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Surly Disc Trucker or Long Haul Trucker w/canti's

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Surly Disc Trucker or Long Haul Trucker w/canti's

Old 06-28-15, 02:54 PM
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Surly Disc Trucker or Long Haul Trucker w/canti's

I've been looking at some different steel bikes (thanks to all recent conversation here) and have test ridden several over the past couple weeks. I'd like to get you guys and gals opinion on if you'd go with disc or cantilever brakes. Price is about $200 more for disc but if they're that much better I suppose it's worth it. I'm not going to be touring with it or going down steep hills at 40+mph. The local bike shop don't have a strong opinion one way or the other but he don't see that much advantage to disc. anybody?

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Old 06-28-15, 03:15 PM
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Disc brakes are easier to modulate, provide much more consistent stopping distances in bad weather, and are generally easier to set up than cantis. If none of these things matter to you, then you'll be fine with a canti-equipped bike. If it were me, I'd go for the disc brakes...
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Old 06-28-15, 06:43 PM
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I appreciate the response very much.
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Old 06-28-15, 07:02 PM
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If it were me, I'd go for the cantilever brakes. They are not hard to set up as previously mentioned. They are simpler. If I was riding in the wet and on hills, then maybe disc brakes. This way the wheel are interchangeable with my other bikes.


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Old 06-28-15, 07:17 PM
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Just got back from touring in the Black Hills on my LHT with cantis. You are less likely to find parts for disc brakes outside of major urban areas. Outside of Rapid City where I started and ended, there were only two shops on my route. One of those was in the first day's destination town. Discs are not a necessity. They are a luxury. The choice is yours.
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Old 06-28-15, 08:02 PM
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After trying canti's, I'd say mechanical disc. I like the Avid BB7's

You can always carry a spare disc brake and rotor with you on a tour if concerned about it, but I doubt you'd need it as they are pretty solid.
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Old 06-28-15, 09:39 PM
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I went with the Disc Trucker, since I live in California, and we have more than a couple long steep hills (not to say mountains) to climb and descend. I see disc brakes, even mechanical, as a clear winner in descending those with the extra weight of food and gear.

Indiana doesn't have any serious mountain ranges, last time I checked, and if your tours are all local, you can reasonably stay with rim brakes. But if you're thinking of heading west (or east?), you might want the benefit of more efficient brakes.
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Old 06-29-15, 05:32 AM
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I've never owned a bike with disk brakes but I recently began riding my canti bike in wet weather and found that once the wheels are wet, cantilever/V-brakes suck. If you are actually going to tour somewhere other than the desert, I would seriously consider disks. If you are just going to ride on relatively nice days (like most people) then I would go with canti/V-brakes.
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Old 06-29-15, 05:57 AM
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How did I ever survive with cantis over 10,000 miles of fully loaded touring over the span of two years, including many miles in the mountains of the American west and Andalucia? I must be the luckiest guy in the world, especially since that was with the stone age technology of the late 90s.
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Old 06-29-15, 07:39 AM
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Thanks for the responses. I really respect the opinion of you "more seasoned" biker's.
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Old 06-29-15, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
How did I ever survive with cantis over 10,000 miles of fully loaded touring over the span of two years, including many miles in the mountains of the American west and Andalucia? I must be the luckiest guy in the world, especially since that was with the stone age technology of the late 90s.
Maybe you just didn't have a better option then?
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Old 06-29-15, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Jarrett2
Maybe you just didn't have a better option then?
Both technologies have their problems, but at this point, the most reliable is still cantilever brakes. That may change over the next decade. Bicycle technology evolves slowly, even glacially. While the "sizzle" is with the disc brakes, there still is a very long way to go before they supplant cantilever and rim brakes in general.

It's funny too, just when I thought disc brakes were going to hit their stride, I was surprised by how good the new DA9000/6800/5800 dual pivot rim brake designs from Shimano are in caliper brakes. So, while disc brakes are advancing, the alternatives are not standing still either.

I don't disagree that disc brakes might ultimately be better - in fact, I think they probably will be ultimately better - but it would be a mistake, I think, to presume that this is some sweeping change that will occur over a year or two or even five. In that intervening period, I think cantilevers would be the best solution for a bike built this year.

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Old 06-29-15, 08:49 AM
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I put canti and caliper brakes in different categories. My new TRP RG957 brakes stop as hard as my Avid BB7's do. But the canti/v-brakes I've used were terrible by comparison, but I didn't use them for 10,000 miles either.

To the OP, on my daily rider bikes that just carry me, I like caliper/rim brakes.

On bikes that I'm riding in the wet, dirt or with racks/bags attached, I like mechanical disc brakes.

I don't like canti's on anything personally. They are noisy, finicky to adjust and just don't stop as well as the others types, imo.

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Old 06-29-15, 09:25 AM
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the way you said you were going to be using the bike, disc will not be much of an advantage at all...
however you are only talking about $200 in price difference, not really all that much when you think about how long you are going to have the bike...I don't have any disc brakes on any of my bikes, but mostly because I just do not like the looks of them and with my riding I have no real need for them....
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Old 06-29-15, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Jarrett2
I don't like canti's on anything personally. They are noisy, finicky to adjust and just don't stop as well as the others types, imo.
I don't have any bikes with disc brakes, but I do have bikes with caliper, cantis and V-brakes, and I have to agree with this. Although my cantis are set up to stop me, they are finicky to set up well, and since I changed the rims on my bike, noisey as hell despite my attempts to toe them in and change brake pads. I'm seriously considering moving to mini-V brakes because of this issue.

