Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Classic & Vintage
Reload this Page >

Adjusting cantilever brake cable without a way to release tension

Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

Adjusting cantilever brake cable without a way to release tension

Old 05-04-18, 05:34 PM
  #1  
ppg677
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 624

Bikes: 1982 Trek 957 (retro), 70s Gios Torino, 80s Trek 710 (retro), 1995 Trek 930 MTB (singlespeed), Surly LHT

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 53 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Adjusting cantilever brake cable without a way to release tension

So without a way to release tension (i.e., a brake lever release), how does one adjust cantilever brakes to be tight but still allow you to remove (and reinstall) the straddle cable to remove a wheel?
ppg677 is offline  
Old 05-04-18, 05:53 PM
  #2  
Happy Feet
Senior Member
 
Happy Feet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,217
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1208 Post(s)
Liked 102 Times in 62 Posts
You adjust your brakes as usual. When you want to remove the wheel (to fix a flat for example) you pull the straddle cable as you call it towards the cantilever with the quick release notch and release it. There will be enough give to remove it as that is the travel distance between braking and not braking. Canti's are not that minutely adjusted. If they are adjusted that close you may have trouble releasing the cable as described, as well as with modulation or rubbing if the rim goes a bit out of true.

If your brake pads are the adjustable post type you can create more slack by moving the brake pad outward. If they have no room for that, or if the pads are bolt on, then you have to create some slack via the main brake cable where it connects to the straddle cable.

To adjust the main brake cable I loosen the bolt just a bit and pull the cable through till it's taut so that there is no slack but the brakes are not engaged fully. Then I tighten the bolt snug but not tight. Then I line up the cantilevers so they make contact where I want them to on the rim. Then I either snug or loosen the main cable a bit so I get the right amount of tension to fully apply the brake while also allowing the rim to roll when not applied. Once I find the sweet spot I tighten the main brake cable bolt. That would be the time to ensure the quick release also works.


Last edited by Happy Feet; 05-04-18 at 06:16 PM.
Happy Feet is offline  
Old 05-04-18, 06:13 PM
  #3  
steelbikeguy
Senior Member
 
steelbikeguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Peoria, IL
Posts: 1,604
Mentioned: 50 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 507 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
hmmm.... it does seem like something is missing from the question.

My SunTour XC Pro canti's don't have a QR. If I need to open up the brakes in order to change the location of the straddle cable carrier, I just unhook the straddle cable from one of the brake arms.

If I'm just trying to make fine adjustments, I use the barrel adjuster.




Steve in Peoria
steelbikeguy is offline  
Old 05-04-18, 06:25 PM
  #4  
Happy Feet
Senior Member
 
Happy Feet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,217
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1208 Post(s)
Liked 102 Times in 62 Posts
I think maybe the lever arm release is what he can't undo.
At first it stumped me but then I recalled seeing some bikes with the main cable so tight and finely adjusted that it did not allow enough travel to disengage the lever arm. It would create a off/on braking action rather than a graduated one.

Also, OP. If you don't have fenders consider some sort of guard like I have front and rear on this bike between the straddle cables and tires. Otherwise a cable failure will allow the straddle cable to drop onto the tire and you will stop REAL quick!

Happy Feet is offline  
Old 05-04-18, 07:10 PM
  #5  
clubman
Youngman Grand
 
clubman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 5,480

Bikes: roadsters, club bikes, fixed and classic

Mentioned: 82 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 962 Post(s)
Liked 14 Times in 12 Posts
If your cantis are adjusted that close, loosen your wheel QR to give you a little more play. You're removing the wheel anyway.
clubman is offline  
Old 05-04-18, 09:16 PM
  #6  
ppg677
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 624

Bikes: 1982 Trek 957 (retro), 70s Gios Torino, 80s Trek 710 (retro), 1995 Trek 930 MTB (singlespeed), Surly LHT

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 53 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
No qr wheels either. And no barrel adjuster.

I guess there simply needs to be enough slop to release the straddle cable.
ppg677 is offline  
Old 05-04-18, 10:08 PM
  #7  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 9,053

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Mentioned: 157 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2762 Post(s)
Liked 134 Times in 109 Posts
Are your tires wider than the original specs? Mine are on my Univega Via Carisma with canti brakes. I put on 700x42 (nominal -- actual width closer to 700x38). I think the original tires were closer to 700x32.

Different brake pads affect it too. I tried Kool Stop Eagle 2 pads but they're so thick I couldn't drop the front wheel. Even with the straddle cable detached the pads were blocked partially closed by the fork. I switched to flatter slimline Jagwire pads on the front. Braking is just as good, no more problems dropping the front wheel. I kept the Kool Stops on the rear since there's plenty of frame clearance.

For awhile I had to reinstall the wheel with the tire uninflated, then inflate it on the bike. Kind of a hassle, so I left more slop in the brakes. For awhile I thought I needed the pads close to the rims like my road bike pads, but the cantis work fine with plenty of clearance. I just needle to fiddle with everything a bit until the brake levers had the right travel without bottoming out against the grips.
canklecat is offline  
Old 05-08-18, 02:43 PM
  #8  
RobbieTunes 
Half drunk? Finish!
 
RobbieTunes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Very Southern Indiana
Posts: 25,742
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 346 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 48 Posts
Adjusting canti's increases my tension.
RobbieTunes is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
samit
For Sale
0
04-10-19 10:26 PM
gwhunter
Classic & Vintage
19
02-11-08 05:44 AM
Leland
Bicycle Mechanics
0
04-19-05 08:32 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.