Friday, May 27, 2011

Fixing it so it brakes-part 1

I did a lot of bike work last Saturday- It was sunny for the first time in what felt like forever, so I dragged my bikestand outside and put Minerva up.
I removed her rear brake shoes, and slid the black rubber out of the metal part.  That makes it sound really simple.  The first one was really that simple.  The second one, was more like getting lobster out of the tip of a claw-  it came out reluctantly and in pieces.

Once the black rubber was out, the salmon Kool Stop pads slid in easily,  and then I reassembled them on the bike.

I can't really say until I ride in the rain, but the performance on dry tires was awesome!  I'm going to see if Harris will let me return a couple of packages of unopened Fibrax pads and exchange them for these on all three of my rod brake bikes.


  1. "on all three of my rod brake bikes"

    priceless : )

    (glad to know the pads work!)

  2. If you ever have trouble getting the new pads to slide in, some liquid soap should help considerably.

  3. "...on all three of my rod brake bikes."

    I see what you did there. :)

  4. Me too! I'm picking up my set from the local bike shop in about 20 minutes.
    Thanks for the heads-up on these, Cycler.

    So let's see- you have the Venerable Lady Tourist, Minerva, and which else?

    We just have Roland the 1980 Tourist here...

  5. Corey K, Don't forget the Dawn Tourist!

  6. Oops, I did forget that one. A package deal with the early loop frame roadster, right?

    My LBS got fooled by the distributor and the Kool-Stop rod brake shoes did not arrive in the mail today. Tuesday. I have to wait until Tuesday.

    Drat and blast.

    Corey K

  7. So--a question, since I've already ordered a couple of pairs of these. Once you slide them in, how do you make sure they're in tight enough so that they don't slide or pop out when you apply the brakes? Do you clamp the metal part down at all or...?

  8. Sarah,
    There are lots of shoes out there, but I think that the most common style is closed or crimped at one end - as you can maybe see in the photo above. You slide it in the non-crimped end until it hits the crimp. The cross section is like a tube with a slit in it. One edge of the koolstop pads is rounded, with a detent in it, which keeps them from "popping out"

    To prevent sliding out, when the shoes are installed it is important that they are oriented such that when the brakes are applied the wheel is driving the pads towards the crimped end. On the back wheel for example, the wheel is traveling "down" and therefore will push the pads towards the ground, so the crimped end needs to be towards the ground.

    I made the mistake of flipping Minerva's pads when I first overhauled her, and over time the pressure of braking started to push the rubber of the pad out of the metal housing. After this was pointed out to me by Somervilian, I flipped them, and they naturally got driven back in (or you could drive them in with a hammer or mallet.

    That said, these koolstop blocks do not fit in every type of shoe. I actually returned a couple of pair of Fibrax "premium" shoes to Harris and got another set of Koolstops this weekend. These "premium" ones are a wider shape and would not receive the koolstops. I am kicking myself for throwing away the originals on Minerva, which were the compatible design, but I am optimistic that there are lots of ones that are compatible, because the replacements I have for her are.

  9. Anyone know what to do if the metal is crimped at both ends? I'm afraid that means I'll have to replace the metal, too, and I'm so impatient to get these things installed!

  10. If the metal is in a curved "tube " shape, I'm guessing that you could carefully pry the "uphill' end open with a screwdriver or needlenose pliers. However, if the shoes you have are box shaped, as many replacement shoes are, I think that you will have to replace the metal as well for the new pads to fit snugly in the metal shoe.

  11. Btw I'm pretty sure I got compatible shoes from metonymy Aka old roads Aka Cambridge used bicycles. Call them or Harris- one of them will definitely have shoes compatible with these pads.

  12. Thanks, Cycler. I was just about to try the "uphill pry" when it occurred to me that I have two more DL-1's in pieces in the basement- Lo and behold, one of them (the older model) has open- ended shoes! So I'm saved for now. Thanks for making me aware of the Kool Stops, BTW!

  13. I just installed mine in Roland the 1980 Tourist, and found that they are a *dramatic* improvement.
    Like it's a different bike, really.

    The front shoes had mounts like the ones you showed, while the rears were closed on both ends with bent tabs. I gently pried the uphill end open and replaced the shoes (after cleaning out the 30 years worth of goodge from the holders) and tapped the tabs back down with a plastic-headed dead- blow mallet.

    I really look forward to riding this bicycle in town now...

    Corey K