Cantilever brake upgrade?
What are my options? I can't get enough power out of my crappy rear cantilever brake on my crosscheck. Squeezing the lever as hard as possible I can't lock up the rear wheel. I've tried different pads(kool stops & Avnir sticky fingers), and so far no luck. The front are OK.
1. I'd love to upgrade it to a v-brake in the back but that would mean changing the main levers, interrupter levers, and front brake if I wanted them the same, right? Are there any v-type brakes that can be used with standard pull levers?
2. Better cantilever brakes? Are some substantially better than others? I've got some Tektro ones on there now.
3. Upgraded cables & housings? Keeping them lubed up seems to help. Obviously it is a cable issue because the front are fine using the same levers and brakes.
Any options I missed?
Here's what the setup looks like now.
If you lower the cable hanger closer to the wheel, you will more power. New pads does wonders too.
Thanks, how about positioning the pads in or out on the posts? Which way gives the most power?
The pads are brandy new. Just old enough to be broken in, about a week.
There's a number of good resources on canti brake setup out there, but lowering your straddle cable & running a wider hanger will definitely help. Canti brakes take some fiddling, often a 3rd hand and regular adjustment to keep 'em running well.
Here's a couple links
The Geometry of Cantilever Brakes
Bicycle Rim Brakes
I shoot for something like in the pic with low profile canti's.
2-3rd image from an old MBA article...
all else fails
I believe you can run what they call "mini-V's" with standard pull levers.
I didn't even think to consult Sheldon's bible. That gives me some things to try.
Another worthwile read on cantilever brakes is;
In addition to lowering the hangar, positioning the pads on the arms so that the arms are spread wider (more of the pads post inboard of the arm) so you can then lengten the saddle cable will also increase the mechanical advantage.
If you really wanted to put V-Brakes on the bike you could use the:
Tektro RL520 Dropbar V-Brake Levers with the Tektro RL740 V-Brake Interrupteur Levers
You could also your current levers with Problem Solvers Travel Agents.
Last edited by cobba; 10-24-2012 at 05:39 AM.
With the advice I got here my brakes are working substantially better. I'd say they have about 1/3 more power now and the pads haven't even worn into their new angles yet.
- I shortened the saddle cable (bing!)
- Adjusted the pads so they are "in" more (GrayJay)
- Replaced all the cable housings with Teflon lined and tried to improve the routing (that was my idea)
The difference is pretty subtle but you can see that the arms are out more than before.
That last pic looks much better. U could still drop the straddle cable another 1/2 inch or so. U want the cable to be pulling on the arm at 90deg when the pads are against the rim. The feel at the lever will be a little mushier with a lower yolk but u will make more power
I thought I had gone to about 90 degrees but when I snapped the pic this morning I realized I could have gone more. I did leave the cable long so I could tinker with it.
Looking better. I would try lowering the straddle a bit more, as suggested.
Once you've done that, make sure the interrupter levers are not steeling any power. Do this by...
1. Loosening the bar-clamp for the interrupter lever
2. Squeeze and hold main brake lever (not the interrupter)
3. While holding main lever, tighten interrupter lever bar-clamp
I've seen this make a substantial difference on some bikes.
'12 Soma Analog SS
'10 Transition TransAM
'07 Felt F1X
'97 Schwinn Mesa SS
'89 Fuji Saratoga
'86 Fuji Club