Any point in switching between standard v-brakes and cartridge system?

bandai_akc Posts: 3
edited May 2016 in Commuting general
This might be a stupid question, but for a commuter cyclist like me on a mid-range hybrid bike (Specialized Globe) is there any point in me changing my very standard Clarks v-brakes for:

A) Another more expensive set of v-brakes?
B) Specifically cartridge-based v-brakes?
C) An exotic third option I haven't even thought of?

Basically I wonder if they're all essentially doing the same job at my level. At a push I suspect there might be a slight cost advantage in replacing cartridge pads instead of the whole shoe and pad together. But since I don't really know, your wise counsel would be much appreciated.



  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Cartridge pads supposedly make pad changes easier (see below) and are meant be cheaper, but I never found the former to be much of a problem and the latter is highly variable. And less meat on them. Compounds vary, I like Kool Stop Supra 2, but beware of different fitments on the post. Always the first point of upgrade if you are finding the brakes lack power.

    As for the cantilevers themselves, the parallel push type such as Avid Arch Rival and some older Shimano offerings actually have benefits with cartridge pads as you shouldn't have to touch the alignment adjustment, but claims of more power I have never really felt. They also have a horrible tendency to squeal, and the Arch Rival limits tyre clearance. As long as the actual arms aren't the cheap pressed steel type or, god forbid, plastic, then they all tend to work rather similarly in my experience, unless are overly long or short.

    Now levers, I do notice a difference. Most are designed to pull more cable (than standard cantis) to work with the different leverage of the arms. But it does vary, and this is why I like Avid Speed dial - you can adjust the lever's leverage and it noticably affects feel/, modulation and power. A good upgrade if you feel that you can't 'dial' your set up in.
  • bigmonka
    bigmonka Posts: 361
    I switched to cartridge type on my last commuter as I got fed up with setting the pads up (getting them vertically lined up specifically), so just being able to slide the new pads in was helpful for me. I also found that braking performance was improved - possibly by the cartridge holder being solid metal, or maybe it was just because I was buying particularly cheap pads beforehand!
    So in a very unscientific way, I did have an improvement when changing but YMMV.
  • Thanks for the advice so far. Seems like overall I would not get much of a difference.

    I hadn't really thought of just getting better pads themselves, but I might try it to see if it improves performance (which I find a bit ropey in the wet).
  • The Rookie
    The Rookie Posts: 27,812
    Rim brakes are always worse in the wet, it's what happens when you lubricate the braking surfaces (with water).
    Currently riding a Whyte T130C, X0 drivetrain, Magura Trail brakes converted to mixed wheel size (homebuilt wheels) with 140mm Fox 34 Rhythm and RP23 suspension. 12.2Kg.