New bike and the front V-brake makes the wheel stop as soon as it is engaged. how should I adjust it to soften it up a bit. will adjusting the angle of the pad have an effect?

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    So to clarify, the brakes are a bit too grabby? – Criggie Dec 26 '18 at 22:43
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    Another thought is that a new bike with V brakes these days is probably a lower cost or BSO. There's a good change the brake blocks/pads are low quality, being harder for durability. You may get much better performance by swapping in some good brake pads like KoolStop. – Criggie Dec 26 '18 at 22:49
  • @Criggie Yes - the brakes are way to grabby – fideldonson Dec 28 '18 at 9:54

You can adjust the pads so that the leading end of the pads touches the rim first. That should provide a little more modulation as the area of pad engaged on the rim will then increase as the force on the brake lever increases.

You may also want to inspect both brakes to make sure the pad adjustment is correct. Park Tool has a great page that shows you how to adjust V-brakes properly.


  • Thanks a lot for the link. That sure did clear up a few things. I tried adjusting as you suggested, but i'm not sure the effect was what i hoped. I will angle them some more later today. – fideldonson Dec 28 '18 at 9:56

First try the pad realignments as suggested in the other answer. Its a free fix, so may as well try it.

Next, take a pad off completely (or free a V brake arm so you can get to the friction braking surface of the pad)

Then use your thumbnail to press hard into the rubber. I'm expecting you'll have difficulty making any kind of dent in the rubber because the compound will be hard.

The compound is hard for three distinct reasons

  • Cheap bikes use low grade brake pads as a cost saver. Lower grade raw materials can be used if the pad is made harder.
  • Harder brake pads wear slower and therefore last longer. So a cheap bike gets longer-lasting harder pads from the start.
  • Age - the longer a brake pad has been about the harder it gets. Less likely here, but worth mentioning. Parts can sit around for a while before being used/sold.

ANSWER If adjusting the pad's angle doesn't help, buy some decent brake pads.

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