I'm looking to freshen up a 60's Raleigh Sports that has the old standard brake blocks on it. If I able to put modern pads (http://www.koolstop.com/images/ks-bmxdl_art_lg.jpg) from a cantilever brake on it, as long as they physically fit the rims, will I run into issues with braking forces causing extra stress? Any issues with performance?

The bike is all stock with side pull brakes and levers on it. Wheels are original steel and seem to be true (not checked in a stand). Fork, frame, and wheels are in great shape.

Side note/discussion: Koolstop carries the blocks (http://www.koolstop.com/english/continental.html) as well marketed for such a bike, recommended or not?

  • Koolstop's stuff is generally good, so if they make the product that is compatible, I'd buy it.
    – Batman
    Apr 8, 2015 at 14:26
  • Why would you put cantilever brake pads on a side pull brake? You probably need a road pad.
    – paparazzo
    Apr 8, 2015 at 14:45
  • Why? Few reasons, availability for one, my LBS has these mountain pads in stock. If I ask for blocks then that is the jar on the counter at a nickel apiece. I'm also drawn to the dual compound and the increase in braking surface (427 mm^2 vs 667). It will be a fair weather ride most days, but I don't mind getting wet.
    – BPugh
    Apr 8, 2015 at 14:58
  • Canteliver is not mountain. Really your bike shop does not have road pads? Those second pads are for bikes with clearance problems. Does your you bike have clearance problems? Why post a question if you are not going to select the proper brake?
    – paparazzo
    Apr 8, 2015 at 15:18
  • Your first challenge is to match the mounting scheme. There are at least 3 different, mutually incompatible mounting schemes. Apr 8, 2015 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


Those long "mountain bike" Kool-stops work fine on my modern skinny wheel road bike with side-pull calipers. If the modern Kool-stops fit (and don't see why not), I'm sure they will outperform those vintage looking ones - the contact area is much greater. I'd even bet the long contact patch results in less torque on the caliper arms, but I doubt it's an issue either way.

Those Kool-stops are nice, the mounting hardware allows fine adjustment of the plane of the brake surface. You're supposed to adjust them with a little toe-in (toe-out?) so the inevitable torque when applied straightens them out (we're talking a very small amount of inevitable torque twist - but the Kool-stops are designed to account for that). That little bend on the tip of the red side helps with the setup for that.

Take the bike in and ask the bike shop, but my guess is they'll work fine on 60s era calipers/skinny wheels.

  • I'm betting the shafts won't fit into the holes in the old brakes. Apr 8, 2015 at 21:56
  • @DanielRHicks that is something I have failed to consider, hence a reason for this question (even though I don't say it). I do have some old pads from my commuter I can check first with.
    – BPugh
    Apr 9, 2015 at 13:17

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