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  1. #1
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    cheap canti vs vbrakes

    I recently rebuilt a hybrid frame using an assortment of parts I had from previous projects. this bike has 700 x 38 tires at 60psi on 20mm wide rims, goal being a quick, agile town bike.

    the donor bike had cheap noname mtn bike style canti brakes, but I built the bike with some cheapest new shimano v-brakes. my brake levers are the tekro ones that can be converted from regular (caliber,canti) to long pull (linear/vbrake).

    I decided for kicks to swap the front vbrake for the canti to see how well it worked. it took way more effort to stop, even with the brake lever in the regular position, and hard braking felt much sketchier. I put back on the vbrakes (I hadn't even disconnected the front cable from the brakes), and wow, what a difference, linear and strong with only a light pull.

    these cantis had salmon colored koolstop pads that looked almost unused. I deglazed them with some 400 grit before installing them.

    are those sorts of late 90s cheap mountain bike cantis that ineffective? or maybe these almost unused koolstop pads were aged and hardened? I'm pretty sure I had them setup AOK, they were firmly on hard when the brake lever was maybe 1/2 way to the bars.

    they look like these,


    versus my cheap vbrakes,

  2. #2
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    Canti's are a little harder to setup since you also have to adjust how far the the pad sits from the brake arms. Moving the pads farther from the arms can dramatically increase your stopping power. There's certainly nothing wrong with V brakes though, so it's really a matter of preference. I have cheap shimano altus canti's on an old mtb and they went from total suck to locking either wheel at will just by pushing the pads out.

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I have Much Better Quality Cantilever brakes , devote the time to set them up properly, and they stop the bike fine.

    There is so Much unspoken about how you set them up, and whether the lever choice was proper , So as to be meaningless.

  4. #4
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    Next time I try them, I'll take Reason's advise, and extend the pads more so the cantilevers are farther out, it follows they'd have much better leverage that way. When I put them on to try them, I left the pads just as they'd been setup before without giving it any thought. they hit the rim square and in the right place, so I left it at that.

    I have old school shimano deore cantilevers on my old stumpjumper, those always worked just fine. the old ones were more perpendicular to the wheel, like this...

  5. #5
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    The angle of the straddle cable has a huge amount to do with how the cantis can feel. But I also think you hit on something when you mentioned that the pads were from the 90's as well. Likely time has not been kind to them. But it's only one factor in the comparison. Yes Cantis with the post style pads can be set up to work decently. But they are a PITA to do it compared to the ease of the V brakes or even the new generation of cantis that use the V brake style pads. I just never seemed to have enough hands with the post style pad cantis and I don't mind their fade from popularity at all.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  6. #6
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    yeah, I remember getting the toe-in just right on the old deore was something of a beotch, and they had an eccentric cam that could cant them. but, once they were setup, they were good for a long long time.

    man, looking at that detail of that picture of my old stumpie, time hasn't been kind. heh. but it still rides great. its a 15-speed tank.

  7. #7
    RT
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    The Weird Beard RT's Avatar
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    If you have the long pull Tektro brake levers, I say V-brake. I use these levers with my regular V-brakes and my mini V's. Great combination. Kool Stop salmons on the V-brake bike stop as well as properly adjusted discs.

  8. #8
    17yrold in 64yrold body
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    +1 I have V-brake on the rear of my tourer with a brake booster, and it has as much stopping power as the 203mm front disc. I went to the disc to avoid a possibility of overheating the front RIM on long downhills towing my trailer, not for more stopping power. The V-brake I took off the front was as powerful as the disc (with the booster).

    I also use the salmon Koolstop pads.

    BTW what is the part number of the long-pull Tektro's? I have R200A's and had to use a travel agent on the V-brake, so it would be nice to have the option of NOT having to use one.
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    Last edited by badamsjr; 07-22-10 at 12:13 AM. Reason: question

  9. #9
    Collector of Useless Info
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    I have the Tektro dual-pull brake levers, and the cable pull is not the correct ratio for either V-brakes on the top slot or canti's on the bottom slot. The V-brake setting is too small and the canti setting is too large. Thus V-brakes will seem to stop better with less effort, and canti's will feel hard but not stop worth a darn. At least that's what I found. You need to get 2:1 pull levers for the canti's and 4:1 pull levers for the v-brakes to make things equivalent. Or at least set up the straddle cable to be alot more horizontal on the canti's.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    Yes Cantis with the post style pads can be set up to work decently. But they are a PITA to do it compared to the ease of the V brakes or even the new generation of cantis that use the V brake style pads.
    +100. I had a pair of early '90's Shimano LX cantis on a similar age MTB and they were always a pain to set up and never really worked all that well. If the pads were far enough out they tended to squeal badly.

    I just installed a set of new Shimano BR-R550 cantis on a Surly Cross Check. These have V-brake type pads and the pad holder to arm distance is fixed by spacers. What a difference! The set up was super easy and the performance is worlds better.

  11. #11
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    +100. I had a pair of early '90's Shimano LX cantis on a similar age MTB and they were always a pain to set up and never really worked all that well. If the pads were far enough out they tended to squeal badly.

    I just installed a set of new Shimano BR-R550 cantis on a Surly Cross Check. These have V-brake type pads and the pad holder to arm distance is fixed by spacers. What a difference! The set up was super easy and the performance is worlds better.
    you don't know squeal til you've had a set of the old 70s vintage Mafac cantis which were used on tandems in that period. they were made from two pieces of alumium riveted together, and had geometry very similar to the Deores' pictured on my 83 Stumpjumper above... in fact, they CAME on that 83 Stumpjumper, Specialized switched to the Shimanos right after I bought mine, and so did I. they stopped OK, but only with the scream of 1000 banshees. was great for clearing a bike trail of baby strollers, muahahahahaa.


    interesting re: the ratios on the tektro dual pulls. I originally got them because my old cruiser had a sturmey archer drum brake in the rear, and a cheap diacompe style sidepull front. The drum had never worked right with conventional levers, but worked MUCH better with the vbrake setting on the tektros, and the sidepull was OK (about as good as it got) with the 'short' setting on the tektros.

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Have a set of Mafacs, on a bike I built frame from scratch, in '76, I and presumably U can make them squeel free

    same sort of Toe-in cure, But it's a little bending of the post in relation to the rest of the brake pad holder.

    No squeel from using Kool Stop eagle-claw pads the molded in type, ...

    Mafacs adjustment, the best one is getting the posts on the frame in the right place in the building of the frame,

    I watched as the adjustable cantilevers came in with the MTB fad, the posts on the frame were in a 'wherever' spot,
    within a looser placement tolerance.

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