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Why won't my rear brake adjust?

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Why won't my rear brake adjust?

Old 09-01-12, 02:01 PM
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mickey85
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Why won't my rear brake adjust?

I have tried three different cantilever brakes on my Univega Activa Trail (converted to drops, Dia Compe levers). Currently I have Tektro CR720s. The front is good enough to lock up 38's on wet cement, but the back won't work. I have them adjusted properly from the wheel, and there isn't any more play in the cable than there should be...but when I apply the brake, the lever goes to the bar with no brake feel at all, and no stopping action. What else should I be looking at?
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Old 09-01-12, 02:12 PM
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puchfinnland
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something is not correct-

look inside your brake lever, the cable housing ends, somewhere it is moving if it is this bad.
replace the inner cable,
are the wheels true? and the pads as close as possible?

wait a minute!!!

old levers have less travel then new levers for cantilevers

I had the same thing trving to put on some vintage weinmann levers on the wifes retro built with cantilevers.
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Old 09-01-12, 03:03 PM
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Cantilever brakes need to be adjusted so that the mechanical advantage of the brakes is harmonized with that of the levers. If the brake levers are hitting the handlebars before the brake bites, the new levers have too much mechanical advantage. You need to remove some from the brake itself to compensate. Usually, the way you do this is by moving the yoke cable higher, up closer to the cable housing stop under the saddle, so the yoke cable makes a taller triangle. However, if you have a smallish frame, moving the yoke higher will cause it to butt up against the cable stop when you try to apply the brakes. Not good, because still no brake action. In that case you will have no choice but to put the old lever back on, with its lower mechanical advantage, for the rear brake at least.

We had this problem on our first tandem: short stoker = small frame = no room to adjust rear brake ideally. Solved the problem by mounting dual-pivot side-pull calipers.

The late Sheldon Brown explains all. https://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_ca-g.html#cantilever
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Old 09-01-12, 03:08 PM
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IIRC and Activa trail might have HiTen or mangalloy stays. scourer the older LBS or ebay for one of those U shaped brake boosters that will help. But I agree there may be a cable issue. what kind of housing stop do you have for the rear brake?
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Old 09-01-12, 04:04 PM
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This model year Activa is chromoly throughout. The cables are new, the brakes are new, and are set up correctly. Having stepped away from it for a bit and coming back to it, I believe it's a problem with the lever; however, on this bike, I haven't ever been able to adjust the rear brake correctly - I've used both high and low profile cantis, with straddle wires, and with link wires. I have wide profile cantis on my touring bike and love them - I just can't get this stupid thing adjusted. Anyway, I'll pull off the lever and replace it with another and see if that fixes the problem.
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Old 09-01-12, 11:56 PM
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If you find levers that are dedicated for canti's I strongly believe this is the issue, I flip alot of bikes and on some new levers it is even 2 positions for either

if altus cantilever brakes help the situation my lbs has a case of them left over.

hope the best to get you on the road!
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