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Old 06-20-08, 11:04 PM   #1
C.Bledsoejr
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I have cantilever brakes, can I change them to something else?

So excuse my n00bness when it comes to bikes as I am pretty unfamiliar...

But I have a Trek Multitrak 730 which has cantilever brakes. They're not in bad condition, but they are missing the little "link wire" piece that goes in between them. I can't find the link wire in very many places, if I do, I wouldn't know what length or type to get. Otherwise, I could just replace the cantilever brake system and get new ones...

I am assuming because of the way the older bike frames are designed, I wouldn't be able to upgrade to caliper style? Or what about the linear pull? I'm not sure how they bolt on and if the spacing if different and etc, I'm sure there are plenty of factors.

Basically,

1. If I could get the link wire where would I find it and what size would I get (and how would I decide what size I need?)
2. Should I just get a new set of cantilever brakes?
3. If I'm willing to spend the money why not just upgrade if at all possible?

Thanks! I will continue to do research but any suggestions or links or pointers is appreciated. Thanks a bunch!
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Old 06-20-08, 11:15 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by C.Bledsoejr View Post

1. If I could get the link wire where would I find it and what size would I get (and how would I decide what size I need?)
2. Should I just get a new set of cantilever brakes?
3. If I'm willing to spend the money why not just upgrade if at all possible?
1: Any good bike shop should be able to help you figure out which link wire you need. Shimano had several, but they were somewhat interchangeable. Replacements are now sold under the Jagwire brand:
http://harriscyclery.net/page.cfm?Pa...ory=448&type=T
or you can replace the link wire with a more conventional straddle cable and yoke. This shouldn't be a big deal for a competent bike shop.

2: New cantilever brakes are available from Tektro or Shimano:
http://harriscyclery.net/page.cfm?Pa...and=367&type=T
http://harriscyclery.net/page.cfm?Pa...and=421&type=T

3: Switching to "linear" or "V-style" brakes is possible, but you'll have to switch brake levers, too. "V-brakes" use a different amount of cable pull than cantilever brakes.
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Old 06-20-08, 11:15 PM   #3
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Hit the LBS.

Link wires should be a couple bucks and they'll help you with the size. Save your money for the next bike.
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Old 06-20-08, 11:19 PM   #4
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You could easily install linear-pull brakes, but you'll need to change your brake levers for compatible ones or install some "travel agents" to make your old levers work properly.
I'm surprised you're having trouble finding a simple cross-over cable. Unless it's a double-ended one that you need, any decent bike shop should have them all the time.
If your cantis are Shimano, you don't have to use one of those Shimano link things. A simple crossover cable and yoke are all you need.
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Old 06-21-08, 06:28 AM   #5
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You could easily install linear-pull brakes, but you'll need to change your brake levers for compatible ones or install some "travel agents" to make your old levers work properly.
I'm surprised you're having trouble finding a simple cross-over cable. Unless it's a double-ended one that you need, any decent bike shop should have them all the time.
If your cantis are Shimano, you don't have to use one of those Shimano link things. A simple crossover cable and yoke are all you need.
Don't bother with travel agents unless you *really* like your current levers or they're expensive high quality onhes. You can get a cheap set of v-brakes for $15-$50 and a set of tektro v-brake levers for an extra $20 (that does v and cantis).

I would highly recommend going this route - brake pad adjustment and replacement is much simpler and faster.
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Old 06-23-08, 09:01 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the suggestions!

Can the Shimano ST-EF50 brake levers work with the Linear pull brakes or v brakes? Those are the ones that I have. I was thinking about just getting the linear pull, they're only $15-20.

And there seems to be a lot of choices at harriscyclery for those link wires if I want to choose that route... I'm still a bit confused on the lengths and sizes that I would need. And yes, the ones I do have on now are Shimano, pretty much everything is.

But about the compatibility, if I just upgrade to some linear pull shimanos or tektros, and they work fine with the levers I have then I think I will do just that.
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Old 06-23-08, 09:26 AM   #7
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No, those levers will only work with your Cantis unless you get travel agents. I wouldn't ditch your cantis, personally. There's nothing wrong with them and the yoke is easy enough to replace. Harris has a whole little kit for seven bucks:

http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/cable...are-brake.html

That kit is universal. Just put it on and start adjusting. Of course any good bike shop could supply the yoke and set them up.

Like I said - nothing wrong with them. Marketing makes out like whatever is old was a bad idea that never worked well. Cantis became "worthless" when V-Brakes came out. Rim brakes en todo became a bad idea that never worked when discs came out. Yet cantis are still "the thing to have" on the international Cyclocross series.

Besides, those levers are brifters so you'd have to get new brifters or both levers and shifters. Certainly your most economic answer is new yokes and you'll still stop just fine.

I only switched to v-brakes when I got a frame and fork that just wasn't made for cantis. Yeah, I coulda made it work but my Cantis had 15 hard years on them and were wearing out anyway.

Chris

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Old 06-23-08, 12:10 PM   #8
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I've switched a couple of bikes from cantis to V-brakes because I find V-brakes much, much, much, much easier to set-up and adjust. Nice not messing with cable hangers, too.
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Old 06-23-08, 12:13 PM   #9
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I cut off the canti studs from my blue falcon
then fitted weimman 730 and 810 sidepull calipers

there rubbish
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