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    Replace center pull with V brakes

    I have an older rigid frame mountain bike that I am updating. It has weak center pull brakes that I would like to replace with a set of Avid single digit five V brakes. The bike has 8mm diameter pillars for the brake pivots. Is this a standard pillar diameter that will accomodate the V brakes, or do I need to get innovative to mount the Avid's?

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    The brake mounting studs will be fine. The issue that you need to check on is if and where your bike has a rear cable housing stop. You are going to need one for linear pull brakes. You'll also have to replace your brake levers with ones that have more cable pull.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    The brake mounting studs will be fine. The issue that you need to check on is if and where your bike has a rear cable housing stop. You are going to need one for linear pull brakes. You'll also have to replace your brake levers with ones that have more cable pull.
    V-brakes don't require a cable stop. The cable housing goes right into the noodle on the brake. Everything else is correct, however.
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    I believe the confusion is from the OP use of the term "center pull" I think he has cantis and is moving to v-brakes.

    Also, are you upgrading your brake levers? There is a difference in the amount of pull between cantis and v-brakes. They are not compatible.
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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    V-brakes don't require a cable stop. The cable housing goes right into the noodle on the brake. Everything else is correct, however.
    And where does the other end of the cable housing go? Lots of canty equipped bikes have a cable housing stop at the front of the top tube and just some kind of noodle to guide the cable around the seat post to the straddle hanger.

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    You can increase the power of cantilevers by installing a yoke on the centre cable, and running a low straddle cable across it. Easier brake pad set-up can be achieved by buying modern cantilevers, which use the same type of pads as the V brakes. No change of brake levers or cable run needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    And where does the other end of the cable housing go? Lots of canty equipped bikes have a cable housing stop at the front of the top tube and just some kind of noodle to guide the cable around the seat post to the straddle hanger.
    the other end of the cable housing goes into the brake lever, silly. There's no rule that you have to interrupt the brake cable outer. In fact SOME crazy people like me invent quite the opposite rule for their off-road bikes!

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    Thanks for the responses.

    I pretty much tried everything with stradle cable adjustment trying to get better leverage, but the center pulls on this bike require a very heavy lever pull for anything like agressive brakeing. This bike will use full cable housings from lever to noodle, so no problems there. I am changing levers to longer travel units to match the sensitive pull and the longer cable movment of the v brakes.

    Thanks again for confirming the 8mm pivot bore for the V brakes.

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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raloftus
    Thanks for the responses.

    I pretty much tried everything with stradle cable adjustment trying to get better leverage, but the center pulls on this bike require a very heavy lever pull for anything like agressive brakeing. This bike will use full cable housings from lever to noodle, so no problems there. I am changing levers to longer travel units to match the sensitive pull and the longer cable movment of the v brakes.

    Thanks again for confirming the 8mm pivot bore for the V brakes.
    It *sounds* like the brakes you have are cantilever brakes (different from centerpull road brakes). Cantilever posts are interchangeable with V-brake posts.

    However, there is another type of brake called U-brakes. They use posts which are NOT interchangeable with canti/v-brake posts, and is common on older MTBs.

    Read this glossary entry on U-brakes: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_u-v.html#ubrake If what you have are U-brakes, then unfortunately you can't replace them with V-brakes.
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  10. #10
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    I would check out all of the maintenance points before I switched to V-brakes. My old school Deore cantis will lock up the front and send me over the bars. Check the cables and housings. Are the cables rusted? Are the housings kinked, do they have enough lube or are they dry? If they aren't lined then they need to be greased. Are the straddle cables adjusted properly? Are the pads toed in correctly? Are the pads new or old and glazed over. Pads can be sanded to provide like new stopping power.

    Most riders who complain about cantis, don't have them adjusted properly. Cantis stop very well when properly adjusted. Good luck

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cs1
    Most riders who complain about cantis, don't have them adjusted properly. Cantis stop very well when properly adjusted.
    On the other hand, decent quality linear pulls are so much easier to adjust.

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    And where does the other end of the cable housing go? Lots of canty equipped bikes have a cable housing stop at the front of the top tube and just some kind of noodle to guide the cable around the seat post to the straddle hanger.
    It sounds like you're describing may daughter's '92 Trek 850. I had some vintage Hershey linear pull brakes that I wanted to put on it so I ran housing from the noodle on the frame to the noodle on the brake. It's not my best work, but she's got great brakes.

    Short bridge wires aren't always the best setup for cantis. If you have the old non-low profile type with horizontal arms, long bridge wires work best.

  13. #13
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    And where does the other end of the cable housing go? Lots of canty equipped bikes have a cable housing stop at the front of the top tube and just some kind of noodle to guide the cable around the seat post to the straddle hanger.
    Okay, I see where you are going now. But it still shouldn't be a problem. If the bike has a split cable system (middle section of cable is exposed) there is still going to be somewhere for the cable end on the top tube near the seatpost. Just run a long cable housing from there to the v-brake. If the bike has cable housing all the way from the lever to the brake, you just need a longer cable housing.

    I can also see the problem that you are discribing but, honestly, I don't think that's going to be a problem except on a very few exotic bikes. Most of the time that extra noodle to guide the cable to the straddle hanger is going to be a piece of cable housing anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    It sounds like you're describing may daughter's '92 Trek 850. I had some vintage Hershey linear pull brakes that I wanted to put on it so I ran housing from the noodle on the frame to the noodle on the brake. It's not my best work, but she's got great brakes.

