Cantis versus mini v's

Noclue Posts: 503
edited March 2010 in Road beginners
I'm just about to get a new cross bike that will come with canti brakes, which seems to be fairly normal for a cross, bike but i've also noticed that some come with mini v's.
Mini v's are a relatively inexpensive aftermarket upgrade if i wanted to use them but what are the pros and cons of each?
I'll mostly be using the bike to commute on but will it'll also be my winter road bike and maybe i'll race some cross next winter.


  • GiantMike
    GiantMike Posts: 3,139
    I have 3 cross bikes, all with cantis. I've never felt the need to upgrade to V-brakes.

    Cantis are light and look the part. There can be problems converting if you're keeping the same levers, depending on the v-brakes chosen.

    I'd try the cantis and see if you need to upgrade. What model of cantis is fitted to the bike?

    Edited to add: YES, do start racing when you get the chance. 1 hour of self-inflicted agony, sweat, snot and occasionally blood.
  • blorg
    blorg Posts: 1,169
    The bottom line is each have trade-offs and are substantially worse at braking than calipers if that is what you are used to.

    Cantis are more adjustable, particularly the ones with a traditional straddle cable rather than a link wire (although you can get different length link wires) and have better mud clearance.

    Mini-Vs have a fixed mechanical advantage but they do work very well with STI levers, with probably more power than I have ever managed to get out of cantis. But the trade-off is you have to set them very close to the rim, so close that if you have the slightest buckle you will get brake rub. Bad buckle and you basically have the ease the brake off so much that you have no braking at all any more. They also have less mud clearance and the setting close to the rim doesn't help. For a commuter this isn't so much of an issue and they could be a viable option.

    I have mini-Vs on my touring bike and wide-profile cantis on my cross bike. Have low-profile cantis on my previous tourer and they are dreadful, simply don't stop the bike. Thinking of swapping the tourer over to frogs legs type cantis, simply down to wanting a bit more rim clearance.
  • Noclue
    Noclue Posts: 503
    Giantmike- the cantis fitted are a tektro, can't remember which model but the bike is a genesis vapour.
  • blorg
    blorg Posts: 1,169
    That seems to have Tektro Oryx canti brakes. They are meant to be decent if not quite as wide profile as the likes of 520/720s. Your best bet is to try them and see how you get on.

    Bear in mind if you do change that mini-Vs are a distinct brake different from standard Vs and only the shorter armed brakes will work with STI levers.
  • Noclue
    Noclue Posts: 503
    Cheers Blorg, i was aware that there is a difference between standard and mini v's, i'm quite a fan of standard v's and have them on a couple of bikes, my only previous experience of cantis was a set of shimano Altus ones from circa 1990 and they were scarey to say the least.
  • blorg
    blorg Posts: 1,169
    I have the Altus myself on my older tourer and they are a nightmare, just don't stop the bike. I have Tektro CR 720 (wide profile) cantilevers on my cross bike and they are much better.

    Have Tektro RX 5 Mini-Vs on my tourer. I am in two minds on the Mini-Vs; they are easy to set up and do stop the bike very well and if used on road there is no issue with mud clearance. But you do need to set them very close to the rim. This is really the only downside but it will drive you nuts if you get a buckle. Also bear in mind- you need to set the pads so close you will not get the wheel out inflated unless you have adjustable noodles on the brakes, you will not be able to press the brakes in enough to unhook the noodle.

    Mini-Vs do not just work like the standard Vs you are used to as the other part of the equation is the brake lever. The fundamental problem you have with all of this is you have to work with the cable pull of a STI lever which is designed for a road caliper brake. So all options are a compromise to work with that.

    I have standard Vs on a fixed Tricross with V-specific levers and this is far and away the best solution I have used for a wide-tyre drop bar bike, but this will not work with STI levers.

    I would suggest see how you get on with the brakes that come with the bike.