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Drum Brakes Need Love Too!

by Bryn — last modified Apr 23, 2009 10:55 AM
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Don't you love when you go to jump on your bike and it gives you some fun mechanical "Surprise"? Seems drum brakes aren't quite as maintenance free as one might think!

So last night was our weekly Heavy Pedal ride - I missed last week 'cuz I was sick as a dog (how sick is a dog anyhow?) so anyhow, super stoked to be getting out...

Made dinner, all that good stuff, even remembered to plug my lights in ahead of time so they'd be charged...  Hey, I'm ready to go EARLY tonight!!

Grab my bike, oh...

Flat tire

Like REALLY flat tire..

Go for the 5-minute express tire change - yup, big tear in the tube, thankfully I'd just picked up a couple new tubes at MEC the other day and hadn't even gotten around to putting them away yet!  One uneventful tire change later and I throw the wheel back on the bike, and hook up my front brake again.  I've got a SRAM VT-5000 drum brake on there - pretty much stays out of the way for tire changes.

What's this?  After bolting my wheel back up it's STUCK, like won't turn at all.  WTF?

At first I thought my brake cable was just too tight or something, but unhooked it all together and the damn thing still wouldnt turn.  Seems my brake was stuck on!

Well first of all discovered the retaining nut on the backing plate was loose - well there's the occasional squeal I've been having lately solved.  But still getting jammed on... grrr....

I guess once upon a time there was grease on the cam inside the brake that pushes the shoes out.  Not so anymore - all that was left was some old sticky residue.  Got some nice fresh moly grease on there, APPLIED SPARINGLY so I don't wreck my shoes, cycled the mechanism a few times and we're good.

Don't you love how you can be perfectly on time and then suddenly you're 25 minutes late?  Turned out to be a great ride anyhow though... And wow it sure is a lot easier to pull on my front brake now!

So word to the wise, if you've got a front drum brake, you might need to open 'er up every now and then and throw a little grease on the cam.  Not a lot - you really don't want to get any on your shoes (brake shoes, not foot shoes) but enough so you're not fighting friction to kick your brakes in.

Keep 'em rollin!

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Drum brakes

Avatar Posted by David Walker at Apr 24, 2009 07:46 AM
Thankyou Bryn , I'll be paying a little more attention to my from drum after this

Roller Brake != Drum Brake

Avatar Posted by Bryn at Apr 24, 2009 12:16 PM
Roller brakes aren't the same thing as drums, they've actually got a totally different mechanism for pressing the shoes out. In fact the Shimano design you've got wouldn't suffer from this at all. The "roller" in Roller Brake is between the cam and the shoes - takes care of the friction problem!