Emergency! Someone fitted my brakes upside down!

I recently had a bike in the shop with problem shifting gears. As part of any job when a bike comes in I give it a quick safety check. I found that the rear brake blocks, as well as being dangerously worn, had also been installed backwards.

Shimano and other manufacturers produce brake blocks with removable brake pad inserts. One end of the block is closed and one end open. A worn old pad can be slid out and a fresh one inserted. The pad is held in place with a grub screw.

The thing is these blocks have to be installed so the closed end is facing forward in the direction of travel. If the blocks are fitted backwards then the only thing holding the pads in place is a tiny grub screw! Guaranteed these would fail when you most want to stop – at best you could be badly injured and at worst…

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