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Weak canti brakes on new Volpe

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Weak canti brakes on new Volpe

Old 04-13-19, 03:40 AM
  #1  
imi
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Weak canti brakes on new Volpe

Hi, I have recently bought a new Bianchi Volpe (2017 cantilever brakes model) as a replacement for my Bob Jackson World Tour which got trashed on tour in France last autumn. Anyway, itís actually my first brifters bike: Tiagra BR-CX50 STI. Previously I have had Avid Single Digit 7 V-brakes with Tektro RL 520 brake levers.

I am really disappointed with the braking power from the hoods. Iíd say I have average sized hands and good grip strength. Iíve tried shortening the lever reach (with the little screw under the hoods) and slackening the wire, which was a slight improvement, but no way can I achieve anything close to the stopping power of my old set-up. Iíve been using Kool Stop brake pads for years, but the Shimano Ultegra road pads on the cantilever brakes canít be making such a difference, can they?

Most of the time youíre just ďslowing downĒ, but sometimes thereís a need to stop quickly or have sufficient braking on steep downhills fully loaded in the rain. I simply wouldnít trust these brakes on tour.
Iím commuting on them now, but it ainít good! Iím even considering going back to bar-end shifters and v-brakes, but would have to buy all new components.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 04-13-19, 06:23 AM
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Is the yoke angle set up correctly? See Sheldon Brown's article if you're not familiar with it. If that's what you meant by "slackening the wire," never mind.

Are the brakes brand new? If it's a 2017 model, maybe the pads have some hardening, whether used or not. Where was it stored? Chemicals, UV light, and time will have an effect on rubber.

Even well-adjusted, new cantis won't have the effectiveness of linear pulls.But any brakes should allow you to skid in a panic stop.
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Old 04-13-19, 06:26 AM
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hi there imi.
This makes me think of when I bought a new bike in 2010 to replace my old tourer. I had used cantis for decades, and I figured the new bikes cantis would be a lot stronger than the 1990 bike---but nope, I had exactly the same reaction as you. This bike also has a second set of interrupter brake levers, and the braking with them was really weak.

after a while and hearing about how softer compound pads like the salmon coloured kool stop pads could improve this , I finally put some on, and the difference was immediate and significant. Much stronger braking with main brake levers, and the interrupter levers were now useable (meaning if I really had to stop hard, I could actually use them now).

my cantilevers are the ones where you remove a pin and slide the original pads out, and simply slide new pads in.

I highly recommend trying the salmon coloured pads, the ones that are entirely that salmon colour. They are the softest compound as far as I know, there is a "mix" version, half salmon half black, but I like the "all soft".

also, my front salmon pads lasted at least four seasons, so no problems with longevity. Yours may not last that long, but to me they are still worth it.
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Old 04-13-19, 06:28 AM
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ps, when I changed the pads, no other adjustments were done to the cantis, nothing, no yoke change, no cable change, nothing, so to me this was important as it showed that the difference was only from the pads, and not from any setup change.
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Old 04-13-19, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
ps, when I changed the pads, no other adjustments were done to the cantis, nothing, no yoke change, no cable change, nothing, so to me this was important as it showed that the difference was only from the pads, and not from any setup change.
Yep, he is right. Try them.
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Old 04-13-19, 07:40 AM
  #6  
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Two years ago I built up a new bike, did not use brifters but use road levers that have the same cable pull. Since I was mixing road levers with long arm V brakes, I used a travel agent instead of a brake noodle. And I used Koolstop Salmon pads. (The pads DJB suggested.) Very good braking. You mention an aversion to making a big change in hardware, but if you bought a set of V brakes, Salmon Koolstop pads, and a travel agent, that is a low cost outlay to try it. You could do one wheel at a time to see if you think that it was worth doing. I attached a photo. The photo is a bit busy because I also have a headlamp mounted on the fork crown, but you can see the important parts.

I have two different bikes with long arm V brakes with travel agents. And my folding bike uses short arm V brake levers that do not have a travel agent, I have to be careful on that bike to avoid pulling on brakes to hard, that bike also uses road levers. Regarding brake arm length, this link has a short list that you can refer to if you have to have the right length to clear fenders, etc:
https://www.gravelbike.com/v-brake-arm-lengths/

But I think you should just try the Koolstop Salmon pads first before any othe rchanges.

