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V-Brake Update...

Old 12-23-16, 08:15 PM
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BobbyG
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V-Brake Update...

Replaced cantilever brakes on my 20-year old Nishiki Blazer MTB with V-brakes. Have hand issues so I wanted more braking power for less squeeze. Was a little worried about modulation as some folks described their V-Brakes as on/off affairs. After two weeks including snow and ice riding on studs I find them to have a wide, natural feeling modulation zone with a definite and predicable lock-up at the end, should I want it (which I usually do not). Of course your experience may be different due to differences in hardware, rims and pads. However without my weight on the bike when walking it, there is no modulation and the brakes lock up immediately.

And my main goal was achieved, my hands don't ache after a ride from braking.
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Old 12-24-16, 03:24 AM
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I am replacing the cantilevers on my latest n+1 without even riding to the end of the driveway with them! When I squeeze the front brake lever only one arm moves. I don't even want to deal with sorting out the spring tensions. The rear brake hangar was installed on only one side of the seatpost collar instead of straddling both sides. Who knows, maybe it wasn't wide enough (?) so the 'mechanic' just let it sit cockeyed and adjusted things to compensate. Ugh. V-brakes, please. They can't get here soon enough.

And... modulation? I don't know... I've ridden a ton of different bikes and I've managed to stop everyone of them, even strange bikes on the very first ride, without doing a face plant because of brake lock up. I guess you and me just aren't discerning enough to know if our brakes have enough modulation though I really can't for the life of me understand why it matters. You want to stop, you stop. If you don't, you don't. What is this modulation crap? That must be why 50% of bike accidents are collisions with fixed objects!
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Old 12-24-16, 09:10 AM
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I have replaced a lot of 90's era cantilever brakes with linear pull (V-brakes).

During the 90's many bikes were equipped with cantilever brakes that had a gray nylon collar that enclosed the return spring. Over time those collars tended to crack negating the return spring function. Shimano used to provide replacement parts at no cost but eventually I started switching the bikes that had this problem over to V-brakes.

Now I've become picky about which linear pull brakes I'll use. My favorite are Avid SD-7 with the wonderfully adjustable Avid Speed Dial brake levers. I find even the cheapest of Shimano V-brakes to be superior to the Pro-Max brakes that are found on virtually all of the lower tier bicycles.
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Old 12-24-16, 09:29 AM
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Bobby,. your fork has canti bosses and is drilled out for v-brakes?
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Old 12-24-16, 09:35 AM
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Descents . On MTB trails where you grab the brakes a lot, are where hand fatigue really adds up.
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Old 12-24-16, 09:35 AM
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No dirilling needed for v brakes. They go right on the canti bosses

I don't think I've ever had a problem with modulation. I'm quite convinced that word is just thrown around to get people onto hydro disc brakes.
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Old 12-24-16, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by bmthom.gis View Post
No dirilling needed for v brakes. They go right on the canti bosses

I don't think I've ever had a problem with modulation. I'm quite convinced that word is just thrown around to get people onto hydro disc brakes.
Yes the V-brakes fit on the cantilever bosses. The v-brakes just don't use the little cable fitting over the wheel as the v-brake cable comes in from the side.

By "modulation" I assume people mean being able to apply the brakes lightly for a gentle decelleration, or completely for total lockup, and then everything in between.
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Old 12-24-16, 10:18 AM
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No offense intended to anyone, but I don't understand the difficulty lots of people seem to have with cantilever brakes. There's a little bit more to setting them up than v-brakes -- especially older cantilevers with smooth post pads -- but I've never had such trouble with them that I just throw them away and replace 'em with v-brakes.

Well, except the aforementioned Shimano cantis with the plastic spring collars that inevitably crack. Those go straight into the trash bin, whether or not the spring collar has already cracked. (It will soon enough.)
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Old 12-25-16, 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
...I wanted more braking power for less squeeze.
A comment frequently missed from disc brake discussions.
Sure, its entirely possible to ride w/o discs, but to get the same braking for less hand effort IS a nice feature.
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Old 12-25-16, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
No offense intended to anyone, but I don't understand the difficulty lots of people seem to have with cantilever brakes. There's a little bit more to setting them up than v-brakes -- especially older cantilevers with smooth post pads -- but I've never had such trouble with them that I just throw them away and replace 'em with v-brakes.

