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  1. #1
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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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...)


  2. #2
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Yes, pretty much any brake lever will work.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  3. #3
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    cool, no other cable adapters will be needed as they would if i used any brake lever with V brakes?

  4. #4
    just pokin' along desertdork's Avatar
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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.

  5. #5
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by desertdork View Post
    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!

  6. #6
    Senior Member SweetLou's Avatar
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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.
    Learn what's a platform pedal.

  7. #7
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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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!

  8. #8
    Senior Member SweetLou's Avatar
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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.
    Learn what's a platform pedal.

  9. #9
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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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.

  10. #10
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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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.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  11. #11
    Senior Member SweetLou's Avatar
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    That's alright, Chip. You are allowed to make a mistake every once and a while. We still love you.
    Learn what's a platform pedal.

  12. #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.
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster View Post
    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!

    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    No! Chip is normally great, but this time he is wrong.
    Pretty much!

  14. #14
    BeaverTerror Yan's Avatar
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    The transverse cable in the photo is much too long.
    Yan

    2013 True North custom touring; 2010 Novara Randonee; 2009 Unicycle.com Club 24"; 1989 Miele Tivoli; 1979 Colnago Sport

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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.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yan View Post
    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.

  17. #17
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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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.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
    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.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
    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?
    Last edited by njkayaker; 12-12-09 at 12:21 PM.

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