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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 02-01-10, 08:45 PM   #1
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Why cantis on a cross bike?

I have searched high and low, and while I have found some information (including Sheldon) on cantilever brakes, I cannot figure out why they are used instead of linear pull.

I did find one thread that mentioned direct pull not working so well with STI levers, but that's it. The clearance on the linear pull is the same if not greater than cantis, from what I can see. I have a FB roadie that has long reach linears, and they would seem ideal for the new cross bike. I am considering the switch because I do not race, nor do I commute in conditions bad enough to cake up the braking area.

So is the STI/linear pull relationship the reason why cantis are favored on cross bikes? Is it even possible to switch to direct pull? Any links to other threads welcome, I just could not find the answer to my question.
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Old 02-01-10, 08:56 PM   #2
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Cyclocross was around way before that type of brake was developed and so there is a traditional element to cantilever's continuing dominance for 'cross. However, you can use full size v-brakes with cable pull adapters called travel agents or use tektros mini-vs without adapters since they work fine with the amount of cable pulled by road levers.
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Old 02-01-10, 09:05 PM   #3
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So it is true then that STI levers don't pull as much cable as, say, my Shimano 8-speed road bar shifters?
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Old 02-01-10, 09:24 PM   #4
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Found my answer over in Bike Mechanics. Thanks for the input.
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Old 02-02-10, 11:09 AM   #5
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Have you even tried the cantilever brakes that come with your new bike?
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Old 02-02-10, 01:59 PM   #6
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The ability to adjust cantilever brakes is a cool, retro, esoteric skill to pick up -- not unlike being able to use a slide rule or solve a Rubik's Cube. Yes, it can be frustrating before you figure it out, but once you do you've gain a new level of independence and self reliance.

On the other hand, is there some technical reason that it's not possible to make an STI lever with long pull?
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Old 02-02-10, 04:27 PM   #7
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is there some technical reason that it's not possible to make an STI lever with long pull?
AFAIK it's a financial reason.

Travel agents work great but people tend not to like them because they add weight and look a bit kludgey.
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Old 02-02-10, 04:43 PM   #8
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I was told by a local mech that all new STI's are changing the pull to match linear pull brakes. This means that they are also changing all their calipers. I hope that SRAM doesn't go this route.
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Old 02-02-10, 06:29 PM   #9
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Have you even tried the cantilever brakes that come with your new bike?
Nope, but if you search for this topic anywhere on BF, you will find a preponderance of negative feedback. Of course I will try them when the bike arrives, but what would you deduce from the storm of canti criticism and someone even going as far as to invent a tool to convert to linear pull. I like what I like, and if tradition is the only thing keeping these things on cross bikes, I'll gladly switch to what works for me.
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Old 02-02-10, 08:33 PM   #10
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Nope, but if you search for this topic anywhere on BF, you will find a preponderance of negative feedback. Of course I will try them when the bike arrives, but what would you deduce from the storm of canti criticism and someone even going as far as to invent a tool to convert to linear pull. I like what I like, and if tradition is the only thing keeping these things on cross bikes, I'll gladly switch to what works for me.
Guess what: the many many people (like me) who have no big issues with our cantilever brakes...don't post whiny threads about them.

And just as an aside, you don't mean deduce, you mean infer.

Anyway, until you actually get your bike, you're just tilting at windmills. If brakes work, use them.
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Old 02-02-10, 08:38 PM   #11
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Guess what: the many many people (like me) who have no big issues with our cantilever brakes...don't post whiny threads about them.

And just as an aside, you don't mean deduce, you mean infer.

Anyway, until you actually get your bike, you're just tilting at windmills. If brakes work, use them.
Someone piss in your corn flakes this morning? Your post is short in the support/advice department.

Oh, and thanks for the English lesson. If that is the extent of your available knowledge, I'll just stick ya on ignore.
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Old 02-03-10, 11:37 AM   #12
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Once you get over being offended by flargle reread his post. There is some good advise in there. Basically, wait until you get on the bike for a while before upgrading things and generally the people who complain about cantis don't understand how they work so they don't adjust them correctly.
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Old 02-03-10, 12:44 PM   #13
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AFAIK it's a financial reason.

Travel agents work great but people tend not to like them because they add weight and look a bit kludgey.
Travel agents do work quite well but I do not like them because they are a pain in the butt when it comes to removing wheels. Double pain in the butt when you have to take your wheels off to get the bike in the car. Then put them back on and redo the travel agents. Weight and looking kludgey have nothing to do with it. Thus I had the Vs removed from my tricross and replaced with shorty 6's. Sure, they squeal, but it beats travel agents by a large margin. Especially when it is raining and you have a flat to change.

OP, save yourself a headache. Stick with the well adjusted cantis (pay for it if you can't manage on your own), besides, all the cool kids have cantis.
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Old 02-03-10, 12:59 PM   #14
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Travel agents do work quite well but I do not like them because they are a pain in the butt when it comes to removing wheels. Double pain in the butt when you have to take your wheels off to get the bike in the car. Then put them back on and redo the travel agents. Weight and looking kludgey have nothing to do with it. Thus I had the Vs removed from my tricross and replaced with shorty 6's. Sure, they squeal, but it beats travel agents by a large margin. Especially when it is raining and you have a flat to change.
I have no idea what you are talking about. Disconnecting the travel agent for wheel changes works just the same as with a noodle.

