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  1. #1
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    V-brakes / linear brakes for my LHT

    Just curious what works best for folks. My bike is primarily a commuter, but when I add a new part, I like to keep touring in mind, and I expect when it comes to brakes there's not much difference. But I wanted to ask on the touring forum because one thing I want to avoid is conflicts between my front brake and front rack. My current set up is pretty tight squeeze (currently it's a crown-mounted headlight that's uncomfortably close to my brake line, but before that it was a front rack attachment that barely worked).

    I'm looking at Shimano Deore, and I'm unclear as to the differences between the M590s and the XTs, other than about $20. But I'm open to other suggestions.

  2. #2
    Stealing Spokes since 82' Fizzaly's Avatar
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    Unless you have the long pull aero levers, V-brakes are gonna be a pain, if you have brifters or short pull levers you'll have to run problem solver travel agents, which work but does add a little resistance on the sqeeze. I ended up ditching the V's to run canti's. i had so many clearance problems with the V, first they would catch on my fenders then the rack front and back. If you get V-brakes anyways make sure to note the length of the arms i think 105mm and up will clear fenders. And if you have brifters and have to go the travel agent way be ready for even more clearance issues with those things in the way.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    I run Albatross bars, not drops, so I have no worries about finding brake levers. My main concern is clearance for my racks and fenders, like you say. I had an arm length for the Deore M590s at one point, but I forgot where I read it. I didn't see an arm length for either of the Shimano Deore V-brakes in Shimano's documentation, but I'll have to go take a closer look. Thanks for the info.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    This is he setup I put on my wife's bike. She wanted STI shifters so a travel agent was used. No problems with them. I am thinking about putting the same set up on my LHT. These are Avid Single Diget 7s. Even with the super small frame (47cm) there was not any problems with rear rack clearance. She does not use a front rack. I know that they would not interfere with the front rack on my bike, but front racks are all different.


  5. #5
    Stealing Spokes since 82' Fizzaly's Avatar
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    What type of front rack are you using, I adapted my front rack mount that used the bridge hole on the forks to clear the brakes, but ultimately i got tired of the travel agents but as you said they wont be needed. Is your LHT 700c or 26" i think alot of the problems i had where because i run 26ers with a 1.5 tire which are "tall" plus my brake arms where only 95mm all in all though with my setup the canti's work better, which is obviously a my case scenario,

  6. #6
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    I had written a fellow LHT rider/tourer who had conquered the same front brake squealing problem that I was having on my LHT. I have since overcome that problem, but he has moved on to "linear" pull brakes. His LHT is also 700c while mine are 26". I haven't changed over, and I don't know if I will, but the following is what he wrote:

    "I'm glad the brake thing worked for you. Actually, I have new Surly braking info you may want. I've recently replaced my LHT stock Tektro cantilever brakes with Shimano Deore XT linear pull brakes and it's been such an improvement! And, instead of getting travel agents to increase the cable pull, I bought new Cane Creek brake levers/hoods that are specifically designed for linear pull brakes......and additionally I also have a set of crosstop brake levers mounted so I have brakes available in two different hand positions. The linear pull brakes are much more responsive than the cantis were; I get the feeling that if I grabbed the levers with full force, I'd go right over the handlebars (especially with the crosstop levers). With the stock canti brakes, I had to squeeze with all my might to slow down..."
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  7. #7
    Senior Member EKW in DC's Avatar
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    I'll be building up my new 56cm (700c) LHT frame next week. Hadn 't even seen mention of issues w/ v-brake clearance of anything on the LHT until now.

    For now, I'll be using the no-name v-brakes from my commuterized/touringized hybrid that's becoming my donor bike, but also plan on upgrading to Avid SD-7s very soon, too. I'll be running 32mm Vittoria Randonneurs and PB Cascadia touring/hyrbid fenders. Hope there won't be any issues.

    Hope to find some comforting reassurances in future posts to this thread from others with experience with v-brakes on their LHTs.

  8. #8
    Stealing Spokes since 82' Fizzaly's Avatar
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    About the only site i can find that states arm length is amazon but i think 107mm would be tall enough for both fenders and rack/light mounts at the crown DEORE

  9. #9
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link. Yeah, Deore M590s are the only ones I've been able to find an arm length on, too. I need to measure the arms on the brakes I currently run for comparison. And, to be clear, while I'm worried about rack compatibility issues, I've been running V-brakes and racks on this bike for a while and the issues, where they existed, were minor. But there were some places where brake and rack hardware was too close for comfort, which is why I thought I'd ask before I sprung for a new set of brakes. I don't want to scare you away from V-brakes, EKW. I just wanted to see if anyone else had issues. Of course you have some on hand, so you'll be able to see for yourself if you have any clearance issues.

