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V-Lever vs Cantilever - ???

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V-Lever vs Cantilever - ???

Old 03-06-14, 08:50 AM
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V-Lever vs Cantilever - ???

Looking to replace the old style brake levers (not the brakes themselves, just the levers) on my '80 Nishiki. The front brake is center-actuated; is it a "V-lever" or is it a center-pull cantilever?"

The rear is activated from the side; I assume it's a standard "caliper" type brake.

Looking up "V-lever" -type brakes, it seems to be described alternately as a (1) more modern brake version, or (2) an archaic brake type that should be avoided. So I'm not sure WHICH front brake I have. Pic below.

The reason I'm posting this is because apparently, the V lever type requires a longer pull, and thus a different brake lever, than the side pull. From "Bicycle Touring Review:"

There are a range of different braking systems out there for bikes. In terms of rim brakes, there are three main types;
caliper (on most road bikes)
centre-pull cantilevers (cyclocross-style)
the more recent linear-pull cantilevers (V-brakes)

The V-brake appears to require a different lever, with an internal system that pulls more cable than a standard lever can. I'd like to be sure what kind of front brake I have before ordering a new lever . . . and I'm wondering if I'll have to order the front brake lever separately from the rear (side pull) lever. Thanks!

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Old 03-06-14, 09:10 AM
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Your front brake is an old style center pull caliper brake. One or the other of the brakes on your bike is not original, it would have had matching brakes front and rear when new. In any case you would use a brake lever for road caliper brakes for both the brakes on your bike. V brake levers will not work with either of the brakes on your bike
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Old 03-06-14, 10:21 AM
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If you want to get spendy, Velo-Orange sells a Dia-Compe center pull caliper like the one picutred; if you want bike jewelry Paul Components makes a Made in the USA version.

Otherwise, you can switch to a regular side-pull or dual-pivot caliper brake on the front, and get rid of the cable stop for the center pull configuration at the same time.
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Old 03-06-14, 10:23 AM
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cable out the top road brake levers were what was paired with centre pulls like Mafac, racers
or those Weinmann, dia compe sorts back in the day ..

V brake levers have a low Mechanical advantage. leverage. ( that internal system )
so pull more cable length

the fulcrum is further towards a center of a lever ..
higher MA the pivot is closer to the (cable)end being pulled.

so that is the general mechanics .. ever used a crowbar or a teeter-totter?

you could use V brake levers with those* .. set them up so there is a lot of space
when at rest .. between rim and pad , and the longer cable pull

will squeeze air space before reaching the rim. set them up so that point
is where it feels best for your hand grip strength..

or if set close , just a small swing of the lever ,will get tips of fingers as the grip of the lever..

*we in the LBS here have done that, it works ..

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Old 03-06-14, 10:44 AM
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That's a centerpull brake. Not a V-brake. Ignore anything about V-brakes regarding this bike. The "Bike Touring Review" reference you're looking at is too new to acknowledge these old but decent brakes.

Centerpull brakes are old-skool, long-reach, wide opening brakes. They can have plenty of stopping power so long as they're adjusted properly (true of any brake). Kool-stop pads and alloy rims help a lot.

Centerpull brakes like the one you show have the same lever pull as sidepull caliper and cantilever brakes. So you can use the same brake levers for the centerpull in front and the sidepull in back. Use the Tektro RL340's for your bike, the RL520's are the ones for V-brake (aka linear-pull brakes), which your bike does not have.
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Old 03-06-14, 04:51 PM
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The Cane Creek SCR-5 levers are very nice. Like the Tektros but finished a little differently. Black or silver levers. They also have a version for smaller hands.
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