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Why are my cantilever brakes so ineffective?

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Why are my cantilever brakes so ineffective?

Old 11-08-14, 06:18 PM
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hazzak
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Why are my cantilever brakes so ineffective?

I picked up a Pompino recently and it has a Tektro CR520 on the front. The braking power is awful and I can pretty much ride the bike with the front brake on. I've tried messing with the pad position and increasing the spring tension and it's still pretty bad. I'm a roadie so am not very competent with cantis - anyone got any ideas? I've attached a few photos of the brake normally and when engaged:


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Old 11-08-14, 06:27 PM
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Better pads.
Clean the rim.
Shorten the straddle cable.

Does it have levers designed for V brakes which use a longer but less forceful pull.
I have no idea what a Pompino is....

Last edited by Bill Kapaun; 11-08-14 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 11-08-14, 07:12 PM
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I could make them better for you if i were there, but I'm Not.


You are free to convert your bike to V brakes and levers..

Pompino: a little bugger?


Of course if you ever break your brake cable...you'll stop in a heartbeat when the straddle cable catches the tire.
Precisely why Shimano developed their Brake cable link wire piece that uses the main cable passing thru an integrated sleeve.
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/shimano-b...30088/?geoc=us
so when the cable breaks the failure mode is Open and not clotheslining down on the knobby tire flinging the rider over the Bars.

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-09-14 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 11-08-14, 07:41 PM
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The closer to the tire you set up the brake yoke to the tire the more leverage you will have. Of course if you ever break your brake cable...you'll stop in a heartbeat when the straddle cable catches the tire.
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Old 11-08-14, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
The closer to the tire you set up the brake yoke to the tire the more leverage you will have. Of course if you ever break your brake cable...you'll stop in a heartbeat when the straddle cable catches the tire.
The *bike* will stop in a heartbeat;
He will continue on a little further.
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Old 11-08-14, 08:00 PM
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-Try toeing the pads a little. It looks like the pads are either parallel to the rim, or the rear of the pad is touching slightly; make the front of the pad touch first.
-Clean the rims thoroughly (simple green and/or rubbing alcohol) and sand the pads down a little (to get rid of contamination).

If none of the adjustments suggested in this thread help:
-Those are cheap pads. Consider upgrading to cartridge style pads with aluminum holders.
-I also prefer Vs to Cantis. You would need to swap your brakes to 'Drop V' levers in addition to the brake calipers.
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Old 11-08-14, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
The *bike* will stop in a heartbeat;
He will continue on a little further.
I concur with this correction.

I will also add that the closer to the tire you adjust the yoke, the less pad travel you will have and keeping the wheel true so it doesn't rub becomes more critical.

As always, Sheldon has all the answers for more "traditional" brake designs.
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Last edited by Wordbiker; 11-08-14 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 11-08-14, 08:58 PM
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The springs are there to keep the pads off the rim - they have no impact on braking. Different pads may help - I have no firsthand experience but I'm told Kool Stop pads are excellent. Many good reviews here: Amazon.com : Kool Stop MTN Mountain Bicycle Brake Pads (Threaded, Salmon) : Bike Brake Pads : Sports & Outdoors
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Old 11-08-14, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
The springs are there to keep the pads off the rim - they have no impact on braking. Different pads may help - I have no firsthand experience but I'm told Kool Stop pads are excellent. Many good reviews here: Amazon.com : Kool Stop MTN Mountain Bicycle Brake Pads (Threaded, Salmon) : Bike Brake Pads : Sports & Outdoors
The only impact the springs have on braking is hand strength. Balancing them is another nuance of cantilevers, making them either retract or not.

I agree that good pads make a world of difference.
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Old 11-08-14, 10:01 PM
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The issue here is the pads. Everything else is trivia, relatively speaking. Those pads are really poor. Replace them with something like Kool Stop in the salmon color and your braking will be fine. I use that exact model of brake set up in essentially the same way. The stock pads make the brakes work badly. The pads in your pics are worse than the stock pads. And the Kool Stop salmons fix all of it.
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Old 11-08-14, 10:32 PM
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I'd bet on lever/arm incompatibility first.
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Old 11-08-14, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
Delwted by admin

Regardless of the brake pad, as long is not destroyed, a well-adjusted set of brakes will effectively stop the bike. I pick up bikes at yard and village sales all of the time. The performance and capability, even of junk parts, if properly adjusted, is quite shocking and satisfying.