Travel agent is one of these:
https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/travel-agent-installation-and-adjustment

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Old 04-13-19, 08:58 AM
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Hey, thanks all! I'll order Kool Stop pads. I have to buy the holders as well, "Dura 2" which come with the dual compound pads, so I'll try them out first, but will order a set of salmon pads as well.
Tourist in MSN: V-brakes and travel agents had crossed my mind. Thanks for reminding me. Good to have a "Plan B".
Once again, thanks all of you for your input! Much appreciated.
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Old 04-13-19, 09:08 AM
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One thing to do to immediately improve the braking is to ditch Shimano’s stupid link wire for a more traditional saddle cable and cable hanger. The link wire is responsible for most of the problems that people have with cantilevers in my opinion. If you add in a wider cable hanger (Paul Moon Units are a good choice), that will improve braking as well.

Changing to a Paul cantilever will also improve braking significantly but they are a bit pricey
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Old 04-13-19, 09:25 AM
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I just realised I've got a brand new set of Deore V-brakes that I haven't used (I've managed to trash two bikes this last year and had already bought new components to build up an old MTB frame, but used the stuff from one of the trashed bikes instead). I'll order travel agents and try that before ordering pads and holders (which cost about 70 USD here in europe).

Next problem is finding someone who sells Travel Agents over here - must be the most useless name to google for a bicycle part!

Wow! Bit pricey, neh? $40 each: https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/cables/t...11-black-each/
But hej! Between bike stuff and guitar stuff they get all my money in the end so...

Gah, can't make my mind up: Keep the cantis with new brake pad holders and pads, or go for V-brakes with travel agents. Pricewise, it's a wash...
Maybe I'll just buy one Travel Agent and try it on the front brake (which is where I really need better braking power).

Last edited by imi; 04-13-19 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 04-13-19, 10:23 AM
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and you know, one other super important thing to do maintenance wise, to keep good braking power, is after a rain ride, immediately wipe the rims with a rag, to get all that gritty stuff off. When its wet, it comes off super fast, and I also sometimes wipe and check the pads themselves for any embedded grit or metal flakes, which happens sometimes.

keeping a really good "pad to rim" interface clean really helps with braking power, or at least what ive found with my bikes compared to friends bikes that they never do this.
just takes a minute to do
over time its worth it and your rims will be in better condition also.
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Old 04-13-19, 10:50 AM
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Link wire on the front was a failsafe for knobby tire bikes...
with mudguards or a bracket under the cross over cable ,

If the main cable were to break suddenly. it wont stop your wheel suddenly..
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Old 04-13-19, 10:55 AM
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Discontinued production ..

Next problem is finding someone who sells Travel Agents over here
Yea because the company, QBP, no longer offers them , at the head of the supply chain..
So you have a limited number out in the marketplace ..
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Old 04-13-19, 12:58 PM
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I like brakes that stop. The Paul MINIMOTO
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Old 04-13-19, 01:18 PM
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Ive been using the same Mafac Cantilever brakes in my bike since 1975.. kool stop pads ,

new Cross brake pad style is Road length, so opening the caliper clears the fork blade..
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Old 04-14-19, 11:28 PM
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2nd vote for cleaning rims after wet ride.

Originally Posted by djb View Post
and you know, one other super important thing to do maintenance wise, to keep good braking power, is after a rain ride, immediately wipe the rims with a rag, to get all that gritty stuff off. When its wet, it comes off super fast, and I also sometimes wipe and check the pads themselves for any embedded grit or metal flakes, which happens sometimes.

keeping a really good "pad to rim" interface clean really helps with braking power, or at least what ive found with my bikes compared to friends bikes that they never do this.
just takes a minute to do
over time its worth it and your rims will be in better condition also.
2nd vote for this advice. Only clean my bike after a wet ride.

I ride the Volpe 07 with Cane Creek cantis. I’ve only had to replace the pads once and find the brakes maintenance free. The black/salmon colored koolstops work well for me but I don’t have a full load.

Last edited by meyers66; 04-15-19 at 01:44 AM. Reason: Wrong word
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Old 04-15-19, 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by meyers66 View Post


2nd vote for this advice. Only clean my bike after a wet ride.

I ride the Volpe 07 with Chris Cane cantis. Iíve only had to replace the pads once and find the brakes maintenance free. The black/salmon colored koolstops work well for me but I donít have a full load.
+2 but I have a garden hose. I spray my bikes with slightly heavier than a mist, then blast the brake shoes, from the front and the back with the jet (also the inside of the fenders if on). Quick, keeps drivetrains a lot cleaner, the bikes looking a lot better and the brakes feel clean and abraision free next ride. The rag would probably help some more.

