How to Set Up and Adjust Dirt Bike Brake Levers?

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Dirt bikes are rugged machines that are specifically built to traverse through tough terrains during motocross events or random off-road adventures.

The brake levers of a dirt bike are critical components that ensure rider safety and comfort at all times. Thereby, you must follow a stipulated maintenance routine wherein a timely check of the brake levers is conducted at regular intervals. 

Understanding the basic dos and don’ts of maintaining the high brake levers of your dirt bike before participating in a scrambling competition or embarking on a long off-road ride is a must.

A few guidelines to set up and adjust dirt bike brake levers have been listed herewith:

  • Selection Of Tools:

The first step of undertaking any dirt bike repairs will require you to assemble the right toolkit.

To adjust the brake levers of a dirt bike, you will require a third-hand bike tool, pliers, a lubricant spray, an adjustable wrench, and brand new brake shoes.

  • Adjusting The Front Brake Levers ByCalibrating The Cable Tension:

Ensure that the third hand is used to compress the brake shoes against the rim of the wheel. Thereafter, take the adjustable wrench, slacken the cable clamp anchor bolt and tug the brake cable through the clamp with pliers till it is completely taut.

As soon as you feel the brake cable tense, use the wrench to tighten the cable anchor bolt back to the original setting and release the cable whilst detaching the third hand from the brake shoes.

Check if the braking works by pressing the brake lever by half an inch and re-tighten the cable if there is an issue. At any point, if the brake shoes are touching the rim while rotating, slacken the cable slightly and re-check the braking system. Follow the cable re-tightening process until the braking works seamlessly.

  • Calibrate The Back Brake:

The process for the back brake adjustment is similar to the front brake calibration and the same procedure can be followed till the back brake is working at the optimum level.

  • Replacement Of Brake Shoes:

Replacing the brake shoes is an easy process. You can use the wrench to loosen the bolts that hold the brake shoes, remove the worn-out shoes, and insert the new shoes. 

Use the wrench to tighten the bolts back in place and rotate the rim once to reconfirm that the shoe placement is working freely without hampering the movement of the wheel.

  • Mounting The Brake Levers:

Dirt biking is a high-adrenaline sport that requires the rider to possess a unique combination of technique, courage, and a sense of safety.

The brake lever, clutch lever, and throttle are the three main controls that are used excessively by a rider whilst maneuvering the dirt bike through an off-roading track. The clutch and brake levers are always mounted on the handlebar of a dirt bike and are the most frequently used controls during a ride. 

The positioning of these high brake levers is extremely crucial, as the rider has to have quick access to the folding lever at any given time, whilst sitting or standing on the bike during a bumpy ride. 

The folding lever of the brake and the clutch can be positioned at an angle that is within easy reach of the riders’ fingers. The placement of the levers can also be customized to suit a specific finger-size or wrist comfort of the riders.

  • Perch Assemblies For Brake Levers:

Apart from the standard, vertical folding lever placement on the handlebar, you can opt for perch assemblies for mounting both the clutch and brake levers. 

The perches allow you to further tweak the reach settings for enhanced riding comfort. In the event of a fall or crash during a motocross event, the perches are typically mounted on rotator clamps. These specialized clamps rotate and prevent any possible damage to the brake levers from external impact.

  • Positioning Of The Brake Levers:

The positioning of brake levers on a dirt bike handlebar can significantly enrich your riding experience. It is advisable to install the folding lever at about 1/8” – ¼” inwards from the outer edge of the handlebar, as this position reduces the chance of the brake levers sustaining serious damage in case of a crash or fall.

  • Regular Maintenance Of Brake Levers:

The brake levers and cable require regular maintenance after a long ride due to the accumulation of sand and grit from the riding circuit.

You can use pliers to draw the cable out of the casing and wipe the grime down with a damp cloth. Thereafter, lubricate the cable with a good quality spray such as WD 40 and re-insert the same through the casing. You can apply some grease on the lever bolt before re-attaching the cable back into the folding lever. Routine lubrication will keep your dirt bike brake levers in ship-shape and devoid of operational snags.  

The above-mentioned tips will effectively guide you to set up and adjust your dirt bike brake levers with exceptional ease and enjoy a pleasurable motocross experience.


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