Why did Shimano name and trademark their variety of direct pull brakes: V-Brakes®?

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Is it because of shape? The two arms look kind of like a V? That seems a fail as they are more parallel than most cantilever brakes, which are much more V-ish.

Is it because there were earlier series: I, II, III, IV, and finally V brakes?

Historical references please.

  • Huh! Is that how you pronounce "Wie" in German -- as 'V'? So V-Bombs were Wie-Bombs? :-)
    – RoboKaren
    Jan 19, 2017 at 5:00
  • I don't think that link is Weismann link is true -- I believe (but don't have references) that Marinovative and IRD both had V-brakes in production in the US in 1989 / 1990.
    – Batman
    Jan 19, 2017 at 5:13
  • Did they call them "V" or "Wie" brakes? :-)
    – RoboKaren
    Jan 19, 2017 at 5:15
  • 1
    @RoboKaren now History and Trivia need wiki tags.
    – Criggie
    Jan 19, 2017 at 5:33
  • I'm vaguely recalling that there was another (possibly earlier) design that was referred to as a "U-brake". Jan 19, 2017 at 19:08

1 Answer 1


Apparently they were invented by a guy called Florian Wiesmann who called his brakes "Wies-brakes", which sounds a lot like "V brakes" to an English speaker.

In 1991 he made this brake:

Wie-Brake I, 1991

Apart from the centred brake cable attachment, that's very much like a modern V brake. By 1996 he had something you'd look at and swear it was a slightly fancy-looking V brake clone, and that seems to be the year Shimano introduced the V brake.

In 1991 Ben Capron was also selling his Marinovative V brake that also looks just like a modern V brake. IRD also began selling their Widget brake. So "who invented the V brake" is a complex question and it may well have been a parallel discovery.

Mombat say on a link I got from Google cache because the page doesn't appear to exist now:

[IRD] Developed the Widget brake, because they needed a brake that could mount to the rear swing arm. This and the Marinovative Brake are the progenitor to today's V-brakes.

  • 1
    Trivia note: Wiesman is not the same person as Weimann who also made brakes. :-)
    – RoboKaren
    Jan 19, 2017 at 5:16
  • Looks like Marinovative never contemporaneously called them V brakes. Just cheap tricks.
    – RoboKaren
    Jan 19, 2017 at 6:24
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    @Batman except that they were called V brakes in 1991, and Shimano didn't "invent" them until 1996.
    – Móż
    Jan 19, 2017 at 20:15
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    Who was calling them V brakes in 1991? Wies would sound like "Vice" to an english speaker, not "Vee" as V-brakes is pronounced. Marinovative's were called Cheap Trick as Robokaren pointed out.
    – Batman
    Jan 19, 2017 at 20:25
  • 4
    @Batman "Wies" is pronounced "Veece" (rhymes with "fleece"); you're confusing it with "Weis". May 25, 2019 at 10:30

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