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Best cantilever brakes for SRAM Apex 1 levers

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Best cantilever brakes for SRAM Apex 1 levers

Old 02-10-22, 08:39 PM
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BoozyMcliverRot
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Best cantilever brakes for SRAM Apex 1 levers

I'm thinking of upgrading my Cane Creek SCR5-V levers,Alivio V brakes and Dura-Ace bar end shifter on a Paul Thumbie for SRAM Apex 1 levers and derailleur. I'm also looking for the best cantis for those levers under $100 front and rear. I've tried the budget Tektro Oryx with my TRP RRL levers and they suck. They need to be able to clear 2.1 tires also.

What do you folks suggest?
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Old 02-11-22, 07:55 AM
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Haven't used them with Apex levers, but for new cantis I'd start with Avid Shorty Ultimates.

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Old 02-11-22, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by DorkDisk View Post
Haven't used them with Apex levers, but for new cantis I'd start with Avid Shorty Ultimates.

I was just looking at those.a little.over budget though.
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Old 02-11-22, 09:09 PM
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I have Paul Neo Retro cantis on my cyclocross bike connected to some SRAM Red brifters that do the job. They're running about $133/wheel right now though, worth saving up for if you can wait a bit or stretch your budget.

https://www.paulcomp.com/shop/compon...kes/neo-retro/
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Old 02-11-22, 11:34 PM
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'Hi, I want brakes for under $100.'
'Here are some that cost $265.'


https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...kaAmADEALw_wcB
$40 each. Relatively easy to set up.
Brake pads are commonly a relatively inexpensive upgrade. Some koolstop pads could help, if you dislike the stock pads on whatever brakes you end up buying.
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Old 02-11-22, 11:37 PM
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Any canti brake will be dramatically improved with the addition of Mathauser brake pads ....a bit more expensive, but well worth it ( they also last longer than other pads )
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Old 02-14-22, 08:53 AM
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Avid Shorty Ultimates are the best cantilever brakes I've ever used, hands down. I tried 3 other types on my old CX bike and the Avid's are the only ones that were a noticeable improvement, and the easiest to setup/adjust and keep correctly adjusted. Yes, they're over the OP's budget. They work great with SRAM Force levers.

In the sub-$100 range, I don't think you'll find much difference in performance between cantilever brake models. Basic difference will be wide vs narrow. Any of these brakes can be set up to perform adequately, but in my experience they're all fussy and need frequent adjusting, and never seem to work that great. I have several sets collecting dust in a tool drawer right now as once I tried the Avid Shorty Ultimate, I never looked back.

If you want to go down a rabbit hole of pros/cons on various cantilever geometry and how they work, how they should be set up, etc, I recommend reading info from both Sheldon Brown and Lennard Zinn on the topic:
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/cantilever-geometry.html
https://www.velonews.com/gear/techni...brake-shudder/

One other thing to consider. Your current setup uses V-brakes. These brakes provide a lot more power than a traditional Canti, but are not compatible with most drop bar levers. As a compromise, there are some "mini-v" brakes on the market that do work with standard road levers (like SRAM Apex) and will provide similar power as your Alivio V-brakes. The downside is that the pads have to be run very close to the rims, so if you're riding in mud this can become a problem.

I used TRP CX 9.0 mini-V's with my SRAM Force levers and they worked pretty well. I ended up going back to canti's for better mud clearance. The TRP CX8.4 is a shorter version that likely has a bit more wiggle room on clearance. This brake should work fine with your SRAM levers: https://trpcycling.com/product/cx-8-4/
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Old 02-14-22, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Avid Shorty Ultimates are the best cantilever brakes I've ever used, hands down. I tried 3 other types on my old CX bike and the Avid's are the only ones that were a noticeable improvement, and the easiest to setup/adjust and keep correctly adjusted. Yes, they're over the OP's budget. They work great with SRAM Force levers.

In the sub-$100 range, I don't think you'll find much difference in performance between cantilever brake models. Basic difference will be wide vs narrow. Any of these brakes can be set up to perform adequately, but in my experience they're all fussy and need frequent adjusting, and never seem to work that great. I have several sets collecting dust in a tool drawer right now as once I tried the Avid Shorty Ultimate, I never looked back.

If you want to go down a rabbit hole of pros/cons on various cantilever geometry and how they work, how they should be set up, etc, I recommend reading info from both Sheldon Brown and Lennard Zinn on the topic:
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/cantilever-geometry.html
https://www.velonews.com/gear/techni...brake-shudder/

One other thing to consider. Your current setup uses V-brakes. These brakes provide a lot more power than a traditional Canti, but are not compatible with most drop bar levers. As a compromise, there are some "mini-v" brakes on the market that do work with standard road levers (like SRAM Apex) and will provide similar power as your Alivio V-brakes. The downside is that the pads have to be run very close to the rims, so if you're riding in mud this can become a problem.

I used TRP CX 9.0 mini-V's with my SRAM Force levers and they worked pretty well. I ended up going back to canti's for better mud clearance. The TRP CX8.4 is a shorter version that likely has a bit more wiggle room on clearance. This brake should work fine with your SRAM levers: https://trpcycling.com/product/cx-8-4/

Thank you for those suggestions. I should have checked this thread again before pulling the trigger.

I ended up going with the Box 3 V brakes as I found them for a good price. Actually they were the same price as the TRP CX8.4 except the Box brakes include flat bar brake levers.

The only difference I can tell other than aesthetics is that the Box brakes are 85mm,just 1mm longer than the TRP.

For reference this is what I bought and the bike it's going on.















​​​​​​
Edit: Those Voodoo decals were leftovers from another restomod I did and I only used them as a placeholder until I could figure out who manufactured the frame.

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Old 02-14-22, 08:32 PM
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This is how it looked within an hour of me picking up the frame and fork for $20.
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