Any damage to the brake system can cause problems with the brake lever. If you experience the bike brake lever not springing back in place, one or more components of the brake system have malfunctioned.
But it shouldn’t cause you any headaches since the solutions are fairly simple. And if you know the right techniques, you can ensure a problem-free working brake lever.
This article is all about preventing and solving bike brake lever issues. Keep reading if you want to learn.
Components of Brake Lever Mechanism
It’s a good idea to get to know the parts of a brake lever mechanism. If you know the parts, you can easily find out which one is causing the issue. Here are they:
- Brake lever handles
- Pulling cable
- Brake pads
These parts can be found in both mechanical and hydraulic mechanisms.
Finding The Root of The Issue
Since there are many parts to a brake lever, pinpointing the root cause isn’t easy. Solving it can be a complex task for those not used to it. Both the front and rear brakes are vulnerable to this.
When the brake lever doesn’t spring back to its position, it means the tension in place isn’t working. Now, that can happen due to several things. Such as,
- The cable has torn apart
- The housing is dirty and jammed up the cable
- The housing broke and crashed on the cable
- The brake lever handle broke
- The caliper lacks the proper spring tension
- The Hydraulic cylinder is malfunctioning
Apart from the last two, all the other issues are quick fixes. Here’s how:
Step 1: Open The Brake Housing
Opening the brake housing is easy. There should be a screw holding it together. Unscrew it, and it should come apart. If it doesn’t, take a Philips screwdriver and force it open.
Step 2: Check The Condition
Inspect the inside of the housing to see the conditions of the components.
The first thing to check is the brake handle. If it’s broken, a replacement will solve it.
The second thing to check is the housing chamber. If it is broken or some parts of it are, you need to replace the entire housing. It’s not repairable.
Thirdly, if the cable has torn apart, you know what to do. Detach it from both ends and replace it with a new one.
Lastly, if nothing is broken, then it’s the dirt causing the issue, simply clean it and lubricate. And keep lubricating it as long as you’re using the bike.
Solving Caliper Spring Tension
In most cases, calipers aren’t the issue. But when it is, it’s a complex situation. It’s the spring inside that isn’t providing the required tension for the brake lever to spring back into position.
If that is the case, you have to tighten it. Tight the spring by turning the screw in the clockwise direction. In case you make it too hard to pull, loosen it by turning it in the anti-clockwise direction.
Issues with The Hydraulic Chamber
When your bike is using the hydraulic brake mechanism, it could be the hydraulic fluid chamber not acting right. If the bike is from a good manufacturer, this is a rare scenario, but it happens. So, keep a note of it.
The common issue is air getting inside the hydraulic chamber. This will reduce the pressure effect, and the lever-cable connection won’t get the same level of compression.
Here’s what you can do-
- Take it to a workshop
- Or, if you’re confident about it, do a hydraulic bleed to get the air out and refill the chamber will hydraulic fluid
I bet your bike has a Shimano brake system in place (all renowned brands use them). Even if you have some other branded hydraulic brake system, see this hands-on video on how to fix weak hydraulic brakes.
If you regularly maintain your bike and store it properly, you shouldn’t face issues with the caliper spring and hydraulic chamber. Most of the time, it’s the cables that cause the bike brake lever not to spring back into place. You can prevent all of them by just applying lubrication regularly and cleaning the inside once in a while.