Not “No Maintenance”, But “Low Maintenance”! Roller Brakes, An Idiots Guide!


Roller brakes are fitted to most Dutch and European city bikes, why is this, and why haven’t you heard of them (if you have, nice work, you have your finger on the pulse of modern city bikes). Roller brakes are good at working the same in all weathers, not needed much attention, not wearing the rim, looking neat, not really having any consumable parts to replace (new unit £38 if you need one (you probably won’t for your bikes lifetime) and just generally being good as slowing you down without fuss or bother. They have their weak points, maximum power is not as good as rim brakes or discs, …eeeeerrrr well that’s about it..for hilly areas you need to keep the lubrication grease topped up (it can dry out with lots of hot decents) and for a cargo bike + hills + a speedy rider you might want to think about disc brakes.

But roller brakes (and Sturmey archer older trad design of drum brakes) are pretty useful bits of kit for a bike that is used for riding, rather than a hobby. Fit a roller brake (particularly the IM80)  and you won’t need to look at the glossy brochure for next years model cos these are about function not flash. (in fact there isn’t a glossy roller brake brochure, shimano keep these brake units close to their chest, V brake pads are good business).

So how do i look after a Roller brake?

here are some pics of the inside of an IM80 shimano roller brake. Service schedule says grease every 6 months, if the brake squeaks or ‘grabs’ or just feels ‘not as good as it was’ then a few squirts of grease should put it right. The greasing hole is covered by a little rubber bung that you pick put with your finger nail. (if you lose it , we have more) early IM30 rear brakes are a pain because you have to rotate the brake to access the hole, (seat stay in the way)
but newer IM45 and 80 grease holes are easily accessible.

You can buy some roller brake grease here.

http://www.reallyusefulbikes.co.uk/…/shimano-roller-brake-…/

We can service your roller brakes (and your whole Dutch bike) if you bring it in, it won’t break the bank, but you can do it yourself.

Thats the great thing about a dutch bike (and Gazelles in particular) you pay good money once for a good machine, and you don’t have to spend out later.

happy riding.

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