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  1. #1
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    Ok, so cantilever brakes suck.

    Tektro oryx - spent 2 hours carefully seating the housing, picking out the ends until the cable slid inside the housing with absolutely no resistance, aligning the pads (new avid v-brake pads) symmetrically on each side...etc.

    I've tried tektro oryx, an older set of shimano's, and even a third set I had laying around (no name).

    They still suck - my v-brakes went back on in 2 minutes and have more power already....the oryx had "ok" power, but still not like the v-brakes do. You don't even have to align the pads perfectly and they still work better than cantilevers.

    I just can't see using these pieces of crap when they pale in comparison to linear pulls.

    Oh, and the lack of easy to use barrel adjusters is stupid too. Having to use in-line adjusters, or introducing sharp bends in the housing at frame stops sucks.

    Dead technology!

    The only reason these things still exist is because their mating with drop bars....that's it. No one would use them otherwise...ok, I'm done.
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

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    yep, I agree. Does anyone know what the best brakes are aside from disc brakes? Are the Avid Digit 5 Linear pull brakes good? I've seen good reviews about them. I've got a rim that's 1 1/4" wide and my cantilever brakes won't work on them because the rim is too wide. I had to take a hack saw and shave off 1/8th inch off each brake pad to get them to work.

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    The best cantis currently available are Tektro cr720. They are much wider design than Oryx and have more powerful braking.
    They work well with my Campy Mirage levers.
    Compared to the old Diacomp 987 cantis, these are much lighter, simpler, easier to adjust and more powerful.

  4. #4
    Gouge Away kaliayev's Avatar
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    I run Cane Creek CSX-5 cantis with Kool Stop pads on my Trek 520 just fine. Took a little time to get them adjusted properly.

  5. #5
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    I am pretty sure that you need different levers to get the correct mechanical leverage when using cantis vs. v-brakes.

    I am not surprised that they didn't feel right.

    Steve

  6. #6
    Call me The Breeze I_bRAD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevetone View Post
    I am pretty sure that you need different levers to get the correct mechanical leverage when using cantis vs. v-brakes.

    I am not surprised that they didn't feel right.

    Steve
    +1

    Try again on the install. For a beginner it's pretty hard to set up cantis, but once you get some practice it will get easier.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    I have Tektro Oryx canti's and have ZERO problems with them. They stop me as good as my road calipers. I run the Kool-Stop Moutain pads and they were very easy to setup with no squeal and minimal shuddering on my cross bike.

    I agree with Stevetone about needing different levers for canti's and vee's. It seems that at least half the time that people jump on a forum to bash something, it turns out to be user error.

  8. #8
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    +10 I like cantis, but Vbrake levers are not going to work well on cantis.

  9. #9
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    The best cantis currently available are Tektro cr720. They are much wider design than Oryx and have more powerful braking.
    They work well with my Campy Mirage levers.
    Compared to the old Diacomp 987 cantis, these are much lighter, simpler, easier to adjust and more powerful.
    Ahh, frog legs, they can take a bite out of you. I may be buying cantis, trying to decide between the various options out there.
    I like the looks of the IRD canti, and Pauls makes a couple different cantis, including a frog leg design. Still looking, tho.
    Last edited by late; 01-17-10 at 09:36 AM.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member bluenote157's Avatar
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    Search the forum in the cyclocross section for more details, but the key really is to have the arms parallel with each other when the pads are touching the rims. Once you have the pads aligned properly, then you can work on the traverse length and main cable placement. In fact, I find that I can have the traverse cable any length once the pads placement is correct. This is going to sound obvious, but the key is to get the pads to make contact with with slight movement of the canti as it pivots.

  11. #11
    Jet Jockey Banzai's Avatar
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    Disc brakes.

    The option that no one in CX seems to want to hear.

    Once you go with, say, an Avid BB7 mechanical setup, you'll never have a desire to go back to cantilevers.
    Good night...and good luck

  12. #12
    Guppy NiMO189's Avatar
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    @gene: steve is right, you need different levers.

    @morph: there are a lot of good linear pull brakes out there, I have Shimano Deore XT one one of my bikes and I'm always impressed by the stopping power (especially when compared to road brakes, which are on my main bike).

  13. #13
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    @gene: steve is right, you need different levers.
    No, man. I thought I made it clear that I used a drop bar (and hence road levers) but I used shimano 105 road levers on the drop bar for the cantilevers. I use linear pull mountain levers on a flat bar for my v-brake. This is not a cable pull issue, it's a cantilevers are weaker than v-brakes issue.

    you can replace all the pads you want, but I'd rather have v-brakes with crappy pads than cantilevers with kool stops any day.

    Search the forum in the cyclocross section for more details, but the key really is to have the arms parallel with each other when the pads are touching the rims.
    Tried this, believe me. I read all of the Sheldon article about 10 times, and the cool geometry article posted recently with the schematic and everything. I had to remove my fenders to "see" the cantilever arms to make sure they were aligned properly....still suck.

    And the need for sudden housing bends hasn't even come up yet.

    I'm not saying that some other brand might not be better, but v-brakes are just a better technology IMO...and you don't have to spend an extra $30 on pads to "get them to work acceptably".


