I just got a "new" 2009 Surly LHT. (I guess there's not a lot of demand for 42cm bikes). Anyway, I really like the ride, but the brakes concern me. It seems like I need to put in a lot of effort to stop, and even then, it takes a bit. The LBS where I bought it did a few adjustments on the brakes, but it's still has me feeling like I wouldn't be comfortable if I was going down a hill, loaded or unloaded, and had to stop fast.
Prior to this bike I had an old Schwinn touring bike. That stopped on a dime after I replaced the old brake pads with kool-stops. While the bike store guy did say that the brakes on the new bike would be better once the pads softened up a little, I'm skeptical that that will do it. I'm also feeling doubtful that new pads will be enough.
So, anyone have cantis that they like? I've seen a few recommendations, and I think I'd rather stick with this style than switch to side-pull. I mostly do commuting and some rides carrying some amount of stuff (other than myself), but not looking to do a lot of loaded touring, at least not in the near term. Any thoughts?
My second issue is tires. I have whatever came on the thing stock. They're 26x1.5. I ride mostly city streets and want to change to something more durable for the urban experience -- already had my first flat, which was from broken glass. Again, mostly I plan on commuting. Should I stay with this size. What difference does it make if I go a little bigger on the tire (e.g., 1.75, 2.0)? Any recommendations for a replacement tire that can take a bit of abuse? Mostly paved riding, but may be some gravel/limestone along the way.