Bike Barrel Adjusters: What Is It and How It Works?

Whether it comes to stopping and controlling the speed of the bike, the bike barrel adjuster is something that you must know about. There is more to biking than just knowing how to ride one. You cannot have a good biking experience until you know and have command of all parts of it.

A bike has a complex structure consisting of numerous parts which have their own separate but interconnected functions. Few of these parts are connected via cables which helps them to carry out the function properly. Without a working cable, it can be difficult for riders to ride the bike.

An accurately working cable is one that has the required pressure that will allow the riders to adjust the bike according to their own requirements. This tuning and adjustment of the pressure is the job of a bike adjusting barrel.

You even might not have noticed these on your bike before as many bikers don’t get to know about these tiny little saviors. But believe me, once you come to know what these minute cylinders are capable of, you will not be able to stop yourself from using them. Want to know the details about Bike Barrel Adjusters: What is it and how it works? Keep reading.

Bike Barrel Adjusters – Everything you need to know about it

Bike Barrel Adjusters
Featured Image

Many things do seem little but they have their own importance. One such seemingly non-usable biking part is a bike barrel adjuster. These barrel adjusters are not located in one particular place.

As the cables connect many different parts including shifters, handlebars, gears, breaks, or derailleurs. So, you can identify these small cylinders in more than one location on the bike.

With the help of these bike cable tensioners, you can increase or decrease the tension in these cables in order to make it easy to ride the bike on your own terms. Here you have all the details that you want.

What is the Bike Barrel Adjuster?

The bike barrel cable adjuster is a small cylinder-like part on the bike that can help in controlling or adjusting the length and pressure in the cable. It acts as a lock that can reduce or increase the tension as well as the length of your cable. This will in turn determine how much force the bike will require on your upcoming rides for shifting chains, changing gears, and applying brakes. The lock of the barrel adjuster is controlled by a screw that rotates in order to increase and decrease the cable length.

The tension in the cables increases, and the force required to change gears for applying breaks increases too. You don’t need to be a technophile in order to know how a bike cable barrel adjuster works. There is no fancy tool required to tune up this tiny little adjuster as you can do it with your fingers in no time.

The working mechanism of the barrel adjuster is not too complex, but cyclists can take time to understand in what situation you need to screw in or screw out the bolt.

Working Mechanism of Bike Barrel Adjusters

Many newbie cyclists are living a life without much to worry about gears and breaks. The main reason is that all are very relaxed, as new bikers don’t even need any tuning of these. But with time things deteriorate, and so do the cables on the basis of which the responsiveness of gear change also becomes less.

Similarly, the shifter and the break too depend upon the cable. If the cable elongates because of stretchability with time then there will be no smooth and engaging gear change. This can get dangerous at times as on the road.

Bikers need their bikes to engage breaks as quickly as they can. The cable connects the shifter and the derailleur, both of which work together for a gear change.

Without the proper cable tension, it is impossible to have the gear shift, speed change, or break that the rider used to have before. The high level of cable tension can make the caliper and handlebar difficult to move.

The smooth engagement of chains for gear change can be made possible even after the cables have stretched and had an increase in their length with the help of a bike barrier adjuster.

Method to Tune the Bike Barrel Adjuster

The bike barrel adjuster can be considered a simple tool and there is no rocket science behind its working, but there are still some important points that one must know in order to get the required results.

If you don’t want to end up having a completely stuck brake and gear, then you must read the detailed steps discussed below which will give you an insight into how you can tune the bike barrel adjuster to reduce or increase the cable tension. Scroll down below for details.

Method to Tune the Bike Barrel Adjuster
Step by Step Guide Infographic

1. Locate the Bike Barrel Adjuster

One of the most difficult things is to know which one is the adjuster that you need to work on. There is more than one bike barrel adjuster in the frame of an average bike.

After a close examination, you might have seen one of the many bike barrel adjusters either near the clippers, shifters, cables, breaks, on housings, or a rear derailleur. All of these come preinstalled. The structure of the barrel is a cylindrical knob type that acts as a lock.

2. Screw In vs Screw Out

The most important and impactful step is that the rider will have to loosen the knob which acts as a lock and either move the barrel in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. This direction of spin will be decided by the aim of the adjustment and the length of the cable on which the barrel is present.

If you screw the barrel in a clockwise direction then the length will increase and reduce cable tension in the particular area. Whereas if you screw out the barrel in an anticlockwise direction then it will decrease the length and increase in tension.

3. Tightening the Brakes

When screwing the barrel adjuster out the cable length will shrink. Anti-clockwise direction turning will decrease the cable length and increase the tension. The brakes will be more open, and free and have more gear barrel adjuster ability on the rear derailleur.

If your brake calipers are not tight enough you can tune the barrel adjuster near the clipper. Whereas, if you are facing an issue with the brake lever in the handlebar, then you will have to tune the adjuster which lies just in between the cable and the lever. Turn the knob in a clockwise direction and the level will be more flexible.

Which way to turn the barrel adjuster rear derailleur?

The first rule in correcting the barrel adjuster is to look at the rear derailleur. If the rear derailleur is working accurately, then only then you can rely on the bike barrel adjuster. When it comes to the front derailleur the biker has to turn right but in the case of the rear derailleur, things are different. The rider had to take into account the direction of the spokes. You will have to turn the barrel in the direction in which the spokes have been affected.

Final Thoughts about Bicycle Barrel Adjuster

I hope that you know all of the details about Bike Barrel Adjusters: What is it and how it works? The bike brake barrel adjuster is a life savior as the cables are crucial for the overall working of the bike. These cables are subjected to degradation and can become elongated. The adjuster can be moved in an anticlockwise direction, the length will decrease, and the tension within the cables increases.

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