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What's the worst part about loving old cantilevers?

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What's the worst part about loving old cantilevers?

Old 01-25-12, 01:01 AM
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One always hears that if cantis are setup right they work as good or better than V's; with more modulation. It appears however there is world shortage of those that can properly adjust cantis. I used them for years and had extremely experienced mechanic's work on them and show me how to set them up. I read up with Sheldon Brown and tried tweaking for more power. One poster seemed to think that there is a problem with V brakes because they are so easy to set-up; cantilever brakes for idiots I believe he said. Well there is a reason that cantis have 4 finger levers and V's have 2 finger levers, it's because it takes a lot more to stop with cantis than with V's; this apparently is what is meant by modulation.

V's first showed up on rear suspension bikes where a brake hanger would not work and Keith Bontrager was amongst those that still praised cantis, especially for their modulation (there's that word again). The high point of this argument here has when a poster said that a good set of cantis, set up properly are better than a cheap set of stamped out V brakes on a department store bike. I don't think that's saying alot.

I want my front brake to be the most powerful brake I can get. After most brakes work well on the rear wheel (except cheap BMX side-pulls; don't ask)

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Old 01-25-12, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I've had 13 bikes equipped with cantilevers of various levels of quality from the lowest Shimano to Paul's. Of the 13, 4 have been on road bikes including two touring bikes and two tandems while the other 9 were on mountain bikes. I've never had a single one shudder or have braking problems...and I live where gravity gets you moving quickly very easily. On one of the tandems, I even removed the drum brake and left the cantilevers to handle all of the braking duties. There's really nothing wrong with them if they are set up properly.

Now I have had brakes that squeal horribly...the Avid Shorty 4s were almost the worst offenders. The worst squealers I've ever run were the XT linear brakes. I'm sure the echos of those brakes are still reverberating around the mountains of Colorado.
try and find a 90' miyata shredder. that was the bike that was neigh fixable for me.
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Old 01-25-12, 01:29 AM
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I capitulate.
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Old 01-25-12, 01:45 AM
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I like my Dia Compe 960's canti's, they take a little more hand effort to operate vs side pull's though, but I'm going to put some teflon oil on the pivots in the spring to see if I can get them to operate a bit smoother with less effort, if that fails I may try some new modern brake cables and see what happens. Those brakes are on a 85 Schwinn Le Tour Luxe, and it has really low miles on it and it sat from 85 till 2011 when I got it so maybe their just stiff from sitting? I don't know much about canti's but I'll do some research on them when I turn my attention to that bike.
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Old 01-25-12, 04:36 AM
  #55  
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Hey guys, the term sidepull is generally reserved for reference to various caliper brakes, not V-brakes.
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Old 01-25-12, 04:38 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by AEO View Post
try and find a 90' miyata shredder. that was the bike that was neigh fixable for me.
Perhaps you should change your spiel to "I had this one bike where I couldn't get the front canti brake to stop shuddering."

Your current spiel is a tad overreaching.
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Old 01-25-12, 05:44 AM
  #57  
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I feel your pain, I hate these cheap Shimano brakes....Altus, all junk. The plastic cap on these are integral to the spring tension, unlike Alivio and higher models where the plastic is just a dust cap. If these are on flip bikes, your only solution is to find cheap replacement brakes or a cheap source for these caps.
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Old 01-25-12, 08:48 AM
  #58  
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One poster seemed to think that there is a problem with V brakes because they are so easy to set-up; cantilever brakes for idiots I believe he said.
I did suggest that v-brakes are idiot-proof cantilever brakes, but your first sentence above makes no sense. V-brakes suck for me because the brake itself has way too much leverage and poor travel (i.e. - poor modulation). I believe their popularity is partially because they are more "stupid-proof" than center pull cantilever brakes. The mechanical advantage of v-brake levers is something like 2, but IMO should be lower yet to give up some power for better travel -- but that's just me. Actually, if this were possible I may be more inclinded to use them >> center pull cantis.

It's really just personal preference. All of my brakes will lock up either wheel at will. After that, what good is more leverage? Especially at the expense of travel (v-brakes). If I have to squeeze just a little harder to get this, so be it.

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Old 01-25-12, 09:01 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Shorty 4's were the bane of my existence as well... run XT linears on my mtb with no issues and they are mated to Avid levers and this can make a difference.

The XTR linear pull is also known to be pretty noisy until you pair it with XT or LX levers... seems like a small change in the lever makes quite a difference.
I could get the Shortys quiet for a while by using Kool Stop dual compounds and a lot of toe-in but that only lasted until the pads flattened out a little. Just awful sounding brakes. They worked well but everyone around you knew that you were using them.

