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Canti brakes

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Old 10-23-09, 05:40 PM
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Jonahhobbes
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Canti brakes

OK we are getting a couple of bikes for touring early next year, The wife is getting the Salsa Fargo, (grrrr), and I'm getting a LHT.

I have a Salsa La Cruz already, which is my commuter and I want to leave it alone, hence me getting the LHT.

My only concern is the Canti brakes, I've fallen for disc brakes on my Salsa and always loved the V brakes of my old MTB's. I'm not familiar with the Tektro Oryx cantilevers-type brakes that come with the Surly and have had limited experience with a brake with a transverse cable.

In my limited experience on a crappy old MTB which was ditched early on years ago I found the transverse cable type brake difficult to adjust and fix.

I still remain a pretty rubbish bike mechanic.

So what do people think of these brakes, what are they like compared to disc or V's, anyone know off the top of their heads if the LHT can take disc's?

Are the transverse easy to master when fixing? Taking out the wheels to fix flats?
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Old 10-23-09, 05:58 PM
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I was new to cantilever brakes when I got my Bridgestone RB-T... they're kind of a pain to adjust, but luckily don't need adjusting very often. They'd be easier but I just sort of figure things out as I go.

My roadie has dual-pivot sidepulls, the RB-T has the original cantis (Dia Compe something or other...), and my "other" bike (rain bike? who knows...) has Hayes discs. All have plenty of power for me; my impressions: the discs go from 0-100% power faster, the cantis slowest, and dual-pull somewhere in between. All that said, the stopping power is sufficient on all of them. The discs are best when wet, but none of them have performance degradation sufficient that I'd consider it at all dangerous.

I mostly commute on the RB-T, so when I get on the other bikes after a few days it's very exciting as I remember how to work those brakes and that I need a lighter touch. Some day I'll probably throw some mini-V's on the RB-T to replace the cantilevers, mostly just to make adjustments easier. Looks like I'd be looking at around $30 to do front and back.

As far as adjustment goes, I'd be tempted to say that cantis are the most difficult. I don't consider them a problem really, but mini-V's are supposed to be easier (I think) and only cost a few bucks.

I'm far from an expert, so as far as all this I've typed goes... you're getting what you paid for.

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Old 10-23-09, 06:47 PM
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The newer cantis are much easier to adjust and stop very well. I recommend these:
http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...e.aspx?sc=FRGL
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Old 10-23-09, 08:10 PM
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I've got Tektro Oryx cantis on my Atlantis and I'll just say, don't worry about it. They use the same type of pads as V-brakes, so they're super easy to adjust. Especially when compared to the old post style canti pads. Plus they function very, very well. In my opinion they're about the best deal you can find in "traditional" cantilevers. I think you'll be happy with them.
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Old 10-23-09, 08:12 PM
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I don't mean to hijack but maybe this will be a good place for me to ask about "upgrading" the cantis on my RB-T... would I genuinely save myself some trouble my getting rid of the 90s-era dia compe's I have and replacing them with more modern cantis like the oryx or cr720?
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Old 10-23-09, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by lambo_vt View Post
I don't mean to hijack but maybe this will be a good place for me to ask about "upgrading" the cantis on my RB-T... would I genuinely save myself some trouble my getting rid of the 90s-era dia compe's I have and replacing them with more modern cantis like the oryx or cr720?
The old cantilever brakes with the post style pads, like the Dia Compes on your RB-T (sweet bike by the way) are pretty fussy to adjust, but they work well once you get them set-up right. Some people are really good at adjusting them but I could never really get the hang of it. A lot (maybe even most) of the newer cantis use the same type of threaded stud pads that you find on V-brakes, so they're really easy to adjust. And they work really well too. If you find that adjusting the old Dia Compes is a pain in the butt, I'd say it'd be worth it for you to "upgrade" (in quotes because a lot of traditionalists probably wouldn't consider it an upgrade). I still think that good linear pulls (V-brakes) give you stronger braking though. So if you don't care about going "non-traditional" you could always go that route.
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Old 10-23-09, 08:34 PM
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I'm not particularly happy with the Oryx canti's on my LHT. They're a little spongy to me, though I could just have a crazy grip and squeeze the living hell out of my brake levers... I don't know. I'd like a high-profile canti like the CR720's, mainly because I like the looks of them, but partly because I know they'll stop better.
Don't worry about them, though. They'll work just fine. They've done me fine for about 1000 miles so far.
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Old 10-23-09, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Quickbeam View Post
The old cantilever brakes with the post style pads, like the Dia Compes on your RB-T (sweet bike by the way) are pretty fussy to adjust, but they work well once you get them set-up right. Some people are really good at adjusting them but I could never really get the hang of it. A lot (maybe even most) of the newer cantis use the same type of threaded stud pads that you find on V-brakes, so they're really easy to adjust. And they work really well too. If you find that adjusting the old Dia Compes is a pain in the butt, I'd say it'd be worth it for you to "upgrade" (in quotes because a lot of traditionalists probably wouldn't consider it an upgrade). I still think that good linear pulls (V-brakes) give you stronger braking though. So if you don't care about going "non-traditional" you could always go that route.
Thanks. Yeah I'm certainly not a traditionalist... I love the bike but it is what it is: a sweet ride that -- in my case -- is in great shape. There's no magic to it. As the parts wear out it'll have to be updated: spread to 130mm, new brakes, ditch the Suntour shifters, etc. Not that I have anything against those parts, I'm just not interested in banging my head against the wall trying to find replacements.

