How To Install Caliper Brakes On Bike In 9 Easy Steps!

Installing caliper brakes is not the nightmare you believe it to be!

What are caliper brakes? Good question! Caliper brakes are mechanical braking systems with a single bolt. You can install them either on the front or rear of a bike. The choice is yours. But don’t worry, I’ll get into the details of how you can install caliper brakes! 

Pay attention because we are about to get started!

Caliper Brakes

9 Steps For Installing Caliper Brakes

Wait! Before we begin, you need to have the following tools: 

Tools Needed 

  • Gloves (For Protection)
  • Brake Pads, Rotors
  • Brake Caliper Piston Tool
  • Lug Nut Wrench
  • Service Jack and Jack Stand 
  • Brake Bleeder Wrench 
  • Allen Wrench Set
  • Screwdriver

Step 1: Start By Flipping Your Bike!

Flip the bike, the wheels have to be lifted. Use the bike frame here. It will help keep the bike steady while you work on it.  

Step 2: Check The Brake’s Caliper Style

Now you need to identify the type of caliper style your bike has. Pay close attention to the middle of the wheel. Most probably they will be mechanical. If you are not able to figure it out, get help from a professional. 

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Step 3: Adjust The Wheel In The Drop Hose

Now mount the drop-down hose on the wheel, and attach the wheel to the motor. The wheel needs to be fixed. If it isn’t fixed, turn it clockwise. If you have an old bike, use an Allen wrench to tighten the wheel into the drop hose.

Step 4: Clean The Rotor and Adjust The Brakes

Now we have to adjust the brakes onto the rotor. Be careful, the blades can hurt. I suggest putting the disc on two flat sides so you don’t touch them while adjusting. You will also need to clean the braking surface.

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Step 5: Fix and Maintain The Brake Rub

The brakes need to be tight when you are done installing them. If they are too tight, you’ll have to loosen them. If your brakes rub with one another, that means they are loose. Find the hex bolts and bind them.  Brakes need to be tight just enough that they don’t rub with each other. Sometimes it happens that the caliper brakes are tight and are only on one wheel, which is easily fixed.

Step 6: Re-Center The Caliper Into The Rotor 

Once you have loosened the hex bolts, you need to pull the brake lever (the one that matches the wheel you are working on, don’t pull the other brake lever!). Doing this will re-center the caliper into the rotor.

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Step 7: Now Compress The Bolts Carefully

Keep the brake heel down and insert the Allen wrench into the hex bolt. Now turn it halfway clock-wise so that the rotor caliper is tightened. Do the same for the other hex bolt. Having a buddy here will make things easier. They can hold the brake levers while you work. 

Step 8: Turn The Caliper Leg Screw

Some models of mechanical caliper brakes have a set of screws that make sure that the adjustment dial is tight. You have to turn them anti-clockwise two or three times. If there are no screws, you can skip this step. 

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Step 9: Altering The Adjustment Dial

It’s time to turn the adjustment dial. Look for this plastic dial on the caliper’s bottom. It needs to be one inch wide. To bring the brake pad closer, turn the dial in a clockwise position. When this is done, turn it away from the rotor by rotating it anti-clockwise.

There you have it, you have just installed caliper brakes on your bike!

How To Install And Adjust Caliper Brakes

Still confused? Don’t worry, check out this video explanation of installing and adjusting caliper brakes. 

The Different Types of Caliper Brakes

There are three different types of Caliper Brakes. All of them have their different features.

Braking System Description Characteristics
Single-Pivot Side Pulls – Brake arms connected with cable housing via inside wire.
– Fits onto a stitched surface.
– Efficient but limited brake shoe movement.
– Difficulty in centering.
– Provides adequate braking.
Dual-Pivot Side Pulls – Inner cord and brake arm connected via brake wire.
– One brake arm revolves around the center bolt, while the other pivots around the axle.
– Brake arms move in equal quantities due to the cam connection.
– Asymmetrical system with two brake arms.
– Reliable and advantageous.
Center Pulls – Both brake arms revolve around a pivot.
– Uses a traverse cable similar to a U-Brake structure.
– Complex but favored for long-distance rides.
– Advantages for specific riding conditions.
– Popular in the 1960s and 1970s and still in use.

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Can you install brake calipers yourself?

Yes, you can install brake calipers yourself.

Are caliper brakes good for bikes?

Yes, Caliper bikes are good for road bikes. They have a reliable stopping power. 

What bike brakes are best?

The best brake will differ depending on the type of riding you prefer. Disc brakes are famous for being versatile while caliper brakes are the go-to option for road bikes. 

How long do brake calipers last?

Caliper brakes can last years if you maintain them regularly. 

Which brake is safest to use in a bike?

Disc brakes are considered the safest to use in a bike. 


Caliper Brakes can be used on a variety of terrain. What I like the most about them is that they don’t overheat the tires. They can be easy to install if you follow the steps correctly. With the right tools, you’ll be installing the brakes like a pro. Remember, the brakes on the rear wheel and front wheel are different. Most of the work is done by the rear brake. 

If have any questions about installing a caliper brake, reach out to me in the comment section below!

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Luke Ameen

Luke Ameen

For many years, I've journeyed the world as an ardent cyclist, feeling the pulse of the road beneath two wheels. Even though competitive mountain trails might not be my battleground now, my zeal for cycling remains undiminished, pushing me to chase new escapades every chance I get.

My heart beats for everything related to cycling. Over the years, I've immersed myself in extensive research and hands-on tests of cycling equipment and enhancements, aiming to guide fellow cyclists in amplifying their riding experience. My mission is clear: deliver trustworthy insights and reliable guidance that readers can lean on. My vision is to kindle the same fervor for cycling in others, whether they're seasoned veterans or just embarking on this journey. Rest assured, I'm here to equip you with the freshest updates, advice, and perspectives to enrich every ride.


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