I have a mountain bike with V-brakes and every time I get a puncture and need to remove the wheel to replace the inner tube, I have to use a hex/Allen key to loosen the brakes, otherwise I can't pull the wheel out.

Is there a way to loosen the brake arms without fiddling with the hex/Allen screw? I'm worried about wearing the screw out.

Just to clarify, quick release isn't good anyway, noodle still won't come out and I still have to loosen the cable.

Adding a photo of noodle in question, as suggested (I've moved the cover to the right to fully expose the end of the noodle):

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Another photo of noodle with breaks released:

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And one with breaks engaged (apologies for the blurriness, was a little tricky holding my phone and engaging the break):

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And finally, one with the arms pinched:

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  • If you could add a photo (or photos, with brakes both applied and not applied) of your brakes, it might help. – armb Mar 26 '15 at 17:09
  • @armb added a photo of noodle, does that help? – Nobilis Mar 30 '15 at 13:23
  • Can you also add a picture with the arms pinched together? – Batman Mar 30 '15 at 13:36
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    It looks like it's awfully close. If you can't pull the noodle out like that you probably should permanently loosen the cable ever so slightly (1/8" will probably do it). – Daniel R Hicks Mar 31 '15 at 11:36
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    I'm guessing you can adjust the washers on the brake pads as well to get the remaining bit as well -- it doesnt seem like the arms are making a good angle at the end. – Batman Apr 2 '15 at 4:11

Yeah. Use the quick release.

enter image description here

If you push the brake arms together, you should be able to pull the noodle out of the noodle holder (you may need to wiggle it a bit out). Then the arms will be wide enough to remove the wheel.

Alternatively, you can de-inflate the tire, remove it and then re-inflate it after re-installation.

  • I am, but first I need to loosen the cable. – Nobilis Mar 26 '15 at 12:14
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    You might be able to slacken the cable slightly using the barrel adjusters on your levers. Remember to re-adjust them so that you can apply the brakes properly when you have put the noodle holder back at the end. – armb Mar 26 '15 at 12:51
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    You may also need to change the washers on the brake pads. – Batman Mar 26 '15 at 13:44
  • @armb Do I need to loosen the barrel adjuster and after operating the cable tighten it back up again? I'm not very knowledgeable on bikes, so I might have someone more experienced show me how to do that first. – Nobilis Mar 26 '15 at 14:09
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    The washers are set when you install brake pads and control how much they protrude from the brake arms. If this is wrong, you may not be able to to pinch the arms together to get the noodle out. Also, make sure you have the right noodle for the brake you're using -- I've found using the noodle that comes with avid brakes is a lot easier than using other noodles with avid brakes, for some reason. – Batman Mar 26 '15 at 14:24

A properly tuned V-Brake system, assembled with proper, compatible components should let you disengage the quick release by just pressing the brake arms together with one hand and wiggling the noodle out. But if it is really necesary to have the cable so tight for the brakes to work, there may be some mismatch in the components or simply bad design.

Here are some tips that I have employed when using less-than-optimal v-brake sets:

  • Calibrate the system to need a fair amount of barrel adjuster deployed so I can give the cable more slack, thus loosening the cable bolt is avoided. I just have to re-adjust the barrel.

  • Remove and install the wheel with the tire deflated and squish it with my fingers to allow then to pass between the pads. (Difficult if the tire is too wide and thick).

For a more temporary solution:

  • Brake arms should be (nearly) parallel both in rest position and when applied. Most Brake pads have some moveable spacers (washers) to allow them to protrude more or less towards the rim. These spacers can be installed in the pad side or in the nut side of the supporting bolt. (The spacers I'm referring to are flat on both sides, they can be added, removed, combined, etc. to suit application). Someframe/rim combinations make the brake arms be in a divergent or convergent angle. This is not the angle where the v-brake provides optimum leverage and also affects how much cable travel is needed to actuate the brakes and can lead to the problem described.

  • Change the noodle: Use one that has a shorter tip, Such that it will require less cable slack to disengage the quick release. A noodle is a very basic part, so even a generic will do.

  • Most likely the noodle tip is solid aluminium, but a soft alloy, so it can be shortened with a file or a fine grinding stone. This should be made only as last resort and in removing as little material as possible as a too short noodle tip may get disengaged spontaneously on shaky trails.

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    Having the wrong noodle can also cause problems. – Batman Mar 30 '15 at 17:33
  • Indeed, @Batman. Edited to include the option of finding a dirrefent noodle. – Jahaziel Mar 30 '15 at 17:54

Grip the arms together using your hand and you should be able to disengage the noodle from the quick release.

  • I can't, it's too tight, I need to loosen the cable. – Nobilis Mar 26 '15 at 12:15
  • If that is the case, then the brakes have been set up with the pads too close to the rims. You'll need to losen the cable a little so that you can grip the v-brake arms to use the quick release as @OraNob describes above. – brendan Mar 27 '15 at 3:24
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    @brendan yes, but that's one thing I wanted to avoid as I prefer the brakes being a bit more tight. – Nobilis Mar 31 '15 at 9:12
  • Running them that close could cause you lack of leverage and power at the brake lever when you brake. You can always replace the brake levers with some which have pull ratio adjustment - these brake levers can be adjusted to pull more or less cable for travel of the brake lever. Avid SD5 or SD7 levers from recollection had the adjuster knob for this. – OraNob Apr 1 '15 at 12:05

A shimano noodle can help you. It have a "shortcut" to get it out of the holder.
enter image description here

  • You should use the noodle provided with your brake. Some come with multiple noodles depending on the angle required. – Batman Jan 8 '16 at 20:00

Based on your fender/brake setup I think you might benefit from this: http://problemsolversbike.com/products/travel_agents

The barrel adjuster (on the silver model) on the top could be tuned to do this with out tools. So that instead of needing a 5mm to release the tension on the cable you could screw in the adjuster and bam, instant slack.

Just a thought...

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    It'd be cheaper to just get a different V-brake which clears the fenders a bit better and cut the bolt on the fenders. – Batman Mar 30 '15 at 20:14

Alternative to the other suggestions, repair tube while the wheel is in place, with the break and all. You take one side of the tire off the wheel, pull the tube out and patch it, replace the tube (a bit of air in it makes it easier) and put the tire back.

This is a Dutch language video but with very clear pictures, front wheel but rear wheel works the same: http://www.hoe-doe-je-dat.nl/fiets/fietsband-plakken-video-tutorial.html

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