Setup Guide: Installing Gyro Brakes on Your BMX

Setting up gyro brakes, also known as detangler brakes, on a BMX bike is a skill that allows riders to perform intricate tricks and maneuvers without tangling their brake cables. This specialized braking system enables a smooth rotation of the handlebars while maintaining functional brakes, enhancing the versatility of BMX riding.

While the process can be intricate, you can successfully set up gyro brakes on your BMX bike with the right tools and step-by-step guidance. In this guide, we’ll walk you through installing and adjusting gyro brakes, ensuring you can enjoy the freedom of performing tricks while maintaining optimal braking performance.

Should I Put Brakes on My BMX?

BMX brakes are essential for riders who want to stay safe while riding. With racing BMX, a rear brake is required as a safety measure, but with freestyle, it is up to the rider if they want to install one. Brakes are not only great for stopping but also for adjusting speed and trying out new tricks. In some locations, the law mandates that you must have a brake installed if you are riding on the road.

When buying your BMX brake kit, getting all the necessary parts, such as the pads, levers, and cables, is important. In addition to those parts, four main components comprise a BMX brake; pads, arms, springs, and pivots.

Ensuring all of these parts are compatible will be key to ensuring that your brakes work properly and efficiently when needed.

Installing brakes can be easy once you get used to working on your bike and practice a few times before taking it out for a spin. That being said, having brakes installed is always recommended when it comes to cycling safety measures

How To Set Up Gyro Brakes On Bmx?

Setting up gyro brakes on a BMX bike can be complex, but I’ll do my best to guide you. Gyro or detangler brakes allow you to perform bar spins and other tricks without tangling the brake cables. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Gather the necessary tools: You’ll need a set of gyro brake cables, gyro plate, gyro upper and lower cables, brake levers, brake calipers, Allen wrenches, and a 10mm wrench.
  2. Start by removing your existing brake system: Loosen the brake cable clamp bolt on the brake caliper and detach the brake cable from the caliper. Remove the brake lever from the handlebars as well.
  3. Install the gyro plate: The gyro plate is a special component that mounts between your fork steerer tube and your stem. Remove the top cap of your headset and insert the gyro plate into the steerer tube, aligning the holes of the plate with the holes of the fork. Reinstall the top cap and tighten it securely.
  4. Install the upper gyro cable: Thread the upper gyro cable through the hole on the right side of the gyro plate. The cable should come out on the other side of the plate.
  5. Install the lower gyro cable: Take, the lower gyro cable and thread it through the hole on the left side of the gyro plate. The cable should also come out on the other side of the plate.
  6. Install the brake levers: Attach them to the handlebars, ensuring they are positioned correctly for your riding style. Use the Allen wrench to tighten the clamp bolts securely.
  7. Install the brake calipers: Mount the brake calipers onto the frame or fork using the appropriate mounting bolts. Make sure the brake pads are aligned with the rim’s braking surface.
  8. Connect the gyro cables: Take the upper gyro cable and attach it to the brake lever’s cable anchor. Thread the cable through the gyro plate and secure it to the brake caliper’s cable anchor. Repeat the same process with the lower gyro cable, connecting it to the other brake lever and caliper.
  9. Adjust the cable tension: Loosen the cable pinch bolts on both brake calipers. Pull the upper and lower gyro cables to remove any slack, and then tighten the pinch bolts. Check that the brake pads are properly aligned with the rim and adjust them if necessary.
  10. Test the brakes: Squeeze the brake levers to ensure they effectively engage the calipers and stop the wheel. Make any necessary cable tension or brake pad alignment adjustments to achieve optimal braking performance.

It’s important to note that setting up gyro brakes can be intricate. If you’re unsure about any step or encounter difficulties, it’s recommended to seek assistance from a professional bike mechanic. They can provide hands-on guidance and ensure your gyro brakes are set up correctly and safely.

How Does BMX Gyro Brake Work?

