LBSs often allow you to upgrade by sustitution, or just leaving certain parts off. The B17 can be a lot more money as a substitution than picking one up for 60 bucks and slapping it on yourself.
You have to be a little careful with brakes since they are rarely actually designed with touring bikes in mind. That means that attempts to substitute can be a problem. I would tend to go with the specified brakes since at least Canondale is backing them as working on their bike. You should be aware that none of the current brake options for touring bikes are perfect, so don't be subsequently surprised if the Canondale chosen ones aren't either, You can do something like upgrade them to Pauls, IF they appear to be extremely similar in form, but going to brakes with different geometry or completely different brakes can be iffy. Of course, if someone you trust recomends a particular set-up they have actually used, that might be different. At best something like Pauls will be better built, and give peace of mind to those who travel fast and heavy, but they probably won't work any better.
I have the 287V for a future project, basically there are three problems.
One is comfort. This didn't worry me, because one can pad brake hoods to whatever shape one wants, and now that I have the brakes, they really don't seem to be different from most I have used, so I'm not worried.
Two, there is a right and wrong way to instal them, and the cable routing can be impeded if done the wrong way giving poor performance. I forget the details, but I'm going to research that when it comes to installing them.
Inherant geometry problem. The problem with linears is they need a large cable take up to operate. On drops this means the pivot point on the brake has to be repositioned so that more cable is taken up. This reduces the mechanical advantage of the lever, and it can't just be reconfigured to be proportionally longer, because, beyond a certain point it would look ugly, and probably be out of reach of the curved drop bar. Flat bars don't impose these design problems. Where this gets to be a problem is riding the hoods. Hood riding is basically the neutral postion on drops. From the hoods the lower pivot points mean the fingers don't get as far below the pivot as they do on conventional levers and this does compromise the effectiveness of the brakes, particularly if you have short fingers.
Linear brakes have the further disadvantage of being more difficult to keep tightly adjusted, as the levers require, and they won't accomodate an out of round wheel well, if you are prone to wheel problems. The big advantage of linears is that they accomodate large bags better than other styles of brake.
Last edited by NoReg; 11-17-07 at 11:15 AM.