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Cantilever brakes - what do I need to know?

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Cantilever brakes - what do I need to know?

Old 01-08-17, 10:57 AM
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kalash74
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Cantilever brakes - what do I need to know?

Does anyone have suggestions for getting the cantilever brakes on my 1986 Bridgestone to work optimally? I need a new straddle wire in front, but was wondering if should ditch the whole straddle wire thing altogether. How do you keep it from shifting left and right? I'm new to cantilever brakes. Pictures below:

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Old 01-08-17, 11:10 AM
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Lazyass
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Are you saying they won't stay centered? The pivots need to stay lubricated. Your pads look old. Kool Stop Eagle Claw 2 pads are the best I ever used for canti's. The black ones, not red. And I use cable hangers similar to this one:

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Old 01-08-17, 12:59 PM
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Yeah, as long as you're messing with them, take them apart and clean and lube. Then when you put it back together, if you're using those standard hangers, you can form the arc of the straddle cable a bit by bending it with your fingers to get it to hang more centered. It's easier to do with the wider, more engineered hangers in Lazyass' pic.

If any of the springs inside the cantilever bodies are bent or stretched out you may have to get creative with the three little holes the ends of the springs go in, that gives you a crude adjustment for centering.
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Old 01-08-17, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Are you saying they won't stay centered? The pivots need to stay lubricated. Your pads look old. Kool Stop Eagle Claw 2 pads are the best I ever used for canti's. The black ones, not red. And I use cable hangers similar to this one:

those look great

to get maximum braking force, with the brakes engaged, the straddle cable should be 90-degrees normal to the caliper arm.
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Old 01-08-17, 01:03 PM
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I also prefer a wider straddle wire holder; it gives quicker input.
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Old 01-08-17, 04:48 PM
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I'd un-bolt the arms & remove the pads. Get a sturdy plastic container with a good sealing lid. (Like a plastic paint can). Place the brakes in the can & cover them with about a 1/2 pint of mineral spirits or diesel fuel. Let em soak a few days. Agitate the can. Wear some nitrile gloves & safety glasses & scrub em with a toothbrush. Clean em up. Re-install & see if that fixes them.
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Old 01-08-17, 04:57 PM
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After you disassemble the brakes and clean and re-lubricate them, check out the Park Tools page on setting up canti brakes.
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Old 01-09-17, 11:51 AM
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The Geometry of Cantilever Brakes
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Old 01-09-17, 12:10 PM
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First, clean the frame studs. Remove the brakes, degrease and polish the studs with fine steel wool. Put new grease on the studs and reinstall, making sure the springs go in the same hole on each side. The brakes need to pivot very smoothly. Check one of the online tutorials listed above for proper canti setup. Finally, the Shimano BR-MT60 that you have had a small (2mm?) Allen screw on the right arm that adjusts the centering of the brake. New pads make a huge difference. Setting the travel so the brake lever almost bottoms out at full pressure gives the best feel and modulation.
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Old 01-09-17, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by BluesDaddy View Post
...Finally, the Shimano BR-MT60 that you have had a small (2mm?) Allen screw on the right arm that adjusts the centering of the brake...
From the pic, I think those are actually BR-AT50's. They don't have the adjuster screw; fully manual centering on those stone-age babies
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Old 01-09-17, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by bulldog1935 View Post
to get maximum braking force, with the brakes engaged, the straddle cable should be 90-degrees normal to the caliper arm.
...except for all the cantis which work better with an angle greater than or less than 90deg. Ive found its canti specific dependant on if they are wide, medium, or narrow(meaning if they stick out a lot or not).
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