Took my 5-year-old out for a ride today and the front brake pipe / noodle (?) popped out of the folded steel retainer. The retainer (not sure of the correct name) was splayed open and definitely needs replacing. Had to do a temporary fix.

I would like to avoid a cheap / low quality replacement and purchase brakes of a standard I'd expect to see on my own bike, and in any case it's getting plenty of use as he can now easily do 15+ miles. As it's only a small bike (Frog 43 with tyres labelled 14 x 1.5") I'm unsure whether I should be looking for v-brakes specifically made for a kids bike. The same question would apply to the brake pads they may come with.

I'm guessing Shimano may have something suitable. I'm UK-based if anyone has a direct suggestion.

Update: measured arm length at 108 mm centre-to-centre.

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2 Answers 2


They are universal except for a very few models called mini V brakes, which use short pull brake levers as opposed to long pull. These stand out as having very short arms compared to most.

Shimano and Tektro make a lot of the good economical repair v-brakes. The model numbers change over time.

Reworking splayed out noodle cradles is a pretty common repair. It usually happens more from people getting frustrated and being rough with them than any kind of material weakness, so it's not likely to do the same thing again. I do it using either a slip joint plier or a Knipex plier-wrench. Of course I could imagine it being mangled enough that replacement is more prudent.

  • 1
    I think you'll find that the mechanical advantage (bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/71954/…) of mini V brakes is still so high that it might in fact be a better idea to use these with long pull levers as opposed to short pull levers.
    – juhist
    Sep 20, 2020 at 8:50
  • 2
    Not particularly mangled and they were easy to squeeze back to shape (to easy, perhaps) but as this is a safety issue affecting my son I've taken the decision to buy replacements. Shimano Alivio BR-T4000 on order.
    – Pzy
    Sep 20, 2020 at 19:40

Your V brakes are called normal length V brakes based on the measurement you showed. They have mechanical advantage of bit over three.

There are also short "road" V brakes having mechanical advantage of bit less than three. If you install such "road" V brakes, you will note that braking force is slightly adversely affected so you need to grip the levers with higher force to obtain the desired braking force. You will also note that with these "road" V brakes, fender and tire clearance will be somewhat less.

I suggest replacing these with normal length V brakes of high quality such as Shimano. Most V brakes sold are normal length so they need not be advertised as such. How to identify road brake that you would ideally avoid is that its model number after the dash has "R". So like BR-R353. Ideally you would avoid these "road" V brakes but as their mechanical advantage and tire clearance are not catastrophically worse, it is not a disaster to use a "road" V brake.

  • 3
    Just to add to this, mini Vs like the BR-R353 are not at all common, you really have to seek them out. I have that exact brake on my drop bar touring bike but I had to order them from Japan at the time. These are a sort of niche thing used by cyclocross and touring riders a decade or more ago, before road discs were a thing, and even back then, cantis were more common, so they are really a niche within a niche within a niche. Probably 99% V-brakes sold are standard, to work with standard flat bar MTB levers. If you get something with the same arm length, it will work. Most will be "normal" Vs.
    – Ivan McA
    Sep 20, 2020 at 10:28
  • Thanks for clarifying the situation with road versions. One of the thing that threw me was online sellers advertising v brakes (not levers) for kids bikes.
    – Pzy
    Sep 20, 2020 at 19:43

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