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  1. #1
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    What's wrong with side-pull caliper brakes for touring?

    I know the conventional wisdom is to go for cantis, V brakes or even disks for touring, but what exactly is wrong with side-pull calipers? Is it stopping power? - I thought side-pulls were meant to be more powerful than cantis etc. (I presume that the problems is not reach, as Shimano makes an Ultegra-grade long-reach caliper brake - the "BR-R600" - that will accommodate a 32mm tire, but please correct me if this is the main deficiency seen in side-pull calipers).

    Thanks, Tom

  2. #2
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Calipers limit your options for fitting fenders and getting a decent tire size.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  3. #3
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom N.
    I know the conventional wisdom is to go for cantis, V brakes or even disks for touring, but what exactly is wrong with side-pull calipers? Is it stopping power? - I thought side-pulls were meant to be more powerful than cantis etc. (I presume that the problems is not reach, as Shimano makes an Ultegra-grade long-reach caliper brake - the "BR-R600" - that will accommodate a 32mm tire, but please correct me if this is the main deficiency seen in side-pull calipers).

    Thanks, Tom
    Mostly tire width. Generally speaking, most side pulls are made for bikes that have narrow tires (<25mm). You can ride a 25 or even a 28mm tire while touring but something in the 32 to 40mm range is much more comfortable. Once you start to widen the calipers to fit something that wide, you end up with a really flexible arm, unless it's very, very beefy. As an extreme example, go ride an old Huffy with sidepulls on it. Cooked pasta is stiffer

    Cantilevers, being rather stubby, don't flex as much and provide better braking with wide tires because they can be tucked in under the tire. Cantilevers, because of their longer lever arm (relative to the pivot point), can put more stopping power to the rim which makes them more powerful than single pivot side pulls. Dual pivot sidepulls increase the mechanical advantage and result in much more powerful brakes...close to, if not equal, to cantis.

    You can tour with sidepulls...even single pivot. I've done it, as has my wife, long ago. That includes mountain touring with long fast downhills. If the bike has the proper geometry for touring and only takes sidepulls, that shouldn't be a barrier.
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  4. #4
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    There is quite a variety of interesting brakes here:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/brake...ers.html#55-73

    I was wondering in particular whether the BMX type would have enough girth to get around 32-37MM tires.

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