    Now I'm trying to figure out the differences between V-brakes. Suggested so far has been Shimano Deore and Avid Single Digit 7. Shimano makes two Deore V-brakes, the M590s and the XTs, and I don't really know the difference other than the M590s are half the price, which makes them more attractive, but also makes me wonder what the XTs have and do I need what they have?

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I use Trekking bars , they like your Albatross bars, take a MTB lever ,

    offer more ways to hold on to change grip to keep numbness at a minimum.

    Lowrider front racks don't interfere with brakes ,
    nor would any that use the bolt that mounts the brakes on the fork, for its upper mount.

    My V mounted brake comes from Magura, It's a Hydraulic rim brake.
    in its 20th year of production in Germany, its a nice smooth modulation
    and has dials in the lever to adjust them as you ride, if that's your choice..

    only shortcoming is the snap in pad is unique to those brakes.
    but they can be un snapped and rotated,
    and you can pick out grit from the pad by removing the pad
    without changing the adjustment.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-28-11 at 02:59 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Yeah, I guess I should have specified that what I'm worried about is a platform front rack that attaches at the fork crown. The front rack I used to have attached there and it was possible to get the brake arms to hit the mounting hardware, and where the brake line went across was really close, but the brakes still worked. I just would rather not cut it so close with the new brakes.

    I've also run trekking bars, but ended up switching to Albatross. I did like the multiple hand positions on the trekking bar, but I find that the one, main hand position on the A-bars is good for me most of the time, and I can grab them at the bend (even put some grips up there) if I need a change.

  12. #12
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    Personally, I've found linear-pull brakes to be much easier to set up and keep adjusted than cantilever brakes. People far more experienced than me say that properly adjusted cantilevers work just as well, and I'm not trying to argue that point. I can say, however, that every time I've installed linear-pull brakes they've worked incredibly well with no fuss, whereas I've had a lot of frustration with cantilevers. (Not always, but definitely for one bike in particular.)

    Anyway, I built my LHT with linear-pull brakes and the Tektro RL520 drop-bar levers designed for them, and they work incredibly well.

    I have a fork crown-mounted headlight, fenders and rear rack and there are no clearance issues.

    I love them, and the only way I'd consider cantilevers would be if I were determined to use integrated brake lever shifters, which I'm not.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Yeah, I started out on my Quest For New Brakes thinking I'd have to switch to standard cantilevers for clearance issues, but lots of people have chimed in to say that it's not a huge deal. I just need to find the right brakes. And that suits me fine because my last two bikes had V-brakes, and I like them. And I've set up cantis for other people and do find them a little more fiddly. I'm sure once you get them dialed in, they're great, but if I can use V-brakes, why not? It sounds to me like a lot of people use Cantilever brakes primarily because a) that's what came with their bike or b) that gives you the most drop bar lever options. Since I don't run drops, and I built this up to my own specs and I like V-brakes, there doesn't seem to be much incentive to change.

  14. #14
    Surf Bum
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    I run Campagnolo shifters with mini-v brakes with an 85mm arm length. This setup does not require travel agents like the full size (100mm and over) v-brakes would require. You do need to start the pads off pretty close to the rim, but even though I ride offroad a lot on cyclocross tires, I don't have any problem keeping the wheels true enough for use with these brakes. I liked the Tektro CR720 cantilevers I had previously, but my personal opinion is that the V-brakes feel even better and are easily as powerful. Absolutely no brake/fork chatter at all (may not be a concern for an LHT with heavier steel fork, but is a concern for cyclocross bikes using lighter carbon forks).

    I think 85mm to 90mm is about the limit for using Campagnolo levers and since the newest Shimano levers pull a bit more cable, I think up to 95mm (like the new TRP mini-Vs) work ok with them. Anything bigger than that and you need to replace the noodle with a travel agent pulley one.


    I don't run fenders but looks like there is still plenty of room to fit them. Here's a picture with 28mm Panaracer Pacella tires.



