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  1. #1
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    Proper Canti brake adjustment question

    I brought my bike into the LBS yesterday to complete a few things I couldn't do. I asked them to adjust the brakes for me as well (2000 LX Canti's & Diac-compe PowerControl 7 levers)

    I pick it up today and the mechanic was explaining that I wouldn't want to adjust the brakes as there wouldn't be any variation to the lever tension.

    I've always been under the impression that the handle shouldn't have to travel much at all. As they right now, you are you have to pull the handle about half way for the pads to touch the rim and pull a bit harder to come to a full stop. Does this sound right?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by comfortablynumb

    I've always been under the impression that the handle shouldn't have to travel much at all. As they right now, you are you have to pull the handle about half way for the pads to touch the rim and pull a bit harder to come to a full stop. Does this sound right?
    Are you talking about center pull canti's, or v-brakes?

    It sounds right to pull them about half way, depending on the leverage ration of the lever, and it certainly makes sense that you have to pull harder to make the bike stop. In order to get very little movement in the lever before the pads engage, you would need to run the pads very close to the rims, and you would have to be constantly fussing with the alignment to keep them from rubbing.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    Are you talking about center pull canti's, or v-brakes?

    It sounds right to pull them about half way, depending on the leverage ration of the lever, and it certainly makes sense that you have to pull harder to make the bike stop. In order to get very little movement in the lever before the pads engage, you would need to run the pads very close to the rims, and you would have to be constantly fussing with the alignment to keep them from rubbing.
    There the older style center pull canti's, it does make sense to have to pull them harder. I just installed the levers the other day, I guess it will just take some getting used to.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by comfortablynumb
    There the older style center pull canti's, it does make sense to have to pull them harder. I just installed the levers the other day, I guess it will just take some getting used to.
    If you have used v-brakes in the past, these require a lot more squeezing to stop.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    If you have used v-brakes in the past, these require a lot more squeezing to stop.
    Actually I've never tried V Brakes., I wasn't sure if I wanted to stick with canti's or go V brakes on this old bike, but I staid with the old style. I had them installed about 2 years ago and the place that installed them had them feeling about rock solid and little to no travel in the lever. Then I quit riding for a while....

    I had to change out my levers the other day as I just converted to 8 speed, and Gripshift, as opposed to the Shimano quickfire/levers, I also switched the rims out and there not as wide as the old rims.


  6. #6
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    In my opinion, brakes that feel "firm" and engage the pads with just a little lever pull SUCK while actually riding the bike. I liked my pads to start touching the rim about half way, and be almost to the bars for "full lockup".

    I like to be able to have my fingers on the levers and maybe pulling on them a little without the pads touching.

    I like the levers to have leverage by using more cable pull, not having to squeeze them to death.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by laurenlex
    In my opinion, brakes that feel "firm" and engage the pads with just a little lever pull SUCK while actually riding the bike. I liked my pads to start touching the rim about half way, and be almost to the bars for "full lockup".

    I like to be able to have my fingers on the levers and maybe pulling on them a little without the pads touching.
    I'll definitely give it a go like it is, I'm just not used to the brakes being like this, and was just trying to see if this is really the way others run them. Pretty much how you described it, is how the mechanic described braking as well.

    In all honesty I've only gone about 2 miles to test things out and haven't given it a decent ride yet.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by laurenlex
    In my opinion, brakes that feel "firm" and engage the pads with just a little lever pull SUCK while actually riding the bike. I liked my pads to start touching the rim about half way, and be almost to the bars for "full lockup".

    I like to be able to have my fingers on the levers and maybe pulling on them a little without the pads touching.

    I like the levers to have leverage by using more cable pull, not having to squeeze them to death.
    Absolutely agree. Firm brakes are bad...and it usually means that they don't have enough mechanical advantage...which means they won't stop you very fast!

    I like my brakes to engage very quickly though...so I have to fuss with things a lot. The only bike I have that uses Canti's is my CX bike, so it uses road levers which seem to pull a little less cable than normal cantilever levers. So if mine don't engage as soon as possible I can pull the brake lever into the bar...which is no bueno!

    Cantilevers can be a pain to setup, but once you get them setup they work pretty well.

    Jared

  9. #9
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    Firm can be good or bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by averen
    Absolutely agree. Firm brakes are bad...and it usually means that they don't have enough mechanical advantage...which means they won't stop you very fast!

    I like my brakes to engage very quickly though...so I have to fuss with things a lot. The only bike I have that uses Canti's is my CX bike, so it uses road levers which seem to pull a little less cable than normal cantilever levers. So if mine don't engage as soon as possible I can pull the brake lever into the bar...which is no bueno!

    Cantilevers can be a pain to setup, but once you get them setup they work pretty well.

    Jared
    Firm vs soft is due mainly to two things: The mechanical advantage of the lever, and the amount of flex in the system (cables, housing, brake arch, calipers).

    In the case of brakes being firm due to lack of leverage, it is the lack of leverage, not the firmness of the feel, that is the issue. The firmness you feel is just a by-product of the lack of leverage.

    However, firmness can also be a result of very little flex in the system, which is good. It means you are getting more of your input force going into the braking, and less into flexing the system.

    Here is an example. Take a pair of v-brakes or canti's, that feel about right to you. Now, change to a better housing and stick a brake booster on. It is going to feel firmer at the lever, but it is also going to take less lever pressure to stop you because the transfer of the force is more efficient.

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