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Old 12-10-09, 08:38 AM   #1
CNY James
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drop bars, cantilever brakes (kind of a noob)

okay so I am "building" a bike this winter, its more of a conversion but the only thing I am keeping from the old bike is the frame...

it has what I thought to be V brakes (since the cable made a "V") but doing more research, at appears that they are actually cantilever brakes. I was planning to use Tektro RL520 brake levers on the bike. Can I/should I still use these or will any drop bar brake lever work?

this is what my brakes look like (not my bike...)

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Old 12-10-09, 08:43 AM   #2
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Yes, pretty much any brake lever will work.
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Old 12-10-09, 09:25 AM   #3
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cool, no other cable adapters will be needed as they would if i used any brake lever with V brakes?
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Old 12-10-09, 01:23 PM   #4
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The rl250 levers are long pull for compatibility with linear brakes. Your centerpull cantis are compatible with short pull levers. In Tektro, look at R100A & R200A. Shimano, Cane Creek and others have similar levers. Long pull and short pull are different.
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Old 12-10-09, 02:02 PM   #5
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The rl250 levers are long pull for compatibility with linear brakes. Your centerpull cantis are compatible with short pull levers. In Tektro, look at R100A & R200A. Shimano, Cane Creek and others have similar levers. Long pull and short pull are different.
awesome, thats the info i needed. thank you!
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Old 12-10-09, 05:27 PM   #6
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Don't listen to Chipcom. Most drop bar levers will work, but as said above, the RL520s are for linear pull (V-brakes) brakes. They will feel nice and solid, but you will have terrible braking. You will need to pull twice as hard. Unless you are very strong, I would not recommend that set up.
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Old 12-10-09, 09:27 PM   #7
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I'm going to order the R200A's... seems the only reason to go with the 100's is if I have small hands but I dont... if they dont work well, I am out 17 bucks up front & I suppose I can probably sell em for 10-15 so not much risk of loss. thanks for all the feedback!
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Old 12-10-09, 10:53 PM   #8
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I have a couple of the R100As, I do have small hands. They are fine levers. I find them very comfortable.
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Old 12-11-09, 05:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
Yes, pretty much any brake lever will work.
No! Chip is normally grea, but this time he is wrong.

Any integrated shifter/brake will work, but some single speed brake levers are designed for v-brakes. These will have half the leverage and twice the pull needed.

PS Go to Sheldon Brown's site and read about cantilever set up.
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Old 12-11-09, 06:22 AM   #10
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Ack! sorry, old eyes. I thought you wrote that you had R200s. Luckily other folks check up on my senile ass.
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Old 12-11-09, 12:41 PM   #11
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That's alright, Chip. You are allowed to make a mistake every once and a while. We still love you.
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Old 12-11-09, 12:57 PM   #12
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well, if you want to get technical, he did say "pretty much any" and he's not saying every brake lever. So, he's still right.
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Old 12-11-09, 01:49 PM   #13
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well, if you want to get technical, he did say "pretty much any" and he's not saying every brake lever. So, he's still right.
Technically, he's saying that nearly all of them will work (approaching 100%) and that ones that won't work are rare. Compounding things is that the OP indicated levers that aren't ones that will work. It ends up being worse "advice" than no advice at all!

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No! Chip is normally great, but this time he is wrong.
Pretty much!
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Old 12-11-09, 09:05 PM   #14
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The transverse cable in the photo is much too long.
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Old 12-11-09, 10:17 PM   #15
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I advise changing to cantilers like the Tektro Oryx or Avid Shorty 6 which have the brake pads mounted with shreical washers and nuts, rather than the posts on the pads in your photo. They are much easier to adjust for prcise braking. Your bike shop may have some used ones from people who have upgraded to discs.
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Old 12-12-09, 07:39 AM   #16
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Quote:
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The transverse cable in the photo is much too long.
It's actually a link wire and it's as designed. There is a stripe on the little round disc thing that's supposed to line up with the cable.
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Old 12-12-09, 08:52 AM   #17
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Chip was right.

Changing the length of the bridge cable changes the brake geometry (mechanical advantage) such that either long pull or short pull levers will work equally well with cantilever type brakes.

Here's a link to Sheldon Brown's site which explains it in more detail.
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Old 12-12-09, 10:03 AM   #18
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Chip was right.
Nope. He would have been more right if he had mentioned that the different mechnanical leverage of the levers could be compensated for by different bridge-cable lengths. (Keep in mind that the OP is a self-expressed "noob" who isn't going to be able to guess at important "missing" information.)

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Changing the length of the bridge cable changes the brake geometry (mechanical advantage) such that either long pull or short pull levers will work equally well with cantilever type brakes.

Here's a link to Sheldon Brown's site which explains it in more detail.
There are limits to how long and how short you can make the bridge cable. Isn't it better advice to say to buy the right brake levers?

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