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Tektro CR-720 cantilevers: poor stopping power

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Tektro CR-720 cantilevers: poor stopping power

Old 04-11-12, 02:32 AM
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Tektro CR-720 cantilevers: poor stopping power

Hello,
I've recently bought a specialized tricross sport, fitted with tektro CR-720 cantilever brakes. I've noticed that the stopping power (or, in other words, the distance that I need to stop the bike) is much, much worse than in case of my old v-brakes.

The bike was assemblied by guys in my local specialized store, so I assume the brakes are probably configured more or less correctly.

What should I do to improve my braking performance? Should I 'give the pads a bit of time' (as they're brand new now), buy better pads, or even replace the whole brakes (I'd like to avoid the last one...)?
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Old 04-11-12, 03:47 AM
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I take it you are using the pads that came with them? Ditch those and get some good pads. When you mount those double check that the brakes are set up correctly. Tektro 720's are great brakes. I love mine, and they have no problem stopping 275 pounds of me + 40 pounds of bike + gear and water. They'll have a little less power than V's, but enough power to toss you over the handlebars when set up right with good pads. Unfortunately they come with pretty low end pads out of the box.
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Old 04-11-12, 04:22 AM
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thanks for the response.

Which pads would you recommend for these brakes?
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Old 04-11-12, 04:48 AM
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You're overlooking the most important question: Are you using road brake levers or mountain levers? I assume road since your CX, but it makes a heck of a difference since lever "power" will completely change how the brakes operate. I run my Cr720's with mountain levers, which have lower mechanical advantage (power) than your road brake levers, so I have to squeeze even harder than you most likely to get good braking power.

To me, this is more than offset by the fact that I have ridiculous brake pad travel, which I like quite a bit.

V-brakes have extremely high leverage, but almost NO pad travel (i.e. the brake pads barely move and are almost contacting the damned rims even when at rest). I hate v-brakes for this reason and their lack of any adjustability.

If installing kool stop salmon pads doesn't up the power enough for you (and I doubt it will because I run the salmon pads myself.....love them, but they didn't increase leverage much) you might just have to either A) get used to squeezing harder, or B) install a low profile cantilever brake instead.

Of course, I think that low profile cantilever brakes SUCK with road brake levers because they have far too much leverage and can be even worse than v-brakes. You could install a low profile cantilever brake and just raise the yoke a lot, that would work quite well.
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Old 04-11-12, 05:31 AM
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I'm using road brake levers (shimano 105).

I'll try the kool stop salmon pads.
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Old 04-11-12, 05:44 AM
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Install the Kool Stop Salmon pads as suggested above, then set up your brakes as instructed in this article: https://sheldonbrown.com/canti-trad.html. You might also check that the housing ends are properly prepared, filed flat and equipped with the correct metal ferrules. Don't assume that the guys in the store have set them up correctly. While the cable hangers (yokes) which come with the CR720s are pretty good, I like to install Problem Solvers Wide Cable Hangers https://problemsolversbike.com/produc...cable_carrier/ They allow you to set up the straddle wire lower which produces better braking power.
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Old 04-11-12, 06:05 AM
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thanks for all the responses,

just to be 100% sure: I should buy the Kool Stop Salmon Eagle 2 pads, right?

Last edited by jfu; 04-11-12 at 06:53 AM.
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Old 04-11-12, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by TurbineBlade
V-brakes have extremely high leverage, but almost NO pad travel (i.e. the brake pads barely move and are almost contacting the damned rims even when at rest). I hate v-brakes for this reason and their lack of any adjustability.
I have Avid V-brakes on one bike and, used with the correct long cable pull levers (not brifters or road levers), I have plenty of pad-to-rim clearance and more than enough adjustability. And yes, their leverage is high and their lever effort, even with the correct levers, is a lot easier than the cantis I had prior to installing them.
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Old 04-11-12, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jfu
thanks for all the responses,

