The higher the grade, the better it works! Brake shoe types and interchangeability

Posted at: Nov 2, 2021

Of all the bicycle parts, brake shoes are the most frequently replaced along with tires and tubes. The following is a summary of the types of brake shoes and notes on compatibility, which are said to work better if they are used at the top level.

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Types of brake shoes

Differences in size

There are different types of bicycle brake shoes.

Road bikes and city bikes have caliper brakes with small brake shoes. They are similar in size, but differ in width and thickness.

Brake shoes for general city bicycles

On the other hand, V-brakes and cantilever brakes, which are common on hybrid bikes and MTBs, are often equipped with larger brake shoes for more stopping power.

Brake shoes for V-brakes and cantilever brakes

Integrated and cartridge type

The most common type of brake shoe is the one that has the connection fitting and shoe in one piece, but the most common type of brake shoe in the higher-end brakes for road bikes is the cartridge type.

Cartridge type, which is common in higher grades of brakes for road bikes

Cartridge-type brake shoes have separate brake shoe fittings, which are the foundation, and shoes made of rubber material, so that only the rubber part can be replaced, resulting in lower replacement costs.

Differences in rim materials

Basically, the rim of a rim brake bicycle is made of metal such as aluminum, but in the case of high quality wheels such as carbon wheels, the rim may be made of carbon material.

In the case of carbon rim wheels, the brake shoes must be specially designed for carbon rims.

Brake Shoe Compatibility

Basically, choose the genuine parts of the manufacturer!

The best brake shoes for the brakes on your bicycle are the genuine parts of the manufacturer. If you can get the genuine parts from the manufacturer, it is best to choose the genuine parts.

However, in the case of no-name brakes installed on budget bicycles, the manufacturer’s genuine parts are often not available, so in that case, you will have to look for brake shoes of the same size.

If you choose the same type of brake shoes from Shimano, one of the top bicycle parts manufacturers, you are unlikely to be disappointed.

If the size is the same, you can use a higher grade.

On the other hand, you can basically use the same brake shoes as long as the “shoe connection screw” and “shoe thickness” are the same. Some people use Ultegra brake shoes for road bikes on their mom bikes.

However, be aware that V-brake and cantilever brake shoes are wide and may interfere with the front fork and seat stay if installed on a bike with severe tire clearance such as a road bike.

Check the manufacturer’s compatibility information for cartridge type.

For cartridge-type brake shoes, the size of the base of the shoe is very critical, so be sure to check the manufacturer’s compatibility information before replacing them.

The combination of an incorrectly sized base and shoe may reduce braking performance.

We have looked at the compatibility of brake shoes.

Unlike brakes and shifters, the relatively primitive structure of brake shoes makes it possible to install any type of brake shoe, but if you don’t check the size and other factors for compatibility, you may lose braking power or damage brake parts, so be sure to choose carefully.

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