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1989 Schwinn Voyageur - upgrading brakes?

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1989 Schwinn Voyageur - upgrading brakes?

Old 03-31-23, 01:22 PM
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sebcast
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1989 Schwinn Voyageur - upgrading brakes?

hi all,
Last year I picked up a 1989 (NOT 1985, got the title wrong) Schwinn voyageur. I finally had some time to work on it in the past couple of weeks, so I disassembled it, cleaned it, repaired some paint chips, and regreased the bearings.
I was putting it back together, and I showed it to a friend who had a horror story about the straddle cable of a cantilever brake disengaging, getting caught in the front wheel, and causing an awful accident. Which got me thinking about replacing the cantis in this bike for v-brakes, especially because I'm going to be using this bike to carry my current 10month old as soon as she turns 1, and I definitely don't want to risk it..

Scouring the forums I've been able to figure out the following:
1. The spacing between the posts for this bike is narrower than what modern brakes use.
2. The wire pull for v-brakes is different, so I would likely need mini v-brakes or different levers if I found ones that fit.
3. People have had success with modern Shimano BR-CX50/70 cantilever brakes, but these are still cantis, so I'm calling this plan b.

What are my options? has anyone been successful in getting modern v-brakes into this or a similar bike?

(I'll post some photos later once I'm home).

thanks!

Last edited by sebcast; 03-31-23 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 03-31-23, 01:54 PM
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There are several easy ways to prevent a straddle cable from fouling the tire such as fenders (your child will appreciate those) or reflector/light mounts.

if you switch to V-brakes, you’ve already figured out the brake lever issue. Having worked on LOTS of bikes with both types of brakes as a volunteer for the last 8 years, I’d stick with canti’s, but get good ones. Those you mentioned are excellent and widely available used. Tektro/TRP and Avid make some that use road style pads, which I’d prefer.

Good buddy @RiddleOfSteel tried mini-V’s and as I recall, he wasn’t thrilled with the feel of them. He might weigh in now that I’ve mentioned him. He also has considerable experience dealing with narrow post spacing.

Last edited by Dfrost; 03-31-23 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 03-31-23, 02:14 PM
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One option to increase safety, without changing the canti's is to change to a link wire instead of a straddle cable.



This was installed on later canti brake setups, because the failure doesn't stop the front tire suddenly.
It will probably require new inner brake cables as well.
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Old 03-31-23, 02:57 PM
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How many millions of miles have been done on standard cantis over the years?? MILLIONS. That's how many. I can't imagine this being an actual safety issue. Google any part ever made and you can find a horror story. Yes, even including steel.
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Old 03-31-23, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
How many millions of miles have been done on standard cantis over the years?? MILLIONS. That's how many. I can't imagine this being an actual safety issue. Google any part ever made and you can find a horror story. Yes, even including steel.
I mean... Yes. I totally agree with this. But rationality goes out the window when your precious cargo is involved. And if I can do something to reduce the risk, would be silly not to do it.
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Old 03-31-23, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by sebcast View Post
I mean... Yes. I totally agree with this. But rationality goes out the window when your precious cargo is involved. And if I can do something to reduce the risk, would be silly not to do it.
The fender comment is a good one, and totally appropriate on that bike as a tourer: https://velo-orange.com/collections/fenders
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Old 03-31-23, 06:44 PM
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A fork crown mounted reflector would work until you get fenders or a rack installed.
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Old 03-31-23, 08:06 PM
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Just stay with canti brakes. If they were good enough for touring/mountain biking for many years, they'll be good for you. If there were a scourge of canti-related crashes over the decades cyclocross wouldn't still be using them. And in terms of safety, I prefer canti over v brakes. V-brakes to me are on/off kind of brakes, not always the best modulation.
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Old 03-31-23, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by daverup View Post
One option to increase safety, without changing the canti's is to change to a link wire instead of a straddle cable.



This was installed on later canti brake setups, because the failure doesn't stop the front tire suddenly.
It will probably require new inner brake cables as well.
Yep, those are what I use on all of mine. They're not adjustable, but they do come in different lengths so there is sometimes a bit of trial and error.
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Old 04-01-23, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Dfrost View Post
There are several easy ways to prevent a straddle cable from fouling the tire such as fenders (your child will appreciate those) or reflector/light mounts.

if you switch to V-brakes, youíve already figured out the brake lever issue. Having worked on LOTS of bikes with both types of brakes as a volunteer for the last 8 years, Iíd stick with cantiís, but get good ones. Those you mentioned are excellent and widely available used. Tektro/TRP and Avid make some that use road style pads, which Iíd prefer.