just to be 100% sure: I should buy the Kool Stop Salmon Eagle 2 pads, right?
Yes, the Salmon Eagle 2 pads. I had Tektro brakes on my road bike and switched to Shimano brake pads and I stopped much quicker. I then switched to the Kool Stop Salmon and even stopped quicker. That's the way to go. BUT your bike will not stop as quick as a MTB does with V brakes/Linear Pull brakes.
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Old 04-11-12, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Lawrence08648
BUT your bike will not stop as quick as a MTB does with V brakes/Linear Pull brakes.
Your bike will stop just a quick even with the OEM pads. It will just require a lot more hand effort to do it. What the new pads will offer is reduced effort and better control for the same braking force.
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Old 04-11-12, 08:23 AM
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You can personalize the adjustments, put them so there is little clearance between pad and rim at rest .
leverage is different, but when you grab them hard they will stop.
may not feel like something that works from the hoods because of the MA.,
then you need to loosen them to where the arc of lever travel feels right for your hand effort.

its a balance of choices , more than parts.
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Old 04-11-12, 09:27 AM
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One thing I haven't seen anyone mention so far is a simple adjustment: make sure that both pads contact the rim at the same time. When you squeeze, does one pad "push" the rim into the other pad? They should both hit the rim at the same exact time. If they don't, you'll get mushy feedback and poor stopping power.
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Old 04-11-12, 09:33 AM
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I got a Tricross in 2010 and was underwhelmed with the braking power, I had thought that cantis would have improved a lot since my 20 yr old cantis on my old touring bike.

I did figure out that, yes, they did improve as the pads got "bedded in" or whatever you want to call it as they were used more, but I finally put some Koolstop salmon pads on and the difference was rather remarkable and completely worth it.

Im sure your brakes and the same as mine, ie, you can just buy new cartridges and after removing the "cotter pin" like thing that holds the pads in place, you slide out the old ones and slide in the new, replacing the pin thing at the end again. A bit of elbow grease is needed to get things out and in, but not too bad. Just dont forget to take out the pin before trying to get the originals out.

again, I cant recommend enough putting these Koolstop pads on for improved braking. Worth it 100%
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Old 04-11-12, 01:03 PM
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I generally wouldn't go with the Eagle 2 pads, because I don't believe they have the hemispherical washers that let you adjust toe-in. However, if the brakes came with the correct washers you might be able to reuse them. Check and make sure before you buy.
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Old 04-11-12, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jfu
just to be 100% sure: I should buy the Kool Stop Salmon Eagle 2 pads, right?
Originally Posted by Lawrence08648
Yes, the Salmon Eagle 2 pads.
Eagle 2? Really??

I have CR720's and have always used V-brake type pads with them (still Kool Stop Salmon). I suppose the threaded version of the Eagle 2 would work, but that wouldn't be my first choice.

I'd get these:



https://www.koolstop.com/english/mountain_pad.html

but still Salmon. Or maybe some with a cartridge holder.

I also wouldn't assume that the brakes are setup correctly just because the dealer did it. Cantilevers are weird and can be setup in different ways according to your preferences. For CX racing a lot of people will sacrifice power for mud clearance, and maybe that's what the shop was after. There's a sticky thread on the Cyclcocross sub-forum that you may find helpful. Or you could just go back to the shop and ask them to give you more stopping power.
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Old 04-11-12, 03:34 PM
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CR-720 brakes come with the same cartridge type holders as standard V-brakes.


