I've noticed a problem with the brake lever corresponding to the rear brake for a cheapo kids bike i'm working on. After squeezing the brake lever it won't full return to its resting place. This was actually causing the brake to rub slightly until you pushed the lever back with some force.

After unhooking the brake cable I can confirm the issue is with the brake lever itself. I hit the inside of it with some WD40 and messed around with a screw that the lever pivots off of (without really knowing what I was doing). This helped a little but its still grabbing the back wheel.

Has anyone experienced this before/know what to do?

  • Either a spring in the system is weak/broken/misadjusted, or there is too much friction somewhere. Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 3:04

1 Answer 1


There are three "parts" or zones to a cable-operated brake.

1) The hand lever 2) Inner cable and outer housing 3) The caliper.

So you released the inner cable from the caliper. Try pulling the cable through the outer housing and see how much hand pressure you need to apply... it should be relatively minimal. If you have to get a good grip and pull with shoulder muscles, then the cable is suffering friction with the outer.

The fix here is to replace both the inner cable and outer housing.

With the cable disconnected, the lever should have tension and pull itself back to the open position without problems. If it doesn't restore by itself, then it may be corroded, or deformed (ie plastic or metal bent)

You do say cheapo kids bike which normally means terrible plastic levers and budget stamped metal single-side pull calipers. Sometimes these just get tired and the spring power is not enough to overcome the resistance from the inner cable.

Sadly some cheapo bikes are really not worth fixing - you have to make a judgement call.

  • Yeah you hit it right on the head, with the cable disconnected completely it wont retract. I wasn't sure whether there was a solution excluding replacement, thanks for the reply. Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 3:49
  • @HyperSlayer72 You probably want something like this which is enough to redo front and back brakes on an MTB. Check the end in the brake lever - there are two main different sorts. You can use standard workshop tools hacksaw file spanner/hex drive and a spike, but there is a cable cutter tool which makes cleaner cuts than a hacksaw.
    – Criggie
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 5:42

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.