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Old 02-23-11, 09:41 PM   #1
SurlyLaika
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wtf Tektro Cantilevers with Kool-stop pads

at this point, frustration is an understatement. I have a Surly Cross Check stock. When the stock Tektro Oryx brakes started squealing, I went to my trusty LBS and told them to fix me up and give me the best. So they installed some Kook-stop pads. (I'm not sure which ones) The problem went away for a while. Then it came back, I took my bike back to the shop and asked them to fix it. They did, then a week or so later, it returned. I took the bike back to the shop and so on. I've had two of the mechanics there look at it and neither of them can get it to work perfectly. No squeal, good stoppage.
I want it to work like it did when it was new. I know it was "new" then, but why can't anyone fix my brakes?? seriously. I've put enough money and time into fixing this problem and nothing works!


So today, I stopped by another bike shop on the way home. It looked reputable from the outside but it turned out to be a little Chinese mom and pop shop where the older man was mechanic, salesman, and owner all in one! I asked him for a second opinion and he told me it was the shoes, that the bracket or the silver part that extends from brake pad outward is too short] and can't be adjusted correctly. I told him I've heard of plenty of people on forums running Tektro Oryx with Kool-stops. He tried selling me some Avid brake pads and said that the bracket on those were longer, which they were, and that would allow him to adjust the brake pad just right. He said he would never sell Kool-stop's in his store and that the brand didn't matter, that the Kool-stops were just plain weird, short and unworkable. He said a brake shoe with a longer bracket was all I needed. Does this sound, at all, plausible?? I generally trust my LBS. Those guys have been repairing bikes for 30 years. Could the old pushy salesman be right? I don't understand how my LBS could lead me wrong.


My plan from this point is to take it back to my LBS and tell them I've spent enough money at their shop trying to get the brakes to work right and not squeal. I'll tell them what the other man said and ask him if he could be right. I want it to work and I don't want to spend anymore to do that. My other option is to just buy Shimano Br-R550's and start with a whole new brake system, but like I said I don't want to spend any more money to do this.

What do you guys think?
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Old 02-23-11, 09:51 PM   #2
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KoolStops are very well regarded brake pads certainly used on many tandems. The original brake pads on our tandem were the KS Black/Salmon. With my particular rims, braking surface and fork these squealed badly at times. I went with Salmon KoolStops and the noise went away. Keep in mind were stopping 400+ pounds with our front V-brake/rear disk so lots of tonnage involved.

I'm not that familiar with Cantilever brakes and I suppose it's possible that a short arm would prevent the brake from engaging the rim with the brake arms at the correct angle; maybe someone with these brakes can chime in.
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Old 02-23-11, 10:14 PM   #3
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please, Tektro Oryx and Kool-stop's seem to be a common combination but I would enjoy my bike so much more if the braking worked. I have everything else zero'd in, but the brakes kill me.

Btw, my Kool have one black pad towards the front, then two orange ones. I thinkk those are Salmon's.
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Old 02-23-11, 10:43 PM   #4
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I`m thinkin this could get a little messy!

To start off with, as long as the mounting posts are long enough to anchor the brake pad securely - they`re long enough to adjust the brake pad correctly.

The important thing is the contact angle of the pad and the rim. A shorter mounting post will simply force you to adjust the brakes so that the arms are slightly closer to the rim. That might cost a very, very minor loss in mechanical advantage, but as long as the brakes stop you - they`re working fine.

Repairs normally come with a minimum 30 day warranty so if you are having issues every couple weeks - they should be looked after no charge.

I actually have some of those KoolStops (salmon) on the hybrid I`m driving in the winter. And they`re mounted on Shimano cantilevers and function perfectly. No squeal.

These are available in several different cantilever mounting post models: smooth, ribbed along the length and, indexed at 5mm intervals. It`s personal preference - they all work just fine and the pads are identical.

But the brakes apparently work OK for a while so its hard to say whats going on. Personally I`d suggest you do a teardown and clean and inspect the posts the brakes themselves are mounted onto as well as the brass bushing that the brake pivots on. Grease and reassemble everything and clean the rim braking surface and the brake pads.

Mild soap and water and a 400 grade wet sandpaper will cleanup the braking surface on the rim. Just use a small piece and your thumb and check (feel) for any surface irregularities as you`re doing it. Thats a job thats a little dirty so the garage or outside. If the pads have grit in them thats large enough to pick out - do that. Then run the pad contact area across a 220 grade sandpaper to remove any glaze.

Cantilevers can be a little difficult to adjust because the length, height and tension are all handled by that one nut that retains the brake pad. I usually start by unscrewing the adjustment screw on the handlebar brake lever as far as it`ll go. That brings the brake arms in closer to the rim.

After that the brake pads are orientated (there`s a front and back) and I`ll actually hold each brake pad in position and against the rim (two fingers reaching around the rim) while the nut is tightened.Because the brake pad is in direct contact with the rim - you know its positioned correctly. If you insist on `toe-in`, then a business card under the leading edge of the brake pad will do the job.

The other side is handled the same way. Of course your brakes are now too tight, but if you screw back in that adjustment on the brake lever, that will slacken the cable, and give you the correct lever pull.