The pictures posted by the OP scream "adjust my straddle cable" and not <product x needed here.>

Last edited by CbadRider; 11-09-14 at 11:38 AM. Reason: Removed problematic post
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Old 11-08-14, 10:39 PM
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I'll weigh in here briefly. What I see in the photo , independent of the pads, is a canti/arm/pad/straddle cable set up that has FAR less leverage then might be assumed. Andy.
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Old 11-08-14, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
I'll weigh in here briefly. What I see in the photo , independent of the pads, is a canti/arm/pad/straddle cable set up that has FAR less leverage then might be assumed. Andy.

OK, Six jours, I'm willing to be a man and say I'm sorry for riding you, but I do feel the need to call out false information as I see it. While I no doubt your personal experience with changing out to Kool Stop pads made a signifigant change in your cycling experience, please understand that there is far more to proper cantilever setup than just pads. If they're so misaligned that they cut holes in the tires then no pads will make up for that. Some of us have a professional eye after working on literally thousands of bikes that allow us to spot errors or to be fair, ways that an improvement can be made after many hours of working on our own personal equipment spanning back decades that makes it seem easy, and perhaps trivial. Clean slate, the "Pompino" isn't set up properly for maximum braking efficiency, barring any other component choices.
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Last edited by CbadRider; 11-09-14 at 11:40 AM. Reason: removed unnecessary comment
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Old 11-08-14, 10:55 PM
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Leverage VS material friction. One is pretty static. One changes with the environment. Not to say that getting both best is wrong. But that both count. Andy.
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Old 11-09-14, 12:11 AM
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When the pads are against the rim, this angle should be 90 degrees.

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Old 11-09-14, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Jiggle View Post
When the pads are against the rim, this angle should be 90 degrees.

Incorrect.
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Old 11-09-14, 01:36 AM
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Alright, this angle should be as close to 90 degrees as possible.


Last edited by Jiggle; 11-09-14 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 11-09-14, 05:05 AM
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720s are relatively insensitive to straddle cable height. If we were talking about narrow profile cantis, it would be a completely different story. This is based on first hand experience with the 720s and backed up by the analysis in this paper: https://www.circleacycles.com/cantile...i-geometry.pdf

OP, you will never get road caliper levels of performance out of 720s. But with proper pads and levers, you can certainly get reasonable power and outstanding modulation. Better pads are recommended no matter what, but definitely verify that you're not running V-brake (long pull) brake levers as those would literally cut your mechanical advantage in half resulting in very little braking power.
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Old 11-09-14, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Kopsis View Post
720s are relatively insensitive to straddle cable height. If we were talking about narrow profile cantis, it would be a completely different story. This is based on first hand experience with the 720s and backed up by the analysis in this paper: https://www.circleacycles.com/cantile...i-geometry.pdf
That's quite a read. Thanks for posting, I have saved it to help me get through the winter.
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Old 11-09-14, 09:51 AM
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Serious and non judgemental reply

Wouldn't be just as easy to install an inexpensive v-brake set up, or is this impossible to do? Better stopping power and much easier to set up properly? An LBS near me has a set for about $15. Can't remember if they came with pads, but I lost my last bit of remaining hair the last and only time I tried to properly set up cantis. (Did it for a neighbor)
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Old 11-09-14, 11:41 AM
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I deleted the bickering posts that were derailing the thread. Carry on.
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Old 11-09-14, 03:08 PM
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I might be wrong, but I don't think I saw anyone mention cable housing compression as a possibility. Unlikely, but conceivable.
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Old 11-09-14, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by okane View Post
Wouldn't be just as easy to install an inexpensive v-brake set up, or is this impossible to do? Better stopping power and much easier to set up properly? An LBS near me has a set for about $15. Can't remember if they came with pads, but I lost my last bit of remaining hair the last and only time I tried to properly set up cantis. (Did it for a neighbor)
V-brakes will need different levers. Mini-Vs will work with the canti levers though.
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Old 11-09-14, 08:20 PM
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Mini-Vs will work with the canti levers though.

but only clear the tire on cross bikes 34mm , not Knobby MTB ones , 60mm
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