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Identifying Brake shoes.


I have been keeping my eye out for some spare  shoes to get relined and ready for a quick swop. Both types SLS and TLS .  Have been concerned at the variety and  lack of  conformity in the  pictures and descriptions  of the items for sale .  Is there any  pictorial  information availiable that shows the variety of shoes availiable  ?.


I recently bought a pair of 7" from Russells, in a modern Ferodo box labelled Commando. They are as Phil shows here, and the same as prewar singles. The scooped out recess on the inside edge is to give clearance for the prewar speedo gear inside the drum. So it looks hard to go wrong with the 7" size, although some retailers web site pictures show shoes without the inner clearance.


Thanks Phil,    Perhaps there is a good reason that many brakes barely work.  I have seen front shoes advertised for use on 88/99/ Commando.


Pre-war, and early-war WD16H only had the speedo drive cutaway on the single shoe in the front hub where it was needed. The others were 'complete'....The change to just the cutaway type seems to have been a wartime economy. Some of the wartime shoes were a higher-zinc alloy and I've seen them cracked at the narrow point.

In terms of braking efficiency, it would probably be better not to have the cutaway at all.

Original equipment woven asbestos linings work tolerably well (at 16H performance anyway). Unfortunately, the the 1970s 'Classic Bike' / Alan Cathcart obsession with fitting hard / green / AM4 linings in order to 'make the brakes work' has led to most modern suppliers continuing to use media that are far too hard for normal, sensible road use.


I just fitted a pair I had lined by Villiers Services and I no longer panic when I see a traffic light go orange.


Both Villers services and Saftek use MZGold linings which is a softer lining and works really well. Both will custom fit a lining thickness calculated from measurements you take of the drum ID and the OD of the linerless shoes fitted to the brakeplate. Nearly as good as getting your shoes turned to size. No fitting of hard compounds for cars to metric thicknesses which are already 1/2 worn and only finally work once the linings are fully worn out.


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