How To Put Front Brakes On A Bike – Bike Tips

In order to have an amazing riding experience with bikes, they need to have all the required parts and accessories. Having breaks in a bike is essential, not just the rear but also the front brakes! You would have an amazing and safe riding experience with all the brakes installed that is why this guide is here. Here, we will show you how to install front brakes on a bike and other useful information.
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Bike Riders are like artists, the road is their canvas, with the riding skills they paint the canvas with gorgeous vistas but this is not done without some dangers. Do you know that there are some professional riders that use their bikes without front brakes? That’s crazy now isn’t it, although it is not legal it is also very dangerous, not having the front brake installed can plunge them into danger, like fatal accidents.

Skilled and professional riders get their whole idea, but some of the casual riders are also doing that, which could land them in danger. The topic of brakes is really sensitive and there are a lot of arguments about it, but we always give priority to comfort and safety while riding that is why have made this guide for you.

We previously talked about adjusting and tightening brakes and today we will be discussing how to install the front brakes. Let’s first discuss the tools that we will be needing for the whole operation.

7 Amazing Bike Tools That You Should Definitely Have

You might think that you have everything you need for bike maintenance, every type of tool there is to get but you will be surprised. With these tools, your repairs will be quicker, clean, and more effective than before.

  1. Disc Brake Multi-Tool: With hydraulic disc brakes becoming more and more famous, you would be needing this amazing tool. (Buy It Here)
  2. Cable Puller: If you are looking to trim some cables and make the bike more presentable then the cable puller is an amazing choice. (Buy It Here)
  3. Steel Pick: They might look like tools from the dentist’s office but believe me, nothing fixes internal cables better than the steel pick! (Buy It Here)
  4. Vernier Caliper: This tool is essential if you want to know the size of components for replacement or repairs, better have them with you! (Buy It Here)
  5. Philips Screwdriver
  6. Wrench: Any Kind Will Do
  7. Pliers: Any Kind Will Do

With these tools by your side, you would be able to make any kind of bike repair or installation. May it be brake tightening, adjustment, or even installation. There are also different types of brakes that you should know about:

We will discuss these different brake types soon, let’s start by discussing the installation process.

Installing Bicycle Brakes- The Proper Way

When installing the bicycle brakes, you don’t have a lot of options, most of the time you would have only two.

Front Wheel Brakes

Those two brake types are:

  • Linear-Pull Brake Systems
  • Cantilever Brakes

Both of these braking systems are mechanical, this means that a lever is attached to wires, you brake by pulling that lever. These two mechanical brake systems will be installed on the front fork of the bike, on the central pivot point. If you have a bike with suspension then you should be using the linear-pull brakes and if not then you should go with the cantilever brakes.

If you are thinking about rim brakes, then those will be discussed shortly. For that, you have to remove the rear wheel, adjust the brake rotors and play around with the rear brake pads. We will get to that portion too!

Let’s start with the lever, if you have a lever mechanism then it is fine, but if you don’t then follow these steps for proper installation.

How To Install The Lever System

Brake assembly and brake levers installation are easy, you just have to follow the steps mentioned. Alongside the lever installation, we will also be talking about how to adjust different kinds of brakes. 

Step 1

The lever will be installed on the right handlebar first so remove the grip from the handlebar to get started. Now you have to slide the lever on the right handlebar, but remember that the lever has to point straight, it definitely shouldn’t be curved.

Step 2

In order to make the lever secure, tighten the screw which is on the mounting bracket. When this step has been completed, then we can replace the grip.

Step 3 

Now, slide the brake cables through the slot of the lever, all while pulling the brake lever. Then you have to put the cable into the adjustment barrel and you would be done.

How To Install Cantilever Brakes

Cantilever brakes are old, like really old, in order to install them, follow these steps. 

Step 1

The brake assembly unit must be attached to the front fork of the bike to begin the process. Now you have put the brake shoes at the rims of the front wheel, they should be really close. There would be a nut attached to the cable anchor bolt, loosen it and then put it aside.

Step 2

You have to look for the wire that is at the end of the brake cable, when you have found it, put it through the adjustment barrel and the hole at the cable anchor bolt. Now, remove the extra slack from the cable and then tighten the cable anchor bolt. 

Step 3 

Now you have to test the brakes, the front brakes should be working fine, test them out by pulling the lever. The brake pad should only make contact with the rim when the lever is pulled, make sure of that. 

Brakes Of A Mountain Bike

How To Adjust The Cantilever Brakes

Cantilever Brakes are the oldest of the bunch and the hardest to fix/adjust. Do not be fooled by their simple looks as they are extremely complex to fix. If you are not careful while fixing them, it could result in brake chatter, and the brake pads could also become damaged. That is why you need to set them up flawlessly!

With cantilever brakes, everything needs to be aligned up properly, there is absolutely no room for error! These types of brakes have cables that control the left and right brake pads, they need to be of the same length and size. The brake pads also need to be aligned properly, they need to be at the same place at both the rims. You need to keep on making these adjustments till the perfect balance has been sought.

Things To Be Careful About: When it comes to cantilever brakes, the brake cables are extremely fragile, they can get damaged very easily so keep an eye on that. We talked about aligning the brake cables and pads, but with the cantilever brakes, everything needs to go perfectly. It is recommended that you get the help of a professional for the initial setup.

How To Install Linear-Pull Brakes

Linear-Pull Brakes are perhaps the easiest to use and install. Here are the steps to install them hassle-free.

Step 1

Start here as you did with the cantilever brakes, attach the assembly unit first, and then the brake pads must be pushed against the front rim. Then feed the brake cable into the bike assembly unit.

Step 2

Find the wire which is at the end of the brake cable. Now you will have to loosen up the cable anchor bolt, then pass the wire through it, when the wire has been passed, slightly tighten the bolt. Start pulling the brake lever now, confirm that the brake pads are indeed making contact with the wheel rim.

Step 3

Hold down the brake lever and then pull the wire that you put through the cable anchor colt. Release the lever after tightening the bolt. Now you have to stretch the brake cable, do that by pulling and releasing the brake lever rapidly. In the end, you have to pull the wire again and then tighten the anchor bolt. You are done!

How to Install Brake Cables & Housing


Bikes are incomplete without brakes, you don’t get to enjoy the comfort without the front brakes. These brakes make sure that the rider is safe from accidents, especially the fatal kind. Brake installation is easy, you just got to have the right tools and the proper steps to follow.

In this guide, we discussed the different brake types and how to install them. We also discussed how to install the levers. If you have any queries then do reach out to us in the comments. Stay Safe Out There!

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1 thought on “How To Put Front Brakes On A Bike – Bike Tips”

  1. Once you’ve taken a 5,000 to 10,000 km ride, you can already change brakes or brake pads if you want to. If the remaining brake pad materials are only 1.5mm or less, that’s also a good indicator that they’re due for changing.


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