P.S. We're talking about the kind of setup shown below, right?
P.P.S. Although mini-Vs work fine, if you are using a travel agent you might as well use a normal V brake. I also don't recommend using a mini-V with a short cable pull, although people do it. You are forced to have your brake pads too close to the rim. The bottom setup worked great, but after I swapped the Origin-8 fork for the original steel fork (for reasons unrelated to braking) I also went back to using a cantilever. One thing I never tried with the Origin-8 fork was a fork-crown-mounted cable stop; according to Lennard Zinn, this cures brake shudder/squeal on even the lightest carbon forks.
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Old 02-03-10, 01:29 PM   #15
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Your post is short in the support/advice department.
Once you know more about bikes and internet advice, you might understand that it was the best advice that you got.
OTOH, English lessons are always out of line, imo.
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Old 02-03-10, 03:19 PM   #16
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I have no idea what you are talking about. Disconnecting the travel agent for wheel changes works just the same as with a noodle.
Ok, that definatly is not what the bike shop put on my bike. Whatever the heck it was that they put on was a little in line barrel that you twisted to take in and let out slack. It was impossible to open the noodle without letting the thing almost all the way out. Not to thread jack, but any idea just what the heck that was? I remember paying for travel agents and got something completly different.

Now I'm knida POed that I bought a new brake set when what in pictured above was all I needed.
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Old 02-03-10, 03:33 PM   #17
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Ok, that definatly is not what the bike shop put on my bike. Whatever the heck it was that they put on was a little in line barrel that you twisted to take in and let out slack. It was impossible to open the noodle without letting the thing almost all the way out. Not to thread jack, but any idea just what the heck that was? I remember paying for travel agents and got something completly different.
Sounds like they just gave you an inline barrel adjuster. It's a totally inadequate solution to the mismatch between your levers and brakes, because it doesn't change the amount of cable that your levers are pulling. Feel free to print out the above photo and take it to your bike shop!
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Old 02-07-10, 01:54 AM   #18
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Ok so i got my new Jake, took it for a ride and imediatly thought to myself these brakes really suck. sat down and messed with the brakes for about an hour, apperently did something right. Stops as well as most V-brakes i have used in the past. Granted it took me a while to get it right, but they work just fine. wont be replacing the cantis with v's as ihad thought i would be doing even before i bought the bike.
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Old 02-07-10, 08:39 AM   #19
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The amount of time spend here discussing the various work-arounds for connecting linear pull brakes to STI or road levers, verses just sticking with cantis, pretty much answers the OP's question.
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Old 02-07-10, 12:46 PM   #20
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Having not spent a bunch of time in this relatively inactive forum, you'd think my searches would yield more hits. Even if I didn't search, at least I'm introducing a new thread.

Back in the 70's, my bikes all had what we then called center pulls - I'm sure today's cantis are much like those, mechanically speaking. Having taken some time off from cycling, by the time I came back into the fold direct pull and double caliper brakes had been introduced/improved. Why go with an inferior technology on these bikes was all I was asking. The acerbic and snobby responses are duly noted and will go in my Big Book of Grievances
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Old 02-07-10, 02:08 PM   #21
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Having not spent a bunch of time in this relatively inactive forum, you'd think my searches would yield more hits. Even if I didn't search, at least I'm introducing a new thread.

Back in the 70's, my bikes all had what we then called center pulls - I'm sure today's cantis are much like those, mechanically speaking. Having taken some time off from cycling, by the time I came back into the fold direct pull and double caliper brakes had been introduced/improved. Why go with an inferior technology on these bikes was all I was asking. The acerbic and snobby responses are duly noted and will go in my Big Book of Grievances
I think you got the answers you got because of your know it all statement of them being inferior. They aren't inferior. They are what they are based off the application. DuraAce calipers would be inferior on a cyclocross bike in a race. Canti's would be inferior on a road race bike in a crit. It's about using the proper tool for the job. If you never plan on racing cross and needing large tire and mud clearance, then they aren't the improper tool for you. Change them and put the right brake that works in the riding that you do. For me, canti's are the proper tool. I use my bike(s) for all riding and many times this includes cross racing or sometimes some muddy off roading. I've learned the proper techniques to adjust canti's to where they function quite nicely for me on the road and while I don't do road racing, they work perfectly fine for the riding I do.

If you want supportive answers about how inferior canti brakes are, then post it in the road forum. You'll get no love here.
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Old 02-08-10, 06:17 AM   #22
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Nope, but if you search for this topic anywhere on BF, you will find a preponderance of negative feedback.
If you have problems, either fit a mini vees or regular vees and a travel agent. If you do this you'll lose mud clearance, but unless you are a very hardcore cross racer you won't care.
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Old 02-08-10, 06:19 AM   #23
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Back in the 70's, my bikes all had what we then called center pulls - I'm sure today's cantis are much like those, mechanically speaking.
Not especially, no.
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Old 02-08-10, 01:17 PM   #24
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Not especially, no.
You have to be kidding me. Not much has changed in physics in 30 years It was a rhetorical statement.
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Old 02-08-10, 01:22 PM   #25
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I think you got the answers you got because of your know it all statement of them being inferior. They aren't inferior. They are what they are based off the application. DuraAce calipers would be inferior on a cyclocross bike in a race. Canti's would be inferior on a road race bike in a crit. It's about using the proper tool for the job. If you never plan on racing cross and needing large tire and mud clearance, then they aren't the improper tool for you. Change them and put the right brake that works in the riding that you do. For me, canti's are the proper tool. I use my bike(s) for all riding and many times this includes cross racing or sometimes some muddy off roading. I've learned the proper techniques to adjust canti's to where they function quite nicely for me on the road and while I don't do road racing, they work perfectly fine for the riding I do.

If you want supportive answers about how inferior canti brakes are, then post it in the road forum. You'll get no love here.
Well, I have a cyclo bike, not a road bike, and my 'know it all' statement came from past posts in THIS forum by other members. I'll get my answers and my English lessons from Google next time
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