Rear brake stiff


Well-Known Member
Jun 14, 2015
This s my first bike related issue in 6 months, not bad! in previous years, every 2months or sooner.

So the problem is my rear brake lever is kind of stiff. When I push down on it, it takes more pressure and just sounds different. The bike is a BMC TMR02 with integrated cable housing, not much room for me to mess things up besides at the cable ends. The only things I did were swap the wheels a few times and didn't use it for 2 weeks. Any idea what the issue could be related to?

Edit:BTW, it still works and stops the wheel, just slower.I realized the issue during a 1.5 hr ride and took it easy on the rear brake. Will ride it when this is resolved, I don't trust iffy brakes down descends.
1. Detach brake cable at the rear brake. Test caliper for drag or sticking by opening and closing with your hand. Clean & lubricate. Adjust pivots if necessary, but they're probably just fine as set from the factory / dealer.

2. Holding the detached end of the cable, pull on it with one hand emulating the spring of the brake caliper. With the other hand, repeatedly actuate the brake lever and feel for drag.

If the cable is binding or dragging we get into the 'to lube or not to lube' discussion. I'm a lube guy, so I lube the cables. Try to flow some very light oil into the rear housing and then the front housing from both ends of the housing by applying oil to the exposed inner wire. That should free it up.

If it does not free a dragging cable it is probably time to completely remove the inner wire and check the ends of the outer cable sheaths to make certain the ends are cut squarely, filed smooth and deburred and that the inner sheath tubing is not crushed flat or pinched in any way (re-open with tapered awl).

There is a chance the installation guide / routing tubing was left inside the top tube (I always trim mine to clear the frame inserts and leave it in place to prevent the inner brake wire from rattling against the frame tubing and to make routing the next replacement inner wire easier) and has somehow snagged on the frame insert(s) and is causing drag. If so, carefully shorted the guide tubing and relocate it away from the frame inserts.

Lastly, check the brake lever for proper routing and the inner for wire fraying.