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Old 08-04-08, 10:28 AM   #1
taliesin
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Cantilever Brake Suggestions?

I am looking to replace the Tektro Oryx cantis on my Cross Check. Does anyone have suggestions on a good cantilever brake for this application? Right now I am leaning towards the Shimano 550, but I'd love to know if anyone's found a better one.

I probably will not go with Avid Shortys - they are strong and I like their aesthetics, but I had them on a Kona a couple of years ago and I could never get them to stop squealing.

Let me know if you have any suggestions. Also I'm curious if I would get measurably better performance from using a straddle cable with a wide carrier instead of using a link wire set-up.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 08-04-08, 11:07 AM   #2
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Ouch, I was looking at the Oryx for my own cross build. Are they really that bad?

I've seen good things about the Tektro 720 cantis but they stick out the sides old school style. Rather cobbly to my senses.

Tuning the straddle cable to a flatter angle will help if you only need a little extra. And switching to Koolstop salmon pads also provides better bite for the same pressure.
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Old 08-04-08, 11:26 AM   #3
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Well they don't squeal at least. The return springs on them always seem either too tight or too loose which is why I'm looking to replace them. I am using the stock pads that came with them so maybe I should try some Koolstop pads before chaning out the cantilevers?
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Old 08-04-08, 11:40 AM   #4
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I also could never get the Avid Shortys to stop squealing. I thought it was because I am a lousy mechanic. I am having good luck with Oryx's - very little squealing.
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Old 08-04-08, 11:47 AM   #5
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My Avid Shortys didn't squeal with the stock pads, but since I replaced them with Koolstop (black MTB, not salmon) they do squeal when I brake really hard, but not terribly and often when I'm braking hard there's someone I wish would notice that I'm there anyway.
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Old 08-04-08, 12:11 PM   #6
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I got a set of Shorty's set up nicely on my wife's bike, with no squealing, btu eventually they just broke. Some genius decided that the return spring only needed to be long enough to rest against a PLASTIC washer, rather than the whole metal peg. Great design decision there...
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Old 08-04-08, 12:43 PM   #7
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My Avids--despite three different sets of pads-- would never stop squealing.

The end-all be-all of canti's are Paul's.

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Old 08-04-08, 12:55 PM   #8
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I got a set of Shorty's set up nicely on my wife's bike, with no squealing, btu eventually they just broke. Some genius decided that the return spring only needed to be long enough to rest against a PLASTIC washer, rather than the whole metal peg. Great design decision there...
Yeah the Avids are OEM on so many nice CX and touring bikes, plus a lot of people seem to swear by them, so I always assumed they were nice brakes. But after my experiences with them and talking to others I just don't feel that they are well engineered at all.
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Old 08-04-08, 12:59 PM   #9
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Those are realllyyyy nice but man they are spendy.

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My Avids--despite three different sets of pads-- would never stop squealing.

The end-all be-all of canti's are Paul's.

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Old 08-04-08, 01:09 PM   #10
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My Avids--despite three different sets of pads-- would never stop squealing.

The end-all be-all of canti's are Paul's.

I had to chime in here: I just put a set of Paul Neo Retro Canti's on the front and a set of Paul touring cantis on the rear of my Soma Double Cross. The set up (for me) has been difficult to say the least. I followed the instuctions exactly and the fork shuddered so violently when the front brake was applied, that I could barely control the bike. I am using salmon Koolstop moutain pads front & rear. I have had to reverse toe the front brake quite a bit to get it to stop shuddering. Now it only squeals. The rear set up has not been that bad. The thing to keep in mind with these brakes is that there is not a seperate screw to adjust spring tension/cenetring. With the Paul brakes you have to loosen the 5mm bolt that secures the brake to the stud, and then turn the brake body w/ a 15mm wrench to the desired tension while holding the 5mm bolt to keep it from tightening simultaneously. Not the easiest. Soooo... the jury is still out on these but FWIW I got them to replace a set of Tektro Oryx and as a point of refrence, I put those on and set them up in under an hour. The Paul's have been "a work in progress" for just about 2 weeks. I can't say whether they are better or worse yet as I feel they have not been set up properly. I can say they were very pricey and so far a big PIA. YMMV
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Old 08-04-08, 01:18 PM   #11
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The more I hear the more I am tempted to just stick with the Tektros. They are easy to set up and they don't squeal.

Also, are Cane Creek cantis the same as Tektros? They look almost identical:



Last edited by taliesin; 08-04-08 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 08-04-08, 01:35 PM   #12
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Brake squeal has everything to do with pad quality and pad positioning. Toeing in the pad slightly will eliminate the squeal.
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Old 08-04-08, 01:44 PM   #13
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Brake squeal has everything to do with pad quality and pad positioning. Toeing in the pad slightly will eliminate the squeal.
You've obviously never owned Avids. They will squeal if you look at them the wrong way.

