So I posted a thread a week or 2 ago about my problems with my cantilever brakes. While searching for new brakes, I ended up with what seemed like a good deal ($20 shipped) on a full bike's set (front and rear) of Shimano Deore XT BR-734 cantilever brakes (fairly used). Thought for a minimal investment it was worth a try upgrading from my cheng star or whatever OEM canti's that I couldn't adjust easily or get good stopping power with.
I tried looking online for documentation, but they're old enough (look like they were only in production from 91-93) that there isn't anything there, so I'm going to have a bunch of questions that are hopefully genralizable enough to other low profile brakes that people will be able to answer.
As a starter, both of my previous bikes had the cheapo OEM cantis that were hard to adjust, so consider me a complete novice. I have the big blue book at home, but it wan't all that helpful the last time I tried adjusting my brakes as I didn't have spring adjust screws which it told me to use to balance things, so I haven't looked yet to see what it can tell me about installing these.
So first stupid questions, this brake has the little plastic covers that go over the spring between it and the frame. There doesn't appear to be much functional purpose to these (is that right?) and that might be a good thing, because it appears as though the previous use of the brakes has caused the small hole that the spring comes out of to be wider than the spring now (by a fair margin). Should still keep the spring in when screwed into the canti mounts though.
Also, I've never used this type of link cable before (these are labled B if that matters) having only used straddle hangers. Is there a trick to this or is it as simple as it looks to slide the cable through it and then tighten the bolt until the cable doesn't move? Is there a top/front to these?
The pads that came on these are fairly small. I have some Kool stop salmon eagle claw (I think) pads that are the same type but are like twice as long, can I put those longer/wider pads on, or will that screw things up?
Looks like I'm going to be spending more time on sheldon's site trying to get the geometry right. Last time I did it I could bottom out the lever without feeling like I was going to endo and would like more stopping power this time (don't want to endo, but want to feel like I could do a complete emergency stop if necessary).
Also, it looks like these link cables come in different lengths. Are they all fairly interchangeable? I ask because I'm wondering what's going to happen if mine isn't long enough to go over my fender and I need a longer one.
Or, are these brakes crap and should I consider this a wasted $20 and go get myself some tektro c720's or shimano BR-550's?