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  1. #1
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    Cantilever to V-Brake conversion possible?

    My wife's old college bike, a Bridgestone 'CityLimit' is in pretty good shape overall. She never did many miles. But the Shimano Exage Country canti brake pads are old and hardened, not offering much grab anymore. I've searched and searched the web for replacement pads without any luck. Can V-Brakes be bolted on in place of the cantilevers? Or does anyone have a line on the replacement pads?
    If I'm not careful this thing could snowball into a full rebuild, costing more than a new bike would, so if there's a knock-on effect of new levers, shifters, derailleurs, etc., please warn me ahead of time!

    Thanks,
    Don
    Specialized Allez Pro '06
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  2. #2
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    You can switch to V-brakes without changing the levers if you use 'Travel-Agents' which are available from the on-line sellers if your local bike shop doesnt have them. These give the necessary cable travel and result in higher force being required on the levers. The V-brakes are easier to adjust.

  3. #3
    To be continued Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Just go to your LBS, they should have canti pads there.
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  4. #4
    Unique Vintage Steel cuda2k's Avatar
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    Look for Koolstop Eagle II pads. I've just purchased a pair for my Schwinn Passage. As far as the V-brakes, it mostly depends on the brake bosses that are on the bike. Many bikes with cantis can be converted over to Vbrakes, however there are some which are harder or impossible. My Schwinn is one that doesn't just work.
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  5. #5
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    +1 to both replys. As to the Travel Agent solution however, at approx. 16.95 apiece, I think it'd make more sense to buy v-brake levers if you want to go with a diff brake. Good levers can be had that would be more efficient and easier to set up in addition to being likely cheaper.
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    I agree, you're best to fit some inexpensive alloy V brake levers over keeping an old plastic coated steel Exage lever. Weigh up the cost to benefit factor ..... and did your wife ever complain of not having enough braking power? If not, go buy some new canti pads from yout LBS .... if they are the old post style, Shimano still make a model called the 'CT91' or for bolt-ons go the KS Eagle II as cuda2k suggests.
    Experience is Priceless!

  7. #7
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    Thanks all. The pads that are on there now are postless, using a bolt at the center of the pad with some very specific washers instead. But I don't see why a threaded post and nut wouldn't work. I may just have to try the KS Eagle options. The only problem with the current cantilevers is that the springs are really strong, requiring quite a bit of strength to squeeze. It's also a slightly too long reach from grip to lever for her. But if I go for new v-brakes and levers, I'll need to replace the integrated shifters too, making sure they work with the old derailleurs... I think I'll try the not-quite-perfect pads first, see how it goes!

    Thanks,
    Don
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  8. #8
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonChuwish
    Thanks all. The pads that are on there now are postless, using a bolt at the center of the pad with some very specific washers instead. But I don't see why a threaded post and nut wouldn't work. I may just have to try the KS Eagle options. The only problem with the current cantilevers is that the springs are really strong, requiring quite a bit of strength to squeeze. It's also a slightly too long reach from grip to lever for her. But if I go for new v-brakes and levers, I'll need to replace the integrated shifters too, making sure they work with the old derailleurs... I think I'll try the not-quite-perfect pads first, see how it goes!

    Thanks,
    Don
    That's the old snowball effect. The bike is probably a 7 speed also, correct? Then you'll be wanting to convert to 9. The list becomes endless. Good luck, you might want to try these links.tH
    http://www.bicyclemagic.com/products...m6b65s105p2977
    http://www.changing-gear.com/acatalo...ke_Blocks.html
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Shimano-Canti-Br...QQcmdZViewItem
    The first 3 links are for pads. Try the next one for a complete set. Coda is Cannondales house brand. These are $30 shipped and take common post type pads. They are easier to set up than traditional cantis and cheap. You won't have to change levers either. V-brakes are nice but very overated. I have cantis on several of my MTB and cross bikes. Some of them brake so hard I can do an endo right over the bars if I'm not careful.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/CYCLOCROSS-CANTI...QQcmdZViewItem
    Good luck again.

    Tim
    Last edited by cs1; 06-09-06 at 04:34 AM.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonChuwish
    Can V-Brakes be bolted on in place of the cantilevers?
    A key factor in converting a bike from cantilever brakes to linear pull brakes is cable stops. Canty's use a bare cable that pulls from the center and often use a metal noodle to route the cable from the top tube to behind the seat post. Linear pull brakes require a cable housing to push on one brake arm and usually need a cable stop at the rear of the top tube. Solutions include zip-tying cable housing all of the way from the brake lever (crude) or buying a clamp-on cable stop ($20.00 or so). It's just something else to consider before you start ordering parts.