Probably simpler than it sounds and if it solves the brake squeal - I wouldn`t bother with new brakes.
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Old 02-23-11, 10:46 PM   #5
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The brakes were OK when new, so it's not a design problem. Use red Scotchbrite to clean the rims. Wipe clean with alcohol. Inspect the rims for damage. Make sure the rim has less than +/-0.03" of run out. Install new Kool Stop salmon. Set the brake pads so that they are within 0.04" max from the rim. Be sure that the pads make flush contact with the rim. You may hear a little noise when new, but this will disappear after about 50 miles.

That Chinaman is trying to sell you stuffs that are available in his shop.
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Old 02-23-11, 10:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
please, Tektro Oryx and Kool-stop's seem to be a common combination but I would enjoy my bike so much more if the braking worked. I have everything else zero'd in, but the brakes kill me.

Btw, my Kool have one black pad towards the front, then two orange ones. I thinkk those are Salmon's.
Those are black/salmon combos. They also come in all black and all salmon.

I think the second shop owner/mechanic was blowing smoke. There are different lengths of pad & holder, but that shouldn't make much difference.

I'd take it back to the first shop (as you planned) and tell them to fix it.

FWIW: I've had problems with the salmon pads on brand-new rims, as in they were impossible to tune so they didn't squeal. Black Kool-Stop pads didn't squeal and allowed me to set the pad with a minimum of toe-in for maximum braking power.
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Old 02-23-11, 10:52 PM   #7
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To start off with, as long as the mounting posts are long enough to anchor the brake pad securely - they`re long enough to adjust the brake pad correctly.
thanks, I'll try all of that now. That was my impression. If the mounting posts are long enough to get the pad to touch the rim, then it can be adjusted. Think that guy was just inept and lazy and he got $8 out of me! all right, well let me try your advice.
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Old 02-23-11, 10:55 PM   #8
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I've run Kool Stops in both Tektro Oryx and Shimano BR-550's. The stock Tektro pads didn't brake well in wet conditions. Overall, for me, the Shimanos squealed and the Tektros didn't. Adjusting cantilevers is a lost art in some shops and getting rid of the squeal can be very frustrating. The problem is that the fork / brake / cable are prone to resonate at the same frequency and you need to raise or lower one of the frequencies. Try a longer straddle cable, shorter straddle cable, harder pads, softer pads, different brake toe in, tighten the headset up, less compression prone housing, making sure the left and right are closing at the same time with the same tension, etc. The list goes on and on. It's simply difficult to make some brake / fork combinations play well together. I was eventually left trying different brakes, a different fork, or a crown mounted cable stop. I scrounged up the Tektros and that worked. The Tektros and fork were eventually swapped to a different bike and the Shimanos were reinstalled with a stiffer fork. For one reason or another, neither setup squealed when I was done.

Good Luck with it. Please don't get too frustrated with the LBS. They're probably doing what they can to avoid having you just throw money at the problem.
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Old 02-23-11, 11:57 PM   #9
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I've run Kool Stops in both Tektro Oryx and Shimano BR-550's. The stock Tektro pads didn't brake well in wet conditions. Overall, for me, the Shimanos squealed and the Tektros didn't. Adjusting cantilevers is a lost art in some shops and getting rid of the squeal can be very frustrating. The problem is that the fork / brake / cable are prone to resonate at the same frequency and you need to raise or lower one of the frequencies. Try a longer straddle cable, shorter straddle cable, harder pads, softer pads, different brake toe in, tighten the headset up, less compression prone housing, making sure the left and right are closing at the same time with the same tension, etc. The list goes on and on. It's simply difficult to make some brake / fork combinations play well together. I was eventually left trying different brakes, a different fork, or a crown mounted cable stop. I scrounged up the Tektros and that worked. The Tektros and fork were eventually swapped to a different bike and the Shimanos were reinstalled with a stiffer fork. For one reason or another, neither setup squealed when I was done.

Good Luck with it. Please don't get too frustrated with the LBS. They're probably doing what they can to avoid having you just throw money at the problem.
yea, pretty much there's no easy solution. crap.
I take it easy on the LBS guys, gonna have them take my bike apart and apply Frame Saver to the insides this weekend. I'm good return business.
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Old 02-24-11, 06:00 PM   #10
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The squeal saves you the cost and weight of a bell.

(+1 on using some Scotchbrite or fine emery cloth on the rims - just a light scuffing, along with a good cleaning)
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Old 02-24-11, 06:08 PM   #11
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Think that guy was just inept
Then you need to educate yourself to be the mechanic you expect others to be .

then you can take care of yourself.
read , buy tools.
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Old 02-24-11, 07:12 PM   #12
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He said he would never sell Kool-stop's in his store and that the brand didn't matter, that the Kool-stops were just plain weird, short and unworkable.
What do you guys think?
That guy is crazy. My braking was a million times better after installing koolstops.
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Old 02-28-11, 03:29 PM   #13
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Then you need to educate yourself to be the mechanic you expect others to be .

then you can take care of yourself.
read , buy tools.
yea, I have tried to do it myself. I can't get it just right. That's why I take it to the professionals and they can usually fix whatever needs fixing. I don't need to be able to fix everything on my bike to be able to enjoy riding it. I didn't say I'm a great mechanic, but I can usually get a good feel for trust worthy mechanics.
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Old 02-28-11, 03:44 PM   #14
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I'd recommend trying some BBB triple compound pads or a cable hanger that sits closer to the fork crown.

squealing and shuddering on cantilever brakes happens when there is too much grip at the pad, which causes the whole front section to flex, cause the brakes to grab even harder, eventually slip and then repeat itself.

It's really piss annoying, which is why V-brakes are a whole lot better if you had a choice.
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