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Trek 520 Brakes

Old 03-19-08, 06:30 AM
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Trek 520 Brakes

The '08 520 comes with v-brakes. Does anyone know if it is an easy switch to convert them to cantis? It doesn't look like there is a housing stop. I'm more familiar with cantis but I suppose I could learn to live with v-brakes if I had to.

I would also have to replace the levers because the pull length is different for cantilever and v-brakes?

Thanks
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Old 03-19-08, 07:47 AM
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You'd need the brakes, levers (the cable pull is different), and cable stops (below are some examples although I'm not sure that they would work).

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/product.a...S&currency=USD

https://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...ls.php?id=6700


So... no it's not an easy switch. Why the switch anyway? V-brakes are significantly stronger. And even if the stock brakes don't have good clearance for fenders and wider tires there are models specifically designed to have greater clearance and would be a much easier switch.
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Old 03-19-08, 08:27 AM
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V-Brakes are great. Stop well, easy to adjust, easy to find pads for them, easy to release, work with fenders.
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Old 03-19-08, 08:54 AM
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Keep the v-brakes. Although I do prefer the cantis I believe the bosses will not line up with canti's.
Or you could just buy a new bike with canti's.
Many top drawer touring bikes are fitted with them.
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Old 03-19-08, 09:02 AM
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Or you could just buy a new bike with canti's.
It's been a long painful process for me to decide which bike to buy. I've decided w/ the 520 now there's no turning back. I guess I'll see how I like the brakes when I get the bike.
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Old 03-19-08, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by grantman18
It's been a long painful process for me to decide which bike to buy. I've decided w/ the 520 now there's no turning back. I guess I'll see how I like the brakes when I get the bike.
I just bought a new bike and although I looked at the 520 I decided on the Rocky Mountain Sherpa in the end.
But the 520 is a proven touring platform that will serve you well. Once you put a real rack on the back!
BTW, I also own an older 520, with cantilever brakes.
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Old 03-19-08, 09:39 AM
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I have a Trek 520 w/v-brakes. Didn't love them at first, but now I am learning to live w/them. Winter (wet Seattle, steep descents) was tough on the shoes and my rims. If I had one recommendation it would be to get rid of the stock pads after they wear half-way and replace with Salmon Kool-Stops. Much better, IMHO.
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Old 03-19-08, 09:59 AM
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The Avids on my '07 520 (same brakes as the '08 I believe) are fine and leave plenty of room for fenders. Replaced the pads with Kool Stop MTBs and they are good to go, rain or shine. I did run into a problem installing a rack because it interfered with the brake arm, so if you are considering a Tubus rack, you will probably need to bend the stays.
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Old 03-19-08, 10:15 AM
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V-brakes are great. The only reason I switched to cantilevers on my Long Haul Trucker was I was tired of messing with the Problem Solvers "Travel Agents" (not knocking them, they work, they just take a great deal of extra time to fuss with when you change out cables for any reason,) and the 287-v road levers seemed inordinately expensive. If your 520 already comes with them, don't mess with success unless you are really in love with the way cantis look and are prepared to buy new brake levers, as well.

Cable stops that attach to seatpost and steerer tube are easy to find at Nashbar and they are cheap, FYI. Also, Nashbar happens to sell some really good, (the best I've ever used,) cantilevers under it's own brand. Hope that helps, the new 520s are beautiful, so congratulations.
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Old 03-19-08, 01:22 PM
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+1 on switching to Salmon Kool-Stops for any brakes. V-brakes are very good, given a choice, I will take V-brakes every time.
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Old 03-20-08, 05:52 PM
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I just got a new (to me) mountain bike with V-brakes. I love them. I think they're an improvement over cantilevers. I wish I had gone to the trouble of installing v-brakes on my LHT. If I had them I'd keep them.

Of course, that's just me. Do what works for you.
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Old 03-20-08, 06:00 PM
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V-brakes are actually side-pull cantilever brakes. They are significantly better in operation and to set up than most top-pull cantilever brakes. Koolstop pads in basic black of half-black-half-salmon or full salmon are a good investment on top to improve V-brakes even further.

BBT -- V-brakes can be installed to replace top-pull cantis and retaining the same levers by installing a Travel Agent on each brake. It's a very effect and cheap way out of the conversion.

I am fascinated to know why grantman is prejudiced against V-brakes, yet has obviously researched the subject of touring bike frames enough to make a decision on a new Trek 520.
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Old 03-20-08, 06:52 PM
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I don't like V-Brakes at all and I switch to canti's on every bike I can - started to hate V-Brakes on my tandems and it has carried over to touring bikes. Love Pauls and SunTour Pro's, Pederson etc and come on guys the converson is easy!!
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Old 03-20-08, 07:02 PM
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I don't dislike v-brakes at all. I just had a couple concerns...

One, the levers that come with the 520 are absolutey terrible. The hoods feel bad in my hands, and the levers have a very cheap feel. I'm also more comfortable with adjusting canti's and there are more options for replacement levers for canti's as well.

