Bicycle brakes are some of the most important components of your bicycle, mainly because, well, they stop you from moving forward when you no longer want to be. However they are also some of the more annoying components on a bicycle as well.

This is because they are difficult to adjust, but also because they have a tendency to rub if anything is wrong with the bike. In this article we are going to detail some of the reasons why your bikes brakes might be rubbing, and how to help with that!

So what are some common reasons your bike brakes are rubbing? The most likely reason why your brakes are rubbing comes down to the fact your wheel may just not be completely straight or true. Checking and fixing this will likely fix your issue. If that doesn’t, it could be that your brakes need adjusting, or even replacing your corroded brake wires.

Read on to learn more about how your brakes might be rubbing!

Your bike’s wheel may not be true or is bent

One of the biggest issues that can cause bike brakes to rub is if the wheel is not true (aka bent). This means that it’s wobbling, and rubbing against a brake pad due to this slight movement in either direction

The best way to fix this is by adjusting the spokes. These are those long metal rods that connect the hub to the outside of the wheel. Turning them in different directions will tighten or loosen these spokes to change how true it is.

You will essentially be tightening the spoke that pulls the opposite way that the wheel is bent.

While you technically can use an adjustable wrench to get this done (I have done it myself recently), its going to be a better bet to get yourself a simple tool that is meant for the job. This Sinyum spoke wrench is an awesome option, that works well for a good price.

The disc is bent

This is actually one that I am currently running into with my mountain bike. The disc is bent and rubbing against the brake because it’s not true.

An easy fix for this, is to hold a pencil up to the disc, turn the wheel until you find where it is bent one way or the other, and then slowly bend it back into shape with an adjustable wrench.

Of course, this can be a delicate process, and if you aren’t confident, a quick trip to the bike shop might be in order here.

The brake pads might just need adjusted

As a simple issue with the pads, the brake pads might just need to be adjusted. You can easily find this on rim brakes, by checking if it appears that they are twisted and rubbing on the tire, or if they are just not straight in any way.

You can adjust these by using an Allen wrench, or your multi-tool (like this one) to loosen the pad, readjust and then tighten again.

Something else is bent

If you have found that your wheels seem to be completely straight like we talked about earlier, then it is very possible that something else might be bent. It could be an issue with the brake caliper, or it could be that something is wrong in between.

The easiest way to fix this will often involve removing one of your tires and checking all around for anything out-of place on either side before you put back together again safely!

Some of the major things to look for is symmetry in the frame, front fork, and more. Basically, you want both sides of everything to look exactly the same.

Another thing to take a look at, is seeing if your axle is bent, or damaged. This can cause the wheel to wobble, and in turn cause your brakes to rub.

Brake wires need replaced

Finally, if all else fails, its possible you may just need to replace your brake wires. Your brake wires can become corroded and result in needing replaced. Bad wires can cause your brakes to stop working or rubbing as they won’t retract quite as quickly as they should, resulting in them staying compressed instead of releasing.

Thankfully this is a quick and easy fix that you should try if nothing else has worked!

You can purchase a new brake wire kit for a relatively low price at your local bike shop or online (like right here).


I hope this article has helped you to understand why the brakes on a bicycle might be rubbing, and what some of ways that can help fix it!

Ultimately, you should be able to figure out the culprit rather quickly by just doing a quick check, turning the wheel when you are off the bike, and seeing how the wheel is rubbing on the brake.