Good buddy @RiddleOfSteel tried mini-Vís and as I recall, he wasnít thrilled with the feel of them. He might weigh in now that Iíve mentioned him. He also has considerable experience dealing with narrow post spacing.
I think I'm going for the fenders. The rear brake does go through the reflector, so the main issues is the front one.
What advantages would you see in getting the CX50/70 vs getting modern pads for the current brakes?
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Old 04-01-23, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by sebcast View Post
I think I'm going for the fenders. The rear brake does go through the reflector, so the main issues is the front one.
What advantages would you see in getting the CX50/70 vs getting modern pads for the current brakes?
Try new KoolStop pads first. Assuming your cantis are set up properly, you'll have plenty of stopping power. Do you have reason to think that CX50s or CX70s would be better than what's on there now?
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Old 04-01-23, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Neese View Post
Try new KoolStop pads first. Assuming your cantis are set up properly, you'll have plenty of stopping power. Do you have reason to think that CX50s or CX70s would be better than what's on there now?
Yeah, I'll try the pads first.
Not really, other than having the straddle cable instead of a link wire, which now I learned from the replies here that I can also replace.
I did use to have another 80s bike like 5 years ago with cantis and never had any issues with setting them up.
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Old 04-02-23, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Dfrost View Post
There are several easy ways to prevent a straddle cable from fouling the tire such as fenders (your child will appreciate those) or reflector/light mounts.

if you switch to V-brakes, youíve already figured out the brake lever issue. Having worked on LOTS of bikes with both types of brakes as a volunteer for the last 8 years, Iíd stick with cantiís, but get good ones. Those you mentioned are excellent and widely available used. Tektro/TRP and Avid make some that use road style pads, which Iíd prefer.

Good buddy @RiddleOfSteel tried mini-Vís and as I recall, he wasnít thrilled with the feel of them. He might weigh in now that Iíve mentioned him. He also has considerable experience dealing with narrow post spacing.
Mini-V's, I have found, work well (mechanically, from a leverage and actuation point of view, they are the superior technology), but if there is anything that introduces vibration/pulsation into the equation, it becomes an un-fun proposition. Rim friction coefficient (smooth or machined brake tracks), brake pad type (old hard pads, new standard pads, Kool Stop salmons..), pad toeing, rim trueness, "tolerance" aka wiggle room of the V arm on the canti post. Lots of room for tuning, and I had a more fuss-prone setup--this, on a 1985 Trek 620 tourer that I had the canti posts re-spaced and height adjusted. I just use the stock TRP pads after trying Kool Stop salmons. The salmons completed the vice-like operation of them, which was great, but they made a lot of noise (vibration = heat = glazed pads in a hilly city). The TRP pads have a slightly lower friction coefficient, but they don't make noise of become glazed, so that is satisfactory to me.

For an '89 Voyageur, the rear canti post spacing (width) and "height" (from the axle centerline) will most likely be amenable to a mini-V setup, but the front posts won't allow them--too narrow of spacing, and height too far from the axle. Too high a height disallows one the ability to set the brake pad low enough to contact the rim's brake track. The narrow post spacing also hurts that ability. This goes for any "slot type" (my term) V-brake or canti brake architecture.

[Cantis were often "pivot type" in that the brake pad is on a post that is grabbed by the canti arm and can pivot considerably. V-brake, center pull, and side pull calipers are all "slot type" with limited pad angle articulation (but great pad height adjustment), with a number of newer canti brake options being of the "slot type" variety. If you go to 700C wheels from the stock 27" wheels, the "pivot type" cantis will allow that to happen--it won't be possible with "slot type" brakes.]
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Old 04-03-23, 06:27 AM
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Tektro 539 dual pivot calipers and SLR design levers. Stops GREAT, excellent modulation, no squealing.
Just a suggestion...

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Old 04-09-23, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
Tektro 539 dual pivot calipers and SLR design levers. Stops GREAT, excellent modulation, no squealing.
Just a suggestion...

Interesting!
I got new pads for my current cantis and fenders to avoid any issues with the straddle cable. If that doesn't feel right, I'll try these.
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Old 04-09-23, 07:21 PM
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I’ve installed SKS black fenders on two bikes with Tektro 539 calipers. Easy fit with 32’s.
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