I have just bought a used bike and the brakes were able to be pulled all the way to the handle.

However if I try tightening them even slightly they will rub against the wheels.

How do you fix this?

  • 1
    First I would check the cables and see if they're frayed. Then look at the pads -- likely they are badly worn. Apr 11, 2020 at 12:45
  • 4
    A photo might help - could be a mismatch between lever pull and brake type. Are your wheels true ? Could even be old brake pads simply being hardened.
    – Criggie
    Apr 11, 2020 at 12:54

1 Answer 1


One problem that leads to this exact symptom is if someone installed V-brakes along with cantilever/caliper brake levers, or in the case of a multi-setting brake lever, has it set to the "short pull" mode.

You can get more detail on how to tell the difference from this question.

If it's an incompatibility between levers and brakes, it's usually going to be cheaper parts-wise to replace the levers. There's not really another fix.

  • 1
    The other possible cause is a wobbly wheel. Fix would be truing the wheel. Apr 12, 2020 at 15:03

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