For the last couple of weeks I found that the front roller brake on my bike was locking whenever I had to brake suddenly. It led to some unfortunate incidents when I almost went over the top of my handlebars!
I initially thought that the brakes must be faulty, but after a couple of internet searches I found out that the brake needed greasing.
The idea of adding lubrication to a brake seems counter-intuitive. After all with most brakes you want them to grip, and grease would reduce the grip rather than add to it.
However a roller brake is a type of drum brake and all the braking surfaces are metallic and need a grease-lubricant. This grease can be lost over time, and when it goes the braking mechanism of metal-against-metal with no lubricant causes the somewhat sudden stopping!
Luckily the fix is very simple. The hardest part is getting hold of some grease. The official Shimano Roller Brake Grease costs between €15 to €20, which isn’t exactly cheap.
To apply the grease, look for this little rubber plug on the outside of the brake hub (handily marked ‘Grease’ on the case), stick the nozzle in the hole, and squeeze while turning the wheel. Then replace the plug, and you’re done.
I added the grease to my front brake last night, and I noticed the difference straight away during my commute this morning. The brake operation is back to normal, and hopefully I won’t have any locking up again!