Eagle 2 IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG They won't even work with CR-720!
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Old 04-11-12, 07:13 PM
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Of course, you don't need to use the cartridge holders that came with the brakes, but the OP may save a couple of bucks by doing so.
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Old 04-11-12, 07:37 PM
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The Retail CR-720s come with a pad holder. If the OEM version is the same all you need are V-type pads. If you don't have a pad holder you need Threaded Mountain pads.
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Old 04-11-12, 07:40 PM
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If you remove your front wheel to include it in your U lock,
you will probably like, the shorter brake pad, type. as it will clear the fork blade better
when you open the QR.. or pull your transverse cable end out.
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Old 04-11-12, 07:46 PM
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IIRC Tektro changed which type of pads came with the 720's not that long ago. The OP should probably chime in with the type it came with before he chooses a replacement based on our recommendations. We may well be recommending the wrong thing for the type it came with.
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Old 04-11-12, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Medic Zero
IIRC Tektro changed which type of pads came with the 720's not that long ago. The OP should probably chime in with the type it came with before he chooses a replacement based on our recommendations. We may well be recommending the wrong thing for the type it came with.
I just checked their site and it looks like the new holders are made for road pads (Dura Type). I wonder who came up with that idea?
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Old 04-11-12, 08:23 PM
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I have Avid V-brakes on one bike and, used with the correct long cable pull levers (not brifters or road levers), I have plenty of pad-to-rim clearance and more than enough adjustability. And yes, their leverage is high and their lever effort, even with the correct levers, is a lot easier than the cantis I had prior to installing them.
Okay, and I also have 2 bikes outfitted with v-brakes (both with long pull mtn levers) and neither has anything even approaching the travel you get with a wide profile or even low profile cantilever brake honestly. They provide "enough" travel with reasonably true rims, but I'm not talking about a minor difference - v-brakes and wide profile cantilever brakes with mtn levers are worlds apart. It's really just personal preference.

Kool stop pads have that stupid "plow tip" that will just about rub on the rims when using v-brakes IME.

I agree that setting up v-brakes is "idiot-proof" compared to center pull cantilever brakes. And they do work just fine.
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Old 04-11-12, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Bezalel
I just checked their site and it looks like the new holders are made for road pads (Dura Type). I wonder who came up with that idea?
It's a good idea. The contact patch from V-brake type pads is unnecessary, because that gives it too much power. That is also why you toe in canti brakes to reduce shuddering and squealing.

with linear pull V-brakes, no toe in is necessary. This is all in the design of how V-brakes don't need any cable anchor to the frame, while cantis do.
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Old 04-11-12, 08:38 PM
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Brand new bike? Why mess with it yourself? You paid for a fully assembled bike that should be in proper working order. If you cannot lift the rear wheel with the front brake using moderate hand effort something is wrong and you should take the bike back and have the shop look at it. Maybe they screwed up the cables, specifically where the housing enters the brake lever. On aero levers if the housing is not completely seated (it can be tricky) braking will be mushy and weak. If this is the case the bar tape needs to be taken off and re-done. I would let the shop do this work.

While I agree that V-brakes give more stopping power with less hand effort, I can lift the rear wheel of my old junker with super long reach Mafac centerpulls. You should have no trouble with new properly setup cantis.
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Old 04-11-12, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by FastJake
While I agree that V-brakes give more stopping power with less hand effort, I can lift the rear wheel of my old junker with super long reach Mafac centerpulls. You should have no trouble with new properly setup cantis.
after putting on Kool stops myself (including setting them back up as I took them off to make it easier to get the cotterpin thingee out and do the pad swap) I find that I like cantis again. I ride another bike with Vs, and I find the cantis to have better modulation of going from pretty hard to really hard braking, which I appreciate (mind you, the Vs are really old and I havent ridden more modern ones, plus i acknowledge not really being that attentive to them, they just work and I kind of ignore them)

re: softer pads, in the long run they are probably easier on rims too.

ps, I think its good for all riders to muck around with brakes and to learn how to properly install pads so that they hit the rim evenly, and to learn some toe in (if needed), so the fellow doing some changes on his own in my opinion is a good thing. Sure, he can go back to the store if help is needed, theres a good chance they wont charge for helping setting up the pads considering its a new bike.

or maybe he'll just leave things as is (as I did for many months) and get to it later. If you do go this route, I suggest hitting a good hill and really giving the new pads a good hard braking application, I find this is a good thing with new pads that are probably harder material.
*also, after riding in rain, wipe down the rims, over time the accumulated road gunk on rims and pads really does lower braking power....

Last edited by djb; 04-11-12 at 09:37 PM.
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