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  1. #1
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    Reputation: Viva Borracho's Avatar
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    V Brake Lever Brake Help

    I have Avid Speed Dial Levers and Avid Single Digit brakes on my son's bike. I have adjusted the reach of the lever to make it easier for him to grab.

    The problem is that it puts the brake pads very close to the rim and he has to pull it almost all the lever all the way back to the bar. I have adjusted the lever so that it pulls the most amount of cable, but is there anything else I can do?

    The bike can run disc brakes, so I was considering putting on Avid BB5 Road brakes. It is my understanding that the road brakes need less lever pull, so it would work since the amount of lever throw is limited. Am I correct?

  2. #2
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    I don't know if road bike brakes have any less pull than Mtb brakes but rest assured I can bring any of my bikes with disc brakes to a screeching halt with just one finger. A major upgrade if you can swing it.

  3. #3
    GMF
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    I would caution putting disks on the bike if you are having trouble with enough cable throw as it is. Disks are fussier, and if warped (eg. from a dropped bike), it will be an annoyance (at least).

    Things you can try:

    Increasing the spring tension at the brakes. Sometimes, the cable is not pulled all the way back through the housing, so the first bit of lever pull is a "dead zone" that isn't doing anything for you.
    Lube the cable/make sure it is free running (see above)
    Thinner grips to move the hands closer to the levers, rather than moving the levers to the hands.

    My 7yo has cheapy v-brake arms, and basic shimano V-brake levers, and has had no problems with reach or actuation.

    I also think disks are overkill for most kids bikes and heavier, which is a step in the wrong direction. If i were to do it, it would just be because it would look AWESOME :-)

  4. #4
    Ride Responsibly
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    If you have all the parts, go for it. You have nothing to lose by trying.

  5. #5
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    I put the Speed Dials on my daughters 20" HotRock, and she has no problems. You might have a compatibility issue. Do you have the Speed Dial arms also? Maybe the ones you're using are a different length? I do have the setscrews in her levers screwed in all the way, to the point of really needing to put longer ones in them.

  6. #6
    Wēk Ss
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    Remove the cable from the caliper (not lever), and readjust the engagement point. Fine tune with the adjuster knob.

    If that fails, shorter arm v-brakes. I use 95mm tektro v-brakes (930AL) with regular tektro v-brake levers. What that does is remove some of the mechanical advantage, needing less cable pull. It will give you more pad clearance. With the standard long pull arm length, you'll need more cable length for each pull, and with the short pull finger length of kids, you won't get much if you adjust the lever to make it really easy to reach with 1 finger.

    My daughter has the levers close to the bar so she doesn't need to stretch her finger out and can ride with the lever within her finger's loop. Engagement is still tight to the bar (at rest the lever is may be 1-1.25" out from the bar), but she can full stop and skid. There's also enough room for me to quick release the brake caliper for service, if needed, as well without futzing with the levers.

  7. #7
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    The 20-pound Geared 20" Hardtail Project (Customized Marin Hidden Canyon)
    Here was my fix. I took a stock lever and bent it in. I found the longer lever has more leverage than a shorty and if the lever is bent in, it allows the lever to pull more cable in the first part of its stroke. Other wise if the reach is pulled in, the lever is working in a position of a falling rate ( this gives modulation after the pad has contacted) I took almost all the tension out of the brakes and they work amazingly good. One finger will lock up the wheels with ease.

    Also flip your pad washers to put the pads farther from the rim ( before set up) and the end of the brake arms closer together when the brake is on. This puts the brakes in a better position to pull and more power. I ran a rear V on my trails bike for years and found they can be dialed in to bite as good as any disc ( for street trials that is.) Don't get me wrong, Im not saying they can hold a candle to a disc in just about any other style of riding but we are talking about a light weight kid with a smaller wheel.
    Enjoy every ride!

  8. #8
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    Viva, I had the same problem with my 8 year olds bike and I went through many sets of levers until I found the right ones that worked to which he could stop quickly.

    (I wish I had this advice as it would have saved me a lot of money) What did the trick was I replaced the brake levers with the Tektro 316AG levers. They are 81 grams each and have the correct geometry for small kids hands. My son can stop on a dime now and I'm amazed at just how simple levers can make such a difference.

    These were the ones I bought. They are smaller than most brake levers and fit his hand perfectly. I think they look and work great!

    Tektro BMX brake lever set FREESTYLE SERIES 316AG NEW | eBay

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rondo View Post
    Viva, I had the same problem with my 8 year olds bike and I went through many sets of levers until I found the right ones that worked to which he could stop quickly.

    (I wish I had this advice as it would have saved me a lot of money) What did the trick was I replaced the brake levers with the Tektro 316AG levers. They are 81 grams each and have the correct geometry for small kids hands. My son can stop on a dime now and I'm amazed at just how simple levers can make such a difference.

    These were the ones I bought. They are smaller than most brake levers and fit his hand perfectly. I think they look and work great!

    Tektro BMX brake lever set FREESTYLE SERIES 316AG NEW | eBay
    Is the lever just shorter in length, or is the reach shorter too? Have a five year old that is having trouble reaching his brakes.

    Just wondering if the other 300 series are the same size - can get the 319ac for $10 at Jenson.


    Thanks!

  10. #10
    Wēk Ss
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    I use the same lever, or more precisely the 313. It's a BMX lever, it's shorter in length. Also the Tektro levers that come with most kid's bikes should work as well. They are usually just gripshift versions of it.

    You can look at the levers here and compare pictures to the SD7

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