Cantilever brakes

desweller Posts: 5,175
edited August 2012 in Workshop
I'm putting together a spec for a light tourer but have always hated cantilever brakes; not so much for their stopping power but the incredibly awkward three-pairs-of-hands fiddling about I've always needed to get the pads in the right place. I've been a convert to V-brakes for heavy-duty applications for as long as I can remember; almost entirely because there's no straddle wire to muck about with and you can take the spring tension off when aligning pads.

I've now read a couple of pieces on the internet (yes yes, I know) that seem to suggest that modern cantis are easier to live with than the super-budget models I got used to in the 90s. Is this true? What makes them easier to use?
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  • DNQ
    DNQ Posts: 45
    The threaded mounting post is an improvement over the old plain mounting post, and I would imagine pad materials have improved as well. They are still pretty ineffective though, I use Tektro Mini vees on a bike and they are very good, cheap as well.
  • cycleclinic
    cycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    I set up canti's all the time and two hands do it quite quickly. I fix the pads in place then set the stradle hanger height by anchoring the main cable. Grabbing both arms with one hand and then my other hjand is free to anchor the sradle cable to the one of the canti arms. As I have the barrel adjuster wound out then I can wind it in so the pads clear the rim. It take minutes. I find both types of pad mounting to be as easy as the other.

    Canti's are ineffective if using poor pads and if the stradle hanger is incorrertly set. The height of it effects the mechanical advantage. -wheel building and other stuff.
  • I use a zip-tie on the lever and some cardboard to help with the toe-in.
  • desweller
    desweller Posts: 5,175
    DNQ, so now they use the V-brake-style threaded post? That's definitely an improvement.

    thecycleclinicAs I have some arthritis in my hands I find the ability to take the tension off on V-brakes really useful for setting the pads; do you just hold both brake arms up to the rim against the spring tension or is there a way you release the springs for pad position setting?

    slowondefy2Zip tie sounds like a good move, I'll remember that; would be good not to have to carry lots of them on the road though!
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  • MichaelW
    MichaelW Posts: 2,164
    I can fit 32mm + mudguards under Shimano long-drop caliper brakes. The only reason to use cantis is if you need more clearance. If you adjust cantis all day long, I'm sure you can get good at it, but it is a PITA. There are all kinds of integration issues of cantis with racks, lights, cable hangers, panniers.
    My tektro 520 stadle cable hits the rear rack stays so I need a rack with wore widely spaced or rod-style stays.
    Modern 1" headset hangers have very little drop so the cable routing is too tight. I managed to find an old, steel long-drop hanger but it is bendy and innefficient. I cant use an up-hanger with a dynamo lamp. The front straddle cable interferes with the fork-crown dynamo mount.
    All the bits are OK quality, just nothing plays well together.
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    If you don't need mud clearance, then go for mini-vees - they are far easier to set up and don't suffer as much from squealing like cantis. You also don't need to worry about cable hangers too - I have some TRP CX8.4s on my travel/CX bike - probably the most powerful rim brake available. Likewise, threaded-post mount brake shoes with cartridge pads make alignment and replacement far easier.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • unixnerd
    unixnerd Posts: 2,864
    Best thing I ever did was convert my cantis to Mini-Vs with a Travel Agent. I have a spare Travel Agent if needed, it fouled the rack at the back so I could only upgrade the front. - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • cycleclinic
    cycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Desweler, I am lucky enough to not suffer from joint problems so I can hold the arms against spring tension. I wonder if a zip tie around each arm and binding these together would work. Lots of rubber bands works to with the tyre off though. -wheel building and other stuff.