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Weak cantilever brakes

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Weak cantilever brakes

Old 12-17-15, 12:37 PM
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Weak cantilever brakes

I ride a cross bike (Norcross Blue) as a road bike. This bike has cantilever brakes and they are quite weak. I've heard this is normal for cantilevers. I really have to squeeze very hard to come to a stop at the bottom of a hill, for example. I also ride a hybrid with linear pull brakes and they are much better. I like having good reliable brakes so I need to either find a way to make the cantilevers better or replace them. What do you suggest?
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Old 12-17-15, 12:46 PM
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https://sheldonbrown.com/canti-trad.html

The Geometry of Cantilever Brakes

Also, Swiss Stop or Kool Stop pads.
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Old 12-17-15, 01:27 PM
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Yeah, might be your brake pads. I've played around with Avid Shorty 4's and they seem to give as good a stopping power as the caliper brakes on my other road bikes.
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Old 12-17-15, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006
Yeah, might be your brake pads. I've played around with Avid Shorty 4's and they seem to give as good a stopping power as the caliper brakes on my other road bikes.
true.

If they are properly adjusted, and the pads are good, cantilever brakes work well. Adjusting them can be a little tricky if you only have 2 hands.
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Old 12-17-15, 02:03 PM
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In another thread (and more or less what Sheldon Brown states)

A long Yoke cable ==> hard to pull.
A short Yoke cable ==> easy to pull.

So, try a bit of adjustment.
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Old 12-17-15, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by practical
I ride a cross bike (Norcross Blue) as a road bike. This bike has cantilever brakes and they are quite weak. I've heard this is normal for cantilevers. I really have to squeeze very hard to come to a stop at the bottom of a hill, for example. I also ride a hybrid with linear pull brakes and they are much better. I like having good reliable brakes so I need to either find a way to make the cantilevers better or replace them. What do you suggest?
TRP
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Old 12-17-15, 02:09 PM
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Black Kool Stop Eagle Claw 2's and learn how to set the toe in.
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Old 12-17-15, 04:31 PM
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IME, there are three steps.

- Get better pads
- Fuss w/ adjustment
- Lower your expectations
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Old 12-17-15, 04:38 PM
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Step 1: fiddle with the adjustment
Step 2: buy better pads
Step 3: fiddle with the adjustment again
Step 4: replace them with mini-v brakes. Either TRP CX 8.4 or the much cheaper Tektro 926.
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Old 12-17-15, 05:00 PM
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[h=1]First I'd try new pads. I like Kool Stop Mountain pads, black and salmon. They work fine on road bike rims. Properly adjusted they will probably make a big difference.[/h]
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Old 12-18-15, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by practical
I ride a cross bike (Norcross Blue) as a road bike. This bike has cantilever brakes and they are quite weak. I've heard this is normal for cantilevers. I really have to squeeze very hard to come to a stop at the bottom of a hill, for example. I also ride a hybrid with linear pull brakes and they are much better. I like having good reliable brakes so I need to either find a way to make the cantilevers better or replace them. What do you suggest?
Clean your rims (and pads). Wet wipes work great.
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Old 12-18-15, 04:32 AM
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In my experience......

This:

Originally Posted by CliffordK
A long Yoke cable ==> hard to pull.
A short Yoke cable ==> easy to pull.

So, try a bit of adjustment.
Then this:

Originally Posted by woodcraft
IME, there are three steps.

- Get better pads
- Fuss w/ adjustment
- Lower your expectations

Then this:
Originally Posted by FrozenK
Step 4: replace them with mini-v brakes. Either TRP CX 8.4 or the much cheaper Tektro 926.
Seriously though, the can work well but can also be a pia to set up properly.
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Old 12-18-15, 04:52 AM
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Definitely adjust the yoke and thereby the angle the crossover sits relative to the lever. Pads obviously.

I'd also have a look at your cables and casings. Sloppy, poorly cut or poorly seated housings will yield squishy brakes. Have a look at thise, as well.
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Old 12-18-15, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina
Definitely adjust the yoke and thereby the angle the crossover sits relative to the lever. Pads obviously.

I'd also have a look at your cables and casings. Sloppy, poorly cut or poorly seated housings will yield squishy brakes. Have a look at thise, as well.
+1

Though I hate setting up canti brakes. Mini V-brakes, or classic V-brakes is what I always go for. Just make sure they work with the levers, or get the appropriate levers. On an old MTB I got 2nd hand V-brake levers and brakes - didn't want to mess with the cantis, no way!
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Old 12-18-15, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by badger1
Thanks for the tip but they are TRP brakes.
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Old 12-18-15, 09:14 AM
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Thanks for all the advice. I guess this gives me a winter project. I will look at the pads and possibly replace those. I will shorten the yoke. And if that fails, I will replace with a different kind of brake.
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Old 12-18-15, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by practical
Thanks for the tip but they are TRP brakes.
... and why is that an issue?
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Old 12-18-15, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by badger1
... and why is that an issue?
Sorry, I misinterpreted your comment. I thought you were suggesting I get TRP cantilever brakes. The CX8.4 you suggested may be the way to go.
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Old 12-18-15, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by practical
Sorry, I misinterpreted your comment. I thought you were suggesting I get TRP cantilever brakes. The CX8.4 you suggested may be the way to go.
No worries. FWIW, I've had the CX9s on my bike (heavy use) for five full seasons; one brake pad change aside (easy-peasy) they have required absolutely no adjustment in that time aside from a quarter-turn or two on the lever barrel to compensate for pad wear (I use flat bars/levers). I am not kidding; they are extremely well-made from very high-quality materials, and very powerful (no flex).

The CX8.4s are identical in materials/construction, save for slightly shorter arms.
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