I really wanted a LHT, but didn't want 26" wheels and I thought i needed a 54 cm LHT. It turns out that I'll be ok on a 56 so it looks like I'm going back to Surly, and I'm super excited about it.
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Old 03-20-08, 07:35 PM
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Thanks grantman. The use of Travel Agents would have allowed you to retain the power of V-brakes and broaden the scope of lever you could use.

vosyer, you don't give reasons for disliking V-brakes so vehemently. Can you elaborate? What were your lever set-ups and where exactly did the problems lie?
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Old 03-21-08, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by grantman18
One, the levers that come with the 520 are absolutey terrible. The hoods feel bad in my hands, and the levers have a very cheap feel.
Huh?

I own a 520; have never noticed this (about 2500 miles on the bike; it's my commuter). Never seen this mentioned as a criticism either. It may be that you just don't like the 520.
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Old 03-21-08, 12:27 PM
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Rowan,

I find the stopping power of Canti's superior and there used to be whole section on this on the R&E website, but I haven't checked for a while. Maybe it's the weight of a tandem or a heavey loaded bike but my XT V- brakes squeal wether I tune them or a professional bike mechanic tunes them, I tried different pads, travel agents etc. For my tandems I am constantly rermoving the front wheel and the ease of of doing this with canti's is vastly superior. Lastly it's the amount of braking material on the V-Brake pads themselves. I carry extra pads on tour and a file and on canti's I have lot of .material to work with after I have filed them. So Rowan it's not looks or anything like that - try Pauls and Pederson and see what you think. I'll see if I can find the R&E link
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Old 03-21-08, 12:33 PM
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Rowan,

This is for you.

Give Me A Brake!


Click to enlarge photo
If you've been in the tandem business as long as we have (since 1973) you've done a lot of adapting. It seems that most of the major manufacturers don't see a need to develop components specifically designed for tandem use. So, we tandem makers have had to make do by adapting parts made for single bikes and mountain bikes into our parts specifications. Brakes are one of those areas that have been completely abandoned by the big guys, so we decided to do something about it! While everyone else is busy trying to adapt the latest mountain bike brake for tandem use, we're thinking out of the box.

If you have a mountain bike, use a brake that was designed for a mountain bike. If you ride a tandem, use a brake that is designed for a tandem!


Introducing the Trillium Big Squeeze tandem brake from Rodriguez Tandems. Hand-made right here in Seattle, U.S.A.

The benefits of cantilever brakes for tandems, touring bikes and travel bikes are undeniable. Length of pad wear, ease of mounting racks, fenders, wide tires etc... We love the cantilever brakes of the distant past (not to be confused with the U-brake or V-brake which we hated), and now we've developed the cantilever brake of the future. I've told a lot of you that we have a design that we've wanted to try and now it's here. Below is a picture of the Trillium Big Squeeze cantilever brake. We have now begun production of the Big Squeeze.

The Big Squeeze is an old school cantilever brake with several new, (patent pending) improvements over any other brake available. It's also the only brake on the market specifically designed with the tandem rider in mind.

Ease of adjustment
On any brake, adjusting the toe of the brake pads is essential for proper performance. On a true old school cantilever, the toe adjustment was very difficult to fine tune. A young bike mechanic will still tremble at the thought of adjusting the dreaded cantilever brake. The big Squeeze fixes this problem completely. No more dreaded 'preset notches' for toe adjustment. This makes it much easier to align the pads exactly where you want them and eliminate brake squeal.
No more Mr. squeaky!
Adjusting the approach angle of the brake arms is necessary in a cantilever to adjust for different frame designs/sizes. Usually, this adjustment has to be done using the posts on the brake pads. This often causes a lot of flex resulting in loss of braking power or that deafening squeal. On the Big Squeeze, the pivot at the top of the arm allows for angle adjustment. This means that the pads can be set to full depth against the mounting hardware. A much firmer feel, and less vibration is the result (no squeal).
Lots more power!
In a traditional cantilever design the brake loses power as the saddle (or yoke) raises upwards because the angle of the straddle changes. So, the more you apply the brake, the more your mechanical advantage is diminished. The Big Squeeze eliminates this problem by pulling from the bottom of the brake arm.
How about that? All the advantages of a cantilever with all the major drawbacks solved. If you ride a tandem or a touring bike, you can't get a lighter weight, better designed brake....why compromise?
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Old 03-21-08, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by vosyer
whole section on this on the R&E website,
FYI, this discussion is at www.rodcycle.com

Rodriguez is putting them on touring singles now and they look like they'd stop an elephant.

The R&E site also has a *very* long discussion on their recommendation of using cantilever brakes in general vs. V-brakes. It's worth reading...unfortunately, their site makes it hard to link to individual pages. Quickest way to find it is look for "Trillium Brakes" along the left hand side of their page; you get the text that is pasted into this string, and there is a hot link to "cantilever brakes." Takes you to a long discussion of this.
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