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Spa Cycles Allen Key to Nut Conversion Bolt



Cost Effective means of modernising braking on older bikes

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Spa Cycles' Allen Key to Nut Conversion bolt may not sound exciting but if you want to boost the braking performance on an old bike believe me it is. That's because this is the simplest means of bestowing the benefits of modern dual pivot braking (without resorting to drilling or similarly permanent surgery) to older framesets. Shaving a few grams over OEM types, it's perfect for classic TT mounts, old road bikes and you'll only need one for a road fixers running a single.

While, the Campagnolo faithful might feel left out Robin at Spa Cycles says that from looking at exploded diagrams of Campagnolo brakes he is pretty sure the bolt will work with older versions of the big C's brakes. And while £7 might seem a lot for one bold I doubt a fasteners merchant would better the asking price unless you were buying in considerable bulk.

Machined in sunny Bristol from 6A14V-a titanium alloyed with zinc and vanadium (six and four percent respectively) it's 73mm long, cut to Shimano pattern so a straight swap for the Japanese giant's RX100/ R450 /R650 road callipers and Tektro R358/538 models too. In practice it should work with any Tektro brake and everything short of Dura Ace from Shimano - it may work with DA too, but as the man from Spa said 'that's a bit of a law unto itself'. Why Ti? Well, other materials, including Cro-moly were considered but Spa says the wonder metal bore the least risk in terms of potential quality control issues. Aside from Shimano brakes I've managed successful transplant amongst some other marques including Miche and a lesser known XLM unit with adequate room for mudguard hardware.

Installation is simply a question of extracting the original bolt and slipping this in place, remembering a generous helping of TI paste to the threaded sections to prevent galvanic corrosion. Offer everything to the frame/fork drilling, snug tight, wire up and dial braking to suit. Despite suggestion from some clubroom oracles, there's been no discernable flex resulting in judder when braking and adjustment has been unnecessary in the three weeks, two hundred and thirty miles testing.


Cost Effective means of modernising braking on older bikes test report

Make and model: Spa Cycles Allen key to nut conversion bolt

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

"Long bolt to convert dual pivot calliper brake to front nut fitting style. Either front or rear bolt can be converted.". Does just what it says on Shimano/Tektro and some other brakesets too.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Custom CNC machined in the UK from 6A14V titanium. Bolt dimensions based upon those used on Shimano RX100, R450, R650 and Tektro R538 and R358.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:

Does exactly what it says on the tin.

Rate the product for durability:

Should last a lifetime.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The long bolt converter allows older framesets to take advantage of modern dual pivot brakesets by replacing the OEM retaining hardware. It certainly seems a straightforward swap on Shimano pattern types and otherwise goes unnoticed once installed.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Sensible dimensions, nice quality workmanship here in the UK.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing of note.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 1m 81  Weight: 70 kilos

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,


Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

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Bez | 12 years ago

Minor point, but...

"6A14V-a titanium alloyed with zinc and vanadium (six and four percent respectively)"'s 6Al4V (that "1" should be an "l") and the "Al" stands for aluminium.

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