A short break to replace the brakes

Having hammered the hell out of my commuter bike over the past Winter and Spring, and currently being between projects, I decided it was time to attend to several persisting problems. I currently own 2 bikes, one of which is an expensive race bike which I am terrified of damaging by subjecting it to my bodging nature and which I am currently in the midst of covering many miles on. The other is a cheapo bike which I regularly ride to work and would be too ashamed to drag into the local bike shop for repair. I mostly just ride it and ignore all of the ingrained rust, dirt and technical problems. But every now and again I give it some much needed TLC.

Tonight’s project was replacing the brake callipers, brake cables and consequently the bar tape. The brake callipers were the original ones that came with the bike. Bog-standard Tektro brakes which have worked ok for something like 12,000 hilly miles. So I was entering unchartered territory in this mechanical mission.

An evening in the man-cave, complete with tools, instructions, grease and beer

An evening in the man-cave, complete with tools, instructions, greasy hands and a beer

The beauty of the bicycle is its simplicity – just a couple of hours giving it a go and following some instructions can massively increase your knowledge and understanding and give you the confidence to try more stuff. The side-effect can be the odd moment of doubt on a 40mph descent where you start wondering whether you remembered to tighten everything back up after you finished.

Dismantled commuter bike

Dismantled commuter bike

This evening’s project went very smoothly. I replaced and re-cabled the rear brake first. It was a little fiddly and took about an hour; but then I managed to do the front brake and cable in about 10 minutes which was evidence of the newly acquired skill.

The debris of an evening's work. The patch of worn paint on the rear brake from water spray off the mudguard shows the mileage it's taken

The debris of an evening’s work. The small patch of worn-away paint on the rear brake caused by water spray from the mudguard shows the mileage it’s taken

Fully-upgraded to bottom-of-the-range Shimano!

Fully-upgraded to bottom-of-the-range Shimano and hopefully ready for another maintenance-free 12,000 miles

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2 thoughts on “A short break to replace the brakes

  1. tuckamoredew says:

    Good job. As you say, as machines go, bicycles are quite simple and it’s well worth diving in and attempting your own repairs. If you mess it up , as a last resort you can always take it to a bike shop and claim that an unknown character broke into your garage at night and performed inept repairs upon your unsuspecting bike.

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