  10. #10
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonChuwish
    The only problem with the current cantilevers is that the springs are really strong, requiring quite a bit of strength to squeeze. It's also a slightly too long reach from grip to lever for her. But if I go for new v-brakes and levers, I'll need to replace the integrated shifters too, making sure they work with the old derailleurs... I think I'll try the not-quite-perfect pads first, see how it goes!
    Thanks,
    Don
    1) There should be three holes on the Canti boss for the brake return spring. Try one of the other holes to reduce the return pressure.
    2) Tektro Mini-V brakes are susposed to work with regular levers. I haven't tried them to find out.
    3) Canti pads are available at my local Wal-Mart, beleive it or not.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cs1
    That's the old snowball effect. The bike is probably a 7 speed also, correct? Then you'll be wanting to convert to 9. The list becomes endless. Good luck, you might want to try these links.tH
    http://www.bicyclemagic.com/products...m6b65s105p2977
    http://www.changing-gear.com/acatalo...ke_Blocks.html
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Shimano-Canti-Br...QQcmdZViewItem
    The first 3 links are for pads. Try the next one for a complete set. Coda is Cannondales house brand. These are $30 shipped and take common post type pads. They are easier to set up than traditional cantis and cheap. You won't have to change levers either. V-brakes are nice but very overated. I have cantis on several of my MTB and cross bikes. Some of them brake so hard I can do an endo right over the bars if I'm not careful.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/CYCLOCROSS-CANTI...QQcmdZViewItem
    Good luck again.

    Tim
    Thanks loads! Great find on the Exage pads. Tho I'm not sure by the pics if they are an exact match, I have some more options now.

    -Don
    Specialized Allez Pro '06
    Specialized Sirrus Elite '05

  12. #12
    cycles per second Gonzo Bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonChuwish
    Thanks loads! Great find on the Exage pads. Tho I'm not sure by the pics if they are an exact match, I have some more options now.

    -Don
    The second link for Exage pads are for road calipers.

    My MTB takes threaded pads, too, and I recently replaced them with Kool Stop Supra 2. They have better adjustability than the Eagle 2 threaded.

  13. #13
    Senior Member broomhandle's Avatar
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    i built my sister in law the same bike, and it was like that too. all i did was just tighted the canti's and line them up, and they they stop pretty dang well. canti's are still good brakes.

  14. #14
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    Tips for setting up cantis for folks with smaller hands and/or weak grips (mostly girls, but I'm a manly man..with small hands)


    Try taking the canti arms off and putting the spring in a different hole on the boss (there are 3 of them) This will give them more or less return spring. Also try adjusting the new pad farther away from the rim, so the levers pull almost to grips during braking.

    There isn't any reason this bike can't be adjusted so your wife can ride it-- in comfort!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacomee
    Tips for setting up cantis for folks with smaller hands and/or weak grips (mostly girls, but I'm a manly man..with small hands)


    Try taking the canti arms off and putting the spring in a different hole on the boss (there are 3 of them) This will give them more or less return spring. Also try adjusting the new pad farther away from the rim, so the levers pull almost to grips during braking.

    There isn't any reason this bike can't be adjusted so your wife can ride it-- in comfort!
    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll look for the spring adjustment tonight. I'd already come to the same idea about adjusting the gap - she can get a much better pull on it when there's more travel. For now I've also hit the pads a bit with a rough paper on the belt sander. Scuffed off the super hardened slick surface until I can get new pads anyway.

    -D
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  16. #16
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonChuwish
    Thanks loads! Great find on the Exage pads. Tho I'm not sure by the pics if they are an exact match, I have some more options now.

    -Don
    I just got the newest Nashbar catalog #217 there is a set for $5.95 on page 13. Part #YB-M50T I am sure you can order online with that number. My advice order 4 sets, you need 2 sets per bike. That way you will have some extras. That is way cheaper than changing over brakes. Good luck

    Tim
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by cs1
    I just got the newest Nashbar catalog #217 there is a set for $5.95 on page 13. Part #YB-M50T I am sure you can order online with that number. My advice order 4 sets, you need 2 sets per bike. That way you will have some extras. That is way cheaper than changing over brakes. Good luck

    Tim
    Thanks, but I think those are for road calipers. Great deal tho.

    -Don
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by top506
    Tektro Mini-V brakes are susposed to work with regular levers. I haven't tried them to find out.
    Not one of my favorite brakes. To get them to work with road levers you have to adjust them very close to the rim. When you do that, the noodle won't release so that you can take the wheel off.

    Solutions are to use the noodle that comes with a barrel adjuster and readjust the brake every time that you want to remove the wheel or to clip a bit of the nose off of the noodle so that it comes out more easily. I don't think that either should be required with a properly designed product.

  19. #19
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    Not one of my favorite brakes. To get them to work with road levers you have to adjust them very close to the rim. When you do that, the noodle won't release so that you can take the wheel off.
    Thanks for that bit of data.
    I was considering a set for my Triplecross, just to clean up the look. Right now it's running full size V-brakes and Dia Compe 287V levers, so that wouldn't be an issue in this case.
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