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  1. #1
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    Which are more popular on touring bikes: vs, cantis or discs and why?

    Hello,

    I had made the decision to go with cantis after reading on this forum and coming to the conclusion that most regular tourers use cantis, but a recent member has made me question this conclusion. I know there are those who like v's, those who like discs, and those who like cantis. But just so I can be clear on the subject...which are more popular on touring bikes: vs, cantis or discs and why?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    I'd say cantis are most popular because they are simple, servicable, reliable and will work flawlessly with any road brake levers. For discs you need special wheels and fork, and for V brakes you either need a little device ("Travel agent") or a specific set of levers designed to work with V's(can't remember the model but everyone here knows them).

    Cantis will pretty much stop you as fast as you need, and have less tight tolerances than V brakes. Disc brakes provide superior braking in all conditions and can prevent your rims from heating up on long descents but they have alot that could potentially go wrong and weigh alot.

  3. #3
    Just ride it. MrPolak's Avatar
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    I smiled when I read that disc brakes "weigh a lot". Surely we have more dust in our panniers than the extra weight the brakes add?

  4. #4
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    Well, when I threw a burly 4130 disc brake fork, disc brake wheel w/ rotor, and hydraulic disc lever and caliper to the front of my fixed gear bike I certainly added on a lot of weight, and certainly alot of added complication. This is coming from someone who rides to work with no brakes at all though...

  5. #5
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    I have discs (Avid roads) on my tourer. Are they really good? Yes. Are they better than cantis or all other non-disc brakes I've tried? Yes. Would I take them off and replace them with cantis/vs/dual caliper etc? Definitely and honestly NO! Are they worth it? Hmmm not so sure.

    Sure they are more powerful and have nice modulation, but quite simply, a good pair of well setup non-disc brakes with good pads (e.g. Koolstop salmons or similar) are more than adequate. Unless you really, really want disc brakes -which I did on a touring bike -or you have enough money to not need to be frugal, I'd say save yourself some money and go with the cantis or v-brakes or whatever. One point that I often hear about disc brakes is that they are "complex" -I'll not argue they are more complex than cantis or v-brakes, BUT I've been using Avid mtb discs for quite a few years now -never a problem. I know quite a few people who have these brakes, and they've never had a problem off roading either. So I ask... what is the realistic likelihood of these brakes suddenly stopping working? Just a thought. I think the complexity issue may be misleading.

    By the way, there is a noticeable weight gain with the Avid roads -adding in the calipers, discs, and hubs (Shimano Deore, so they aren't that light). I do notice the weight gain, but once fully loaded I can't honestly notice and the braking performance is excellent.

    You pays your money, you takes your choice. If you want the best and money is no object, go with the discs. To answer your question, I'd hazard a guess the most popular are cantis; good value, reliable and allow for mudguard clearance as well as road bike brake lever use.

  6. #6
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    I have discs on my commuter. Didn't think they were really worth it, but wanted to try something new. About two months after buying the bike, on a drizzly day, a SUV blew through a stop sign. I slammed the discs and stopped less than an inch from being hit. Are they worth it, absolutely.
    The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. M.L.King

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrPolak
    I smiled when I read that disc brakes "weigh a lot". Surely we have more dust in our panniers than the extra weight the brakes add?
    Wheel weight is far more critical than the weight of other parts of the bike because, whenever the bike is in motion, the wheels are accelerating.

  8. #8
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    Do you need a stiffer fork for front disks? How does that affect comfort?

  9. #9
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I personally avoid disc brakes for touring, as they will be substantially more difficult to fix and get parts when on the road. Plus, for those truly going on the long haul, it's easier to carry a few spare v-brake (or even canti) parts than disc parts.

    I may be wrong, but IIRC cantilevered brakes are really only good for skinny tires. So v-brakes it is.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Sebach's Avatar
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    I think the only common brakes which are only good for skinny tires are the side-pull caliper brakes commonly seen on road bikes. Cantilevers (set by hanger height) actually allow for large tires if I'm not mistaken. The only other common types of brakes which allow for larger tires than canti's can handle are drum and disc brakes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:S...per_brakes.jpg
    Good luck getting a Pugsly Large Marge rim and tire in there.

    I'm personally partial to discs myself, then V's (on my tourer) and finally cantis. I use all of these brake types on my various bikes.
    I find cantis a bit more of a pain to adjust, I keep wishing I had a third hand when I adjust my cantis. I would lose my head if I tried to do that on the side of some road in the middle of nowhere in 40/104 degree heat, being eaten alive by mossies.

