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Drop-bar cantis and aging knuckles?

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Drop-bar cantis and aging knuckles?

Old 04-21-20, 10:24 AM
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cormacf
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Drop-bar cantis and aging knuckles?

Around 45, my knuckles started getting a bit sore after long rides on drops.

A bit of background: Aside from my teens, I didn't start riding until my 40s. A few years ago, I moved up from super-flat and super-dry Los Angeles to super-hilly and super-wet Seattle, and I started caring a lot more about my brakes. My gorgeous Paul Racer centerpulls got replaced by unattractive-but magical Ultegra hydros, and I couldn't be happier. I can brake with 2 fingers from the hoods and it slows and stops in any weather. I can now ride 200 miles without feeling like I have crab claws at the end of the day, and I'm far less likely to die.

With that said, I've also done long-ish rides on flat-bar (well, trekking bar) bikes with old-fashioned v-brakes, and it's fine, probably because I can always use 4 fingers. But the mountain bike and roadie have hydros and always will.

So here's my newest challenge. I'm thinking of trying out single-speed cyclocross this fall, to keep the legs in shape after track season. There are a ton of light, cheap, used bikes with cantis that fit the bill. I can get a high-end bike from 6 or 7 years ago with great wheels and tires for $500 or $600, which is half the price of something new and hydro-equipped like a Norco Threshold, and the throwback canti bike would be a nice, bulletproof, thrasher. I'm just not sure about cantis (which have notoriously bad leverage) on drops, especially if I'm braking from the hoods. I feel like I'm either going to kill my hands from squeezing or kill myself from not braking hard enough.

Then again, on a SSCX track, maybe I'm never going to be going fast enough for it to matter, and a general "slow down request" will be enough?
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Old 04-22-20, 06:06 AM
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Seems that a well adjusted set of canti's with good pads (my preference is Kool Stop Salmon pads) would be fine. But if not, and your bike can fit them, a good quality set of v-brakes and v-brake levers (or a travel agent with current levers) may do the trick. The v-brakes (Avid) on my mtn bike don't take a lot of pressure to lock 'em up!
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Old 04-22-20, 07:29 AM
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Setting up cantis is voodoo, the few times I've gotten them to feel like I wanted them to I had little to no idea how I'd done it. I prefer V-brakes for rim-braked bikes, but I'd pay more for a frame that takes discs. Worth it.
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Old 04-22-20, 07:55 AM
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I switched from cantlevers to v-brakes on my snow bike commuter a few years ago due to hand issues. They are freakin' awesome! They brake harder with less squeezing. I'm still running the same brake pads, so it is definitely the v-brakes.

There is some characterization of V-brakes as having little or no modulation compared to other brakes, but that is not my experience on this bike. My wife's much lighter comfort bike also has v-brakes and the few times I've ridden it I have unexpectedly locked up the brakes occasionally.

Last fall I converted my winter bike to drop bars which necessitated new brake levers. They modulate and feel the same as the original straight-bar brake levers. However, I addded cross brakes (interrupters) on the upper bar since I commute in traffic. I couldn't find long-pull interrupters priced for the cheap conversion budget, so I bought very cheap short-pulls. They slow the bike down enough and will stop it eventually, but not like the long-pull main brake levers. I mostly ride on the hoods, so I am happy.
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Old 04-22-20, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by freeranger View Post
Seems that a well adjusted set of canti's with good pads (my preference is Kool Stop Salmon pads) would be fine. But if not, and your bike can fit them, a good quality set of v-brakes and v-brake levers (or a travel agent with current levers) may do the trick. The v-brakes (Avid) on my mtn bike don't take a lot of pressure to lock 'em up!
Thanks! I just emailed with a guy in Portland who has A Raleigh RXS for $700. That could solve all my problems with hydraulic discs, but since I'm in Seattle and I'd have to throw a leg over it first, I imagine he'll sell before lockdown ends.
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Old 04-22-20, 08:00 PM
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I descend mountain passes on the hoods. No problem, especially when you consider that I rarely let this thing get above 35 mph. I hit 42 a few years ago and was surprised at myself.


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