Well, except the aforementioned Shimano cantis with the plastic spring collars that inevitably crack. Those go straight into the trash bin, whether or not the spring collar has already cracked. (It will soon enough.)
I agree the set-up can take some time, although I have had V-brakes that took some patience to get right also.

As for "modulation" with canti's I apply a little pressure - I slowly stop, I apply medium pressure - I stop sooner, I apply more pressure - I stop quick.

On a recent build I completed I intentionally went with canti's over V-brakes. In this application they fit the look I was after and I don't see where I have given up any braking performance.
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Old 12-25-16, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Yes the V-brakes fit on the cantilever bosses. The v-brakes just don't use the little cable fitting over the wheel as the v-brake cable comes in from the side.
V-brakes do require a section of cable housing connecting to the caliper. Many canty brake equipped bikes lack a cable housing stop for the rear brake. "Problem Solvers" has clamp on cable housing stops but you need to know the diameter of the tube you are clamping onto.
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Old 12-25-16, 09:27 AM
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My issues with V-brakes: they require more often 'fiddling' to get just right, then often 1 big jounce sets them sideways again. Look at the amount of hardware that is just sitting on top of the 'action arm; sitting 3" up on a lever arm. It's no wonder that they go out of setting as easily as they do!

I find the little calibration screws to be almost useless. I ALWAYS set them in the highest tension spring hole (if it has the 3 little holes...), then bend the spring manually to give maximum retraction force. That seems to be the only way to get them to always return to where you want them and not scrape the side of your rim. When adjusting tension on somebody else's bike, the first thing I do is pry out the return spring and bend it outwards....

Also, you need to regularly remove them completely from the bosses, clean them, de-oxidize them with a scotchbrite pad, then relube and re-install. All in all, extra work is required. Right now, I have my 'in town' bike that has canti's. I have strong hands, and I like the lower maintenance with them, so I doubt I'll bother 'downgrading' them to V-brakes.

From my perspective, V-brakes are only an 'improvement' for those who lack sufficient hand strength. Anybody else will be better served by cantilevers. As you can guess, I really despise V-brakes....
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Old 12-25-16, 09:30 AM
  #13  
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Here's how the V-brakes look on the bike. It goes with the Hodgepodge nature of the bike.
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Old 12-25-16, 03:59 PM
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V-brakes are a good technological upgrade, I think for older bikes though keeping a cantilevered system keeps the bike looking in period, looking right. I wouldn't upgrade them myself if I had such a bike, I'd just buy another bike with a host of similar upgrades already factory fitted.
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Old 12-27-16, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by coominya View Post
V-brakes are a good technological upgrade, I think for older bikes though keeping a cantilevered system keeps the bike looking in period, looking right. I wouldn't upgrade them myself if I had such a bike, I'd just buy another bike with a host of similar upgrades already factory fitted.
Agreed. If the bike I bought had an integral cable hangar as nicely done as the one in post #13 I would probably leave well enough alone and address any mechanical issues with adjustments rather than replacements.
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Old 12-27-16, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by AlexCyclistRoch View Post
My issues with V-brakes: they require more often 'fiddling' to get just right, then often 1 big jounce sets them sideways again. Look at the amount of hardware that is just sitting on top of the 'action arm; sitting 3" up on a lever arm. It's no wonder that they go out of setting as easily as they do!

I find the little calibration screws to be almost useless. I ALWAYS set them in the highest tension spring hole (if it has the 3 little holes...), then bend the spring manually to give maximum retraction force. That seems to be the only way to get them to always return to where you want them and not scrape the side of your rim. When adjusting tension on somebody else's bike, the first thing I do is pry out the return spring and bend it outwards....

