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  1. #1
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    Best Cantilever Brakes

    I have a Surly Cross Check and my front brakes seem to cause squeal that can't be fixed. Three LBS, a bicycle Co-op, many different good pads (mostly kool-stop, often salmon colored) and my own time/work haven't been able to fix it. I had a local frame builder check the braze-ons and rim, all good.

    So what are the best, low-profile canti brakes on the market? I don't mind shelling out the cash. I hear good things about Paul, but I'm unsure. Anyone have suggestions?

  2. #2
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    If you tried toeing them in and it didn't help try a little toe OUT. That's right, the leading edge touches first. It sounds odd and isn't in any books or online pages but I've used toe out a couple of times now and it fixed the squeal where nothing else did.

    Squeal is not about the quality or price of the arms and pivots. It IS about how the system resonates. Kill the sympathetic vibrations and the squeal or shudder goes away. You may well pay big bucks for a set of Paul's or something else based on recomendations from folks here only to find that they STILL squeal like a stuck pig on YOUR bike.

    In one case I'm riding now I've got the low profile MTB style Kookstop salmon's on the bike because it's the only thing that gives me the clearance I need to be able to retract the arms enough to remove the wheels. NOTHING would stop them from singing like a soprano in heat until I cut away the first leading (as in rearwards) block of the pad. With the shorter effective pad the squeal went away. I altered the system that was producing the resonance far enough out that it doesn't sing any longer. But put those same arms and pads onto a different frame and fork or even change to a differnet wheelset that uses a different extrusion alloy in the rim and it's quite possible that the problem would be back again.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  3. #3
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    I rode my Surly LHT for quite a while with tektro oryx and thought that, once set up correctly, they worked great and I'd not have changed them for other cantilevers.

    By "set up correctly" I mean that I set the yoke low, and the pads inward more toward the rims when the brake arms are at rest (by moving the pad spacers so that the fat one is on the other side). This results in great leverage when the levers are squeezed, and really made a HUGE difference in braking power for me. The trade off is that the pads are set closer to the rim, so CX riders usually hate it because it can trap mud (I hear at least, since I don't ride CX).

    I never had squeal or any issues with fork vibration. YMMV.

    I now use V-brakes simply for ease of set-up and because I had a nice set I really liked. I could do the oryx again in a hearbeat if I needed to.

    What BCR said: I agree that more expensive units probably won't work differently in any significant way. Most cantilevers I've set up ALL could work great when done properly.
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

  4. #4
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    thanks! I'm going to try both of your suggestions right now

  5. #5
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    Clean your rims well to remove any builtup dirt/glaze. Take some fine emery cloth, and lightly sand them, then wipe clean with acetone or brake cleaner.

  6. #6
    Senior Member canopus's Avatar
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    I hate that suggestion. Don't sand your rims, ever. It isn't needed and is a waste of time, sandpaper and aluminum, unless you just have to have a perfect looking rim, which gets screwed up by just applying the brakes once. Toe-in and pivot tightness (depending on type of brake) is all that is needed to adjust and quiet brake squeal/chatter.
    Last edited by canopus; 08-11-10 at 01:57 PM.
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  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Paul's CNC cantilevers are very good, unlike (all?) the others they manufacture a bushing that slides over the frame boss.

    that way they manufacture the tolerances between the Bronze bushing in the brake arm,
    and the bushing that they make to fit on the frame.
    then they have 2 O rings to keep the grease between the 2 cleaner longer.

    Touring version is somewhat low profile, but the lever arms are longer.

    Many customers buy the Neo Retro for the front , and the touring for the rear.

  8. #8
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    I have tried everything you guys suggested, aside from sanding the rim. I wish I could use v-brakes, but having drop handlebars nixes that option. Paul makes a "Brake Booster"

    http://www.paulcomp.com/brakebooster.html

    I'm thinking it isn't a bad idea, and it seems my tires and fenders would fit. Certainly better than $110 on new brakes. What do you guys think?
    Last edited by forgewithinfire; 08-11-10 at 03:29 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member canopus's Avatar
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    Are you sure you have the toe in set correctly?

    Toe In..jpg
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  10. #10
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    Absolutely. My rear brakes work perfectly and I set them up the same way. When that didn't work I tried different toe-in angles, nada.

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    there are V brake pull Road levers , too.. and Kool stop salmon compound pads are a good thing

  12. #12
    Senior Member canopus's Avatar
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    how loose are the arms on the bosses? How much play?
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  13. #13
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    I didn't know there were v-brake road levers and I am using the salmon kool-stops. Do the v-brake road levers have a built-in travel agent or do you need to pull them farther than road levers to exert enough force?

  14. #14
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    there is a little play, not much, same as the rear brakes and it is as tight as I can make it.

  15. #15
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    I had a set of Avid shorty 4 (actually several sets) and I couldn't make them stop squealing on the front. I swapped out for the tektro CR720 and once set up properly, they were silent and powerful. Before you spend $100+ on new brakes drop $24 on those and see if they work.
    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
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    hmm makes sense.

  17. #17
    Senior Member canopus's Avatar
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    How old are these pads? How long have they been on the bike? These are Kool Stop Salmons, correct?
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  18. #18
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    I run tectro with shimano pads and only have trouble when the rim gets a little oil or grease on it and I don't worry about toe-in.

  19. #19
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    They haven't been on long, and yes they are kool stop salmons. But this has been a problem with several set of pads and I usually let them wear for a while, no difference. I'm just going to pick up a new set of brakes.

  20. #20
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    the tektro V brake road levers pull more cable, Diacompe/canecreek also makes some
    No Brifters, then you need the travel agent to run V brakes and keep the STI thing going.

  21. #21
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    yeh I just had an email conversation with someone at Cane Creek about that. I have bar end shifter so STI isn't an issue.

  22. #22
    In the wind mercator's Avatar
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    Nashbar has them on sale right now.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by canopus View Post
    I hate that suggestion. Don't sand your rims, ever. It isn't needed and is a waste of time, sandpaper and aluminum,
    As they say, ignorance is bliss. It can work when nothing else does, that's a fact.

  24. #24
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I wonder if cutting vertical slits in the brake pads would change anything. Thoughts, anyone?

    Or how about greasing the brake posts? Or shimming them very slightly?
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  25. #25
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    I have at least 1000 miles on swiss stop green canti pads now. Best I have tried so far, and very very quiet.

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