|More and more modern bikes are equipped with disc brakes, but the powerful, reliable and easy to set up V-brake still has a really important place in the world of slowing your bike down. In our latest ‘How to...’ guide we are going to look at the process of replacing a worn-out brake shoe with a new and shiny one. In our images, we are using a cartridge brake shoe, where normally you would only replace the rubber brake surface insert, rather than the whole brake shoe system, but the principle is the same if you would have a non-cartridge brake shoe. We will look at the replacing of just the rubber brake surface insert in a separate ‘How to…’ guide, but for now, let's have a look at the bigger project.
Super important for having reliable, powerful and well-working brakes is that both surfaces (the rim and the brake pad) are clean, free of debris and not damaged. For any brake, and very much so for a V-brake, it is crucial that the entire brake pad touches the rim, that it can’t slip off it and that the alignment is spot one. So let's look at all these points and make sure that your brake is as good as it can be at the end.
NOTE: If you are intending to 'just' replace the rubber brake shoe on your V-brakes, rather than the entire cartridge, then please have a look here for our specific 'How to...' guide.
1.) What you need for this job is very simple. You will need new brake shoes (for example: OBE-M30AR - to purchase please click here), an Allen key set, maybe a screwdriver (not shown) and a pair of scissors for a little setup trick, we are going to show you towards the end.
2.) Unclip V-brake pipe so that you can properly open the brake.
3.) Using your Allen key set (most likely a 5mm key) unscrew the bolt that holds the pad in place by turning it in an anti-clockwise direction.
4.) Take off the washer and the convex and concave spacers.
Depending on rim width, use thicker or thinner spacer between brake shoe and brake arm. What you are looking for is that your V-brake arm is in a vertical position when the pad hits the rim. If the arm bends towards the rim, then you need to change the spacers so that it is at least vertical.
For simplicity (and in particular if you are replacing the worn out brake shoes with a similar model) then you are best advised to keep / try the same spacer arrangement as when the old shoes came off.
5.) Prepare your new brake shoe by unscrewing the nut of brake shoe bolt using a 5mm Allen key.
Take off spacers and washers and put aside.
6.) Put convex spacer (with its flat ending against the brake shoe) first, followed by the concave (male) spacer so that it slots into the convex spacer onto the brake shoe bolt.
7.) Insert brake shoes bolt through the brake arm with the brake shoe being positioned between V-brake arm and rim.
8.) For easier instalment, reconnect the brake cable as it allows you to push the brake shoe against the rim by pulling the leaver.
9.) Now, put concave (male) spacer (with flat ending against the brake arm) onto the bolt, followed by the convex spacer so that they slot into each other.
10.) Put little washer back on before you screw the main nut back in place with your 5mm Allen key.
Don’t tighten the nut all the way as the movement of the brake shoe is needed for alignment.
11.) By gently pulling the brake leaver bring the brake shoe against the rim and make sure that it sits in the centre of the rim’s braking surface and that the low edge of the brake shoe runs in line with the edge of the rim.
The brake shoe/pad should not touch the tyre or be off the braking surface of the rim.
12.) Once you have aligned the brake shoe (please keep pulling the leaver so that you don’t lose the position of the brake shoe), please tighten the brake shoe nut with your 5mm Allen key in a clockwise direction. Make sure you don’t over tighten the system.
13.) Repeat the steps (3 to 12) on the other side.
14.) As new brake pads will be thicker, you might have to adjust the cable adjustment barrel or/and give a little bit more cable on the top of the brake arm (wheel should spin freely when brake not applied).
15.) Pull brake lever gently to check that both brake arms pull back from the rim evenly.
16.) If uneven, adjust the spring tension of the brake arm with (depending on brake model) with a correct size Allen key or screwdriver. Turning the screw clockwise will increase spring tension in that arm and with that pull it further away from the rim.
17.) Both brake arms should pull back evenly now, and wheel should spin freely when brake not applied.
18.) Please make sure that the V-brake arms are in a vertical position when the brake lever is pulled. Please see point 4 for details.
19.) If you brake squeaks when braking, you might want to look into a little set-up trick. The idea is that the front part of the rubber brake shoe should touch the rim first (when you apply the brake lever).
When you carry on pulling the lever the middle and back part of the brake shoe will also touch the brake, this reduces vibration and with that the squeaking.
20.) To do that, we make ourselves a little spacer by cutting a little strip of cardboard from the packaging of the brake shoes.
21.) Loosen the brake shoe nut by approx. one turn in an anticlockwise direction.
22.) Now push cardboard strip in between the rim and the rear of the brake shoe. Only push it under the rear part of the brake shoe by a couple of millimetres, so that it only slightly comes off the rim surface.
23.) Align the brake shoe as explained above – see step 11 to 12 (while cardboard strip stays in place).
24.) Tighten bolt in a clockwise direction. Repeat this on the other side so that both brake shoes are set up similarly and adjust cable adjustment barrel or/and give a little bit more cable on the top of the brake arm (wheel should spin freely when brake not applied) if brake pad is too close to the rim.
25.) Pull leaver when the bike is stationary and check the overall system before you go for your first ride.
26.) For best brake performance make sure you keep rim and brake shoe surface clean and free from grit.
27.) If you are unsure, please get an experienced bike mechanic to check the brake system before you ride the bike.
Please note that our ‘How to…’ guides are only advisory and that we cannot be held accountable for any damage or cost in relation to this article. If you use the information in this document, you take full responsibility for the outcome. If you are at all unsure please have a qualified bicycle mechanic do this job for you. Incorrect installation can lead to failure and serious injury.
by mikethebike Wed Aug 15, 2018