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Can I convert this bike from cantis to linear pull?

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Can I convert this bike from cantis to linear pull?

Old 04-13-17, 05:47 AM
  #1  
hokiefyd
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Can I convert this bike from cantis to linear pull?

We recently picked up a free 1997 Trek 850 from Craigslist, for my daughter. It had a flat tire, but everything else was there, and it cleaned up well. For a number of reasons, I'd like to convert the brakes from the original cantilevers to linear pull. I have a set of Avid 5 brakes from another bike that I'd to use on this one. The front is no problem. But I'm mocking up the rear and think I've run into a snag.



This bike frame ran all three rear cables along the top tube, and there is a three-cable stop block at the front. The rear has only a two-cable stop block (visible in the picture) through which the derailleur cables run (center is for the FD and side is for the RD). The brake cable runs not through a stop but through that little section of metal piping into which a plastic tube was inserted (similar to what's in a noodle). That, then, centered the cable above the rear canti arms and that was the design.

It seems like my only option for using a linear pull brake in the rear is to run a full length of cable along the top tube with cable ties, or to use some kind of bolt-on or strap-on cable stop. Am I right? Am I missing something? Neither one of those options is appealing to me, but I would appreciate all ideas or links to straps or stops you have used in a similar situation.

Thank you!
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Old 04-13-17, 06:25 AM
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I think that you've got it exactly right.

"Problem Solvers" is the company that markets (or at least used to market) clamp-on cable stops. Just be sure of the tube diameter and that it's round where you need to install the clamp.
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Old 04-13-17, 06:30 AM
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One inelegant solution would be to run full length cable housing from the brake lever all the way to the entrance to the rear brake's noodle and zip tie it to the frame along the way. BTW, do you have the longer pull brake levers these brakes require?

Another solution is to use the front V-brake and let the rear canti remain since the front brake does the majority of the braking anyway. You would need two different brake levers in that case.

Edit: Whoops. I should have read ALL of the OP before replying. I guess I just confirmed what he proposed.
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Old 04-13-17, 06:44 AM
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Yes -- one of the reasons I want to use the linear pull brakes is because the original trigger shifters on this bike don't have the gear indicator windows (you have to look down to know which sprocket you're on), and the bike will be ridden by my 11 year old who I'm trying to get in the habit of using her gears effectively. (I suppose a case could be made that learning to use gears WITHOUT the indicators could be better in the long term, but I digress.)

In addition to these Avid brakes, I have a set of 3x7 EF51 brifters that I'd like to swap on. That solves the problem with no gear indicator and also gets better/newer brake pads on the bike at low-or-no cost. And they also go with the linear pull brakes. But a Problem Solver cable stop is going to be 20 bucks, give or take, and I "lose" the Avid brakes and EF51s to this bike. If I keep the cantis on it, it's almost 20 bucks for a set of Kool-Stop Salmon pads, plus another $16-18 for a new 7-speed trigger shifter, but I retain the use of the Avid brands and EF51s for another bike. That's probably the route I'll go -- keeping the cantilever brakes on it and just buying a new shifter.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 04-13-17, 06:52 AM
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I have used these clips on a few builds to run full length housings, and they work very well.
Babac | Clip/Attache 3pcs/bag
They are available in various sizes, this particular one works on tubing between 28.6 and 31.8mm.
If you go that route, be sure to measure the tube and order the correct size.
(You can't order from the link as it is a wholesaler. They can be found on ebay)
Zip ties can be made to work without looking like a kludge as well.
If you wrap a tie loosely around the tube and housing, allowing enough space to run a small zip tie around the loop between the tube and housing, pull it tight to create a standoff, and then tighten down the tie around the tube. It keeps the housing firmly in place, and doesn't look too bad.
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Old 04-13-17, 09:36 AM
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Origin 8 sells one for less than $10. This is what I used on my Trek 970. But I don't quite understand even the $20 amount if you feel you are putting better brakes on a bike for your daughter. You will need to put some money into any used bike... tires, brake pads, etc.

John
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Old 04-13-17, 10:02 AM
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Or buy a new set of levers/shifters with index window and dual position brake levers that handle both long and short pull with a simple adjustment.

7 speed ($38):https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...6&category=772

includes new shift/brake cables (housing and wire)

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Old 04-13-17, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Origin 8 sells one for less than $10. This is what I used on my Trek 970.
Thanks for the lead -- I don't think I saw that one.

Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
But I don't quite understand even the $20 amount if you feel you are putting better brakes on a bike for your daughter. You will need to put some money into any used bike... tires, brake pads, etc.
Her bike is getting new brakes in either case...whether it's the linear pull brakes with the pads they have or whether it's new Kool-Stops for her cantilevers. It's just how we allocate the funds. She's using her allowance money on some of it and I'm spotting her the rest.
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Old 04-13-17, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
Yes -- one of the reasons I want to use the linear pull brakes is because the original trigger shifters on this bike don't have the gear indicator windows (you have to look down to know which sprocket you're on), and the bike will be ridden by my 11 year old who I'm trying to get in the habit of using her gears effectively. (I suppose a case could be made that learning to use gears WITHOUT the indicators could be better in the long term, but I digress.)

In addition to these Avid brakes, I have a set of 3x7 EF51 brifters that I'd like to swap on. That solves the problem with no gear indicator and also gets better/newer brake pads on the bike at low-or-no cost. And they also go with the linear pull brakes. But a Problem Solver cable stop is going to be 20 bucks, give or take, and I "lose" the Avid brakes and EF51s to this bike. If I keep the cantis on it, it's almost 20 bucks for a set of Kool-Stop Salmon pads, plus another $16-18 for a new 7-speed trigger shifter, but I retain the use of the Avid brands and EF51s for another bike. That's probably the route I'll go -- keeping the cantilever brakes on it and just buying a new shifter.

Thanks for the advice!
The EF-51 comes in 2 versions.
2 & 4 finger.
The 4 finger version can be used with either type of brake, while the 2 finger is V brake only.
IF it has the little red "plug" on the bottom, it's convertible.
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Old 04-13-17, 01:29 PM
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You guys have talked me into going ahead with the conversion. Either that, or maybe I just want to buy new parts for MY bike, I don't know...

The EF51s I have are definitely the two-finger version, and are linear pull only. If I replace them with similar EF51s (or the EF65s noted earlier), I will most certainly buy the four-finger version, so I can use them with either style of brake.

Notably, I was moving all of this from a larger frame bike (my 19.5" Motiv Stonegrinder) to her 13" frame Trek 850, so all of the existing cabling (which was all fairly new already) was plenty long, even after snipping off the frayed ends from the old cable crimps. I have three of the systems connected and tuned (front brake, FD, and RD), and have a black single 31.8mm Origin8 cable stop ordered, along with a new KMC chain. Once those come in, I'll be able to set up the rear brake and have the drivetrain running smooth.

Thanks to all for the advice.
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Old 04-13-17, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
Yes -- one of the reasons I want to use the linear pull brakes is because the original trigger shifters on this bike don't have the gear indicator windows (you have to look down to know which sprocket you're on), and the bike will be ridden by my 11 year old who I'm trying to get in the habit of using her gears effectively. (I suppose a case could be made that learning to use gears WITHOUT the indicators could be better in the long term, but I digress.)
Yes. Using gears effectively does NOT depend on knowing which "number" gear you are in. Having an indicator only encourages taking your eyes off the road.
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