I am looking for recommendations for a rear brake for a road brake. The problem is that I can see plenty of options for the newer 'Allen Key' style but not the older 'nut/bolt' style. I also want just the rear brake rather than a set, drop is 'normal' for a road bike rather than extra short/long reach.

I am not too keen on going second hand because I want a nice new brake complete with pads.

Just to clarify, I am after the second of these two types:

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    What's the reason for not having one that uses allen key bolts? Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 12:04
  • Yeah, it's not clear why you'd care whether regular bolt head or Allen. Unless you're trying to be "authentic" to the original bike style, in which case you should probably buy used to get the same style of brake. Pads, of course, can be replaced. Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 12:16
  • It is an old bike that was built for the bolt type and will not accept Allen Key type. Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 13:04
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    What doesn't fit? Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 13:34
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    @DanielRHicks "traditional" brake bridges and fork crowns are only drilled to the diameter of the 6mm bolt, and the 8mm diameter recessed nut won't fit through the hole. On the fork crown it's typically easy to ream out the hole, but that isn't always possible on the brake bridge.
    – lantius
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 19:43

3 Answers 3


Brake calipers designed for recessed nuts on the fork crown will typically have enough exposed thread to function as an externally-nutted bolt when used through the rear brake bridge. Get any recessed-bolt front brake and use your nutted hardware with it.

  • If you do this, make sure the brake pads are pointed the correct direction. Some are "refillable" and can slide out if they are installed backwards, which will be the case if you install a front brake on the back.
    – Brian G
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 16:18

You're aware of the fact that as long as you know what the thread pitch on the bolt is that you can just buy one with a hex / philips / security / whatever head, right? Pull the bolt (try and remember where all the various springs, washers, etc. landed when you pulled the bolt out) and take it down to your local Fastenal / OSSCO bolt / whatever and just get a replacement with whatever head strikes your fancy (if it's pan head or flat head you may have some issues getting a hex head bolt to fit because of the inside taper).

Or, if you have a thread pitch gauge, you could open your McMaster-Carr catalog and order it from them.

Of course, without knowing the exact alloy the bolts are made of you're probably voiding any manufacturer's warranty by replacing a functional section of the brakes. But, hey - if your brakes fail you could always just ram into a tree head first, right? That'll stop you.

I, too, am curious as to why you're adverse to an allen head - the hex shape creates a better (more points of contact) grip and it's a standard tool. They're easy to toss into your saddle pouch or pocket of a bike jersy, too. And it's a lot easier to torque them down to a manufacturer's specification than a philips head is.

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    Probably the bolt has a smooth shank and a shoulder near the threads, to serve as an "axle" for the brake arms. You would not generally find a standard hardware store bolt that would provide the needed features. (Though an old trick is to take a smaller standard bolt and slip over it a piece of brass tubing from a hobby shop.) Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 13:37
  • You can get shoulder bolts (where the thread stops before the head to create a smooth shank), but you're right - it's not going to fit right. I would probably try to find a bolt with an overlarge shoulder, run a die up to where I needed it, and then cut and grind the bolt off to length. Again, though, I'd have some serious misgivings about replacing a critical part of a critical system with non-manufacturer's specs. Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 14:46

The recessed mount isn't a new thing. It's been standard on road bikes since the mid-1980's. Either way, Harris Cyclery has several nutted models available for the situation you describe. You're relegated to brands like Tektro, as the major component manufacturers cater to recessed mountings.

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