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Old 06-05-14, 11:05 AM   #1
JeffOYB
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Are stock canti's really so lame?

I haven't used canti's except on my old mtbike. I haven't used disks, either.

In general in my riding and racing I don't notice my brakes much. My bikes tend to be old. My background is that I've done about 100 races of most kinds over the years.

It's flat around here and wide open. I just don't brake that much or that hard.

I've started CX racing more.

I agree that better braking can equal faster speeds overall.

So last year I enjoyed using my light roadbike for CX racing but, really, it was kinda harsh. I used old 26-28mm sewups. My sidepulls never clogged and they worked fine like always.

I'm planning on getting my first CX frame. It'll have generic canti's I suppose. I just buy cheap old stuff. I'm thinking of a TCX or Redline or Crux -- all a few yrs old.

So... will I notice that the canti's are terrible?

I just had someone tell me to use Linears instead. I kinda like the bold rebel look of canti "ears." I plan to use this bike as my road bike. (Going the other way for a change.) It should be about as light. Similar config.

Really, all I truly need is a road frame with some clearance for 32's and a wee bit o' mud, but what can ya do. I don't race a lot of anything anymore so special bikes aren't needed. I *do* want to keep it under 19 lbs! Using tubies will be my trick to doing that, and to a sweet, plush ride and fun handling.

But are stock canti's going to make me say WTF?
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Old 06-05-14, 12:50 PM   #2
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Yes, canti's suck... We are in similar boats. My cyclocross bike is my road bike and I race both disciplines using the same bike. I don't want disc brakes for a multitude of reasons but canti's seriously suck. I ended up dropping the coin on TRP Mini V brakes and WOW it is a night and day difference. I went from slowly coming to a stop when squeezing hard to almost going over my handle bars on my first brake test with the mini-v's. I also use my cx bike on MTB trails and once swapping from my canti's I have NEVER thought, "wow I need disc brakes".
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Old 06-05-14, 07:01 PM   #3
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It really depends. Wide-profile cantilevers suck when it comes to stopping power. The reason they are still in use is that they offer the best mud clearance of any rim brake option. Depending upon where you are, this might not matter. In the Pacific Northwest, wide cantis might be essential equipment. Here in New England, you can probably get away without them the large majority of the time. Low-profile cantis are a big step up in stopping power. I've definitely heard people complain about them being difficult to set up, but it's pretty simple on a cyclocross racing bike: buy a decent pair of forged cantilevers (I like the Tektro Oryx, the Shimano CX-70s are apparently good as well), replace the stock pads with Kool Stop or SwissStop, and set them up using the shortest available link wire. Do that, and they work great. The downside is that the mud clearance isn't nearly as good as with wide-profile brakes.

The problem with cantilevers in general is that you can get some pretty horrific brake and fork chatter from them, which isn't just annoying, it also makes the bike harder to control. One way of solving or at least reducing this problem is by using a fork crown mounted cable hanger. I had a lot of success with this. Alternatively, if you can't mount a hanger on the fork crown or just don't want to deal with it, you can use mini-v brakes instead. My new bike doesn't have a drilled fork crown, so mini-vs it is, though I had planned on trying them anyway. If it matters to you, mini-vs are also the most powerful of your rim brake options, but I never felt that the braking power with low-profile cantis was a problem. The downside is that mini-vs have the least amount of mud clearance of any option available. I'll admit that this worries me a bit on my current bike, but honestly, I was already pretty screwed in that respect when I was using low-profile cantis. Unfortunately, I have yet to test these out in a race, so I don't actually know yet how they'll perform, but they work great on the trails.
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Old 06-05-14, 08:59 PM   #4
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Get mini v's and be done with it.. Canti's don't suck, we just try to rationalize that we need more toys..
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Old 06-06-14, 02:06 PM   #5
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Get mini v's and be done with it.. Canti's don't suck, we just try to rationalize that we need more toys..
Mosovich is probably right that canti's dont suck. I can never set them up correctly which means I think they suck but in reality my cantilever-setup-skills probably just suck. I do have an old steel mtb with canti levers that stop on a dime but I still vote mini v's!
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Old 06-10-14, 11:14 AM   #6
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Cantis only suck if you compare them to disc brakes, dual pivot caliper brakes, linear pull brakes or mini-V brakes. Otherwise, they're fine.

Mostly, it's that cantilevers have the potential to suck really badly if you don't set them up correctly. That's not true to nearly the same extent with any other type of brake I've used.
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Old 06-15-14, 01:25 PM   #7
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Only if you are a Lousy Mechanic, Jeff ... UCI Cross Worlds 1st Disc brake bikes came in 10th .

You go faster, by not using your brakes.

'stock' is what specifically? TRP Magnesium?