I'm thinking around Christmas I may change out the brakes - like I said, stopping power is fine, and I can get the things adjusted, it's just a pain doing so; guess I'd need new levers to go with regular v brakes...
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Old 10-23-09, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by lambo_vt View Post
guess I'd need new levers to go with regular v brakes...
Yeah, that's true. I forgot about that. There are a few manufacturers that make aero levers for V-brakes now. It'd probably be easier and cheaper to just get some newer cantis.
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Old 10-23-09, 08:51 PM
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I like the Shimano R550 cantis that came on my Novara Randonee. They take V-brake pads, so you don't have to readjust them every time you change brake pads.
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Old 10-23-09, 09:13 PM
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Ditch the Oryx brakes and get CR720s if you're looking to go the economical route. Try some Paul Neo-Retros if you want the bling factor and your wallet can spare the hit.
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Old 10-23-09, 09:23 PM
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avid shortys have worked very well for me.
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Old 10-24-09, 04:43 AM
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The tektro oryx are great for the price. They are the easiest to adjust of any canti brake I've ever used. And I've been very happy with the stopping power. Considering the low price, they are hard to beat.
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Old 10-24-09, 05:28 AM
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Have Cane Creek SCX-5 canti brakes with Crosstop levers and koolstop salmon pads on my SUV.
I'm fairly heavy, often carry a load [GVW 110-130 kg] and live in a hilly area- this combination has worked well. The Crosstop levers with salmon pads provide good modulation and stopping power in a wide range of crappy weather conditions. Brakes were fairly easy to set up and have required little adjustment. Also used Jagwire cables as they flow easily and stretch little.
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Old 10-24-09, 06:32 AM
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canti brakes

I built up a Bob Jackson touring bike mainly for commuting last winter. My bikes have all had caliper brakes in the past, but the BJ was set up for cantis. I put the Shimano R550s on my BJ and they have performed flawlessly. They stop better than caliper brakes, particularly in the rain, and rarely squeak. The only time they ever make noise is if the rims get dirty, and cleaning the rims takes care of that. I also have heard good reports about the Tektro 720 brakes.

In my case, I prefer cantis because they stop well and can handle larger tires, but don't require me to get a special set of wheels that would be incompatible with my other bikes. I like the option of being able to swap wheel sets if a spoke brakes, etc. One of my bikes recently developed damaged eyelets on the rear wheel, and I was able to simply swap a rear wheel from another bike to continue riding.

However, since you already have a bike with disc brakes, it might make more sense for you to get another disc bike for compatibility issues.
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Old 10-24-09, 06:43 AM
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Regardless of which brakes you go with, I would change the stock brake pads for a set of Koolstops. When I did the pad swap on my old mountain bike commuter I was very surprised by how much stronger the braking was with the Koolstops.
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Old 10-24-09, 10:50 AM
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I don't like cantis very much, v-brakes are generally more powerful. Good modern cantis on a 700c wheel are pretty good, but cantis on a 26" wheel are weaker.
V-brakes on a 700c wheel are often more powerful than smaller discs on the same wheel, but good disc brakes on a 26" wheel are usually more powerful than even good v-brakes (on the same wheel, due to the radius of the rim braking surface vs. radius of disc braking surface) .


I cant's stand old school cantis with the posts. I have a set on my city bike in the rear, and they're a little annoying to adjust, and give little power. These are the really old school ones on an early 80's mtb, which have the holes for the spring on the outside rather than on the inside. I might resort to welding on modern v-brake bosses.

Also, v-brakes with cantilever levers do work, but you need to have a barrel adjuster and keep your pads close to your rim, and a good wheel that won't go out of true. Then you have tons of power, but modulation is tricky.

Cantilever brakes with v-brake levers give tons of easy modulation, but pathetic power.

That's my experience.

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Old 10-24-09, 11:18 AM
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I recently built a Trek 520 frame up and used Cane Creek SCX-5 cantis with Cane Creek SCR-5C levers and XTR cables. Have them mounted on a Deda Newton shallow drop bar. They were not too bad to set up and adjust, this being only my second build and the first time using cants. I have put about 500 miles on the bike and so far the brakes work very well, although they have not seen any rain yet.

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Old 10-24-09, 07:48 PM
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I recently bought an LHT over a Trek 520, in part because of the brakes. Not a completely rational choice, but I liked how the canti's on the LHT looked better than the v-brakes on the Trek. I like the symmetry and the clean look of them. The salesman told me that Trek changed from canti's to v-brakes on the 520 after a bike maker got sued over canti's because the brake cable broke, the center cable caught on the knobs of the tire and the biker was thrown off. Not sure if that's exactly how it happened but interesting story. Not an issue for me as I have road tires on it plus fenders. As for braking power, they seem plenty strong. Haven't ridden fully loaded though.
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Old 10-24-09, 08:02 PM
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Canti's suck - period.

If you HAVE to run them, switch to some decent pads.
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Old 10-24-09, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
Ditch the Oryx brakes and get CR720s if you're looking to go the economical route. Try some Paul Neo-Retros if you want the bling factor and your wallet can spare the hit.
Do the CR720s still exist? Everywhere seems to be out of stock... I'd check Tektro's website but it appears to be broken.
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Old 10-24-09, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by lambo_vt View Post
Do the CR720s still exist? Everywhere seems to be out of stock... I'd check Tektro's website but it appears to be broken.
Sure, I just got some this month from universal - in silver. I think the black is what's in short supply.

https://www.universalcycles.com/search.php?q=cr720
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Old 10-24-09, 08:17 PM
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Cool deal. Thanks dude.
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Old 10-24-09, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
Canti's suck - period.

If you HAVE to run them, switch to some decent pads.
No explanation, they just suck?
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Old 10-25-09, 04:05 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
Canti's suck - period.
I have canti brakes on 4 of my bikes, and when I squeeze the levers, the bike comes to a stop. Maybe I'm missing something.
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