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  1. #1
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    Vbrake or Cantilever

    What is the primary difference between a fork that is vbrake compatible vs. a fork that is cantilever compatible? I just ordered a rigid fork at my lbs for my mountain bike and the guy told me that cantilever will work with vbrakes. I'm thinking............NOT!

    I think it was this fork.
    Last edited by Portis; 05-01-06 at 05:02 PM.

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    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    Over the weekend I mounted a set of Tektro V-brakes on a Miyata Triplecross frame designed for cantis. No problems at all.
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    I believe the bosses are exactly the same for v-brakes vs. cantilever brakes. This means that the fork you show would work quite well with either type of brake. Of course, with cantilever brakes you would need a cable hanger that goes over the steere tube. The major difference between v-brakes and cantilevers is that cantis are usually designed to be used with road brake levers, so they require a shorter cable pull, and thus a higher mechanical advantage in the brake lever. V-brakes are designed to be used with mountain levers and require a longer cable pull.

    I hope this helps answer your question. You can run either type on that fork.

    God bless!
    Wayne J.

  4. #4
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portis
    What is the primary difference between a fork that is vbrake compatible vs. a fork that is cantilever compatible? I just ordered a rigid fork at my lbs for my mountain bike and the guy told me that cantilever will work with vbrakes. I'm thinking............NOT!
    Any fork that will work with traditional center-pull cantilevers will also work with "v type" brakes.

    Any rigid fork that will work for one will work with the other.

    The only compatibility issue is with some suspension forks, that can only be used with "v type" brakes because there's no place to mount the housing stop for a traditional center-pull cantilever.

    Sheldon "Yes And No" Brown
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  5. #5
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    Thanks for the info. I feel a lot better now. (When Sheldon answers a question i always pause and listen for the thunder. just kidding, truly appreciate it.)

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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown
    Any fork that will work with traditional center-pull cantilevers will also work with "v type" brakes.

    Any rigid fork that will work for one will work with the other.

    The only compatibility issue is with some suspension forks, that can only be used with "v type" brakes because there's no place to mount the housing stop for a traditional center-pull cantilever.

    Sheldon "Yes And No" Brown
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    Well, it feels a bit strange to contradict you, Sheldon, but this is in fact not necessarily true. The very large majority of forks that work with traditional cantis will also work with V-brakes, but there are some very few exceptions. I know from personal experience - my 1986 Miyata 210 is one of the exceptions! I discovered this only after spending 60 bucks on v-brake road levers and another $30 or so on the brakes themselves. The posts on my fork are too short (this causes problems even with most cantis; I've just been using the same allen bolts for three sets of brakes now!), and the posts themselves are too close together (mounted toward the insides of the fork blades) for v-brakes to work, at least not without some serious modification of the hardware for clearance. It seems that some few older bicycles in the 80's were designed to work specifically with certain Dia-Compe cantilever brake models, and can be pretty fussy if you try to use different cantilevers, let alone v-brakes. Why this is, I don't know. It has caused me some considerable aggravation - I've been hoarding my over-priced levers for about a year now, not really sure what to do with them except wait until I can afford a Surly LHT!

    That being said, I will offer the same advice that Sheldon has: don't worry about it. All of my (admittedly limited) experience suggests that this is a vanishingly rare problem, present only on a very few early to mid 80's touring bicycles. If Sheldon Brown hasn't heard of this, then it's pretty unlikely to be an issue. In fact, for any after-market fork that you can buy now, it is one-hundred percent guaranteed not to be an issue. I just wanted to point out that there have been some design changes/differences in opinion over the years around cantilever mounts, even though things are (fortunately) completely standardized at this point.

  7. #7
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    Beware cable stops

    While either brakes will fit the your chosen fork and existing frame, the annoying issue lies in the cable stops. If your frame does not have brazed on hangers allowing you to feed cables centered above the cantis, you will have to dig out little hardware gizmos that are quite difficult to find, and place one on the steerer under the stem, and the other at the bolt-on screw securing the seatpost. The front one will take some height under the stem (around 5mm), thus forcing you to play with raisers. The back one will have to fit your bolt-on screw (different sizes exist) OR you need a special clamp-on ring.... Harris Cyclery has that kind of stuff but it can be a real pain in the a.. to identify the perfect setup... Life is easier with v-brakes than cantis, if you dot have road brake levers of course.

  8. #8
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portis
    What is the primary difference between a fork that is vbrake compatible vs. a fork that is cantilever compatible? I just ordered a rigid fork at my lbs for my mountain bike and the guy told me that cantilever will work with vbrakes. I'm thinking............NOT!

    I think it was this fork.
    No difference, they are identical. U-brakes are another story. Good luck

    Tim
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braquet
    While either brakes will fit the your chosen fork and existing frame, the annoying issue lies in the cable stops. If your frame does not have brazed on hangers allowing you to feed cables centered above the cantis, you will have to dig out little hardware gizmos that are quite difficult to find, and place one on the steerer under the stem, and the other at the bolt-on screw securing the seatpost. The front one will take some height under the stem (around 5mm), thus forcing you to play with raisers. The back one will have to fit your bolt-on screw (different sizes exist) OR you need a special clamp-on ring.... Harris Cyclery has that kind of stuff but it can be a real pain in the a.. to identify the perfect setup... Life is easier with v-brakes than cantis, if you dot have road brake levers of course.
    Why would cable stops be an issue? I'm trying to run v-brakes on a fork designed for canti's. They all tell me it will work. So the cables, stops and routing will not change.

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    It will work.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portis
    Why would cable stops be an issue? I'm trying to run v-brakes on a fork designed for canti's. They all tell me it will work. So the cables, stops and routing will not change.
    That is fine - the issue happens the other way round. Yes, it will work.

  12. #12
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    The only problem in using v-brakes on a mountain bike comes with tire size. V-brakes have an arm length of 100 mm or 4 inches (I don't remember precisely), which means you have about 95 mm between the canti/v-brake bosses and the horizontal cable.

    This limits you to about 2.75 or 3 inch wide tires if you don't have fenders, and about 2.5 or 2.75 inch wide tires if you have full fenders. And with such sizes, clearance would be a little tight for sticky mud. Apart from that, there is no problem with v-brakes in "civilized" environments.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

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