Sunday, January 27, 2008

How To - Campy Brake Pad Swap

I recently consolidated my wheels so that I'd have carbon braking surfaces for both my training and racing wheels.

Based on a cyclingnews review, I bought Swiss Stop pads designed for carbon rims. The review seemed especially pertinent since the carbon wheelsets in my arsenal are both Reynolds DV46s.

Of course, once I got the pads, I had to swap them out. And this is where I ran into some problems. I recalled the last time I swapped out pads. I had a 40 pound vise, a hammer, and a screwdriver, and I virtually destroyed the worn pads while removing them. Since I have new pads on the brakes, I felt that destroying them would be a bit of a waste. And, since they're Campy pads, such actions would annihilate some expensive pads.

I figured there's got to be a way to do it quicker and easier and I looked in the bike forums and Googled to find it.

No luck.

Maybe "Campy brake pad swap" and various iterations of that phrase weren't the right search terms, but I was wasting daylight and the pads weren't hopping off the holders by themselves.

Then I remembered a conversation I had with GMF. I'd mentioned my travails with the prior pad swap, or perhaps he witnessed it? Whatever, he'd mentioned that the pads come out pretty easily - just twist or something. The new ones slide right in. Supposed to be pretty easy.

With that in mind, I decided to try it. And guess what? It worked!

I guess the process is so simple that no one has documented it.

Until now.

So, before you start, be like a baker. Make sure you have all the ingredients.

1. Bike with brakes.
2. Replacement pads for same brakes.
3. Channel locks.
4. Rag to wipe things off.

In my case, it was pretty straightforward. The brakes were new 2007 Campy brakes, and the two types of pads are either pre-2000 or post-2000. I bought the post-2000 pads.

Channel locks are very recommended. They're my favorite tool for grasping objects with parallel surfaces that aren't nuts or bolts. The brake pads sort of qualify because they have somewhat parallel surfaces. And since they squeeze easily, if the surfaces weren't parallel, I'd just make them so.

You do not need to remove the brake pad holders from the brakes - in fact, all you have to remove are the wheels. Since I was working without a workstand, I removed one wheel at a time.

Step 1: Remove a wheel (do the rear, as an example).

Step 2: Balance bike on coffee table. Check with the missus first, or in my case, wait till she leaves the living room.

Step 3: Using the channel locks, pry the pad off the pad holder. Start at the rear of the holder, where the pad holder has an open channel so you can slide a new pad in. Like so:

Note pedal sitting on coffee table. No, the missus didn't know about this.

Step 4: After removing pad, wipe things down. It's always dirtier than you think. And clean pad holders will let you slide the new pads in easier.

Step 5: Slide new pad in. Make sure you have the left and right sides okay. Hint: the right side is the drivetrain side. Here is the left:

Note wedding ring. This proves the missus really is a missus.

And the right:

My grubby hands made the pad dirty.

Step 6: Re-install wheel, check brake pad contact spot and make sure cable is adjusted and tight. And if you used the coffee table, make sure it looks like it did before you treated it like a work stand.

You're done!


GMF said...

Actually, all you need to do is insert a smallish screwdriver between the pad and the holder all the way to the end and lift up the screwdriver. The pad just pops out with no harm done to either.

Primal said...

A man of my own heart, I only run Campag. for a look at my rigs.

gravel road said...

Thanks for the fix report and pictorial. Last time I changed the pads, I sorta botched it and scraped up the holders in my vise.

Anonymous said...

The trick with the screw driver is very helpful - just prop the pad with a small flathead screwdriver - no force needed! :)

Dr. Robjira said...

I tried the screwdriver trick but had a bit of difficulty; no sweat with the channel locks, though and no damage to the old pad. Thanks for the awesome post. ^_^

erik said...

The channel lock is the best tip - so obvious. I was using needle nose pliers to no avail - thank you.

erik said...

Great tip to use the channel lock pliers - I'm going to try it now, but on a work bench instead of the coffee table.

Walter said...

I just found your post. You saved my day with these tips. I wrote about it on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. This wrenching problem had me stumped. I had been running Mavic brakes with my Campy for years (Shimano pads).
I was swearing at the Vicenza boys this afternoon and now I take it all back!

Aki said...

Glad to be of help :)

Eric van Bellen said...

Thanks for this. It is so simple, but I had no clue how to get the old Chorus pads out. Cracked my brains, search internet and almost on the edge to buy also a new set of pad holders. You saved my day!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the advice. the screwdriver didn't work for me but the vice grips worked a treat.
My pads were well gone - no groves on two of the pads!!
elwood. Auckland,NZ.

Aki said...

Glad the post helped. The channel locks work nicely, but the screwdriver is more gentle, especially if you plan on reusing the pads (like if you're swapping between carbon and non-carbon rim pads all the time).

Anonymous said...

Just used your guide to replace my pads, went off and on easily. Some instructional videos on the internet make it look soo much harder than it really is.

Aki said...

Glad to be of help. I like simple better than complicated myself.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I just replaced the pads myself and used the advice here.

Aki said...

You're welcome and thanks for checking here for info.