Removed front wheel to transport bike from 4 week stay at bike shop for tune up. At home, I cannot insert noodle to reattach bike. It's like cable is too tight. Contacted repair guy, who said I could use a hex wrench to release cable a bit. It's on so blasted tight, I cannot budge it. (Senior lady here!) Does anyone have any suggestion on how to make this work? I do not have anyone nearby to help. I do not want to return bike for another lengthy stay at shop.

The adjuster does not give me enough cable to pull the noodle enough to seat it. When the repair guy removed the wheel at the shop, he certainly didn't use force. Someone suggested letting air from tire, removing it, inserting noodle and then pumping tire back up. Perhaps I that is worth a try????

  • 3
    At a guess, the housing has popped out of one of its seats. A few pictures would help.
    – jimchristie
    May 5, 2021 at 15:16
  • I am not really understanding your question (English is not my first language) but what helped me re-installing a wheel was to let the air out of the tube, that gave enough space to pass the brake.
    – Willeke
    May 5, 2021 at 18:01
  • Park Tools used to make a "3rd hand" tool that could help in a case like this...
    – DavidW
    May 5, 2021 at 21:56
  • 1
    Note that failing all else, Willeke's suggestion might work; connect the brakes with the wheel off and partially deflate the tire so you can squeeze it to the width of the rim so it passes through the brakes. Not ideal, but as a last resort it might work.
    – DavidW
    May 5, 2021 at 22:01

1 Answer 1


First of all, make sure the cable housing and cable is seated properly everywhere.

Even then it can be tricky to get the noodle back in and it can require quite some force to compress everything far enough.

If it’s just a matter of a few millimeters: You should have a barrel adjuster at the brake lever (marked C in the photo below) or at the brake. Unless it’s already fully screwed in, you can further screw it in (clockwise rotation) to give you slightly more slack. Make sure to screw it back out (counter-clockwise rotation) after you’ve inserted the brake noodle to bring the brake pads close to the rim. You should be able to pull the brake levers without them touching the handlebars. It’s a good idea to pull on a single brake lever with the full strength of both hands to make sure everything is seated and there is no give anywhere.

You could still try to unscrew the cable clamping bolt. A few tips for that: Make sure you use a good hex wrench and have it seated properly in the bolt, you don’t want to slip and damage the bolt. Use some WD40 or other penetrating oil if you have it. You can also try to heat it (using a torch, or even a hairdryer at hottest setting could work). And of course make sure you are turning counter-clockwise ;)

enter image description here enter image description here

  • 2
    Using WD40 in the vicinity of brake-pads or brake-tracks is not a good idea. You might be left with traces of WD40 and end up with brake malfunction.
    – Carel
    May 6, 2021 at 7:26
  • @Carel: You can catch spray in a paper towel and/or wipe down the pads and brake tracks afterwards, if you are concerned. Personally I’ve found that WD40 or even chain lube has surprisingly little effect on brake performance.
    – Michael
    May 6, 2021 at 8:06
  • @Michael if you have carbon rims, that would explain the no-penalty in braking with contaminated pads...
    – EarlGrey
    May 6, 2021 at 11:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.