The XT's I had were the first generation parallel push linkage. I could watch the linkage...when I dared...vibrate under hard braking while squealing. I've seen later generations of these brakes that used a much beefier linkage that might not shutter as much. I fixed the problem by going to a set of Avid Arch Rivals, which I still run on one of my mountain bikes.
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Old 01-25-12, 09:32 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by onespeedbiker View Post
One always hears that if cantis are setup right they work as good or better than V's; with more modulation. It appears however there is world shortage of those that can properly adjust cantis. I used them for years and had extremely experienced mechanic's work on them and show me how to set them up. I read up with Sheldon Brown and tried tweaking for more power. One poster seemed to think that there is a problem with V brakes because they are so easy to set-up; cantilever brakes for idiots I believe he said. Well there is a reason that cantis have 4 finger levers and V's have 2 finger levers, it's because it takes a lot more to stop with cantis than with V's; this apparently is what is meant by modulation.
Far too often people confuse 'modulation' or a regulation of a brake's stopping ability according to measure or proportion with deceleration ability. If you squeeze a little and the bike slows down and then you squeeze some more and the bike slows down some more and then you squeeze really hard and the bike stops, that's good modulation. Just because you can squeeze the brakes a tiny little bit and throw yourself over the handlebars doesn't mean the brakes are 'well modulated'. If you use your face as part of your stopping strategy, you are doing something wrong

2 finger cantilever brake levers have been around forever. I currently have a set of Avid cantilever levers that are every bit as short as my Avid linear brake levers. 4 finger levers were traditionally used with cantilevers because the brake levers on the original mountain bikes came from motorcycles and were long levers.

Cantilevers have their place. Because the cable pull is the same as a sidepull caliper road brake, they work better with STI levers so using them on touring bikes and cross bikes is relatively straight forward. If you think that setting up a set of cantis is hard, try setting up a set of v-brakes with Travel Agents.

Stopping a bike with any brake is more dependent on technique than on the brakes. Even the worst brakes in existence...early 80's Mavic knockoff center pulls with hard rubber brakes or a coaster brake... can can stop a bike. Because of the high center of gravity, bicycles are very limited in their stopping ability. Putting on more powerful brakes, along with bad technique, just makes the bike more prone to pitchover quicker if you don't know how to use them.

Originally Posted by onespeedbiker View Post
Cantis first showed up on rear suspension bikes were a brake hanger would not work and Keith Bontrager was amongst those that still praised cantis, especially for their modulation (there's that word again). However, when it came down to it here, it was decided that a good set of cantis, set up properly are better than a cheap set of stamped out V brakes on a department store bike. I don't think that's saying alot.

I want my front brake to be the most powerful brake I can get. After most brakes work well on the rear wheel (except cheap BMX side-pulls; don't ask)
Huh? Cantilevers weren't used on many full suspension bikes because of the anchoring problems. They certainly didn't show up first on rear suspension bikes. Cantilevers are very old technology... I've seen patents from 1939. That's a whole lot longer than full suspension bikes have been around.

Even linear brakes have problems with full suspension. That's the main reason that hub mounted discs have come into such prominence. The cable/tubing routing is much easier when the rear end of the bike starts moving around independently of the rider and controls.
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Old 01-25-12, 10:16 AM
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I can teach someone how to set up V brakes to perfection in about 20 minutes and after that they should know everything they need to repeat the process over and over with consistent results.

With cantis there is a lot more going on and i know many an experienced mechanic who still struggle with understanding how cantis work and how to adjust them properly to get optimal braking... maybe I just have a gift for setting these up.

In many cases we are comparing apples and oranges here as there are better V brakes, which is a Shimano term for linear pull cantilevers, and traditional cantilever brakes.

Sometimes it comes down to the application as cantis are better for things like CX bikes where you want good clearance and mud shedding abilities or on a touring bike where you want better fender clearance with V brakes working well in a great number of applications.

The ease of installation and set up for V brakes makes them really attractive as almost anyone can install and set them up and they deliver good power for the dollar... good cantilevers brakes tend to cost a little more and are not as widely produced so it is also a matter of volume.

With everything there are dogs like the original Shorty 4 which has since been redesigned due to problems that stemmed from shudder and noise, and not the actual braking power, and gems like XTR cantilevers as I do not think there has ever been a better cantilever than these.

This can be said of many brake designs... Mafac Racers centre pull brakes get a bad rap because people say they are hard to set up and are spongy or do not brake well. Their issue does not stem from the actual brake, which is very good, but from the hardware that comes with it which is light and flexy and because they were often paired with steel wheels.

Install a set of these with stiffer hardware, modern pads, and run modern wheels and you will have some awe inspiring stopping power with a well made brake that will last forever.
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Old 01-25-12, 11:42 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post

Huh? Cantilevers weren't used on many full suspension bikes because of the anchoring problems. They certainly didn't show up first on rear suspension bikes. Cantilevers are very old technology... I've seen patents from 1939. That's a whole lot longer than full suspension bikes have been around.

