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Old 12-14-07, 12:24 AM   #1
destro713
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Cantilever brake pad installation hell!

I just tried to install a pair of rear cantilever brake pads for over three hours and failed.

My problem is that my brakes don't pull the pads straight in from the sides. They pull with a sort of off-center curving or rocking motion, so the front tip of the pad has a lot more travel to it than the back tip of the pad. Because of this, I have to position them so the backs of the pads are much closer to the rim than the fronts. These are Kool Stop Eagle 2 pads, which have a little lip thing that juts out a little bit at the rear part of the pad. They look like this:



That lip makes it so I have to put the pads at a sharper angle, which means the front tips of the brake pads are very far from the rim when the brakes are resting. It takes so much cable slack to allow for that big angle that I basically have no rear braking power.

Here's a 12-second video that shows what I'm talking about.

I've tried to adjust this a zillion different ways but I can't get it working. If I change the angle of the pads so that the fronts aren't so far from the rim when the brakes are resting, the rocking motion makes the pads strike the rim unevenly. If I tighten the slack even just a little bit to give myself some more braking power, the lip at the back end is constantly rubbing against the rim.

So I guess what I want to know is... does any of this information make sense? Is there a way I can go about solving this? And, are all cantilever brakes like this, or are there better ones that pull straight?

Last edited by destro713; 12-14-07 at 12:37 AM.
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Old 12-14-07, 01:12 AM   #2
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I saw the video - you set a new standard in illustrating your situation, and that's super-commendable! Hats off to you!

I don't see very clearly if the rear tip, the one closer to the rim, is touching the rim when "resting"? If not, briefly, you don't have a problem, but test whether you have enough stopping power before you go bombing down a hill. And to answer your last question: not all cantis are like this.
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Old 12-14-07, 02:55 AM   #3
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I spent another hour adjusting them and bought myself a bit more stopping power... but if there are better cantilever brakes than this, that don't swivel as they contract, I think I'm gonna buy myself a pair in the spring. These things are a pain. I guess that's what I should expect out of stock early-90's MTB components though.
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Old 12-14-07, 03:32 AM   #4
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From the pic of the pad, I don't see the beveled washers. There is a washer, or two, that allow you to change the toe-in on the pads. That's all you need. The travel of the arm appears to be moving perpendicular to the axis of the wheel. If the brake arm wasn't moving at 90 deg then you would have a problem.


Tim
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Old 12-14-07, 03:33 AM   #5
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I spent another hour adjusting them and bought myself a bit more stopping power... but if there are better cantilever brakes than this, that don't swivel as they contract, I think I'm gonna buy myself a pair in the spring. These things are a pain. I guess that's what I should expect out of stock early-90's MTB components though.
Well, my old Kona Kilauea has stock early 90's cantilever brakes that worked like a charm
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Old 12-14-07, 09:49 AM   #6
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Adjusting canti brakes is sometimes really hard. It is one of my least favorite jobs.

I do not have a great solution to your problem, but here are some crazy ideas:

-use a file to get rid of that rear lip, so you can set the brakes closer to the rim.
-install the pad backwards so that the lip is in front.
-set it up as is. go to the top of the mountain and ride down dragging the brakes the whole way. they will wear into the correct profile needed.

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Old 12-14-07, 10:15 AM   #7
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From the pic of the pad, I don't see the beveled washers.
Mine are actually unthreaded. I just included the pic to show the lip.

I have no mountain to ride down but I'll run some errands today and see if things improve after a bit of break-in. I haven't had a chance to test my most recent adjustments, because I finished them at 3AM.
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Old 12-14-07, 10:34 AM   #8
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Recently replaced the canti's on my older Cannondale hybrid singlespeed with Forte V-brakes. So very much easier to install and adjust!
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Old 12-14-07, 10:39 AM   #9
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I can't view the video, but cantis should definitely not swivel as they close. Is it possible the brake bosses are bent, or the cantilevers installed incorrectly on the bosses?
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Old 12-14-07, 10:46 AM   #10
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I can't see how they could be installed any other way. And I assume they're not bent because they behave identically.
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Old 12-14-07, 11:21 AM   #11
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You need to replace those cantis with Avid Shorty6 or Tektro Oryx, which have the threaded post on the pads. You can probably get used ones from your LBS cheap, left over from 'upgrades' to Vs. They are even easier to adjust if you install them with a yoke and straddle cable instead of the current Shimano branch.
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Old 12-14-07, 11:34 AM   #12
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Yes. And I also need to replace the entire 200GX drivetrain that gives me multiple chain skips per ride.
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Old 12-14-07, 11:38 AM   #13
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I can't view the video, but cantis should definitely not swivel as they close. Is it possible the brake bosses are bent, or the cantilevers installed incorrectly on the bosses?
I could see the video, but agree that they shouldn't swivel... is there a bushing missing inside all the arms? They look like they have a lot of play as seen in your video...
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Old 12-14-07, 06:48 PM   #14
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Well, if we're talking replacing, then why not go with V-brakes? That's what I put on that Kilauea I mentioned before. I did that NOT because I wasn't satisfied with the stopping performance of the cantis ('cause I was, very satisfied), but because my heel kept hitting, albeit slightly, the left arm of the rear cantilever. So there I went V-brake. In front I still have cantis.

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Old 12-14-07, 08:50 PM   #15
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Well, if we're talking replacing, then why not go with V-brakes? That's what I put on that Kilauea I mentioned before. I did that NOT because I wasn't satisfied with the stopping performance of the cantis ('cause I was, very satisfied), but because my heel kept hitting, albeit slightly, the left arm of the rear cantilever. So there I went V-brake. In front I still have cantis.
so what are you using for brake levers .

ed rader
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Old 12-14-07, 10:30 PM   #16
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I didn't need to replace my brake lever. Works fine with the V-brake.
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Old 12-14-07, 10:34 PM   #17
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You got some major play in the pivot, or the canti boss is bent. Its deal with it or replace time.
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