Last edited by taliesin; 08-04-08 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 08-04-08, 02:09 PM   #14
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I'm still running the stock Oryx cantis on my Cross Check, and I'm going to replace them before the winter. They're OK, and that's coming from a guy who's stopping nearly 300 pounds tearing down a hill at 45mph. So that should be a pretty good endorsement of the Tektro Oryx right there.

I'm going with the Cane Crees SCX-5 (see pix above) because they are a similar arm shape (meaning I know there won't be clearance issues with racks/panniers/straddle-cables and fenders, etc.) The other reason is that the SCX-5 uses cartridge pads. Man am I tired of farting around with pad adjustment every time I need to change 'em out... or when they start to wear thin, but not thin enough to throw out, only thin enough to need adjustment. Ugh. I'll spend the extra $$ on replacing thinner cartridge pads more often for the set-it-and-forget-it convenience factor.

The Paul cantis are strong enough to crush rocks, but I've seen in this and other threads about how they're a pain in the behind to adjust properly.

Last edited by CliftonGK1; 08-04-08 at 02:10 PM. Reason: forgot to close a parenthesis
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Old 08-04-08, 02:13 PM   #15
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You've obviously never owned Avids. They will squeal if you look at them the wrong way.
Incorrect. I used to agree...but I found that using a brake shoe with the proper material, in addition to proper adjustment, quiets them down. I thought I'd never get the squeal out of the Shortys on the front of my Fuji...till my LBS wrench finally replaced my salmon kool-stops with some black shimano shoes.
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Old 08-04-08, 02:15 PM   #16
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Also, are Cane Creek cantis the same as Tektros? They look almost identical:
Probably because Cane Creek Makes the Tektros (or visa versa).
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Old 08-04-08, 02:19 PM   #17
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Incorrect. I used to agree...but I found that using a brake shoe with the proper material, in addition to proper adjustment, quiets them down. I thought I'd never get the squeal out of the Shortys on the front of my Fuji...till my LBS wrench finally replaced my salmon kool-stops with some black shimano shoes.
Is that a case of the salmon k-s being too grabby for the canti arms to handle?

I had had it with my oryxes but have since reached peace with them (and w/ k-s salmons at that, though I might consider their dual compound ones in the future).

What's this about cartridge pads being easier to adjust? I figured the 'cartridge' was just a metal backing.
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Old 08-04-08, 02:49 PM   #18
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What's this about cartridge pads being easier to adjust? I figured the 'cartridge' was just a metal backing.
With the cartridge pads you can just slide a new pad into the cartridge and not have to fool with adjustment when you change pads. Initial set up is the same.
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Old 08-04-08, 03:00 PM   #19
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I see, you have to set the cartridge up once but after that... does it self-adjust as the pad wears?
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Old 08-04-08, 03:16 PM   #20
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Look for some old NOS or even used Shimano XT/XTR canti's on fleabay. They were super reliable, had a snappy feel, and should be easy to get for cheap as most ppl don't like/want that style of brake anymore.

Here is a XTR set that was just listed.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Shimano-XTR-Cant...6.c0.m14.l1318

The Cheap Avid and Cane Creek/Tektro canti's for sale now are just that, cheap. If you can hold out for a bit, I would get some better quality Shimanos.
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Old 08-04-08, 03:17 PM   #21
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I see, you have to set the cartridge up once but after that... does it self-adjust as the pad wears?
They're pretty thin. Not much need for adjustment as they wear. They look like the threaded "Thinline" series from Kool Stop, but without the posts.
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Old 08-04-08, 03:55 PM   #22
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Incorrect. I used to agree...but I found that using a brake shoe with the proper material, in addition to proper adjustment, quiets them down. I thought I'd never get the squeal out of the Shortys on the front of my Fuji...till my LBS wrench finally replaced my salmon kool-stops with some black shimano shoes.
Koolstop Dual compound pads do a great job of quieting the squeal.

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Old 08-04-08, 04:14 PM   #23
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I have some Avid Shorty 4s with the Koolstop Dual pads up there ^^^ and I have zero squeal issues. It took a bit of work to get the toe in set up right, but everything has worked beautifully since then.
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Old 08-04-08, 05:18 PM   #24
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Brake squeal has everything to do with pad quality and pad positioning. Toeing in the pad slightly will eliminate the squeal.
Not always. There is a complex interplay between pads, rims and brake mechanicals that can cause various degrees of squeal and chatter. Both pad material and rim surface are important. Even the properties of the frame and fork can be important. Setting up cantis is an art where all those elements must be work together. Sometimes no amount of toe-in can solve the problem and you have to change one of the other elements. What works for one set-up won't always work for another.
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Old 08-04-08, 06:12 PM   #25
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I have the Tektro Oryx on my LHT with Kool Stop Salmon color pads and they work great even when loaded up. I haven't even thought about replacing them.
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