Learn How to Adjust Your Fixie Bike's Sidepull Caliper Brakes

Learn How to Adjust Your Fixie Bike's Sidepull Caliper Brakes

This tutorial will teach you how to properly adjust your brake pads, center the road-style bike caliper brakes and tighten the cable tension.


Our goal here at City Bicycle Co. is to provide you with the best information. You can find guides for other brake-types found below the article. Use these guides for step-by-step instructions on how to adjust, replace or re-center your brakes.

What You'll Need

How to Adjust Your Sidepull Caliper Brakes Lever

First, adjusting your brake lever will be priority for the best positioned bicycle.

  1. Find the quick release mechanism to loosen the brakes enough to remove the wheels if needed.
  2. Position the brake levers to make sure they are aligned with your arms when you're riding your fixie bike.

How to Resurface Your Brake Pads

Next, you resurface your brake pads.

  1. Loosen the brakes enough to remove the wheel off the bike.
  2. Resurface the brake pads using sandpaper.
  3. Adjust your brakes so the rear brake has a 1mm or 2mm gap from when the front wheel is hit by the front brake. This prevents squeaking.

How to Adjust the Cable Tension

Adjust your cable tensions with ease to get the best rim replacement.

  1. Check the barrel adjuster to ensure it is threaded all the way down.
  2. Set the tightest setting on your cable quick release system, ensuring the brake arms are closer together.
  3. Use a cable pinch bolt to set the cable tension.
  4. Pull on the cable using a cable puller and tighten the bolt.
  5. Adjust the cable tension to your specified needs for maximum comfort on your bike.

How to Perform Pivot Adjustments

Pivot adjustments need to be performed to maximize the proficiency of your fixie bike.

  1. Check the brake centering by inspecting the brake pads. They should both come in contact with the rim at the same time.
  2. Fix centering by loosening the back bolt and centering a wrench on the washers on the other wise.
  3. Center the brakes.
  4. Tighten the bolt using a wrench.
  5. Repeat if necessary.
  6. Place some lubricant on the picot points.
  7. Wipe excess oil off the rims or brake pads.

The Process is Simple

This guide features some of our best tips for adjusting the brakes on your fixie bike's sidepull caliper brakes.

Other Guides

How to Adjust Canteilever Brakes