My daughter received a brand new bike. It came preassembled. The brake pads are oriented vertically. Is that correct?

enter image description here

  • 3
    "Pre-assembled" means that a 17-year-old in the store stuck the parts together. Check other details as well. May 1, 2020 at 21:15

3 Answers 3


Your intuition is correct those pads are not right.

The long part of the pad should follow the rim, like this:
(not exactly the same brake but the pad alignment is similar)
enter image description here

You can:
- take it back and let them straighten the pad.
- Use a 10mm wrench, loosen the nut, turn the pad and set it to the correct height and tighten the nut.

If they did this wrong it would make me nervous that there are other things they missed.

  • 4
    Can't emphasize that last line too much: Someone who puts brake pads on like in the question, they simply don't know enough of a bike to tell a saddle and a pedal apart. You do not want to go trusting something they put together with your life. True, this seems to be child's bike, so the dangers are less than on a bike that's going to be used in downhill or racing, but the brakes are definitely among the most safety critical parts. Checking every single bolt and nut on a bike with such an extreme assembly mistake would be a prudent course of action. May 1, 2020 at 21:46
  • 1
    Btw, the best explanation for this mistake is, that the brake came to the assembler pre-assembled, with the brake pads oriented such as to reduce storage space requirements. The assembler then simply screwed on the brake, forgot to adjust the pads to the rim, and skipped the mandatory brake function test that any professional should perform after assembling a brake. May 1, 2020 at 21:57
  • 2
    Note for OP - its really important the pad does not touch the tire
    – mattnz
    May 2, 2020 at 1:35
  • +1 for the last point especially.
    – Criggie
    May 2, 2020 at 2:12

No. To exert the correct amount of braking force, the whole of the brake pad should contact the rim. When your daughter pulls the lever, only the top quarter of each pad will contact the rim.

Presumably your daughter bought this bike at a department store. Employees there don't specialize in assembling bikes. It could be that the person there thought this was actually the correct way to assemble brakes, or that this error simply didn't get noticed. This is not to blame the person at the store; they tend to be poorly paid and have multiple demands on their time, plus their employers don't find it worth it to train them sufficiently to assemble specialty items correctly. Bikes, even children's bikes, are pretty complex objects, and assembling them well is not easy. I would recommend taking this to a bike store for a once-over.


The pads are installed incorrectly.The need to be oriented so that as much pad as possible rubs on the wheel when the brakes are applied. The pad also cannot contact any part of the tire. Care must be taken to orient the pads in the right direction. These pads don't appear to have a forward indicator but they do appear to have a "V" pattern on the braking surface. They are typically installed so point forward as an arrow. I would recommend bringing the bike to your local shop for a once over. If the assembler was incapable of installing the brakes correctly who knows what else was assembled incorrectly.

  • To be clear, the arrow would need to point in the direction that the brake pad travels over the rim material (so as to scrub any dirt/water/debris away from the center of the pad, ensuring a clean contact region). Because the rim is traveling forward at the top of the wheel, that means that the arrow needs to point towards the back of the bicycle. May 1, 2020 at 21:53

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