    Short bridge wires aren't always the best setup for cantis. If you have the old non-low profile type with horizontal arms, long bridge wires work best.
    Yep, that's what I have - short horizontal arms on the original brakes. This pretty much defeats the leverage gain from a shorter bridge cable by fouling up the vector pull angle on the short horizontal arms. There just does not seem a way to improve the stock setup. I am sure the Avid V brake replacment will turn this around. For 27 dollars for the set shipped on Ebay, how can I go wrong unless they won't fit!!

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    You will need new brake levers as well. The ones you have now will not have enough cable pull.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  16. #16
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    I can also see the problem that you are discribing but, honestly, I don't think that's going to be a problem except on a very few exotic bikes. Most of the time that extra noodle to guide the cable to the straddle hanger is going to be a piece of cable housing anyway.
    Trust me, I've done a bunch of these conversions and the #1 bug-a-boo is the rear cable stop. It's a common enough problem that Problem Solvers manufacturers $25.00 clamp-on cable stops in four tubeing sizes.

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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    Trust me, I've done a bunch of these conversions and the #1 bug-a-boo is the rear cable stop. It's a common enough problem that Problem Solvers manufacturers $25.00 clamp-on cable stops in four tubeing sizes.
    Or, how about this: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...%20Accessories

    For $1 it makes a cable stop next to your seatpost bolt. Seems like a great idea and a lot cheaper than $25 Cable position might not be ideal for v-brakes, but it seems worth a try!
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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Or, how about this: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...%20Accessories

    For $1 it makes a cable stop next to your seatpost bolt. Seems like a great idea and a lot cheaper than $25 Cable position might not be ideal for v-brakes, but it seems worth a try!
    How is a cable hanger for cantilever brakes going to help? Parallel pull brakes don't use a cable hanger. The housing runs all the way to the brake, just like a sidepull road brake.

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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    How is a cable hanger for cantilever brakes going to help? Parallel pull brakes don't use a cable hanger. The housing runs all the way to the brake, just like a sidepull road brake.
    Because of the situation that RG and cyccommute are talking about, when converting a bike from cantis to v-brakes, an extra cable stop near the seatpost may be needed (if to do nothing more than to guide the housing).
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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Because of the situation that RG and cyccommute are talking about, when converting a bike from cantis to v-brakes, an extra cable stop near the seatpost may be needed (if to do nothing more than to guide the housing).
    That makes no sense at all. When converting from cantis to parallel pull, you would remove the cable hangers, not add one. I'm speaking from experience.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    It sounds like you're describing may daughter's '92 Trek 850. I had some vintage Hershey linear pull brakes that I wanted to put on it so I ran housing from the noodle on the frame to the noodle on the brake. It's not my best work, but she's got great brakes.

    Short bridge wires aren't always the best setup for cantis. If you have the old non-low profile type with horizontal arms, long bridge wires work best.
    Sounds like my hack job on my '95 Stumpjumper: I found some old housing and butted it up against the existing housing to fill the gaps. Now I'm running solid housing lever to brake. Looks like ass, but works just great. That's the downside to having all your old parts in your shop: you never go out to buy anything because you have stuff that pretty much works right there in your house. Frankenbikes abound.

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets
    Sounds like my hack job on my '95 Stumpjumper: I found some old housing and butted it up against the existing housing to fill the gaps. Now I'm running solid housing lever to brake. Looks like ass, but works just great. That's the downside to having all your old parts in your shop: you never go out to buy anything because you have stuff that pretty much works right there in your house. Frankenbikes abound.
    It's no fun if it's too easy. Anybody can bolt on parts that fit perfectly.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Or, how about this: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...%20Accessories

    For $1 it makes a cable stop next to your seatpost bolt. Seems like a great idea and a lot cheaper than $25 Cable position might not be ideal for v-brakes, but it seems worth a try!
    You haven't done this, have you? The cable stop that you're talking about faces the wrong way.

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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    That makes no sense at all. When converting from cantis to parallel pull, you would remove the cable hangers, not add one.
    Certainly. But if you re-read Retro Grouch's posts, and look at a few old MTBs, you'll see that many of them have no kind of cable guide whatsoever for the rear brake, except for a very thin tube that snakes around the seatpost and can only hold a bare cable, not a cable with housing.

    As pointed out above, if you have a portion of unhoused cable on the top tube, and you're using a V-brake, you need some kind of cable stop on the top tube near the seat post.

    I suggested the Nashbar hanger because I thought it might be possible to modify it to satisfy this purpose adequately, and it would be more secure than a zip-tie, and cheaper than the $25 clamp-on guides.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    I'm speaking from experience.
    Likewise, dude

    Have a look at this photo of my old Trek hybrid, which suffered from the exact problem under discussion: unhoused cable on the top tube, but no housing stop near the seatpost... thus making it hard to install V-brakes.
    Last edited by moxfyre; 09-22-06 at 09:58 AM.
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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    You haven't done this, have you? The cable stop that you're talking about faces the wrong way.
    No, I've not used that particular part. However, from the description, it looks like it would be possible to flip it around so it faces forward from the seatpost, thus allowing it to serve the purpose of a top-tube mounted cable stop with the housing headed towards the rear brake.

    As far as I can tell, the part is designed to attach to the seatpost clamp bolt and face backwards, thus providing a front-facing cable stop behind the seat clamp. But I see no reason it couldn't be flipped around to provide a rear-facing cable stop in front of the seat clamp.

    For $1, seems like it might be worth a shot.
    Last edited by moxfyre; 09-22-06 at 09:53 AM.
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