    All things considered, I would prefer V brakes myself for a true long haul somewhere in the world. However, my biggest reluctance for V's is that nearly all the dropbar brake levers (apart from Dia Compe 287v's, which I currently use) are not made for linear pull. These 287v levers aren't too good and I think they are simply redrilled regular 287 levers. I say that if Shimano made a selection drop levers (and maybe STI's) for linear pull, then V brakes would be adopted by far more tourers and probably be the norm.
    Last edited by Sebach; 11-01-06 at 01:08 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebach
    I find cantis a bit more of a pain to adjust, I keep wishing I had a third hand when I adjust my cantis. I would lose my head if I tried to do that on the side of some road in the middle of nowhere in 40/104 degree heat, being eaten alive by mossies.
    It's true that cantis are a bit harder to adjust than sidepulls/dual pivots. Yes, it would be nice to have a third hand. Park Tool makes the aptly-named third-hand tool. I use a C-clamp with padded ends when I'm setting up brakes (after replacing pads, or during my annual overhaul). In a pinch, you can use a bungee cord wrapped around the brake and rim if you've got to work by the side of the road. But it's unlikely -- cantis can be pretty forgiving of an out-of-true rim or worn pads.

  12. #12
    Tweaker-Tinkerer Lotum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saintly Loser
    It's true that cantis are a bit harder to adjust than sidepulls/dual pivots.
    I'm glad that you mentioned dual-pivot sidepull brakes. Many of us prefer them to both cantis and discs on our touring bikes. Admittedly, we are then limited in tire size to a maximum of about 700x32c, which--depending on one's point of view--may or may not be a disadvantage.
    "There is nothing, nothing, nothing wrong with spending money on a bike."--Richard Ballantine

  13. #13
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
    I personally avoid disc brakes for touring, as they will be substantially more difficult to fix and get parts when on the road. Plus, for those truly going on the long haul, it's easier to carry a few spare v-brake (or even canti) parts than disc parts.

    I may be wrong, but IIRC cantilevered brakes are really only good for skinny tires. So v-brakes it is.
    Avid mechanical (not hydraulic) disc brakes are practically bombproof. They are EASIER to adjust than any rim brakes. So in theory they would be the best brake possible (outside the weight issue) for a touring bike. In practice this is only true if you are running flat bars - the road bike version isn't as good because in order to keep from having the lever hit the bars you have to adjust them too close to the rotor. Also, there aren't as many racks that will work with disc brake calipers.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    I agree and disagree: first, I completely agree with the comments as to how well constructed the Avids are (and of course I'm assuming the road discs are similar in construction, they appear to be). I think these are seriously tough brakes. Interestingly, I'd also guess carrying a spare caliper would less awkward than carrying two brake arms in your panniers.

    But I have to disagree with your comment about the Avid road discs -mine are great and no problems so far -in fact I've had less problems getting them setup than my mtbs ones. If you want "regular" brake levers on a drop bar, these brakes are a very good combination and offer terrific performance on a loaded tourer. Concerning the racks, that's definitely an issue, but one that can be resolved with a little ingenuity and fabrication. Also, it's not just racks that can be a problem with disc brakes -I had some fenders on both wheels that wouldn't fit (fortunately I had another brand that had no problem).

    And yes, Avid discs are easy to adjust in that you don't need a screwdriver or allen key like V-brakes (but is that really that big a deal?), but they are alot more sensitive to set up, and, in my experience -if you don't like brake disc drag -require more frequent adjustment than V-brakes. All in all, I'd definitely argue a good pair of V-brakes are the easiest to adjust, you really just can't get much more simple and are more "fault" tolerant than discs which are generally more finickety. Having said that, I'm a person who just can't get on with disc drag. so YMMV.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    My Avid mechanical road disks work fine with my Ultegra STI's. No after market gizmos (like Travel Agents) are required. After 4000 miles of touring this summer in the Yukon and Alaska, much on gravel in rainy weather, I had no serious adjustment issues. I just had the peace of mind that if I was barreling downhill on gravel and in the rain - you know, being very very foolish - that I could only blame myself if I couldn't stop. Brakes are for stopping, period. Any system other than the best is a cost/benefit compromise. Having said this, canti's or V's are OK too.

    The rack and fender issues are important ones as they want to occupy the same space as the disks, especially in the rear. However, you just need to try different combinations of racks and fenders to find one that works. If all else fails, you can get a skewer-mounted rack like the Old Man Mountain Sherpa and bend the two lower rear fender stays to avoid the disk mechanism.

    But don't give up. Take a couple of (precisely) face-on and (exact) profile pictures of your rear triangle and email them with an explanatory note to Wayne at wayne@TheTouringStore.com and he will make a recommendation. You might have to buy more than one rack to get the best fit and return the others (as long as they are returned unscratched). I did this and got the best rack (Tubus Logo, needed modest spacers) that both fit my bike and accommodated my fenders (SKS 50mm) and Wayne cheerfully credited my credit card for the one I returned.

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