So I wanted to add cable tension to my rim brakes because I want to reduce the travel. I have small hands and don't have too much leverage on the hoods so if they actuated more easily then I would have to use less force in order to lock the wheels. However, I did not manage to do so and now it has less cable tension instead. Can anybody please tell me how I can add cable tension. Right now I have to hit the handlebar with the brake lever in order to lock the wheels

1 Answer 1


The screw on the top left in this image (it’s called a barrel adjuster) should allow you to adjust cable tension.

If it’s fully screwed out you have to open the cable clamp screw on the brake, pull in more cable and tighten the cable clamp again.

Make sure the wheels spin freely (i.e. the brake pads are not hitting the rim). If the brake pad on one side is hitting the rim you can twist the whole caliper brake to center it.

If the whole brake action is very squishy, check your cable housing if it’s broken or frayed anywhere.

Shimano 600 brake

Make sure the brake’s quick release mechanism is in the closed position

caliper brake quick release mechanism

  • Thank you Michael! I have managed now to add tension and have effectively reduced the travel of my brakes.
    – Kenshin
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 15:51

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