Differences in rim brakes
So there's a lot of different rim brakes out there. Some are obviously sub-par (rod-actuated stirrups), but I'm not sure what the differences are between others.
More to the point: If I were designing a bike from the ground up, what would determine what kind of brake system I'd use? Why would I pick a linear pull over a center pull caliper, or a side pull caliper? Why does my road bike have one system while my hybrid another?
Wholly different tools, for different purposes.
Road racing as defined by UCI has a standard.. they traditionally race on Sew-ups* rarely over 25mm wide.
*now wire bead follow on that , 700c is about having rims the same size as 28" tubular tires.
Hybrids , as a consumer product , are not restricted. a hybridization of Mountain bike bits and such.
stick drop bars on it, or have a purpose built Cyclocross racing bike with aspirations of racing in High level races
then you will meet up with UCI regulations again.
Horses for courses ,
Cantilever/ V brakes mount below the rim, so clearance above the tire is open..
road bikes for stiffness and light weight brake mounts close
and in the fork crown is a really solid mounting spot
.. as can be the rear seat stay cross brace.. though G force weight shift, while braking.. is forward,
makes that less important.
The main benefit I am aware of for linear pull and cantilever brakes is that they provide more clearance for large tires, fenders etc. However, they require specific mounts on the fork and seat stays.
I know that dual pivot side pulls are the bees knees today, but I remember back when a good set of center pull calipers were sought after... As I recall back then one benefit we were seeking with the center pulls was they stayed centered. Other than that, I am not sure about the benefits of different caliper designs. I know that moving from single pivot to dual pivot for me when I did it led to better braking, but there may have been other factors.
The custom bike buying Brevet event riders who love the traditional bikes of the French Custom Constructeurs
as used for the Big French Annual Paris-Brest-Paris event, that is as old as the TdF,
have specified the brakes a like the Hearse and Singers used in the 50's ~ 60's .. were center pulls
adding the pivot as a braze on right below the fork crown.
I sold a Centurion Pro Tour frame that had brazed-on post mounts for centerpull brake pivots. It came with Dia Compe centerpulls mounted. They seemed to be really rigid and I read that they made for excellent braking.
I've found that I like all types of brakes. Well set up v-brakes stop fantastically. My old Dia Compe 981 cantilevers give the worst braking performance (on my tourer with 27" wheels).
Isn't it true that for most rim brakes, having the correct pull ratio and excellent brake pads are the two most important factors in stopping performance?
One thing to consider is how you use the bike. Freestyle riders, for example, like under the chain stay U-brakes so they won't accidentally hit them with their feet.
My favorites are dual pivot calipers because they are so easy to set up and keep adjusted but they'll only work with about a 28 mm wide tire.
I prefer linear pull brakes to cantys but I've never used a modern canty. The older designs require you to hold the brake pad in 3 different planes while you tighten the pad. I can do it but why would anybody want to?
Another real important consideration is quality. ProMax or (worse) no-name linear pull brakes are much harder to set up and just don't work as well as Avid and Shimano products.
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