Given that, I'd avoid cantis in future. My latest road bike has Ultegra 6800 caliper brakes, and they're fantastic. Not an option on a LHT of course.
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Old 06-29-15, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by dr_lha
I don't have any bikes with disc brakes, but I do have bikes with caliper, cantis and V-brakes, and I have to agree with this. Although my cantis are set up to stop me, they are finicky to set up well, and since I changed the rims on my bike, noisey as hell despite my attempts to toe them in and change brake pads. I'm seriously considering moving to mini-V brakes because of this issue.
I don't get this. Mine are simple to adjust and and not a problem at all. Slight toe in and then just adjust the springs for spacing. I use mine with the swiss stop yellow pads for carbon rims, but I like the way they work on AL rims as well. No squealing, no chatter, not issues. Modulation is good, I have more than enough braking capability in almost any conditions. What problems are you having? Often fork issues with insufficient strength can lead to chatter and that gets blamed on the brakes.

Given that, I'd avoid cantis in future. My latest road bike has Ultegra 6800 caliper brakes, and they're fantastic. Not an option on a LHT of course.
The new 6800 Ultegra caliper brakes are fantastic. I upgraded one of my bikes to 6800 and bought the whole group for the money saved and to have the brakes match the rest of the components. That was the big surprise in the group - how good the new calipers really are.

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Old 06-29-15, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80
I don't get this. Mine are simple to adjust and and not a problem at all.
Out of interest, what make/model cantis are you using?

FYI the issue I'm having is the brakes squealing. I fixed this with my old wheels, but the new wheels it came back and I can't seem to fix it. I was using Kool Stop Salmons, but changed to the OEM pads that came with the brakes as they at least are less noisy.

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Old 06-29-15, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by dr_lha
Out of interest, what make/model cantis are you using?

FYI the issue I'm having is the brakes squealing. I fixed this with my old wheels, but the new wheels it came back and I can't seem to fix it. I was using Kool Stop Salmons, but changed to the OEM pads that came with the brakes as they at least are less noisy.
Tektro Onyx on a Gunnar Crosshairs using Swiss Stop yellow pads against HED Belgium C2 tubular rims (Aluminum).

I've had them on the bike for 4 years and never had them squeal. They've been used with carbon rims as well as aluminum rims. My wife has them on her bike but with the original pads and she has no problems either.

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Old 06-29-15, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80
Tektro Onyx on a Gunnar Crosshairs using Swiss Stop yellow pads against HED Belgium C2 tubular rims (Aluminum).
Mine are Tektro CR710s, similar but I think, lower end than yours. Maybe I should try Swiss Stop pads. Kool Stops were so noisy front and rear I had to take them off. I'm using H Plus Son Archetype rims.

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Old 06-29-15, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Jarrett2
Maybe you just didn't have a better option then?
The point is that I survived with no problems. Never once crashed (nor nearly crashed) because of braking problems riding a bike with gear that weighed 90 lbs., and I did a lot of mountains, some in the rain and snow. Last year I descended two 7,000'+ passes in rail, hail and snow. One of those descents had a good section of dirt strewn with gravel and rocks.

As I wrote, disc brakes are a luxury, not a necessity. Not even close.
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Old 06-29-15, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by dr_lha
Mine are Tektro CR710s, similar but I think, lower end than yours. Maybe I should try Swiss Stop pads. Kool Stops were so noisy front and rear I had to take them off. I'm using H Plus Son Archetype rims.
[/QUOTE]

Properly adjusted, my Salons are fine unless the rims get dirty. I got dirt on the rims from riding the Mickelson Trail while it was wet and got a little noise. Wiping down the rims with a paper towel cured that problem.
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Old 06-29-15, 11:14 AM
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I again appreciate all the input here and I really think that the way I presently ride, mostly paved 20 to 30 mile rides and don't really feel the need for speed, either choice would work fine. I'm leaning toward the disc mostly because I'd like to try them and from most that I read, they have a little more stopping power for us clydes (I'm still 270#). The LBS didn't try to sway a decision but all he said was the canti's are a little more trouble to set up.
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Old 06-29-15, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by BigMo59
I again appreciate all the input here and I really think that the way I presently ride, mostly paved 20 to 30 mile rides and don't really feel the need for speed, either choice would work fine. I'm leaning toward the disc mostly because I'd like to try them and from most that I read, they have a little more stopping power for us clydes (I'm still 270#). The LBS didn't try to sway a decision but all he said was the canti's are a little more trouble to set up.
For the record, I rode my bike with canti's at 290lbs and they stopped fine for me.
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Old 06-29-15, 01:41 PM
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Fwiw, I used to enjoy setting up canti brakes, but a few years ago when I had chatter on my carbon forked Ritchey cross bike, I switched to mini-v, set them up once, and haven't had to mess with them since! Doubt I'll ever use cantilever brakes ever again.
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Old 06-29-15, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by BigMo59
I again appreciate all the input here and I really think that the way I presently ride, mostly paved 20 to 30 mile rides and don't really feel the need for speed, either choice would work fine. I'm leaning toward the disc mostly because I'd like to try them and from most that I read, they have a little more stopping power for us clydes (I'm still 270#). The LBS didn't try to sway a decision but all he said was the canti's are a little more trouble to set up.
I have a cross bike with canti's and a touring bike with discs. I will say that when I've got the touring bike loaded with gear, I'm pretty happy to have the disc brakes as they are much better, particularly in inclement weather. I can certainly stop with the canti's, but they take much more effort and can be pretty poor in the rain. Maybe it's just me, but I find the disc brakes are probably easier to adjust and maintain (mechanical BB7s) and I generally carry some spare brake pads while I'm on tour.

Having said that, it sounds to me like you'd be fine with either, especially given your intended riding patterns. Disc brakes are "better", but it's not like I find my life is in jeopardy when I switch to my cross bike. I almost instantly adapt to the differences in braking and I don't really have any problems stopping (though as I said, when it's really wet out canti's are not my favourite braking system).
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