Ben
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Old 04-15-19, 01:45 AM
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Brakes are Cane Creek. My mistake.
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Old 04-15-19, 07:43 PM
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Agree. These are the brakes I have on the front of one of my bikes and the Paul's cantilevers on the back. They work great even awesome. Highly recommend them.
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Old 04-16-19, 09:07 AM
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And if or when you have decided that canti brakes just aren't for you, you could also consider Promax mini V brakes. I like my older Shimano canti's for touring but I do have another bike that I tour on which makes use of the Promax mini V's and they also stop well, but understand that the modulation is different on those and they will have a "firmer" feel when braking much more like side pulls on a road bike. After trying several Mini V's, I've found the Promax to be a good bang for the buck.
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Old 04-16-19, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
And if or when you have decided that canti brakes just aren't for you, you could also consider Promax mini V brakes. I like my older Shimano canti's for touring but I do have another bike that I tour on which makes use of the Promax mini V's and they also stop well, but understand that the modulation is different on those and they will have a "firmer" feel when braking much more like side pulls on a road bike. After trying several Mini V's, I've found the Promax to be a good bang for the buck.
I’d take it one step further - in general, I’d remove any cantilever brakes from the front wheel and replace them with a v-brake. Front canti’s are a problem where the length of cable between the handlebar and the brake doesn’t isolate the fork vibration or compliance. This often leads to a problem with squealing, shuddering and chattering and can be dangerous. A v-brake has no such problems. The same phenomena is not inherent in the rear so a cantilever brake is just fine there and generally works well.
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Old 04-16-19, 10:06 AM
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I've been fine with cantilever brakes for decades , but I cannot adjust your brakes via remote surgery online for you, to Optimize them ..

a direct pull brake with shorter arms can reuse your cantilever matching brake levers ..

Longer arm (10cm) calipers you need new brake levers that pull more cable ..
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Old 04-16-19, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post


Front cantiís are a problem where the length of cable between the handlebar and the brake doesnít isolate the fork vibration or compliance. This often leads to a problem with squealing, shuddering and chattering and can be dangerous.
I've always found a brake cable hanger such as this one can make a huge difference in nullifying those symptoms.
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Old 04-16-19, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
I've always found a brake cable hanger such as this one can make a huge difference in nullifying those symptoms.
Indeedee
in 2010 I bought a Tricross, and apparently in the initial years, juddering had been an issue. By 2010 they had put in a thing just like this and I have never had the issue happen.
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Old 04-16-19, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
I've always found a brake cable hanger such as this one can make a huge difference in nullifying those symptoms.
This didn't work for me when I changed forks to a more compliant carbon one over a steel one. Thinking about it, it's going to depend on the head tube length and the fork compliance (ie. movement fore and after to manage road defects). When I put the new fork on, the braking went bezerk even though I had one of these gizmos on. Spent a lot of time fiddling around with it and finally just put on a Paul's MiniMoto v-brake and the problem was gone. My bike has a head tube that is similar relatively long - very similar to what current gravel bikes have. Older bikes typically have shorter head tubes than current bikes do so that probably limits the problem too.

So I agree that there are ways to make this work in some configurations but you also haven't totally removed the problem which is cable that spans between the head tube and the fork and they move independently of each other. Getting that cable out of the equation is the only reliable way to guarantee that the problem is solved. Only way I know to guarantee that is to go to a front v-brake. With the system of a long cable that is tied down at one end on the fork and the other end on the head tube/headset there is the opportunity for an severely underdamped or resonant system if you get the right input. That opportunity is removed with a v-brake.

J.
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Old 04-16-19, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
This didn't work for me when I changed forks to a more compliant carbon one over a steel one. Thinking about it, it's going to depend on the head tube length and the fork compliance (ie. movement fore and after to manage road defects). When I put the new fork on, the braking went bezerk even though I had one of these gizmos on. Spent a lot of time fiddling around with it and finally just put on a Paul's MiniMoto v-brake and the problem was gone. My bike has a head tube that is similar relatively long - very similar to what current gravel bikes have. Older bikes typically have shorter head tubes than current bikes do so that probably limits the problem too.

So I agree that there are ways to make this work in some configurations but you also haven't totally removed the problem which is cable that spans between the head tube and the fork and they move independently of each other. Getting that cable out of the equation is the only reliable way to guarantee that the problem is solved. Only way I know to guarantee that is to go to a front v-brake. With the system of a long cable that is tied down at one end on the fork and the other end on the head tube/headset there is the opportunity for an severely underdamped or resonant system if you get the right input. That opportunity is removed with a v-brake.

J.
interesting,
my understanding of this issue was that when the fork moved, the cable , if long, ended up changing the pressure on the actual brake, ending up doing like what a "bump stock" gun thing does, and so by reducing the cable from brake to that close thing, it stopped this self generating motion

interesting your example
Ill go to bed a bit less dumb than I was
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