I bought this bike from my friend about 2 months ago, and back then the bike seemed to work fine except for slightly flat tires. I could ride it around in the garage. I decided to pump it up today but when I was taking it out of my friend's apartment garage (where I stored it), the front wheel seemed to be locked up completely and did not turn at all.

It seems like the brake is detached from the brake pads and so the pads don't move when I hold the brake handle.

Can I fix this myself, or should I take it to a shop?

Thanks! enter image description here

  • 3
    I would say you just need to reattach the noodle YouTube video instructions but the way one arm is pointing in and the other out suggests a deeper problem. Still probably fixable
    – Chris H
    Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 16:10
  • Use cable stops, the frayed cable ends can do bad things. Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 16:10
  • 3
    @ChrisH Except... Where's the brake shoe on the left brake arm? The arm wouldn't be able to fall in that far if there were a brake shoe where it's supposed to be. I think we might need pictures of that arm from the side. Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 21:03
  • 2
    Can the left (in the picture) arm be moved at all? Is there springiness in either direction (like when you move it away from the wheel, does it return to the current position on its own)?
    – tim
    Commented Aug 12, 2023 at 13:01
  • 1
    @AndrewHenle one aspect of the deeper problem. It could be present but loose, or removed to work around a broken spring (I've seen worse)
    – Chris H
    Commented Aug 12, 2023 at 18:26

2 Answers 2


I'm no mechanic and perhaps lack the correct terminology, but this is a V-brake (or linear-pull brake) and you might just need to lock in the "noodle" (the metal housing) back into the other arm's stirrup, like that ... at least that's what is apparently wrong on the picture you've sent.

I don't know if there are other issues but this at least puts your brakes in the correct neutral position - would be great of you could get a more detailed shot to assess what is broken/missing.

enter image description here enter image description here


As many other users have noticed, the brake arm on the picture's left doesn't right

  • I don't see a brake pad, and that's a very essential part of a brake
  • The arm should pull away from the rim by itself if you unhook the noodle but it sits on the wheel, which indicates that something is broken there, too
  • As pointed out, the cable is frayed, too, which might lead to it failing under load - and you clearly don't want that, especially on bicycle's front brake.

You might ask your friend what happened to the bike and if he still has any of the bike's parts, like the apparently missing brake pad, but my educated guess is that the bike has been worked on but then given up in the process. Frayed cables without end caps often appear when somebody without the proper tools fixes a bike, so I would definitely take it to a shop for repair and getting everything set up as it should. At least if you want to bring the bike back to a safe and rideable state. Even if the LBS decides to swap out the full brake for completness (or due to damage to the original) one, it's probably not a very expensive job. New cables, a cheap V-brake probably doesn't cost much more then 15€ and a bit of work.

  • 2
    Wouldn't a loose noodle mean that the wheel can spin freely? OP says their break locks up the wheel. That's also what the pic suggests; the left arm shouldn't point towards the wheel when loose, it should point away (as in your picture). It looks like the arm on OPs break is wrongly attached. Maybe backwards? Or in the wrong (or in none) of the three holes? Would be interesting to know if it can be moved and/or if there's any springiness in any direction.
    – tim
    Commented Aug 12, 2023 at 12:57
  • 1
    @tim the arm is probably not backwards because the noodle slot is up. But it looks like the spring may backward? it definitely lacks a brake pad as well
    – njzk2
    Commented Aug 14, 2023 at 18:45

Simply by looking at it you should be able, depending upon how handy you might be, to realize one or more of:

  • the brake is never going to work without a brake pad
  • the brake is never going to work without the noodle set in the stirrup
  • the brake is never going to work without the arm sprung away from the rim.
  • the centering adjustment screw is way out, suggesting a broken, detached, or absent spring
  • the cable is frayed and will eventually break but might give you an infected scratch first
  • None of these would happen just by riding

Working with a V brake is pretty straightforward. If you do not see these things, take it to a bike shop, and maybe see if you can find a bike maintenance class to attend.

  • 4
    You're not wrong, just not very friendly. We do have a "be nice" policy: meta.stackexchange.com/conduct To me it sounds like you are implying that the OP is unhandy, and I think it's unnecessary to say the least. I would suggest you edit your answer.
    – pateksan
    Commented Aug 14, 2023 at 18:39
  • I'm trying to provide him with the ability to self-evaluate whether he wants to try to fix it himself, which is the question he asked.
    – Dan Gao
    Commented Aug 14, 2023 at 19:54
  • @DanGao The effort and intent are noble, but there are better ways to get your point across than turning your answer into a bicycle mechanic competency exam.
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 6:01

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