    The best cantis currently available are Tektro cr720. They are much wider design than Oryx and have more powerful braking.
    According to the articles I've read, the exact opposite is actually true. Wide profile cantilevers have less mechanical advantage than low profiles, but supposedly have better "feel". I'd bet they still require spending $30 on decent pads to get any power out of them though.

    I'd love to see a test of a set of cantilevers, with the best pads, adjusted with TLC vs. a $15 set of no-name v-brakes with stock pads, assembled by a kid in a test.

    Dead technology.
    Last edited by TurbineBlade; 01-17-10 at 10:05 AM.
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  14. #14
    Dog Chaser BetweenRides's Avatar
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    I bought a Kona Jake the Snake last summer. It came with cantis. I use the bike for trail/night riding, plus shorter group rides with a spare set of road wheels. Love the bike but the braking was so poor it was almost dangerous. I replaced the brakes this fall with Deore V brakes and threw on some travel agents for good measure. Stops on a dime, on par with my regular road bike.

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    yes i agree cantis suck. wide profiles cannot match the power of low profile cantis unless the straddle wire is very low.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene2308 View Post
    According to the articles I've read, the exact opposite is actually true. Wide profile cantilevers have less mechanical advantage than low profiles, but supposedly have better "feel". I'd bet they still require spending $30 on decent pads to get any power out of them though.
    From what I've read, in addition to feel, the other big benefit of wide profiles is supposed to be mud clearance for CX. They allow you to set the pads far away from the rim but still have enough cable pull to cover the distance while retaining good modulation and adequate stopping power. I too have experimented with wide profile brakes and could never get the supposed massive power out of them that everyone raved about..at least not without setting the pads so close to the rim that rubbing was a problem.

  17. #17
    headtube. zzyzx_xyzzy's Avatar
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    this is the best brake setup i have ever had. road lever compatible, good pad clearance, gives on demand stoppies at speed with panniers on the back.


  18. #18
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    The best cantis currently available are Tektro cr720. They are much wider design than Oryx and have more powerful braking.
    They work well with my Campy Mirage levers.
    Compared to the old Diacomp 987 cantis, these are much lighter, simpler, easier to adjust and more powerful.
    This is intuitive - but is also completely wrong! Go and read Sheldon Brown's Cantilever geometry and tuning guides. The key factors in canti power are the height of cable straddle (lower is more powerful), cantilever angle, and pad clearance (lower is more powerful). There are lots of threads on the Cross forum about canti tuning too. Basically, you can increase mechanical advantage by a factor of at least 4 just by straddle adjustment - the cost is reduced mud clearance.

    In fact, your 720s are LESS powerful than narrower cantis - see http://sheldonbrown.com/cantilever-geometry.html. They do have superior mud clearance, which is this design was/is favoured by cyclocrossers (which often race in seas of churned up, deliberately hose-softened mud) but NEVER (ok, virtually - I'm sure some idiot must have fitted them some time) used on MTBs, which need maximum braking power.

  19. #19
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene2308 View Post
    I'd love to see a test of a set of cantilevers, with the best pads, adjusted with TLC vs. a $15 set of no-name v-brakes with stock pads, assembled by a kid in a test.

    Dead technology.
    My Kona Lava Dome with its 20 year old cantis can stop as fast as any modern disc brake MTB in the dry, and much faster than any racing bike.

    You might have read the Brown article, but you certainly didn't adjusted your brakes properly. For which I don't blame you at all, because SB's article is rather complex. Go to the cross forum and search for old threads there - especially the ones that reference Bontrager's *much* simpler guide to tuning cantis. (Basically: set the pads for minimum clearance and then set the straddle cable as flat as you can - if you want maximum power).

    *However* even if you get your cantis into high power mode, you may then suffer from irritating squealing or even fork shudder. You can avoid this by fitting Mini Vees - they're pull compatible with road levers, don't squeal or cause fork judder, and require zero adjustment skill. They're cheap too.

    Cantis still exist because they're more versatile - you can tune them to trade clearance for power, which is great for cross. But they're really an advanced tool for specialist riders. Most people would be better served by Mini Vees - I really think they should be fitted to all but high end cross bikes as standard. It's especially irritating when bikes with under-engineered forks and headsets are sold with cantis, so that hard braking throws him into judder mode, lousing up control. (Personally I just wish the idiot UCI would legalize disc brakes for cross racing, than cantis would disappear. But they're too bust defending Lance Armstrong's right to stall drug testers...)

