One of my bikes has mounted a Shimano Roller Brake (BR-IM35 FF in my case). These brakes on my bike are basically not working anymore and I would like to replace them (it's not a cable issue. They were already bad when I bought the bike, I've never worried about greasing them and now they are null...)

My problem is now to find which one to choose. There's more than one version but I haven't found anywhere what is the difference between them (besides the price!). For example these websites have some examples:



What I can guess is that the IM denomination comes from "Inter M": https://bike.shimano.com/en-EU/technologies/component/details/shimano-inter-m

I've found these other discussion but no answer: Difference between BR-IM and BR-C Shimano drum brakes?

And on the Shimano website there's no information whatsoever. I've even tried the spanish, american and japanese website :D. I've found googling only some assembly drawing like this one for my brakes: http://si.shimano.com/pdfs/ev/EV-BR-IM35-FF-2776.pdf

Does anyone have any idea?! Are they still on production?

And well, if you're ending up on this discussion, you'll find some information on the might Sheldon Brown page: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/rollerbrakes.html

  • I think that these are so rare that few here have much experience with them. I've maybe seen them twice on the bikes we rehab, and if it ain't broke we don't fix it. Feb 16, 2018 at 0:52
  • The general approach is when a roller brake needs servicing beyond the regular lubrication and cable adjustments/other mounting adjustments, you're going to have to get new ones (there are various instructions online for rebuilds, but the complexity is high, and few people have done it). Or better, get some other type of brake that you can actually service.
    – Batman
    Feb 16, 2018 at 23:55
  • @Batman, thanks for the answer. Yeah I agree, that's my idea as well. They are far to complicated to work on them. I want to replace them, but I'm not sure if I can get whatever model and what are the differences between them. And about getting another brake I agree, it would be so much easier, but I should then also change the entire wheels........
    – granzoporo
    Feb 17, 2018 at 12:25
  • Depending on what the drivetrain is, you might still come out ahead with the wheel replacement.
    – Batman
    Feb 17, 2018 at 22:58
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    I don't know a lot about the technicalities/internals of them, but from experience working on and test riding a handful of bikes with each, the more expensive Shimano roller brakes are way more powerful, nothing like the cheaper ones which as you say are mediocre. I believe the mounting is the 100% the same. Feb 18, 2018 at 3:31

2 Answers 2


For all I know the roller brake mounting mechanism is the same for all the Shimano roller brake models and all use the same cable pull ratio.

Different (ly priced) models have different stopping power adn cooling (although none are recommended for long braking on descends etc).

Cleaning and regreasing them usually helps. Shimano roller brake grease works fine in my experience, although I suppose (haven't tested) that molybdenum disulfide grease from a store should work fine (NLGI 1 hardness seems apropriate).

Made a video showing how to dissassemble, clean and reassemble a roller brake (lubing is not shown).

There's also a long and detailed explanation of the Shimano roller brakes on Sheldon Brown website.


In Amsterdam and maybe even the UK, these are common but I don’t know if anyone from Amsterdam is on the forum to comment. I ride with Shimano nexus 8 (formerly used to be nexus 7) but I always get nervous when I take my bike for the annual maintenance as I almost always know the mechanics (for reasons above) recommended replacement vs rebuild. I don’t have enough space or time to do it myself.

Workcycles is a global supplier of Dutch bikes which have these systems so you may want to visit their site and contact a mechanic to get an understanding.

Hope that helps and good luck.

  • I don't see how this answers the question. Apr 1, 2018 at 16:32
  • 1
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