I've got avid single digit 5 v-brakes, those with an inner sleeve riveted into the arm; the sleeve isn't supposed to move around the pivot, the arm itself moves around the sleeve instead. Arguably due to the salt in the street snow, arms are not returning to open position, as described here and here. How can I clean and lubricate those sticky surfaces of the arm and the sleeve, which are completely hidden even after taking the arm off the pivot (i.e. between "A" and "S" on the second image)? WD-40 (Germany) was not good enough. And I'm no smarter after reading the manual (from www.sram.com/service/avid/70).

riveted sleeveunmounted brake

PS: feel free to edit my English, I'm having a difficult time with mechanical vocabulary...

1 Answer 1


I have had these brakes before, and what I've found to work is:

  1. Take the brakes off the bike

  2. Clean the bosses on the bike, inside and out with rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip (a.k.a. cotton swab)

  3. Clean the portion marked in red with a q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. also clean the back surface of the brake (where the bolt is, but on the other side of the head in the same way). Be pretty thorough; you'll go through a bunch of q-tips until its clean.

  4. Let the rubbing alcohol dry

  5. Grease your brake posts and bolt, and re-assemble. I use regular old white lithium grease.

They tend to last about 2 years this way (but I think we probably have a lot more road salt and gunk in the Midwest USA than Germany), and then no matter what I did, I had to chuck them (which isn't a huge loss, they're pretty cheap).

The Single Digit 7's are more robust in this regard.

  • By Q-tip do you mean this or this?
    – andy256
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 23:58
  • I suggest the non-trademarked phrase "cotton bud" instead.
    – Criggie
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 0:26
  • We use cotton swab instead.
    – Batman
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 0:47
  • 1
    @Batman, I'm not sure I got you right and if a cotton swab can get between the arm and the (umountable) sleeve; I can only imagine cleaning inside of sleeve this way, but there's no movement there. I added one more image.
    – Xpector
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 20:49
  • 1
    If I understand it correctly, this is just cleaning the outside and hoping that it will affect the unreachable parts inside? I don't see how that could help, but apparently you have seen that it works, so I believe that. And if you still have to replace them every 2 years, how often do you need to clean it?
    – JiK
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 16:38

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.