Even linear brakes have problems with full suspension. That's the main reason that hub mounted discs have come into such prominence. The cable/tubing routing is much easier when the rear end of the bike starts moving around independently of the rider and controls.
That was a typo, I meant V brakes were developed for rear suspension bikes, not cantis.
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Old 01-25-12, 01:31 PM
  #63  
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I went and checked the Schwinn Le Tour Luxe's Dia Compe 960's canti's that are on it because I wasn't sure, but there are no plastic parts on those brake calipers at all. Maybe those of you having problems with the plastic stuff on the Shimano's need to give the Dia Compe's a look?
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Old 01-25-12, 01:43 PM
  #64  
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maybe I just have a gift for setting these up
maybe advantage to Libra's ? rather than Like .. Scorpio's
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Old 01-25-12, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
maybe advantage to Libra's ? rather than Like .. Scorpio's
I am all Scorpio.
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Old 01-25-12, 04:51 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
Perhaps you should change your spiel to "I had this one bike where I couldn't get the front canti brake to stop shuddering."

Your current spiel is a tad overreaching.
naw, I will stick with "It's flawed from the start and there are better alternatives."
the only thing worse are spoon brakes.
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Old 01-25-12, 08:46 PM
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naw, I will stick with "It's flawed from the start and there are better alternatives."
the only thing worse are spoon brakes.
This is exactly my logic for not using v-brakes, save the part about spoon brakes .

BTW -- this is slightly off topic, but with the world about to go up in flames and nuclear winter and starvation, I have to ask: Do you think if I stand on my desk chair and extend my left arm skyward that I can at least save my wrist watch?
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Old 08-30-22, 10:45 AM
  #68  
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Old thread. having fun with a pair of Canti's on that old Innova I picked up a few weeks back. Kinda of minor, but still some end squeal. Stop you on a dime though.
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Old 09-01-22, 10:50 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by StarBiker View Post
Old thread. having fun with a pair of Canti's on that old Innova I picked up a few weeks back. Kinda of minor, but still some end squeal. Stop you on a dime though.
The squeal could be from old hard brake pads, or the rims need to be finely sanded, or the toe in is incorrect. Mine never have squealed.
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Old 09-01-22, 11:05 AM
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I am one that could get the Shorty 4's to be quiet for awhile. but the screech always came back. They came on a Poprad I purchased used and had a lot of wear on them. I did away with them and the bike now has Tektro 559 long reach calipers. Stopping is very good. I have as et of Avid Ultimate canti's, but the Tektro's brake so well with such ease of set up, I am leaving them on the bike.
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Old 09-01-22, 03:11 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
The squeal could be from old hard brake pads, or the rims need to be finely sanded, or the toe in is incorrect. Mine never have squealed.
Kool Stop Pads dual compound Eagle Claw. The old pads were hard enough for cave art.

Breaking much better since I played with them a bit more. And quieter.

The levers have been replaced with a later Alivio Set. They don't have those plastic back cups behind the levers. I got lucky on that.

This pic is with the new pads on but not completely adjusted. Much better now; aligned and toed properly.



Back pads not adjusted so one is high, but now aligned. Not having small open end wrenches does not help. (I never need them)


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Old 09-01-22, 05:55 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by StarBiker View Post
Kool Stop Pads dual compound Eagle Claw. The old pads were hard enough for cave art.

Breaking much better since I played with them a bit more. And quieter.

This pic is with the new pads on but not completely adjusted. Much better now; aligned and toed properly.

Back pads not adjusted so one is high, but now aligned. Not having small open end wrenches does not help. (I never need them)
THat Kool-Stop red (salmon) compound is such an improvement over OE. Great grip and lever feel. The little 'tooth' on the leading end of the pad makes setting toe-in a snap.

One tip: if you have the time, especially on vintage MTBs, pull the tire off and set the brakes up on the bare rim. It's so much easier to get the arms and pads centered without the tires in the way. (Note the extreme lack of clearance in this fork)



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Old 09-01-22, 07:40 PM
  #73  
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I don't think I have used a bike with Canti Levers in 14 years........

You probably have the size tires I want on the Innova on that bike, a 42. Cost, and I like Serfas kept me on 38's for now. Wheels are 700.

Really like the ride of this bike.

I keep asking myself is the Trek 520 worth almost 2K more........(I am sure it's a nice bike)
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Old 09-02-22, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by StarBiker View Post
....

You probably have the size tires I want on the Innova on that bike, a 42. Cost, and I like Serfas kept me on 38's for now. Wheels are 700.

Really like the ride of this bike.

I keep asking myself is the Trek 520 worth almost 2K more........(I am sure it's a nice bike)
Those are actually 54ís (26x2.1 BMX tires)

Yeah, new bikes are nice, but a nice, old bike is still a nice bike
*The orange bike pictured is a 1988 KLEIN MTB, and itís a really nice-riding bike.

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Old 09-03-22, 11:34 PM
  #75  
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^
Seeing the fork at an angle gives me a better perspective of the type of bike.

I have a 26 Incher......I road this bike for the past two years until I found the Giant. The Giant is just a more comfortable zippy ride but the C-Dale isn't going anywhere.......(If somebody traded me something unusual I might, but I doubt that anybody would offer anything I would want that would be comparable)

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