Saturday, 12 January 2013

How to change brake pads: Clarks V inserts, Tektro CR720 cantilevers (cartridge)

In muddy, wet conditions, brake pads wear out very fast. Replacing cartridge type pads is quick and somehow satisfying. I'm a fan of Clarks brake stuff, because quite simply, I've never been disappointed after buying any of their products. I also like Kool Stop, but they are pricier. So, step one, dismantle your brake assemblies, and clean up the alloy holders (soapy water and an old toothbrush - rinse well in clean water, and dry off with a paper towel). 
These CP501 70mm insert cartridge pads are very cheap (less than £4 a pair), but in my experience, feel good and work well. They would fit V, Hybrid, Touring, MTB - basically Shimano pattern cartridge holders. The pads come with new retaining pins (you can see them taped to the cardboard pack above). Below, you can see the "forward" arrow markings on both pad and holder, and the cutout for the pin on the pad.
Simply slide them in, but at the point shown in the photo below, remember to put the bolt back in position before fully pushing the pads home. I hold the pads with my fingers and press the holder down on a flat surface. 

Here the pad is pushed home (you should be able to see daylight through the little hole). Then simply push the retaining pins in. 
Put the bits and bobs back on the bolt in the original order, finishing with the washer and nut. Below they are all ready to be fitted back on the bike.  
I have to say that I find the Clarks pads to be an improvement on the Tektro pads that came with the original brakes. The great thing about cartridge type brake pads is that you can try out a few different brands and types - e.g. dual or triple compound varieties - in order to find the ones that you most prefer. There's a huge choice out there, and a wide spectrum of prices!


  1. Chuck -- I assume this is the "end of season, complete overhaul" process? Otherwise, I'd say that the removal of the "bits and bobs" in step 1 is a bit overkill. I generally leave everything on the bike, pull out the old retaining pins, slide out the old pads, slide in the new pads, install new retaining pins, and Bob's your uncle. Then there's no need to readjust the brake, other than maybe a tweak to the barrel adjuster to account for the increased thickness of a new pad.

  2. You are right, it is an end of season overhaul! My brake units were filthy, so that's why the dismantling and cleaning. I like your idea of doing it in situ. However, I often find that the angle of the new pad faces relative to the worn ones, means I need to adjust alignment after the new shoes are on.