Cantilever brakes

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TamLum74
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Cantilever brakes

Postby TamLum74 » 13 Oct 2019, 9:25pm

Hi to all in the forum
I am fairly new to cycling as an adult i recently bought a 2012 giant tcx2 with tektro cantilever brakes i have no interest in riding off road and was wandering what brakes i could get to replace the cantilever brakes as i dont find them very good im using 32mm commuter type tyres not sure if a road style caliper would reach the rim or if mini v brakes would be better

Thanks in advance for any advice

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Brucey
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Re: Cantilever brakes

Postby Brucey » 13 Oct 2019, 9:56pm

you need to say what levers you have before you can say whether any given brake is liable to be suitable or not. Very probably your brakes need a good setup and a good service, rather than replacement.

Photos of your current brakes/levers would be useful.

cheers
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pwa
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Re: Cantilever brakes

Postby pwa » 14 Oct 2019, 6:39am

Cantis appear on bikes where a normal road bike caliper brake would not have enough clearance for the tyres. I think it is fair to say that most manufacturers are now dealing with that issue by installing disc brakes. Vee brakes are an alternative to cantis, but as Brucey says, you need a bit more information before anyone can say whether or not you can just put some mini vees on.

Cantis can be good if you set them up just right. Unfortunately it does take a bit of learning.

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Sweep
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Re: Cantilever brakes

Postby Sweep » 14 Oct 2019, 9:38am

pwa wrote:Cantis appear on bikes where a normal road bike caliper brake would not have enough clearance for the tyres. I think it is fair to say that most manufacturers are now dealing with that issue by installing disc brakes. Vee brakes are an alternative to cantis, but as Brucey says, you need a bit more information before anyone can say whether or not you can just put some mini vees on.

Cantis can be good if you set them up just right. Unfortunately it does take a bit of learning.

Have had two sets of cantis, both set up properly i think. Wouldn't use either with a loaded bike. Recently seriously panicked myself on a descent in the dales on a bike that was loaded only for a day ride and those were the more expensive better ones. Nearly lost it on a bend coming down from Dent station and i had been carefully braking on the way down. Don't know enough to advise you on whether your bike will take Vs tamlum but would encourage you to have a serious look at Vs. i have set two sets up from scratch on two flat bar bikes that had cantis. Found it surprisingly easy.
Sweep

Brucey
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Re: Cantilever brakes

Postby Brucey » 14 Oct 2019, 12:14pm

I've lost count of the number of people who have moaned about their cantis, been advised by lots of people to fit Vs "because they are better" and a few that maybe they should service and set up their cantis properly. In many cases they have fitted Vs and been happy. But in order to do this they have always had to

a) replace the cables
b) replace the brake blocks
c) fit well-lubricated brake arm pivots
d) set the brake up (eg cable routing, brake blocks etc properly)

Well, hey, guess what, if you did all that to your cantis (at somewhat lower expense and bother) they would work better too..... :roll: :roll:

OP has a bike that is seven or eight years old and I would be amazed if the cables were lubricated properly when they were new. Now they are likely going to be dried out and horrible, as will the arm pivots, and the brake blocks will have gone hard even if they were soft and grippy to start with (which they probably weren't). Any brake block wear that has taken place is usually at the expense of mechanical advantage (MA) because of the adverse effect on straddle geometry.

Attending to canti straddle geometry is one adjustment that isn't required with Vs. "Sooo complicated!" I hear some folk bleat..... But then with cantis the brake is not likely to be damaged (in an unseen, potentially lethal way *) if the steering simply flops to one side either.

Fundamentally the choice of brake type may be limited by the bike or the brake levers. If the brake levers are expensive and better suited to one brake type than another, it is probably best to keep them. But in many cases buying V brakes would really require a new set of brake levers too, so anyone who says "get V's" without knowing anything about your brake levers is quite likely to be just causing you a lot of extra expense for no real benefit.

No real benefit? Well yes; I have several bikes where a good squeeze of the front canti will see you over the handlebars; lightly or un laden you don't need any more brake than that, do you? Not every canti will set up to give that level of power easily (esp on a CX bike where running clearance is often prioritised over brake power) but then again not everyone squeezes the brake lever equally hard either.

(*) If the steering swings fully one way most V brake setups are prone to straining the V-pipe ('noodle') such that the brake cable may just pop out of the (now damaged) yoke when the brake is used, leaving you with no brake at all. It is a very common fault; in LBSs near me a week doesn't go by without several bikes needing new brakes because of this.

cheers
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Cugel
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Re: Cantilever brakes

Postby Cugel » 14 Oct 2019, 12:27pm

As Brucey notes: set up your cantilever brakes properly and they'll work well.

I have cantilever brakes on two cyclo-cross style bikes, one of which is set up as a winter bike and t'other of which is set up as a touring/shopping bike. The former stops well with standard alloy rims and just me and the mudguards aboard as the working weight. The latter is less easy to stop fully loaded - or it was until I fitted a pair of now venerable wheels made of Mavic ceramic rims and Shimano 600 sealed hubs, with 36 stainless/butted spokes. The ceramic rims make all the difference, especially in the wet.

Renewing brake pads helps; I suppose cable renewal would help too, if one neglected to keep them lubricated or used those modern things coated in plastic, which comes off and gums up the bends.

