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  1. #1
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    Are cantilever brakes supposed to be this weak??

    I just built up an S-Works Tricross with TRP Euro X canti brakes. I have them set up pretty well, good clearance, good feel, about 1mm toe-in, but they just feel sooo weak. I should mention that the wheels are new but the brakes are slightly used (at least bedded in). I got the squealing to go away but im still shocked just riding around town how weak they are.

    I dont expect them to perform like my hydraulic disc brakes but i cant believe how much weaker they are than my beater bike with cheap Shimano/Tektro V-brakes, something doesnt seem right.

    Am i doing something wrong?

  2. #2
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Post pictures of your setup, and you'll get better responses.

    In general, cantilevers don't feel like V-brakes, but they should provide plenty of stopping power. The trick with cantilevers is that the mechanical advantage is variable. The key implication of this is that pad travel and braking force are inversely proportional. If you have them set up with a lot of rim clearance, they'll be weak. If you make them powerful, they'll have to be close to the rim. Generally this is done by lowering the yoke -- a lower yoke provides more mechanical advantage (roughly, braking force). If you give yourself too much mechanical advantage, that won't feel good either.

    The primary (and arguably only) problem with cantilever brakes is that they are a PITA to set up optimally.

    The TRP Euro X's have a great reputation. With enough patience you should be able to get them to work well.

  3. #3
    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    When you set up wide profile canti's for clearance you will loose power. If you have muddy races then leave them but if you race in dryer conditions adjust them for power. There is a sticky thread that tons of good info.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

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    Thanks, i just did what you guys suggested (reduce clearance), and while researching i read to lower the guide, and both adjustments really paid off in my brief test. I'll take it out tomorrow when i have more time (and fine tune it). But with just reducing the pad clearance and lowering the straddle guide, it felt like a different brake system.

  5. #5
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    You don't need clearance if you're riding around town. Its all about compromise.

  6. #6
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    Its not a commuter bike, i was just testing it out "around town"

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    I've got Tektro Oryx (much cheaper and crappier than yours) and it stops pretty well...perhaps you may have "good feel" but it could mean you are having pretty low mechanical advantage. It does give you a tight feel but it's actually losing power.

    More distance you pull, the harder Force on the brakes it gives you. Less distance to pull, you need to apply more force into your lever to achieve the same force on the brakes. So if you set it up in a way that allows you only very small distance to pull, you'll have to pull extremely hard on the lever to get enough force into your brakes.
    I've got 2012 Kona Jake

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    really can't help with your your adjustments, remotely.. the fine tuning
    just say, discuss, the setup, but yea pictures are needed..

    have a bike for 30 years , mafac cantilevers... no issues..
    maybe its a combination of learning the way they Do work,
    and grabbing the lever a little harder..

    happy with the newer 'Spooky' brand variant .. of the EuroX type brake too..
    added TRP's angle adjustable bad/holder . gain, some toe -in pad contact.. , then..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 07-29-12 at 02:50 AM.

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