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Getting brake levers to engage close to the grips?

Salami

Turbo Monkey
Jul 17, 2003
1,653
21
Waxhaw, NC
Are there any tricks to getting the lever to engage closer to the grip? I just got a new set of the older Shimano Saint brakes (BR-M800 calipers and matching lever kit). I assembled and bleed the brakes my self. After I bleed the brakes I turned the lever adjustment screws all the way in to bring the blades closer to the grips. The levers still engage much further from the grips than what is comfortable for me. The tech at Shimano claims there are no adjustments I can make.


Ideally I like the brakes to be fully engaged when the lever is almost touching the grip. Is there any thing I can to help?
 

frango

Turbo Monkey
Jun 13, 2007
1,456
5
I am afraid not.
This was one of the main disadvantages of old Shimano brakes, for me. Latest brakes have no better pad contact adjustment IMO.
You should have chosen Avid or Formula, if you needed good engagement adjustment.
 

Salami

Turbo Monkey
Jul 17, 2003
1,653
21
Waxhaw, NC
You can adjust it with the bleeding actually.
How? The only thing that came to mind was re-bleeding the brakes with the levers in the closest to the bar position hoping when the pads reset the lever blades wind up closer to the grips.


My Hopes all can be adjusted really close to the bars and they appear to be similar in bleeding techniques.


You should have chosen Avid or Formula, if you needed good engagement adjustment.
At $116 for the set, Avid and Formula weren't any where in the ballpark.
 

Bicyclist

Turbo Monkey
Apr 4, 2004
10,157
1
SB
I am afraid not.
This was one of the main disadvantages of old Shimano brakes, for me. Latest brakes have no better pad contact adjustment IMO.
You should have chosen Avid or Formula, if you needed good engagement adjustment.

So the new Shimano brakes don't have effective pad adjustment either? Dang, I wanted a set of Saints based on the reviews I have read.
 

jvnixon

Turbo Monkey
May 14, 2006
2,325
0
SickLines.com
So the new Shimano brakes don't have effective pad adjustment either? Dang, I wanted a set of Saints based on the reviews I have read.
It's not very hard to adjust the bite point with the bleed imo but it could be easier too. If you read the Saint review we posted up it says this pretty much too.

Yeah just bleed out a little bit of fluid from the caliper, test it out, and go from there. Just do a tiny bit at a time and the levers will begin pulling in farther.
Yep that's how I do it as well. Hook up the small hose that comes with the brakes, crack the bleed hole at the caliper a tiny bit at a time and it will begin to pull closer to the bar.
 

Salami

Turbo Monkey
Jul 17, 2003
1,653
21
Waxhaw, NC
Yep that's how I do it as well. Hook up the small hose that comes with the brakes, crack the bleed hole at the caliper a tiny bit at a time and it will begin to pull closer to the bar.
Should I pull the lever at all or just crack the nipple and let what ever comes out by itself?
 

motomike

Turbo Monkey
Jan 19, 2005
4,587
0
North Carolina
pull it a little bit. You will see when you do it. Just don't let go of the lever before you close the bleed nipple. its very easy, should only take a few minutes.
 

richgardiner

Monkey
Aug 19, 2008
219
17
can anyone give a simple step by step for doing this, theres a possibility of me using someone elses saint brakes for a holiday this summer (ive never used/bled shimano before), and it would be handy to know just incase they feel uncomfy.
thanks
 

JeffKill

Monkey
Jun 21, 2006
688
0
Charlotte, NC
can anyone give a simple step by step for doing this, theres a possibility of me using someone elses saint brakes for a holiday this summer (ive never used/bled shimano before), and it would be handy to know just incase they feel uncomfy.
thanks
Not sure if this helps, but I took a quick look at Shimano's website and found this: http://techdocs.shimano.com/media/techdocs/content/cycle/SI/Bleeding_SI/SI_0037A/SI_0037A_002_EN_v1_m56577569830648123.PDF

And this on the Park Tool site: http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=126
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,361
1,203
01776
What about removing the rotors and pumping the pads in? That sometimes works for certain systems.

FYI, I have no problems with my NewSaints, and I haven't even messed with the bite point control yet. I have them super close to the bars and rode all day at whiteface with no more than one finger... But I guess with that I can't really comment whether the BPC works or not.
 

Salami

Turbo Monkey
Jul 17, 2003
1,653
21
Waxhaw, NC
pull it a little bit. You will see when you do it. Just don't let go of the lever before you close the bleed nipple. its very easy, should only take a few minutes.
Yep that's how I do it as well. Hook up the small hose that comes with the brakes, crack the bleed hole at the caliper a tiny bit at a time and it will begin to pull closer to the bar.
I must be missing something because what I am doing is not working. Should the reservoir cap be open or closed? If it should be closed should I add top off the fluid level when done or just leave as is? If cap should be left on and the fluid not topped off, how much fluid is safe to be removed from the system?
 

rewster

Monkey
Feb 3, 2007
245
0
charlotte nc
rich,

keep the res closed, and don't release the lever while the system is open. adding more fluid will just put you back to square 1. you have to create a "vacuum" in the system if you want solid performance with less oil volume. as long as you have a solid seal on the res diaphram, you shouldn't have any problems

as for how much can be removed, that's a little guess and test. bleed incrementally until you get the desired performance.....you'll know if you dried out the master cylinder when the caliper no longer engages. shimano's are, in my opinion, the simplest brakes to bleed/tweak without adjustments. just treat them like any other basic hydraulic system. i've run deore 525s for years, and they feel better to me than some hopes and codes when set up properly
 
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motomike

Turbo Monkey
Jan 19, 2005
4,587
0
North Carolina
Leave the cap on. Its very easy, just attach a hose to the bleed nipple on the caliper, put some pressure on at the brake lever, and open the nipple a little bit until some fluid comes out. You will know how much by feeling the lever pull in as fluid comes out. Do just a little bit at a time and always close the bleed nipple before you let go of the brake lever.
 

Salami

Turbo Monkey
Jul 17, 2003
1,653
21
Waxhaw, NC
keep the res closed, and don't release the lever while the system is open. adding more fluid will just put you back to square 1. you have to create a "vacuum" in the system if you want solid performance with less oil volume

This must be the step I am missing. I tried letting brake fluid out with the cap off and was adding topping off which was making ZERO difference.

I will try it with the cap on.

How close have you guys been able to get the levers to the grips using this technique?
 

rewster

Monkey
Feb 3, 2007
245
0
charlotte nc
This must be the step I am missing. I tried letting brake fluid out with the cap off and was adding topping off which was making ZERO difference.

I will try it with the cap on.

How close have you guys been able to get the levers to the grips using this technique?
with the proper bleed and lever throw adjustment, you can get them to feel however you want. you just have to play around with it. i run mine a bit out from the bar, but can adjust them to fully engage just before contact