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  1. #1
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    V-brakes vs. Cantilevers

    I have read from many different sources, as well as talked with many bike shop owners about why canti-lever brakes are supposed to be superior to linear-pull V-brakes in adverse conditions, i.e. like muddy rims. Cantilevers are "supposed" to provide superior stopping power for Cyclocross racers in these bad conditions. If this is the case, then why don't Canti's come on todays Mountain Bikes instead of the more prevalant linear- pull V-brakes? Mountain Bike riders/racers are just as likely to encouter these adverse braking conditions as Cyclocrossers! Anyone have any ideas?

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    The reason that 'cross racers use canti's is due to incompatibility between road levers and long pull (or V-style) brakes. Yes, they do make adapters, but all the ones that I have tested have very poor feel and modulation.

    Other than 'cross applications I'm not a big cantilever fan. I think in all conditions v-brakes are superior. Cantilever's may provide more mud clearance in sticky gummy situations. But if it's really muddy rim brakes really aren't the best choice anyways. A disc is much superior in muddy conditions.

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    Canti's were on all bikes a few years back. Now the industry is pushing V Brake style systems. I am sure we will see the return of cantilevers in a few years.

    V Brakes are much smoother than many cantilevers thus many riders blessed tis but a nice set of cantilevers were really good as well.

    Now the industry is pushing disc brakes. These are very good, but setting them up is many hard for many and many times ends up being costly and timely to many.

    Bottom line is personal preference. I hate it when the industry forces fads to the public but sadly that is what many want. Many want to buy then and now and companies are forced to make a decision for you. I wish they let people decide but this would mean people would have to wait to get what they want and people now days do not want to wait.

    Buy what you want. XTR Cantilevers were very good and smooth. Here on the local club we have a MTB hall-of-famer. He is old school and all his machines have cantilever and a few even U Brakes!

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    I think this whole braking thing is exagerated. I pretty recently changed from XT cantilevers to SRAM 9.0 v-brakes. I never had any troubles locking the wheel with my XT Cantis, and then I guess it does the job. The v-brakes does feel a little better, but they doesn't make me stop in fewer feets. The v-brakes are easier to adjust and such though.

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    I am thinking that the best reasons for V-Brakes are that they provide better modulation (*feel* or stopping power vs. brake lever pressure) and, something you all missed, a weight savings.

    Granted, not all V's are lighter than the lightest Canti. But, the run of the mill V is lighter than the same run of the mill Canti.

    Pyschocross has been addressed but, I would like to reinforce the previous answer. I don't remember the name of the author, but they were right about the cable pull differences and the adapters not really cutting the mustard in a race situation.

    Pyschocrossers argue the merits of brakes with mud clearance mostly because of the tight clearances between tire and frame and/or fork. The preferred canti brake is modeled after an old school design that places the arms almost perpendicular to the fork/frame tubes. That way there is less of a chance of mud build up on the arms that can impede travel of pad to rim.

    By the way, I saw a guy with disks on his cross bike(cable).
    He was also a singlespeeder and didn't change bikes or stop for cleaning at all. This was a local race in Feb. (snow and mud). Although he couldn't keep up in the sprints, he made up for it in time savings and possibly a lighter bike to propel up the hills. He landed in second by less than two seconds (pro-team rider out sprinted him).

    Makes ya think about psycho-strategies, huh?

    Smile more,
    Arjai

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    b-u-m-p

  7. #7
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    Did you have anything to add to this five-and-half year old thread?

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    I've heard all the arguments about how wonderful cantilevers are and how they can be just as strong as V-brakes, but in my personal experience that isn't true. V-brakes tend to be stronger and are easier to adjust than cantilevers. When I swapped out the stock cantilevers on my Surly Cross Check for V-brakes, the stopping power was noticeably increased. Cable routing is cleaner and the arms don't stick out as far. Cantilever brakes are not going to come back. If anything, V-brakes are going away. Just check out the 2006 mountain bikes - more and more of the cheaper bikes now sport discs. I considered disc brakes a fad myself, but my latest bike sports Avid BB7 discs and I am now convinced of their superiority for most mountain bikes (and for cyclocross). One of the reasons few cyclocross bikes have disc brakes is because they aren't legal in some races. Once that changes, I think cyclocross bikes and touring bikes will finally let cantilever brakes die and make the switch to disc brakes.

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    this thread is 5.5 years old

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    Senior Member Lamplight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelerer
    b-u-m-p
    Dude, come on!

    Quote Originally Posted by arjaitheoriginal
    Granted, not all V's are lighter than the lightest Canti. But, the run of the mill V is lighter than the same run of the mill Canti.
    Are you sure about that? I really don't know, that's why I'm asking. But I have just plain old early '90s Shimano cantilevers on my bike and they really don't weigh much at all. I've never worked with V-brakes so I don't know how heavy they are, and I can see them maybe being pretty close. Just hard to imagine them being lighter.

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    Senior Member jjbod1's Avatar
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    Now this thread is almost 9 years old. So there!!!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjbod1 View Post
    Now this thread is almost 9 years old. So there!!!
    Really? I mean, really?

