I have Shimano 105 Dual Pivot brakes on my bike. They are pretty old (~7 years), and, although I ride the bike very regularly, I do not use the rear brake much and it has become stiff. (By stiff, I mean that the brake does not fully spring back open when I release the lever.)

Previously when this happened, I took the brake off, cleaned it, and then oiled and adjusted the pivots. I used bike chain oil (wet lube). This worked well, but the brake went stiff again pretty quickly so I'm reluctant to do it again.

Does anyone have any tips for a long lasting repair? Should I be using bike oil? Is it worth fully dismantling them (is this possible/advisable?).

  • 2
    You should include cleaning/lubing your brake cable housing and wire when doing maintenance. Check for rusted and/or frayed wires. May 28, 2014 at 23:39
  • 1
    What you did certainly did no harm. It is preferred to use a spray lube containing silicone or Teflon on such parts since those don't tend to gum up as much. But as @sessyargc.jp suggests you really need to lube the cables (with the same spray lube), and the cables may be due for replacement if they've been exposed to much weather. (Teflon lube is especially good with the sort of sliding parts you get in dual pivot brakes.) May 29, 2014 at 1:11

3 Answers 3


This is a rear case that I would use WD40 or even engine degreaser on a bike part. Remove the pads, drown the brake in one of these and work it till its free. Might be worth removing from bike and soaking in a bath.

I would no dismatle it unless the above did not work.

Once the part is moving freely it will have no lube on it. Clean it with hot soapy water, dry it out and use a dry lube rather than a wet lube - it won't attract the dirt. Alternately use a wet lube but regularly re lube it.

  • I'm going to try this when I get a chance - thanks! May 30, 2014 at 19:52

By stiff, I mean that the brake does not fully spring back open when I release the lever

Spring back could be several things
1 - brake stiff
2 - brake spring worn (weak)
3 - resistance in the cable
4 - resistance in the brake lever
5 - bad spring in the brake lever

With the cable removed from the brake depress brake with your hand and see if it springs back

With cable removed from the brake depress the brake lever then pull the cable back.
If you feel resistance then look upstream.
A dry cable with a little rust will have a lot of resistance.
A frayed cable needs to be replaced.
Avoid removing the cable from the housing (unless you are replacing it).
If you just remove the housing from the bike you should have room to move the housing around to lubricate the cable.
I like triflo for cables.

  • Although this is excellent advice, I confirmed that in my case it is not the cable - my brake is still stiff with the cable disconnected. May 30, 2014 at 19:51
  • Then figure out what is wrong with the brake. Disconnect the spring. See if you have a stiff brake or weak spring.
    – paparazzo
    Jun 1, 2014 at 21:33

I have just rebuilt older Tektro dual pivot brakes. The springs are usually fine if not broken.

Most of these brakes have cheap nylon spacers; those little 1mm thick black ones. Some brakes have very fine bearings there.

Your two major adjustment points are the long bolt and the short bolt on the side. If either of these are too tight, the brake won't spring back. If those little black washers are worn or missing, the brake won't spring back.

I actually removed all nylon washers and replaced those with all steel washers and put grease around all pivot points. I also replaced those big springs with smaller ones from another brake and I got a much smoother brake.

All washers have to be the exact same thickness or it won't work. The hard part is trying to find the right washers. They are not standard sizes. You can try different springs from other brakes if they fit. Those springs don't change much across all makers.

My remade old brake are far better working than any new ones. Most new ones are very spongy and stiff due to those nylon black washers and springs that are too large.

  • 1
    I suggest using full stops to divide your text into multiple sentences, capital letters for start of the sentences and for the word "I" and maybe split into several paragraphs. It is very hard to read as it stands. Dec 17, 2023 at 7:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.