Which rod brake pads are best? And can they be adjusted by fixing at an angle?

SamW

Member
I snapped off one of my bike's rod brake pads while I was trying to adjust it (sorry tale reported in more detail in my previous post: https://www.cyclechat.net/threads/rod-brake-mechanic-in-north-london.266441/ ) and since I can't find a mechanic to repair them am trying myself, though I know nothing about bikes and have no aptitude for mechanics!

I am trying to work out which replacement pads to get. I know they need to be 'angle-sided' brake pads. They seem to be available at various lengths, from 40mm to 58mm long (probably others too, that's just from a cursory Googling) with different shaped blocks.

My current ones (which are readily available over Ebay) are 58mm Fibrax ASH 144 or SH-144 brake pads 'for carrier bikes' and the brake blocks are slightly convex with notches but these are not the originals, they were put on by a bike shop about a year ago when I bought the bike. It was the only bike shop I have found prepared to touch rod brakes but I am not sure they did a good job as the braking was very poor, even in the dry (and I am not comparing to ultra-modern brakes, my point of reference is calliper brakes on steel wheels, which is what my previous bike had) -- which is why I was having a go at adjusting them when I broke them.

I would have assumed with brake pads it would be simply the longer the better, as there is more contact area for braking. But is this a mistake? Other slightly shorter 55mm brake pads available are completely flat on top, not convex and have no notches. And there are also some 55mm ones available which say NYLON on the side and have a narrow trough down the middle along the length. Might these flatter ones be a more effective even if slightly shorter?

(Various pages on the internet recommend brake pads with leather inserts for improving braking in wet weather on the steel wheels but I can't find any of these online in the angle-sided form, so probably have to give up on that.)

A follow-up question about adjustment: when I snapped the brake shoe screw I was trying to fix it at an angle which meant more of it would touch the rim at once, by tightening it slightly at an angle to the piece of metal on which it sat, rather than flush against the base of that piece of metal (that piece of metal, which the is itself attached to the stirrup of the rod brake approximately perpendicularly and parallel to the wheel and might be what is referred to as an anti-vibration plate?) because it seemed that the front portionof the brake pad (which was also more worn and curved) touched the rim before the back of the brake pad. Did doing this makes sense or was it a crazy thing to try to do?!

Any advice gratefully received!

I also have a question about oiling Sturmey Archer hubs which I'll post separately...
 

carvelos

Regular
Location
IOW
I snapped off one of my bike's rod brake pads while I was trying to adjust it (sorry tale reported in more detail in my previous post: https://www.cyclechat.net/threads/rod-brake-mechanic-in-north-london.266441/ ) and since I can't find a mechanic to repair them am trying myself, though I know nothing about bikes and have no aptitude for mechanics!

I am trying to work out which replacement pads to get. I know they need to be 'angle-sided' brake pads. They seem to be available at various lengths, from 40mm to 58mm long (probably others too, that's just from a cursory Googling) with different shaped blocks.

My current ones (which are readily available over Ebay) are 58mm Fibrax ASH 144 or SH-144 brake pads 'for carrier bikes' and the brake blocks are slightly convex with notches but these are not the originals, they were put on by a bike shop about a year ago when I bought the bike. It was the only bike shop I have found prepared to touch rod brakes but I am not sure they did a good job as the braking was very poor, even in the dry (and I am not comparing to ultra-modern brakes, my point of reference is calliper brakes on steel wheels, which is what my previous bike had) -- which is why I was having a go at adjusting them when I broke them.

I would have assumed with brake pads it would be simply the longer the better, as there is more contact area for braking. But is this a mistake? Other slightly shorter 55mm brake pads available are completely flat on top, not convex and have no notches. And there are also some 55mm ones available which say NYLON on the side and have a narrow trough down the middle along the length. Might these flatter ones be a more effective even if slightly shorter?

(Various pages on the internet recommend brake pads with leather inserts for improving braking in wet weather on the steel wheels but I can't find any of these online in the angle-sided form, so probably have to give up on that.)

A follow-up question about adjustment: when I snapped the brake shoe screw I was trying to fix it at an angle which meant more of it would touch the rim at once, by tightening it slightly at an angle to the piece of metal on which it sat, rather than flush against the base of that piece of metal (that piece of metal, which the is itself attached to the stirrup of the rod brake approximately perpendicularly and parallel to the wheel and might be what is referred to as an anti-vibration plate?) because it seemed that the front portionof the brake pad (which was also more worn and curved) touched the rim before the back of the brake pad. Did doing this makes sense or was it a crazy thing to try to do?!

Any advice gratefully received!

I also have a question about oiling Sturmey Archer hubs which I'll post separately...
This site might help:
http://smutpedaller.blogspot.com/2011/11/adjusting-rod-brakes.html
or
https://bikeshedva.blogspot.com/p/short-guide-to-bicycle-rod-brakes.html
 
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