to get you the most pull (distance) per your need for the lever to be close to the bar because you have small hands. It's also going to give you the least power. This is what I've been on about the whole time, it's a leverage adjustment. Obviously I need to work on my explanation of this, because I'm not certain how I haven't managed to get it across.

    So if you have good brake cables (how old are your jagwires?) and you have the red adjuster all the way out, and you're still pulling to the bars, the only way to remedy this is to start with the brake pads closer to the rim. Be aware that it's unusual to find a set of rim brakes that will lock the wheel up with a "regular" pad. If you need more braking power, but you're stuck for pull distance (ie the lever is bottoming out against the bar, you have good solid contact, but not the stopping you want) then you need to look into a good set of brake pads, try "salmon" colored pads. Your LBS should know what I'm talking about.

  14. #14
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    Cotharyus, my apologies and thanks for your explanations. The levers actually never bottomed out against the bar, but did pull more than I thought was okay at the time. Your explanation regarding the pull ratio was fine, it was my mind that simply didn't digest it fully at the time and believed it was possible to have stiffness on the levers while also providing power.

    Starting with brake pads closer to the rim was what I had believing stiff levers mean more power since they were quicker to activate... realizing the contrary now I have adjusted the levers to give some clearance while fully engaging the rim about half way from the lever to the bar. I have heard about these salmon colored pads, from Kool Stop I believe, which I will be looking to get and use until the rims go and new wheels are needed.

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