Why Are My Bike Brakes Not Gripping?

Every biker will experience a wide range of problems from flat tires to problems with their chain. Over time there can be also issues with your brakes, this is normally just natural worn and tear. But they could also have been damaged from an accident. So why are my bike brakes not gripping?

There is a number of reasons why your bike brakes are not gripping. These can range from your brakes being damaged in an accident or just normal wear and tear. You could also be experiencing the brakes sticking or squeaking this could be that the brakes just need a little care.

In this post, we will go through why are my bike brakes not gripping. Let’s get started!

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Types Of Brakes For Bicycles

They are a good range of different types of bike brakes available. There are two main categories that you will more than likely only need to really know about. These are.

  • Rim Brakes – Widely in use on BMX, road, and city bikes.
  • Disc brakes – Today is standard on MTBs.

Types Of Rim Brakes

This type of brake is generally activated by a lever on the handlebar which applies force to the rim of the wheel, causing the bicycle to slow down and stop.

  • Caliper brakes – As used on the majority of road bikes.
  • V-brakes.
  • Cantiliver brakes.

Types Of Disc Brakes

Disc brakes mainly come in two types, these are.

  • Hydraulic disc brakes.
  • Mechanical disc brakes.

Why Are My Bike Brakes Not Gripping?

There are a number of reasons why your bike brakes are not gripping. These are as follows.

  • Brakes are sticking.
  • Brakes are spongy.
  • The brakes slack.
  • Brakes are squealing.

Brakes Are Sticking

If you experience that your brakes are not released are pulling the brake lever or nothing happens. This could be something as simple as the brake pads being worn down which will cause the brakes to stick no matter what. You need to replace the brakes brake pads in this case.

Also, you may need to lubricate the pivot pins on your brake levers especially if they feel rigid. If that does not help to resolve the issue you may need to adjust and lubricant the brake cables. In the worse case, you may need to replace the brake cables.

Brakes Are Spongy

Spongy brakes are when you feel that when you apply the brakes that the brakes do not work effectively or that the pressure is not consistent. The most common cause is air in the brake line. To fix this you will need to get a brake bleed kit.

The process is relatively straightforward. Firstly, open the reservoir at the lever by removing the small screw. And do not lose the screw. There is a cup you need to half fill the cup with fluid. Then squeeze the brake lever, jiggle the lines, tap on the calipers.

Then you should start to see air bubbling out of the lever and into the fluid cup if things are working. Once you are ready you can remove the cup and put the screw back. That’s it.

Brakes Are Slack

The brakes are slack when you pull the brake lever and nothing happens. This will indicate that the tension is not set properly. To fix this you may need to adjust the brake cables.

Brakes Are Squealing

Squealing noise occurs to most bikers at some stage. This indicates that the brakes may need some maintenance or the pads are becoming worn. The main thing to do is to clean all brake surfaces and braking areas with a mild degreaser. You need to remove any dirt that might be affecting the brakes.

How Long Do Bike Brakes Last?

The general rule of thumb is that brake pads can last between 600 to 1000 miles. This depends on a few factors such as frequency of use, environmental conditions, and maintenance.

When Should I Replace My Calipers On My Bike?

You should replace calipers brakes if they are heavily worn or were damaged in an accident or appeared damaged.

Are Disc Brakes Better?

Disc brakes outperform rim brakes as they perform better in weather conditions, quicker at stopping in traffic, and racing. There are a few downsides to disc brakes such as there are be expensive and can be challenging to maintain.

Wrapping Up

Finally, there is a number of reasons why your bike brakes are not gripping. These can range from your brakes being damaged in an accident or just normal worn and tear. You could also be experiencing the brakes sticking or squeaking this could be that the brakes just need a little care.

And that’s it for now! I’d love it if this post on why are my bike brakes not gripping was helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.

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Bike Brakes Not Gripping