A BMX gyro brake, also known as a detangler brake, is a specialized braking system designed for BMX bikes that allow riders to perform tricks involving handlebar rotations without tangling the brake cables. It comprises several components, including a gyro plate, upper and lower gyro cables, brake levers, and brake calipers.

The key feature of a gyro brake is the gyro plate, which is mounted between the fork steerer tube and the stem of the BMX bike. The gyro plate has two holes through which the upper and lower gyro cables pass. These cables are then connected to the brake levers and brake calipers.

When you rotate the handlebars on a BMX bike equipped with a gyro brake, the gyro plate allows the upper and lower gyro cables to rotate freely, preventing them from twisting or tangling. This rotation is made possible by a series of ball bearings within the gyro plate, which allow the cables to move smoothly.

As you squeeze the brake levers, the tension in the upper and lower gyro cables is transmitted to the brake calipers, causing the brake pads to engage the wheel’s rim. This mechanism enables the rider to maintain full control of the bike’s braking system while performing tricks involving handlebar rotations.

The gyro brake system is crucial for BMX riders who engage in freestyle and trick-oriented riding styles, as it allows them to execute complex maneuvers without the risk of tangled cables, which could impede their performance and safety.

It’s worth noting that gyro brakes require regular maintenance and adjustment to ensure optimal performance. Proper cable tension and brake pad alignment are essential for reliable braking power. Regular inspection and lubrication of the gyro plate and cables are also recommended to prevent excessive friction and wear.

Overall, a BMX gyro brake offers riders the freedom to perform a wide range of tricks while maintaining control and safety by separating the brake cables from handlebar rotations, enhancing the versatility and functionality of BMX riding.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1: Can I Install A Gyro Brake On Any BMX Bike?

Generally, most BMX bikes can be equipped with a gyro brake system. However, some older or specialized frames may not have the necessary mounts or clearance for the gyro plate. It’s recommended to check your bike’s compatibility or consult a bike shop or mechanic before installing a gyro brake.

2: Are Gyro Brakes Difficult To Set Up?

Setting up gyro brakes can be a bit complex, especially for beginners. It requires proper routing and tensioning of the cables, as well as aligning the brake pads. Following a step-by-step guide and basic mechanical knowledge can make the process easier. If unsure, you should seek assistance from a professional bike mechanic.

3: Do Gyro Brakes Affect The Bike’s Braking Performance?

When properly installed and adjusted, gyro brakes should not significantly affect the bike’s braking performance. However, it’s important to regularly check the cable tension, brake pad wear, and alignment to maintain optimal braking power. Additionally, gyro brakes may introduce some additional cable friction, so periodic lubrication and maintenance are recommended.

4: Can I Still Do Bar Spins And Other Tricks With Gyro Brakes?

Yes, that’s one of the main benefits of using a gyro brake system. You can perform bar spins and other handlebar rotation tricks with gyro brakes without the brake cables getting tangled. The gyro plate allows the cables to rotate freely, providing flexibility for executing such maneuvers.

5: Are There Any Alternatives To Gyro Brakes For BMX Trick Riding?

While gyro brakes are the most popular choice for BMX trick riding, alternative braking systems are available. One option is a dual-cable detangler, which achieves similar functionality without the gyro plate.

Another alternative is using a “straight cable” setup, where the brake cables are routed differently to minimize tangling. However, these alternatives may not offer the same cable freedom and smooth rotation as a gyro brake system.


The gyro brake system is a great choice for BMX riders looking to perform complex tricks while maintaining control and safety. Although installation and setup can be a bit challenging, following detailed instructions and consulting with an expert can make the process easier. Regular maintenance and adjustment are recommended for optimal performance.

John D. Archer

John D. Archer is a mechanical engineer and writer based on the area of automotive accessories at, A resident expert and professional, John is passionate about all things automotive and loves to share his knowledge. He has good experience in all kind of automotive accessories. He has worked as a chief mechanical engineer in some reputed automotive garage firm.