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Came out of work and found that my front brakes have been messed with and no longer work.I've tried to put them back, but it seems that the thin bit of cable that the other side of the brake latches onto is too small and too far for it to reach.

I also found that, hanging out of the front brake lever, there is a weird thin cable with a circle on the end, and it's dangling out of the lever joint. I assume it's the same cable as what I mentioned earlier, as tugging it seemed to move it. But this means the lever does nothing. Has no effect. What should I do? How can I fix this?

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    If you don't understand how it was rigged you should take it to a bike shop. Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 1:59
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    Aside - check your whole bike over too. They may have messed with other parts, like the QR (hanging down) or your rear brake.
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 2:47
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    "messed with" is a little strong. Most likely someone parked another bike next to it, got caught on the brake line, and wrenched it out of the arm without even noticing.
    – Sneftel
    Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 10:24
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    @Sneftel IDK, to me this looks more like somebody made an attempt to steal the front wheel, but then thought better of it (maybe noticed a bad spoke or so) and just left it. Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 19:52
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    @leftaroundabout good point - it may be worth reviewing how OP locks the bike. We see a D lock, is there a cable as well ?
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 20:10

2 Answers 2

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the curved metal bit fits into the keyhole slot at the end of the other bracket:

enter image description here

Simply squeezing the brake arms together should give enough slack to slot it back in. The thick ring should be resting against the metal with the little bit of barrel poking through.

If there isn't enough slack then check the brake lever, the stop there might be twisted around and will need to be reseated, or you may need to adjust the barrel adjustment at your brake lever to give some more slack. Keep some tension on the brake wire to stop that from happening again while you are reseating the brake line at the brake end.

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Second question first. It sounds like that "circle" is the cable stop. That needs to fit into a mating recess in your brake lever.

Once you've done that, you should be able to fit the "noodle" (the rigid housing with the 90° curve) on the brake cable into the slotted arm on the opposite cantilever brake, so that it slides in and is braced at the flare on the noodle.

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    Also - if there doesn't seem to be enough cable, then follow it up to the brake lever. I suspect one of the stops has come out and is using ~10mm of extra wire.
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 2:49
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    It should look like this when assembled From Park Tool wheelies.azureedge.net/assets/Images/UserPages/StaticPages/… (disregard red arrow)
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 2:50

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