How to remove vintage Campagnolo brake pads from the metal brake shoe

Vintage Campagnolo Brake Shoe and Brake Pad
Vintage Campagnolo Brake Shoe and Brake Pad

Got a nice vintage bike with some beautiful Campagnolo brakes and the original black brake pads are run-down? Definitely don’t throw them in the bin! These parts are valuable and collectable now-a-days.

All you need to do is remove the old brake pads from the original metal brake shoes and replace them with a new pair of vintage Campagnolo pads. Yes you can buy the identical pads easily on eBay.

Sure these Campagnolo brake shoes don’t have the toe-in adjustability or braking performance of many modern alternatives, but if you are reading this article, my guess is that you want to retain the originality and value of your precious vintage steed!

The good news is that these Campagnolo brake pads were designed to be removed and replaced within minutes if you use the right technique. Whilst this isn’t rocket science and there are many different ways this can be acheived, I want to share the method I have used successfully to remove the pads without any damage to those precious brake shoes and with minimal effort and no special tools required.

Before we begin, you need the following.

  • A spray can of light lubricating agent (like WD-40 or a light oil).
  • A thin piece of metal, timber or plastic with a hole in it. This will help to hold the brake shoe when we press on it.
  • A flat solid edge ie. a piece of timber, or the edge of a table, or a piece of metal (anything that is sturdy to press against).

Let’s begin.

Spray lubricant into rear and front of the brake shoe
Spray lubricant into rear and front of the brake shoe

Step 1. Apply a little bit of lubricant to the brake pad. This step is not imperative, but it makes it easlier to slide the pad out of the shoe. I spray a small amount into the 2 holes on the rear side of the brake shoe as well as around the front edges of the shoe. The aim is to get a bit of lubricant in between the metal and rubber so that once we start pushing it out, the lubricant helps it slide out easily.

Vintage Campagnolo brake shoe bolted to our metal bar
Attach the brake shoe to a metal, plastic or timber bar to help hold it in place when we press the pad out of the brake shoe.

Step 2. Get your timber / metal / plastic bar that has a small hole, just large enough to insert the threaded stud of the brake shoe and fasten the brake rataining nut firmly to keep the shoe in place on the bar. It doesn’t need to be super tight, just enough to stop it wobbling around when we start to apply pressure to push the pad out of the shoe.

Vintage Campagnolo brake shoe enclosed end with metal tab
View from underneath, make sure the timber edge is not in contact with the metal retaining tab of the brake shoe.

Step 3. If you look at both ends of the brake shoe, you will notice one end is open and the other end has a metal tab which stops the pad from being ejected from the pad. We will be pushing the pad out of the open end of the shoe. Position the pad against a flat solid edge on the side that has the small metal tab. IMPORTANT: Make sure the metal tab is not in contact with the edge otherwise you will never push the pad out. ONLY the brake pad is in contact with the edge you will be pressing against.

Vintage Campagnolo brake shoe open end
Vintage Campagnolo brake shoe (open end facing us). We get a good grip on the shoe and bar and push the shoe down onto timber edge which is only in contact with the brake pad. Timber is resting on the floor.

Step 4. Firmly hold the brake shoe and bar it is attached to with your hand. Press the brake shoe down onto the solid edge to push the pad out of the open end of the pad brake shoe. It should slide out fairly easily. Job done! Repeat this process for each brake pad you need to remove.

Vintage Campagnolo brake shoe with brake pad almost removed
Brake pad nearly removed from the brake shoe. Make sure you press it out in the right direction, away from the rear metal tab.

Step 5. Give all the parts a good clean in some degreaser, rinse, dry and fit replacement Campagnolo vintage black brake pads.


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