  20. #20
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metaluna View Post
    From what I've read, in addition to feel, the other big benefit of wide profiles is supposed to be mud clearance for CX. They allow you to set the pads far away from the rim but still have enough cable pull to cover the distance while retaining good modulation and adequate stopping power. I too have experimented with wide profile brakes and could never get the supposed massive power out of them that everyone raved about..at least not without setting the pads so close to the rim that rubbing was a problem.
    It's not the other benefit, it's the ONLY benefit! From Sheldon Brown:

    Wide profile cantilevers have a cantilever angle much greater than 90 degrees. The best example of this type is the old Mafac cantilevers, in which the anchor arm actually sloped downward from the boss in some installations. This design is now pretty much obsolete. Wide profile cantilevers have rather low mechanical advantage, and work well only with levers with a high mechanical advantage.
    The 720 isn't quite as extreme as the MAFAC, but they are at least semi-wide angle. They're designed for maximum mud clearance for cross. They're a good design for the intended purpose, but will give acceptable mechanical advantage if tuned properly, but they are NOT designed to Stopping Monsters. In fact, arm length isn't really a guide to canti stopping power, although it looks as if it should be. This is because the distances that determines leverage are the pivot-cable distance - PC on the diagram below -and pivot-show, PS. You need to take their[ b]ratio[/b] - and then factor by the effect of the straddle angle....

    Last edited by meanwhile; 01-17-10 at 11:13 AM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetweenRides View Post
    I bought a Kona Jake the Snake last summer. It came with cantis. I use the bike for trail/night riding, plus shorter group rides with a spare set of road wheels. Love the bike but the braking was so poor it was almost dangerous. I replaced the brakes this fall with Deore V brakes and threw on some travel agents for good measure. Stops on a dime, on par with my regular road bike.
    That's another smart way of dealing with the problem. Just watch the TAs for loss of power as they age.

  22. #22
    Gouge Away kaliayev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene2308 View Post
    No, man. I thought I made it clear that I used a drop bar (and hence road levers) but I used shimano 105 road levers on the drop bar for the cantilevers. I use linear pull mountain levers on a flat bar for my v-brake. This is not a cable pull issue, it's a cantilevers are weaker than v-brakes issue.

    you can replace all the pads you want, but I'd rather have v-brakes with crappy pads than cantilevers with kool stops any day.

    Tried this, believe me. I read all of the Sheldon article about 10 times, and the cool geometry article posted recently with the schematic and everything. I had to remove my fenders to "see" the cantilever arms to make sure they were aligned properly....still suck.

    And the need for sudden housing bends hasn't even come up yet.

    I'm not saying that some other brand might not be better, but v-brakes are just a better technology IMO...and you don't have to spend an extra $30 on pads to "get them to work acceptably".


    According to the articles I've read, the exact opposite is actually true. Wide profile cantilevers have less mechanical advantage than low profiles, but supposedly have better "feel". I'd bet they still require spending $30 on decent pads to get any power out of them though.

    I'd love to see a test of a set of cantilevers, with the best pads, adjusted with TLC vs. a $15 set of no-name v-brakes with stock pads, assembled by a kid in a test.

    Dead technology.
    The Kool Stops came with the brakes when I bought them for $40 new off ebay. It was the first time I had ever installed or adjusted cantis. Yes it did take me 45 minutes of TLC, which I always use when putting new components on my bikes. If they can stop a loaded tourer in all types of weather then they are acceptable to me dead or not. How old you btw?

  23. #23
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    The best cantis currently available are Tektro cr720.
    You've apparently never used Paul's canti's.

  24. #24
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    How old you btw?
    I don't see the relevance here, but 28. I am not the best mechanic out there for sure, but I do have shop experience and some technical ability (i.e. - I know how to cut cables, lube threaded parts, tap bb's, adjust cup and cones, etc.).

    If installing these things exceeds the ability of so many people, I see this as a disadvantage - not something I need to spend more time working with to master.

    Cantis still exist because they're more versatile - you can tune them to trade clearance for power, which is great for cross.
    I can't argue with this, since a lot of people seem to like their cantilevers just fine.

    My experience is just that these brakes require more technical expertise than probably 98% of cyclists have. I've just given up on them after seeing how a poorly adjusted v-brake can crush the power these things have after an hour of work.

    Once again, this doesn't even touch on the idiocy of cantilevers requiring extra bends and threaded stops for barrel adjusters (when using road brake levers). Less power and more crap running along the housing to introduce more problems.
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

  25. #25
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene2308 View Post

    If installing these things exceeds the ability of so many people, I see this as a disadvantage - not something I need to spend more time working with to master.

    I can't argue with this, since a lot of people seem to like their cantilevers just fine.

    My experience is just that these brakes require more technical expertise than probably 98% of cyclists have. I've just given up on them after seeing how a poorly adjusted v-brake can crush the power these things have after an hour of work.

    Once again, this doesn't even touch on the idiocy of cantilevers requiring extra bends and threaded stops for barrel adjusters (when using road brake levers). Less power and more crap running along the housing to introduce more problems.
    Yes, I sort of agree with you, cantis are a little bit more difficult to setup. But it does depend on your experience and the quality of the cantilever brakes.

    I recently converted a sport/touring bike from road calipers to cantis. I am using Avid Shortys. I can't believe how far along cantis have come since I used last had them on a bike 15 years ago.

    I am amazed at how much easier the Avid Shortys were to setup. I cannot use linear pull (or V-brake) type because of the road STI lever. For now, these have plenty of stopping power and setup seems fine to me.

    Again, one's perception or experience will be a factor. I have used Tektro disc brakes on a MTB bike, which were crap and I replaced them with Avid BB5s. I also have a set of Tektro road calipers on my commuter, not as good as Shimano calipers, but will stop the bike.

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