Al from Alpha talks removable brake lugs…

Al from Alpha BMX just sent us this rant about removable brake lugs inspired by GOGO.. Definitely worth a read!

‘I talked Gaz at Mutiny into using the Neal Wood design lugs on Mutiny frames last year, but i’d like to see all manufacturers go to that or the Sunday type lug and get rid of the evil broached removable lug which is a complete royal pain in the arse :-

At Alpha I have experienced some pretty grim issues with removable brake lugs, there are now three types widely used on BMX frames.

1. Broached lugs aka “the devils lug”.
These really are an utter waste of time; there is an internal broach (for allen key) inside the lug to tighten to your frame. The problem is you tighten the lug into the frame then the brake pivot bolt into the lug. when eventually after much brake use/adjustment the lug loosens in the frame before the pivot bolt in the lug, you are unable to re tighten the lug as the brake pivot bolt is sitting tight inside the lug where the broach is so you have to completely strip the back end of the bike down to fully remove all the brake caliper and lug and start again. There’s no great solution to this other than Loctite the thread on the broached lug that goes into the frame and remove the Loctite from the pivot bolt and grease that up. this can prevent the lug slipping in the frame by helping the pivot bolt loosen first, but it’s also common sense that the pivot bolt will have more torque from a 5mm allen key than the broach will get from a 4 mm allen key so the lug will always loosen before the pivot bolt as it has less torque.

2. Sunday lugs
I only refer to these as Sunday lugs as they were the first frames i saw with them on, I am unaware of who designed them. you can tighten the brake lug into the frame with a 10 mm open ended spanner, it has more torque than the 5mm key for a start and also you can tighten it back up without stripping the bike down and you can loosen the pivot bolt without having to strip it from the bike. It’s still a good idea to Loctite the lug and grease the pivot bolt. Far less problematic than the broach lugs and easier to correct should the lug come loose in the frame.

3. Neal Wood designed lug.
Found originally on S&M then Cult frames a lot of manufacturers are going to this design as it is the best system. Single threaded if it does come loose which they rarely do then just re tighten and adjust spring tension as you do so. however unless your frame is for this system then you will need to locate some Sunday lugs as frankly the broach system is an absolute waste of time and will annoy the hell out of you.


The best prevention of broach/Sunday lug issues is to Loctite the thread that goes into the frame and make as tight as possible, then grease up the pivot bolt so when adjusting or removing hopefully the pivot bolt comes loose before the lug in the frame, the Sunday lugs are OK because you can tighten it back up with a spanner or grip the lug with 10 mm spanner to loosen the pivot bolt. The broach lugs will make you want to scrape your own eyes out because it is a full strip down to set the brake springs back up as there is nowhere to grip the lug as the pivot bolt ties up the broach.

Always grease your brake lugs before fitting the caliper, this is a moving part that needs lubrication.

I hope this helps out anyone with removable brake lug issues, I think the best solution is to stop using the broached lugs completely’.

Al Munger @ Alpha BMX


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