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Old 06-15-14, 11:26 PM   #8
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Old 07-07-14, 10:27 AM   #9
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If it matters to you, mini-vs are also the most powerful of your rim brake options, but I never felt that the braking power with low-profile cantis was a problem. The downside is that mini-vs have the least amount of mud clearance of any option available. I'll admit that this worries me a bit on my current bike, but honestly, I was already pretty screwed in that respect when I was using low-profile cantis.
An update on this: I did a check on my own bike (running a mini-V in front, low-profile cantilever in back) and it turns out that this is incorrect. The mini-V and canti brake have approximately equal amounts of clearance between the pads and rim. So it's unlikely that you'd really be giving anything up in terms of mud clearance going from low-profile cantis to mini-Vs. That is, if it's really muddy, you're just as bad off with either one. So I'd say you might as well use mini-Vs instead of low-profile cantis, especially if you have trouble with cantilever setup.
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Old 07-08-14, 10:18 AM   #10
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That is, if it's really muddy, you're just as bad off with either one. So I'd say you might as well use mini-Vs instead of low-profile cantis, especially if you have trouble with cantilever setup.
I would be more concerned with clearance between the tire and straddle cable. I'm not experienced in racing, but I did pit for a very muddy race during Nats a few years ago, and brake pad clearance was never the major issue.
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Old 07-08-14, 12:37 PM   #11
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Mud clearance is a very misunderstood issue. I'm just not sure if it's me misunderstanding it or other people.

The issue, it seems to me, is whether or not you accumulate enough mud to create drag. As such, mud on the brake pad itself will be scraped away the next time you touch the brakes and when you release the brake there will be a gap. Whether that gap is 1 mm or 4 mm makes very little difference as neither one creates drag and mud that's thick enough to clump will touch either one.

The real question, then, is what kind of surface the brake itself creates for mud accumulation. A brake like the Shimano CX70 looks, on first glance, like it's got a pretty big surface area, but the surface is mostly well away from the tire, so in my opinion this brake has good mud clearance.



Something like the TRP CX8.4 is sleeker, but it has a few more bits that are close to the tire, notably the noodle and straddle cable but even the brake arms to some extent.



Even so, I think that's plenty of clearance for all but the absolute stickiest of mud. In fact, if the mud is clumping that badly running may be in order.

By comparison, a dual pivot caliper brake like the Ultegra below completely hugs the tire. Even if such a brake happens to let the knobs of a CX tire pass, it's likely to create drag in thick mud.



So while I do accept the traditional dogma that mud clearance is a design factor in CX brakes, I find that nearly all cantilever and mini V brakes more than adequately meet the criteria.
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Old 07-15-14, 04:16 PM   #12
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These are good points. Applying some critical thought to the question, and it seems fairly obvious that brake pad clearance wouldn't be the most important issue for mud clearance in general. I've only done one race so far where mud accumulation was an issue, and it was primarily an issue because there were so many dead leaves mixed in with the mud. The problem was that big clumps of leaves and mud would not pass very easily between the seatstays and chainstays, with chainstay and seatstay bridges in particular being problematic. They would also pack up behind the front brake when passing through the fork. Thanks for making me think, guys.
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Old 08-03-14, 08:33 AM   #13
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Mini-V's accumulate Mud much quicker than any canti brake will. And since the pad is closer to the rim it will wear the rim very quickly. I tired to run TRP CX9's during a very wet CX season in NE Ohio a couple years ago. I killed a set of wheels in 6 races.

V-brakes are not a good solution.
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Old 08-04-14, 10:45 AM   #14
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As already noted, mini-v pads need not sit any closer to the rim than the pads on low-profile cantilevers.
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Old 11-10-14, 10:48 PM   #15
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ran into a little mud/tall grass issue at yesterday's race. it go so thick, it jammed up the rear wheel. i had to dump it in the pit and grab my single speed for the last grueling lap.
i think some of the problem can be attributed to lack of brake clearance. the Andy_K pic of the TRP brakes are very similar to what i am using. FWIW, the majority of us with V breaks suffered clogging issues while the cantilever group not as much. i think longer arms maybe the answer. which brand has the longest arms is a mystery to me as the companies neglect to provide this spec.
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Old 11-11-14, 10:09 AM   #16
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I have never had any issues with my cantis but I am in Colorado. They have taken to adding more mud sections this year.
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Old 11-11-14, 05:50 PM   #17
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just a slight problem....
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Old 11-11-14, 05:53 PM   #18
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and the crank isn't any better.

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Old 11-11-14, 05:57 PM   #19
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front wasn't sooo bad.
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Old 11-12-14, 01:09 PM   #20
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Yes cantis really are so lame. Take a relatively slender road-type fork, put a cantilever brake on it, and especially with the typically long cable run they usually have between the hanger and the yoke, you have a recipe for ****ty braking. This issue is well known amongst cyclocrossers and bike mechanics. Yes there are tweaks you can do to improve the situation, but do yourself a favor and get a v-brake of some kind. It's night and day the improvement in braking. Fork shudder gone. I got the Paul MiniMoto MiniMoto from Paul Component Engineering and it is awesome. Very easy to adjust, and with thin pads I have as much clearance as a canti, works great. It's a slender minimalist design and I don't find it collects any more muck than a canti does. It's a boutique brake that's a little spendy, and I think there are more mainstream options out there now. I just got one for the front, I kept the canti on the rear because on the rear cantis don't have nearly the problems.
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