Cable Disc Brakes have no Stopping Power? [Fix It]

Disc brakes are the safest and most efficient stopper device for bikes. It reacts quickly in any condition. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or it’s a muddy track; disc brakes will provide excellent stoppage power. But the best disc brakes also lose their stopping power when the component is damaged or misplaced.

The rotor, caliper, cable, and lever are the key component of a bike disc brakes. So, the cable disc brakes lose their stoppage power when these components are corrupted. You won’t understand it until I will explain it. So, here you go.

Why cable disc brakes have no stopping power

Cable Disc Brakes have no Stopping Power

The cable disc brakes have no stopping power if faulty braking components exist. However, it can be an exhausting caliper, a rusty brake cable, or a broken brake lever. Besides a misplaced brake pad, an oily rotor or low cable tension can also cause the disc brakes no stopping power.

Is it still going over your head? Then read out the explanation below.

1. Oily rotor: 

In a cable disc brake, the stoppage power can get low for an oily rotor disc. The rotor can get contaminated in many ways. It can get oily by the lubricate you apply on your bike for the smooth functioning of the components. Besides, it gets oily as you ride, and grime comes on the rotor surface. Also, it happens when you touch the rotor with a bare hand.

2. Faulty caliper:

The caliper is the component that grabs the rotor and stops the wheel from rotating. So the bike loses its stopping power when the caliper is defective. However, the caliper fails when it is misplaced, or the brake pads are exhausted severely.

Again, the caliper and rotor gap increases when the brake pad is exhausted or misplaced. As a result, the caliper can’t grab the rotor while squeezing the lever. Thus, the cable disc brake loses its stopping power.

3. Broken/loose brake cable:

Another reason why the cable disc brake loses its stopping power is the cable itself. If the cable tension is too low, the travel distance of the caliper gets low. Thus, the brake pads fail to grab or even reach the rotor.

As a result, the stoppage power decreases. However, it can also occur when the cable is torn inside the housing. When the cable is cut off inside, it won’t be able to connect the lever and caliper. As a result, there will be no stopping power in the cable disc brake.

4. Broken brake lever:

Last but not least, the lever can also be a reason for the lack of stoppage power. The lever holds the cable head with a hook. The hook gets broken if you frequently squeeze the lever hard. As a result, the lever fails to hold and pull the cable as there has no stoppage power in the cable disc brake.

A quick fix to cable disc brakes with no stopping power

Advanced troubleshooting to fix cable disc brakes

Whenever you identify the cable disc brake has no power, you need to repair it. Before that, identify the reason for the failure of the brake. Pursue a quick fix for an oily rotor, misplaced caliper, or low cable tension.

  1. Clean the rotor: Friction is an essential factor for better stoppage power. Whenever the rotor gets oily, friction reduces. So, you should keep it clean and oil-free. You can do so through Disc Brake Cleaner. After cleaning the rotor disc, you can rub it with sandpaper. Then clean it with a microfibre cloth. Repeat it 3 to 4 times. Thus, the friction can be improved.
  1. Adjust the caliper: Nowadays, most cable disc brakes come with an adjustable caliper. So, it’s easy to adjust the caliper. Moreover, it doesn’t need any heavy tools. All you will need is a clear vision of observation. Get a Multitool and use your eye for the correct alignment of the caliper. For that, loosen the caliper bolt, adjust it and retighten the bolts. That’s it. The caliper is set.
  1. Fine-tuning: Lastly, fine-tune the cable disc brakes. It’s the only way to achieve the optimum cable tension. However, if the cable needs minor adjustments, you can simply rotate the barrel adjuster and fix it. If it needs significant adjustment, follow the following steps. Firstly, identify the cable hold screw and loosen it a little bit. Now pull the cable until you reach an optimum level of tension. However, don’t overtighten the cable. Otherwise, it can damage the lever.

Advanced troubleshooting to fix cable disc brakes

Why cable disc brakes have no stopping power

In most cases, the stoppage power comes back after the quick fix. But sometimes, you must conduct a repair job to get that power back. You can take help from professionals or do it yourself. DIY is fun. Moreover, it can save some extra bucks. If you want to be a DIY expert in bike repair jobs, try out the DIY Bike Repair Course. It can help you a lot.

Anyways, let’s get back to the cable disc brake. Here are 2 simple steps to repair your cable disc brakes.

Step-1: Repair the caliper

If the caliper doesn’t get fixed after adjustment, it means the brake pads are exhausted severely. In this case, you must get a suitable pair of disc brake pads. You can bring the brake pad out of the caliper, search online, and get a compatible pair. After that, replace the old brake pads with the new pair. Here is the step-by-step process.

  1. Firstly, remove the exhausted brake pads out of the caliper. Unscrew the pad holder pin and pull out the pads. If there is any spring within the pads, remove it first. However, you can do it barehanded. You will need a Needle Nose Plier for the job. Anyways, let’s step forward.
  1. Lastly, install a fresh pair of braking pads. Insert them inside the caliper carefully. Make sure they sit in the correct positions. Also, insert the spring and pad holder pin the consequently. Then, tighten the pin. After that, don’t forget to readjust the caliper. It’s the most important job to get excellent stoppage power on your cable disc brake.

Step-2: Replace the cable/brake lever

If the cable or the brake lever is damaged, it must be replaced. However, these components are related to each other. So, I am describing their replacement process together. Before starting the repair job, get the new Cable and the Brake lever. Lastly, get a Screwdriver, and you are ready to go.

  1. Firstly, remove the cable. For this, you have to loosen the cable holding screw. Then pull it out of the caliper. After that, carefully remove the cable head from the lever without any damage. Now, you are ready to remove the cable housing.
  1. Secondly, remove the old brake lever and install the new one. First, remove the grip from the handlebar. Then, loosen the brake lever’s bolt and bring it out from the handlebar. Now, insert the new brake lever. Place it correctly and retighten it. Finally, reattach the grip. The brake lever is set.
  1. Thirdly, set the new cable. At first, pass the housing throughout its route. Then, penetrate the cable head inside the lever. You will find a cable holder hole on the lever. After connecting the head, attach the tail with the caliper.
  1. Lastly, finetune the brakes. I have described the fine-tuning process above on the quick-fix segment. Follow it.

Frequently asked questions about cable disc brake

Are cable disc brakes any good?

Yes! The cable disc brakes are good. Actually, they are the best if you install or set them right. They provide better stoppage power than any other type of brake. Besides, it’s easy to adjust and maintain. Of course, they are a bit pricy. But it is worth getting if you consider their safety and performance.

Are cable disc brakes better than V brakes?

Of course, cable disc brakes are better than V brakes. They are quicker, more efficient, and weather resistant. Moreover, disc brakes are less exhaustive than V brakes. So they offer far better safety and higher durability than V brakes.

What are the disadvantages of disc brakes?

Alongside tons of advantages, cable disc brakes have a few disadvantages too. They are more expensive than calipers and V-brakes. Besides, it gets inefficient and creates noise if there is a minor displacement. Maintenance cost is also higher here. Lastly, disc brakes are not allowed in most race events. It is one of the most important disadvantages of disc brakes.


Riding bikes is fun until something unpleasant happens. If you fail to stop the bike at the right time, your ride will be a nightmare. Here, cable disc brakes can help you achieve excellent stoppage power. But it will only happen when all the components work well. Even if there is a minor displacement or error, there will be no stoppage power. And, you know what can happen next.

The necessity of good stoppage power can’t be ignored anymore. So, get a fix immediately after identifying any error. I hope you ride without any worries.


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