Also, you need to regularly remove them completely from the bosses, clean them, de-oxidize them with a scotchbrite pad, then relube and re-install. All in all, extra work is required. Right now, I have my 'in town' bike that has canti's. I have strong hands, and I like the lower maintenance with them, so I doubt I'll bother 'downgrading' them to V-brakes.

From my perspective, V-brakes are only an 'improvement' for those who lack sufficient hand strength. Anybody else will be better served by cantilevers. As you can guess, I really despise V-brakes....
Not been my experience. I installed TRP CX9s/SD7 levers/XTR cables in Spring 2011. This bike gets about 6/7000kms/year.

Total maintenance since then: 2 pad-set changes (cartridge inserts), and one inner cable (rear) two years ago. Rear brake wasn't returning to centre: pulled out the inner cable, blew (compressed air) the gunk out of the rear noodle, put in new inner. I'll probably get round to pulling the brakes and cleaning the bushings and posts this winter, but more for aesthetic reasons than out of necessity.

Total adjustments, other than a twist of the lever barrel adjuster for new pads: none.
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Old 12-28-16, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by badger1 View Post
Not been my experience. I installed TRP CX9s/SD7 levers/XTR cables in Spring 2011. This bike gets about 6/7000kms/year.
They certainly look the part, look well made. I have generic shimano vbrakes on one 90's MTB but never had an issue after I greased the bushings. Just a little rust on them and you can have dragging.
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Old 12-28-16, 07:44 AM
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I also agree that if I wanted to keep the bike period I would have had the cantilevers replaced with period cantilevers. But so much of the bike has been modified from wheels to hubs to handlebars, to gearing and derailers, and the seat. it would be pointless, and this being a lower end bike, it was just not a consideration.

This makes me think of Jay Leno and his car collection. There are certain cars that he tried to keep as stock and correct as possible. But if there is a car he drives more often and it doesn't harm the value too much, he will fit modern, dual reservoir hydraulics vs. single, disc brakes for drums, 12 volts for 6 and aftermarket air conditioning.

Sometimes these upgrades are reversible so that when the car is put up for sale, it can be restored to a more original state.
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Old 12-31-16, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
No offense intended to anyone, but I don't understand the difficulty lots of people seem to have with cantilever brakes. There's a little bit more to setting them up than v-brakes -- especially older cantilevers with smooth post pads -- but I've never had such trouble with them that I just throw them away and replace 'em with v-brakes.

Well, except the aforementioned Shimano cantis with the plastic spring collars that inevitably crack. Those go straight into the trash bin, whether or not the spring collar has already cracked. (It will soon enough.)
Agree 100%. Setting up cantilever brakes properly takes a bit of knowledge and experience, but the better ones are pretty easy. All of my bikes are frame-up custom builds and I use cantilevers exclusively. I have both great modulation and stopping power on all my bikes. V-brakes are what they invented so that Walmart or Dick's Sport Goods stock boys could get the brakes working before they put the bike out on the floor.

I too throw away the old Shimano brakes with the plastic spring housing. However, a lot of the Deore stuff is pretty nice. The old BR-M550 in particular are very sweet. I have Avid Shorty 6s on two of my bikes and those also are very nice and easy to adjust. Look for adjustment screws on both sides. That allows you to both balance the action of the pads, and also increase/decrease the overall brake spring action and feel. Straddle cable setup makes a big difference also.

So yes, there's more to know but the results are worth it. On the other hand, when I'm tuning up a department store bike for a friend, I'm glad they have V-brakes. Very simple to adjust and they do stop the bike.
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Old 01-03-17, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Yes the V-brakes fit on the cantilever bosses. The v-brakes just don't use the little cable fitting over the wheel as the v-brake cable comes in from the side.

By "modulation" I assume people mean being able to apply the brakes lightly for a gentle decelleration, or completely for total lockup, and then everything in between.
I mean, I've never had any problem modulating vees, cantis, side pull or linear pull brakes. I don't know what the fuss is. Different squeeze pressure gives you modulation.
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