# Are parallel v-brakes fixed distance? [Avid Arch Rival 50]

OK, this is naive question, but I have to be 200% sure :-)

If you compare the regular v-brake against parallel v-brakes as Avid Arch Rival 50:

the one thing which is always ignored is the way you can change the distance between pads. In the regular v-brakes you change the distance with the cable, more loose means more distance between pads.

But with parallel v-brake the distance is fixed, so loosening the cable does not change a thing, it just adds a dead cable section.

This influences the pads and the wheel rim you can select -- more fat pads or slightly wider rim and you have a problem.

The question is -- am I right with the fixed distance in such v-brakes?

UPDATE: fixed means -- there is some distance, predefined, and you can narrow it, but you cannot increase it. Let's say you are on the ride and you hit something hard with wheel. The wheel needs trueing. With regular v-brakes you just loose the cable to get home. With parallel v-brakes loosening cable does not help.

Photo comes from Avid Arch Rival 50 Review at GearReview

• What do you mean by fixed. If the cable length makes no difference to the distance between the pads, how does squeezing the level (which shortens the cable) apply the brakes? I.e. adjustment of parallel brake sis exactly the same as any other V brake (Except you do it far less often). (The front 'arch' in the photo does change width - it has a centre pivot) Sep 15, 2014 at 2:07
• @mattnz, updated. I didn't know how to describe it better -- you can of course narrow the distance, but you cannot make it bigger. I.e. the max width is predefined by the additional "horseshoe". In regular v-brake the width (distance) is just a matter of the cable. Sep 15, 2014 at 6:19
• Sure the horseshoe poses some slight reduction, but its effectively nearly as good - see img.photobucket.com/albums/0703/ashyRST/Bikes/IMG_1743.jpg for example. Sep 15, 2014 at 7:03
• I do not know these particular brakes, but it looks like you can make the gap bigger by playing with the spacers on the pads Sep 15, 2014 at 7:09
• @batman, can you widen the distance, or the horseshoe will "block" the brake arms? Sep 15, 2014 at 7:17