    You'll notice I have adjustable "noodles". If you don't have quick release on your brake levers, you'll need these for sure. I don't really need them because the Campy levers do have a release, but they help dial the brakes in exactly where you want them anyway so I decided to use them.
    Last edited by pacificaslim; 01-30-11 at 09:24 PM.
    Want to buy: 56mm-58mm Ritchey road frame

  15. #15
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. My problem is that I don't just need clearance for fenders. I also need to leave the attachment at the top of my fork clear, so I think I need taller brakes to clear that mounting point. On the back, on the other hand, I probably want to keep my breaks under my rack attachment. I may consider a mini-v back there because it looks like if I get a much taller brake than I have, the rear rack attachment pieces will interfere.

  16. #16
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    I switched my LHT (54/26") over to XT Deore BR-M770's and Tektro RL520 road style, linear pull. I'm VERY happy with the improved braking vs.the stock catni's. They barely clear my 65mm fenders but work perfectly. Here are some close up pics: view of rear brake and view of front brake
    Last edited by BigAura; 01-31-11 at 03:40 PM. Reason: fixed close-up pics

  17. #17
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    The new version of the Avid Shorty cantilevers are quite nice, and offer the ease of adjustment found in v-brakes. I use them on my tandem and they stop two of us just fine, so I'm sure they'd be good on a single touring bike; indeed, I used the older version of the Shorty on my Cannondale touring bike with good results, but the new version is noticeably better. In both instances I'm pulling them from Ultegra STI brifters, and it's nice not to have to use Travel Agents.

    I'm a big fan of Avid v-brakes over Shimano. I'm not too keen on Shimano's "parallel push" design, as it gets sloppy after the bushings start to wear (I have a set of XTRs on my mountain bike).

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    I am looking at swapping to Vs from cantis as well. I got a set of Tektro brakes 2nd hand but the arms are really long, 120mm, and they interfere with the rack on the rear. However, I need them long enough to fit over mudguards.

    I see the Shimano Deore give an arch height of 107mm. Does anyone know what the Avids are centre of pivot to cable?

    thanks

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    some racks. like Bruce Gordon's BLT-X use a 4 point mount , 2 on either side of the fork crown,
    or top bend in the Unicrown sort of fork. P clamps to forks other than His, at the top.
    + the solid mount onto the fork blade eyelet on the tip, works out fine.

    then no clearance issues either..

  20. #20
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by freebooter View Post
    Does anyone know what the Avids are centre of pivot to cable?
    I just measured my Avid Single Digit 5's: from the center of the pivot to the cable, as close to vertical as I could get the tape measure, I get 10.5 [cm].


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    Derailed, many thanks for that. I will have to measure exactly what clearance I need. It looks like the Deore are very slightly longer.

    How do you find the SD5s? I can get SD7s for only 3 more but I can't really see any difference apart from cartridge pads instead of one piece ones. Deore with cartridge pads are only slightly more than the SD5 but everyone seems to rate the Avids.

    I will be using Tektro 520s with them. At least at first; I may swap to trekking bars.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by freebooter View Post
    How do you find the SD5s?
    I think they're great. I first installed them on my LHT when I built it up around this time last summer and was thrilled by how easy they were to set up and adjust. I put over 5,000 miles on them last summer with no more maintenance than tightening the cables -- the stock brake pads held up just fine, without squealing or any such annoyances, and the braking is excellent.

    I liked them so much that I just bought three more: one for my fixed-gear Cross Check commuter (the model for the photo above) and a pair for my cyclocross bike (different bike than the CC).

    I also love the Tektro 520's. I'm converting the cyclocross bike to linear-pull brakes from the cantilevers it currently has.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    I asked about brake arm length on anothe list and was told:
    I measured my SD7 arm at 103mm from bolt center to end of arm.
    I'm thinking of going with Avid in the rear to stay under my rear rack mounts and using M590s in the front to clear the fork mount.

  24. #24
    we be rollin' hybridbkrdr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
    I asked about brake arm length on anothe list and was told:

    I'm thinking of going with Avid in the rear to stay under my rear rack mounts and using M590s in the front to clear the fork mount.
    Uh, wouldn't that mean having to use a Shimano flat bar group brake lever for the rear brake and a regular Deore brake lever for the front brake? Seems to me you'd have uneven pull (between left and right side) when pulling on the brake levers.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    I could be wrong, but I was assuming any long-pull brake lever could work for either brake. There would still be different amounts of pull, but I wouldn't think it would be extreme. Uneven brake pad wear creates a similar situation now.

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