    Come on....
    Generic Joke

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xavier View Post
    Canti's were on all bikes a few years back. Now the industry is pushing V Brake style systems. I am sure we will see the return of cantilevers in a few years.


    jjbod1...burn in heck!

  14. #14
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    Kudos on using the search feature...

  15. #15
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    9.5 years.
    Specialized Tricross Sport 2009. Giant Yukon FX 3.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevage View Post
    9.5 years.
    It's like a time warp, maaaaaannnn.

  17. #17
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    wow....

    now days its either V's vs Disk,
    or Mech. vs Hydro lol..........
    2007 Kona Dawg
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  18. #18
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    Wow... this is the oldest thread that I have ever seen.

  19. #19
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    Hokay, I have a bike with canti's, I have a bike with V's, and I have a bike with mech disk. I use them all at various times depending on what's going on. Must say I like the canti's. They are lighter than the other two (as is the bike). As long as they stop the bike I'm good.

    Had to post...I'll check to see if I'm still here ten years from now.

  20. #20
    Senior Member jjbod1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2tall View Post
    Hokay, I have a bike with canti's, I have a bike with V's, and I have a bike with mech disk. I use them all at various times depending on what's going on. Must say I like the canti's. They are lighter than the other two (as is the bike). As long as they stop the bike I'm good.

    Had to post...I'll check to see if I'm still here ten years from now.
    + 1

  21. #21
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    Question: Should I Get Disc Brakes or Rim Brakes?

    Question: Should I Get Disc Brakes or Rim Brakes? - What System Will Weigh More
    This is a common question but the answer is not always what you want to hear.
    Answer: There are two quick and dirty answers to the disc brake or rim brake question:
    One, If you want better, more consistent brake performance in all conditions and don't really care if it weighs a little more or costs a little more, choose disc brakes over rim brakes.
    Two, if you want the lightest set-up you can have, and are willing to accept small variances in brake performance, or if a low price is really important, choose rim brakes over disc brakes.
    In a little more detail. Mountain bike rim brakes have gone through several design changes over the years. They started with the original cantilever brakes, went through the dark U-Brake years, and are now known as V-Brakes. V-Brakes work well in most conditions.
    Rim brakes have some drawbacks. They require straight un-damaged rims to perform their best. Rim brakes perform poorly in wet or muddy conditions. Over time, Rim brakes can wear right through the side of your rim literally causing the side of the rim to blow off (I've seen this happen and its not pretty.).
    Disc brakes have been around for a long time in cars but weren't seriously used on bikes until the mid to late 90's. There were definitely some issues with some of the earlier models but the disc brakes of today, cable actuated or hydraulic, perform quite well.
    The performance of disc brakes is considerably better than rim brakes. Especially in wet or muddy conditions. Disc brakes usually require less force to apply and aren't effected by rim/wheel condition.
    The biggest downside to disc brakes is the added weight. By the time you add everything in, including front and rear brakes and the added weight of the disc specific hubs, you end up with around 150 to 350 grams additional weight to the whole bike. This weight number greatly depends on the wheels, rims, hubs, and disc brake system you choose.
    Cost is certainly an issue as well. Disk brake systems are usually more expensive compared to rim brakes. Mechanical or cable actuated disc brakes are a closer match but will still cost a little more. Hydraulic disc brake systems can cost significantly more.
    To switch from one system to the other you will in most cases not only have to buy the new set of brakes but you will have to buy a new wheelset as well. Disc rims usually cannot be used with rim brakes and the standard hubs that are used with rim brake wheels usually cannot be used with discs.
    The trend in the industry is certainly towards discs and the technoloy is improving every year. Personally, I will never go back to rim brakes on my own bike. For me, the consistent performance and non-rim-dependent nature of discs is well worth the added weight.

  22. #22
    use your best eye kenhill3's Avatar
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    Good post, machine3006, but the thread topic doesn't concern discs.

    Yeah, 9-year old thread!
    "I tell you, We are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different." - Kurt Vonnegut jr.

  23. #23
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    It needs to be mentioned that disc brakes also require a different fork construction and rear triangle and it is heavier
    I find the non-disc frames superior. As a rider of 1985 era touring frames with cantilevers, I will be switching one to v-brakes now that a road brake lever is available for V-brake pull.

    Note when a tread lasts around 10 years that road levers for v-brakes have finally appeared ..No need for travel agents.

  24. #24
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    Are disc-specific rims any lighter than their rim brake counterparts?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Dempsey View Post
    It needs to be mentioned that disc brakes also require a different fork construction and rear triangle and it is heavier
    I find the non-disc frames superior. As a rider of 1985 era touring frames with cantilevers, I will be switching one to v-brakes now that a road brake lever is available for V-brake pull.

    Note when a tread lasts around 10 years that road levers for v-brakes have finally appeared ..No need for travel agents.
    Yes but there are no in-line levers or cross-top levers that work with v-brakes. That's what I'd really like.

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