Bicycle Mechanics - What kind of brakes are these?
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06-04-07, 01:36 PM
My wife recently bought a used Cannondale T800 touring bike. The bike came with some upgraded components (pedals, headset, and brakes). The bike has some cantilever-like brakes that I am not familiar with,
A high resolution image can be found at the following link,
Can anyone tell me what kind of brake this is and who makes it? I didn't notice any manufacturer's name on the device.
Are these brakes any good? They seem to be fairly durable and well made.
Also, does this type of brake provide some convenient way to adjust the brake cable tension?
My wife's bike is equipped with Shimano brifters (brake/shifters). They don't have any barrel cable tensioners for the brake lines on them so I was wondering if there is a quick way to adjust the brake cable tension with these type of brakes.
Thanks in advance.
06-04-07, 01:44 PM
The brakes themselves are typical cantilevel or V-brakes found on most mountain bikes. They have a lot more stopping power than the traditional brakes found on road bikes....which is good for a loaded touring bike. The small pulley mounted on them is a device to change the amount of pull your brake levers generate. Your picture does not show your handlebars but you must have road brake levers instead of MTB levers. The pulley allows road bike levers to operate MTB brakes.
That "thing" is a QBP Travel Agent. It has two modes. One is just a "noodle replacement" mode, which doesn't increase the effective pull, but provides smoother operation than a normal v-brake noodle. The other mode increases the amount of pull.
They put the Travel Agent on so that the brakes would work with the brifters. Otherwise the brifters would not pull enough cable. I have read that the Travel Agent causes more wear and tear on the cable due the sharp bend around the smaller diameter pulley.
06-04-07, 02:26 PM
I have read that the Travel Agent causes more wear and tear on the cable due the sharp bend around the smaller diameter pulley.
Bologna! I've been working with Travel Agent equipped bikes for over a decade. During that time I've not only seen zero failures I've never even noticed a broken strand in the brake cable at the Travel Agent. To me it's a total non-issue.
To anser the OP's original question, Travel Agents are available that have a barrel adjuster attached. V-brakes are so easy to adjust the cable tension with just a 5mm allen wrench that barrel adjusters hardly seem necessary. Just be sure to leave enough brake cable slack so that you can slide the Travel Agent noodle through that horseshoe bracket to release the brake pads when you want to remove the wheel.
06-04-07, 02:42 PM
A travel agent may cause more wear and tear on cables, but I've never seen brake cables wear out anyway, so wouldn't worry about it as REtro Grouch says.
V-brakes require more cable-pull from the levers than other brakes - calipers and cantilevers require similar amounts of cable-pull and are thus all compatible with each other's levers. Dia-Compe makes V-brake specific road brake levers, but that only works if you're using down-tube shifters or bar-end shifters. If you want to use STI, you'll have to use cantilever brakes (fine, what touring bikes have been doing for decades) or use the travel agent with V-brakes, as your bike does.
06-04-07, 04:55 PM
Thanks all for your replies.
I guess I'll leave the Travel Agents on the bike for now. HOwever, I might eventually replace them with more traditional cantilever brakes. The travel agents seem to work OK, but the brakes still feel a little mushy. Perhaps if I increase cable tension it will improve. I'll also ask my wife to take it for a test spin on some moderate hills and see how she likes the brake performance.
Do a disc conversion. It's such the trend nowadays. :)
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