These cyclo-cross bikes also have "sissy" brake levers mounted on the top of the drop bars. When coming down to the junction at the bottom of a wet Welsh 1 in 4, these sissy levers seem to allow greater pressure on the brake pads than hauling on the STI levers, which is a bit strange but there it is. Using the sissy levers also means one may sit more upright whilst braking, thus keeping more of one's weight on the back wheel, which might otherwise skid on a wet Welsh 1 in 4.

Cugel

pwa
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Re: Cantilever brakes

Postby pwa » 14 Oct 2019, 3:32pm

My cantis will lock my wheels on a steep descent if I want them to, which I don't. But I think it is true that if you are not used to setting them up they are a lot more faffy than caliper brakes to get right. You need experience to get them working really well. So I'm not sure I would recommend them to someone who has never worked on them before.

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horizon
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Re: Cantilever brakes

Postby horizon » 14 Oct 2019, 4:50pm

My recommendation would be that the OP takes the bike into a good bike shop and gets one brake (or two) properly serviced. Then they would either feel the difference or be vindicated.
The experience of travel is something that you have to pay for but can never buy. Ho Ri Zon Chinese philosopher

TamLum74
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Joined: 13 Oct 2019, 9:13pm

Re: Cantilever brakes

Postby TamLum74 » 14 Oct 2019, 6:59pm

horizon wrote:My recommendation would be that the OP takes the bike into a good bike shop and gets one brake (or two) properly serviced. Then they would either feel the difference or be vindicated.
The only bike shop around me for miles is halfords
Iv watched a few videos on YouTube about setting up cantilever beakes i think im goin to buy some grease, oil and new blocks and have ago myself at a brake service

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TamLum74
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Re: Cantilever brakes

Postby TamLum74 » 14 Oct 2019, 7:05pm

Brucey wrote:you need to say what levers you have before you can say whether any given brake is liable to be suitable or not. Very probably your brakes need a good setup and a good service, rather than replacement.

Photos of your current brakes/levers would be useful.

cheers
Shimano sora shifters with the swtch on the hoods for changing earher than the paddle ttpe behind the brake leverImage

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TamLum74
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Joined: 13 Oct 2019, 9:13pm

Re: Cantilever brakes

Postby TamLum74 » 14 Oct 2019, 7:15pm

Brucey wrote:you need to say what levers you have before you can say whether any given brake is liable to be suitable or not. Very probably your brakes need a good setup and a good service, rather than replacement.

Photos of your current brakes/levers would be useful.

cheers
Shimano sora shifters with the swtch on the hoods for changing rather than the paddle type behind the brake leverImage

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Jamesh
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Re: Cantilever brakes

Postby Jamesh » 14 Oct 2019, 7:29pm

I would get some semi guild grease which Halfords sell in a spray can for £4 can be used for most applications on a bike.

Ideal for squirting down brake cable outers.

I converted my canti to mini v brakes using tekro brakes partly as they look neater and if I remember correctly canti caught on my daughter's feet whilst in the child Carrier.

Cheers James

robc02
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Re: Cantilever brakes

Postby robc02 » 14 Oct 2019, 8:06pm

Those are wide profile cantis which are relatively insensitive to straddle height, but all the previous stuff about pad type and cable condition etc is still important. Plus there have been at least two different cable pulls on Shimano STI levers - you will get more power with the type with the least cable pull. I'm not a Shimano STI user so don't know which ones are which.

These are the least powerful cantis, but in my experience should still stop you OK when correctly set up with the correct levers. I had just such an arrangement on my LHT and never had any real issues, but the levers (Tektro R200) did need a firmer pull than dual pivots on other bikes.

Mid profile cantis with the straddle cable set low would give a significant power improvement - again with good cables, pads and the correct pull levers.

Someone else might have mentioned this but BBB Ultrastop / Techstop / Tristop pads are good - I prefer them to Koolstops. Cheaper too, last time I checked.

bgnukem
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Joined: 20 Dec 2010, 5:21pm

Re: Cantilever brakes

Postby bgnukem » 15 Oct 2019, 4:39pm

Maybe try some softer pads, I recommend Koolstop Salmon (they are brownish in colour), which are soft compound and intended for use in the wet. They are also less prone than most to picking up aluminium fragments from the rim and then wearing out your rims. In fact, check the current blocks for embedded aluminium as this will reduce your braking power.

I have old school low profile Shimano cantis on my winter bike and they are also pretty pants despite following the set-up guide for straddle cable angle, etc and everything is well lubed. I recently installed a pair of Avid Shorty 6 high profile canits on the back which helped a bit, might be worth finding some if you can.

Maybe a daft question but do your brake levers have the correct cable pull / mechanical advantages to suit the cantis? Drop bar levers are usually used with dual pivots, although I couldn't say whether that means they are unsuited to cantis or not. Someone else here might know??

profpointy
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Re: Cantilever brakes

Postby profpointy » 15 Oct 2019, 6:06pm

I have cantis on my Thorn tourer and they are superb - at least compared to the Weinman centre pulls on my old bike - and to be fair the Weinman's , whilst old, weren't bad compared to my childhood bikes. The cantis were Avid Shorty, subsequently "upgraded" to the suntour self energising ones when st J's were knocking them out very cheap - originally they would have been £100 upgrade - but I didn't notice any impreovement. The cantis could lock up either wheel, wet or dry, so nothing was going to be any better in terms of stoppiness