I recently purchased the long type of v-brake pads from Disco Brakes at Amazon. These are the ones with the tail.

My original brakes were the simple shorter kind, installed as small spacer/washer/brake post/washer/large spacer/washer/nut. The concave/convex parts fitting together. Interestingly enough the new brakes had the same order!

But I watched one brake repair video at YouTube, and they said there was another washer, a flat one, between the brake and the first spacer. Neither my old or my new brakes had that. Another video told me to use the big spacer first and loosen the cable to do so. Still another place said to use the washer on the post first, then the spacer that fits into it. So I am confused. What is the best order here?

As to the title of this post, it refers to a rear brake install. I installed it as listed above, because that was how the previous brakes were installed and the order of stuff on the new brakes. I tighten it down, and the brake is rotating around! The front ones stay in place, but even though it is tightly screwed to the brake post, that one rear brake is able to rotate around!

I will check the post in the morning, make sure it is not a flawed brake pad. But if it is not, I would like to know what to do with this very strange issue. I can switch the brake for one of the fronts and see how that works.

  • Without seeing the setup it's hard to say what to do because I might describe exactly what you are doing. Do you have a convex washers facing out on each side of the brake arm? You should. Do you have an open nut or an acorn? If you have an acorn you might be bottoming out. If that's the case you need thicker washers. The concave washers usually come in two widths.
    – jqning
    Aug 14, 2015 at 13:34
  • Is it rotating during installation or during actual use? A slight rotation during installation is normal, which is why you start installing with a slight rotation in the opposite direction and try to end up just right. Hold the brake pad firmly or just pull the brakes very hard during installation.
    – Michael
    Aug 14, 2015 at 13:39
  • A photo would help, as you're not using the specific jargon words that make it clear exactly what you're talking about.
    – Móż
    Aug 20, 2015 at 8:31
  • Just add 1 more spacer wouldn't help?
    – Alexander
    Aug 20, 2015 at 10:08
  • I switched the brake with the same side front. Tested & Working. But I can grab the brakes and move them around. Are they supposed to be able to move around like that? I adjusted them until everything was the same distance from the rim. All brakes are vertical now. Pics: !Front Left !Front Right !Rear Left !Rear Right
    – DreamBliss
    Sep 8, 2015 at 9:27

3 Answers 3


Either spacer arrangement is acceptable, and the choice is part of correctly installing the new pads. But I'm not clear exactly what pads you have, as there are two types: one with posts that poke out and bolts at right angles that clamp onto them (older style) and pads with threaded bolts built in that attach directly to the V brake arms.

Typical V brakes should have the arms vertical when the pads contact the rim. The specific requirement is that the pad surfaces are parallel to the rim at that point, and as they wear they will become that way. Those semi-spherical spacers and washers allow you to rotate the pads to achieve that, so you have some tolerance there. That also lets you toe in the pads, BTW.

It's better to have the arms slightly out past vertical with new pads because as they wear the arms will move in. But that should be by a small amount - a couple of millimetres at the adjustment point marked L in the diagram below.

The flat washers shouldn't need to be against the brake pad, normally they're used under the nut to help isolate rotation of the nut from rotation of the pad (so you don't move the pad out of alignment when you're doing up the nut).

v brake setup (image from Saccom)


I always use the big spacers on the inside. Due to the pivot point on V-Brakes I find that it helps wear down the brake pad evenly. I see lots of bikes with the small spacers on the inside causing the pads the wear at an angle. This sometimes leads to the bottom of the pads to hook onto the inside of the rim and causing the brakes to lock up.

  • I suspect this is true for your bike, but in my experience this sometimes leads to pads and brake arms at weird angles because they really need the short spacers on the inside. I think it depends on the bike and the brakes.
    – Móż
    Jan 19, 2016 at 20:15

Does it need a pin? Mine has a tiny hole in the frame where the brake caliper connects. There's a pin about the size of a small nail/brad that goes thru the collar into that hole.

  • I'm trying to add picture. Not sure how.
    – KimiKat
    Apr 22 at 0:09
  • You should be able to upload a picture, but it needs to be under 2MB in size.
    – DavidW
    Apr 22 at 2:07

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