I’m totally new to bike maintenance and I know next to nothing about it. I was on a bike ride the other day and noticed it was abnormally difficult to ride. I got off and saw that the front wheel was not spinning freely and was rubbing against the brakes.

I watched a video that said my quick release could be the problem, but I don’t think that’s it. I think it has something to do with the brakes because they are slightly tilted and their attachment to the handlebars.

Off-centre front V brake on a red hybrid bicycle

If anyone has any advice it would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

2 Answers 2


The return spring on the right hand caliper (from the point of view of sitting on the bike) has come out of its stop in the caliper. The spring in the left hand caliper is pulling both calipers to the left.

You can see the return spring sticking horizontally out of the right hand caliper. It looks like about 10cm of stiff wire. The spring wire should be on the inside of a peg or flange near the top of the caliper arm. In several of your pictures you can see the spring wire correctly seated on the left hand caliper arm.

Re-seat the spring and the calipers will return to center.

  • 2
    I feel incredibly stupid haha. Simple as that, that worked! Thanks so much!
    – ashliec17
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 16:37
  • 1
    @ashliec17 No worries. Things like this are easy to miss if you are unfamiliar with how bikes work. Commented May 6, 2020 at 17:21

Those brakes are far out of alignment. The brake arms should be symmetric around the bike's centerline.

You may need to let some slack into the cable, at least temporarily by loosening the cable-fixing bolt and letting 1-2 cm more slack in.

You'll see small screws pointing outward near the pivots. These pre-load the springs for each brake arm. Tighten the one for the brake arm that's farther away from the centerline and loosen the other until both arms are as close to parallel as you can get them. If you let slack into the cable before, and there's too much slack for you to lock up the brakes now, take the slack out of the cable so that the pads sit a few mm away from the rims.

Also: it may just be a matter of the angle you photographed the bike at, but it looks like the front wheel is not centered in the fork. Make sure it is centered first.

Park Tools has a bunch of fix-it videos; here's their video for adjusting V brakes.

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    Thoughts on the springy thing poking horizontally out of left brake boss (drive side)?
    – Swifty
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 15:30
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    I can't believe I missed that. I think Argenti's answer is correct.
    – Adam Rice
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 17:35
  • I do too, though it may also need some of the adjustments you suggest, so I was thinking you could edit in, though Argenti's does now cover it. I was too slow to prompt you. It's one of those, "when you see it (!)" photos :D
    – Swifty
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 18:54
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    I suggest that you make this answer a really useful one by prefixing it with something like "Argenti's answer covers the problem in this case. However, in many cases a similar problem can be caused by misalignment. The following describes how to correct typical misalignment errors: " Commented May 7, 2020 at 3:33

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