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Canti brake suggestions, please

Old 08-21-19, 11:24 PM
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ddeand 
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Canti brake suggestions, please

I just reworked an older (2005) CX bike that I picked up, and Iím really liking how it rides. I donít race, but I do like gravel rides. My present CX bike has hydraulic disc brakes which are excellent. But I might keep this older bike and sell the newer one. If I do, Iíd like upgrade the cantilever brakes. At present, Iíve got Tektro Oryx brakes w/Kool Stop pads that are OK, but I think they could be better. I really donít want to spend $200 on Avid Ultimate Shorties (thatís more than the bike cost), but Iíd like an upgrade. Any suggestions for cantilever brakes? Thanks!
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Old 08-22-19, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by ddeand View Post
I just reworked an older (2005) CX bike that I picked up, and I’m really liking how it rides. I don’t race, but I do like gravel rides. My present CX bike has hydraulic disc brakes which are excellent. But I might keep this older bike and sell the newer one. If I do, I’d like upgrade the cantilever brakes. At present, I’ve got Tektro Oryx brakes w/Kool Stop pads that are OK, but I think they could be better. I really don’t want to spend $200 on Avid Ultimate Shorties (that’s more than the bike cost), but I’d like an upgrade. Any suggestions for cantilever brakes? Thanks!
Do yourself a favor and splurge. Not on the Avid but buy a set of Paul's. Yes, they are expensive but they are by far the best cantilever brake I've ever used. Buy the Moon Unit as well.

Remember that there is nothing as expensive as the tool you have to buy twice.
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Old 08-22-19, 07:34 AM
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I'll throw in a second on Paul's. I have the Neo Retros on the front and Touring Cantilevers on the back on my bike and wow, are they nice. Great stopping force, also long lasting and low maintenance. Can do endos no problem. I ran Cane Ck and Shimano prior, these eclipse them. I have run them with and w/o the moon unit, with is better.
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Old 08-22-19, 02:41 PM
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And I'll throw in on the contrarian POV and suggest that the Tektro's should be just fine at stopping ~240lbs of bike and rider. But if not, and I'm all for the bling within reason, any canti from the usual suspects: Avid, Shimano, TRP, Tektro ... in the ~$50+(pr!) arena should be plenty adequate. I am always bemused when riders talk about brakes not being adequate. In fact until this thread I hadn't seen anyone happy with any brake that they use. I have seen riders complain about hydraulic disc brakes 'not being adequate'. Seriously I wonder if riders understand that you should WANT your brakes not to throw you over the handlebars everytime you even look at them. I often set up for a corner with some light pressure on one or both brakes and keep some pressure on through the turn. You can't do that if the instant you put a finger on the lever your tire locks up. When I need to stop hard I have to put some pressure on the lever. That is as God intended. That is good braking. I trust the lives of both myself and my dear wife to nameless OEM v-brakes and so can any of you. More expensive brakes will likely be lighter, but they can only be so much lighter. Different brakes of the same brake technology and using the same brake pads CANNOT be all that different in raw stopping power. Simple physics.
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Old 08-22-19, 03:24 PM
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I have Tektro CR720 cantilevers on my CX bike and they've given me all the braking I could want.
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Old 08-22-19, 03:28 PM
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I recently put on TRP CX9 mini v's on my cantilever 520 and I am happy with them. I previously had Tektro 720s, but after breaking my wrist, I was timid going fast downhill due to not being able to pull the lever well. The CX9 brakes fixed that for me. However, it took a lot of trial and error to get them to not rub on my back wheel for some reason.

Alternatively, the original Shimano M650/M737 on my flat bar bikes work good for me as well. Different angle so I am able to pull these well.
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Old 08-23-19, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
And I'll throw in on the contrarian POV and suggest that the Tektro's should be just fine at stopping ~240lbs of bike and rider. But if not, and I'm all for the bling within reason, any canti from the usual suspects: Avid, Shimano, TRP, Tektro ... in the ~$50+(pr!) arena should be plenty adequate.
While I agree in theory, in practice brakes are often less than adequate. It has most to do with the setup of the brakes rather then the mechanism itself but that setup can be complicated by a poorly designed brake. The devil is in the details. For example, the Tektro Oryx could be improved by dumping the stupid link wire...one of the worst ideas in bicycling...for a traditional straddle cable. If ddeand used a straddle cable and a Moon Unit (or similar wide carrier), new brakes might not be needed at all.

Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
I am always bemused when riders talk about brakes not being adequate. In fact until this thread I hadn't seen anyone happy with any brake that they use. I have seen riders complain about hydraulic disc brakes 'not being adequate'. Seriously I wonder if riders understand that you should WANT your brakes not to throw you over the handlebars everytime you even look at them. I often set up for a corner with some light pressure on one or both brakes and keep some pressure on through the turn. You can't do that if the instant you put a finger on the lever your tire locks up.
Again, I agree in theory...and perhaps even in practice. I've mountain biked with cantilevers but never found them to be inadequate. I've mountain biked with linear brakes but never found them to be inadequate. I've mountain biked with mechanical disc and never found them to be inadequate. However, I've mountain biked with hydraulics and found them to be far too touchy and grabby.

But people have been complaining about brakes for eons. I not exactly sure why but I think that too many people have had poorly set up brakes for far too long. Many people have brakes that are set up from the shop so that the brake doesn't engage until about half of the lever pull. That's far too late. If you set up hub mounted discs that way, the bike will never stop. Perhaps that why people get all excited about the latest braking technology. It's set up better than the previous brakes they have had.

Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
When I need to stop hard I have to put some pressure on the lever. That is as God intended. That is good braking. I trust the lives of both myself and my dear wife to nameless OEM v-brakes and so can any of you. More expensive brakes will likely be lighter, but they can only be so much lighter. Different brakes of the same brake technology and using the same brake pads CANNOT be all that different in raw stopping power. Simple physics.
Again, I somewhat agree but in practice there are differences. The Paul's, for example, have a better fit and finish than inexpensive brakes. I had IRD Cafams on my touring bike which just weren't quite up to the job. I had Avid Shorty 4 on my touring bike and they were squeal machines.

The Cafams look exactly like the Paul's Touring brakes. They might even have longer arms. I even installed them with straddle cables instead of link wires. They worked but the Paul's that replaced them work a lot better. And the Paul's are easier to install and adjust.
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Old 08-23-19, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I have Tektro CR720 cantilevers on my CX bike and they've given me all the braking I could want.
This is the answer.

I'm sure the Pauls are good too but they're very spendy.

I have some Oryx that came stock on a bike and no amount of adjustment and Kool Stop pads have ever made them stop well. It is almost impressive how stubbornly they refuse to provide stopping power no matter what. Like they specifically engineered them to be crap.
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Old 08-23-19, 10:58 AM
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@Leisesturm I have Tektro Oryx with Kool Stop pads and they are more than adequate; they stop my bike when I want it to stop, they modulate well, and they're pretty to look at.
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Old 08-23-19, 11:19 AM
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I have Paul's touring cantis on my touring bike and Tektro 720s on my commuting bike. This might be heresy but I almost like the Tektros better, although that is probably a function of price difference- $25 vs $100.
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Old 08-23-19, 12:22 PM
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The Tektro Oryx is a low-profile cantilever, a style which can suffer from low mechanical advantage if the straddle isn't positioned very low, and which usually ends up with a weird regressive modulation curve. It also comes with a link wire instead of a traditional straddle, and this usually spells spongy performance.

If you're going to stick with centerpull cantilevers, I'd go for a wide-profile brake with a straddle. For a decent budget option, maybe a Tektro CR720.

Alternately, if you want significantly more braking power and don't need as much clearance as a cantilever brake offers, switching to a mini-v brake could work. They typically have more leverage than centerpull cantis, are easier to set up, and their cabling scheme eliminates one potential source of braking judder.

Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
I trust the lives of both myself and my dear wife to nameless OEM v-brakes and so can any of you.
It's surprising to me that you'd talk about people not needing powerful brakes, and then say that you're using Vs. The Deore T610 v-brakes on my gravel bike are about as powerful as the hydro discs on my MTB...

V-brake geometry generally results in extremely high mechanical advantage, so much that even with long-pull levers the pads usually need to be set pretty close to the rim in order to get good engagement. Even fairly cheap v-brakes tend to produce tons of braking power.
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Old 08-23-19, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
It's surprising to me that you'd talk about people not needing powerful brakes, and then say that you're using Vs. The Deore T610 v-brakes on my gravel bike are about as powerful as the hydro discs on my MTB...

V-brake geometry generally results in extremely high mechanical advantage, so much that even with long-pull levers the pads usually need to be set pretty close to the rim in order to get good engagement. Even fairly cheap v-brakes tend to produce tons of braking power.
The nameless OEM V-Brakes I speak of are on a tandem! Most people who ride tandems feel that $600 hydro discs are just barely adequate. Mine are $11.00 each. And we pull a trailer. But that is an extreme example to prove a point. Our newest tandem came with nameless OEM v-brakes as well, but I upgraded them to Shimano LX-V's to clear the 2" fenders that we have on that tandem. $22ea. on sale. On our better tandem we have TRP mechanical discs. For a single bike, just about any brake sold should keep you alive. No bike manufacturer wants hundreds of people dying because of their product. I have a single with Dia compe canti's and another single with unnamed dual pivot sidepulls. Reviews all soundly thrashed the brakes on that bike and I bought some Kool-stop pads on the spot to switch them out. A year later and I still haven't done it. The crap brakes and crappier pads are just fine by me. I mean, I can readily see that they are not awesome stoppers, but they really don't need to be. A truly hard stop requires truly hard effort at the levers and that is just fine by me. Stopping in proportion to how frightened you are is perfect. Some newer bikes actually have springs in the front brake cables to limit how much ultimate force you can put on the pads! I'd rather be the one to judge how much is too much vs some spring. That was the first thing I got rid of with the new Trek.
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Old 09-07-19, 07:58 AM
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I have been happy withe the Tektro Oryx brakes on my old beater bike that was my trail/race bike for a couple decades. I like the hydraulic disk disk brakes on my new bike better, but really either are okay. The Tektros did benefit from a some tweaking of the straddle cable setup to effectively make the straddle shorter. Also they do require more attention than disks.

The Paul's sound nice, but at $112 per wheel I'll pass. Oh and seriously... For $112 they could at least include the straddle cable hardware, but instead want another $42 for the "Moon Units" which strangely enough are sold in a set for two wheels despite the fact the brakes are sold per wheel! So if you spend $112 for one wheel and want the Moon Unit for one wheel, you pay $42 for two even though you only need one.
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Old 09-07-19, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by katsup View Post
I recently put on TRP CX9 mini v's on my cantilever 520 and I am happy with them. I previously had Tektro 720s, but after breaking my wrist, I was timid going fast downhill due to not being able to pull the lever well. The CX9 brakes fixed that for me. However, it took a lot of trial and error to get them to not rub on my back wheel for some reason.
I use them on my 'cross bike and tandem. Never had an issue.
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Old 09-07-19, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I have been happy withe the Tektro Oryx brakes on my old beater bike that was my trail/race bike for a couple decades. I like the hydraulic disk disk brakes on my new bike better, but really either are okay. The Tektros did benefit from a some tweaking of the straddle cable setup to effectively make the straddle shorter. Also they do require more attention than disks.
I donít find that cantilevers require any more or less attention to detail or maintenance than disks. Disks can be difficult to set up and tune. Getting them centered and getting the pads adjusted properly requires a lot of attention to detail. Truing a rotor can be an exercise in frustration that is unparalleled in bicycle mechanics. And nothing that needs to be done on brakes compares to the mess and complication of bleeding hydraulic brakes.

Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
The Paul's sound nice, but at $112 per wheel I'll pass. Oh and seriously... For $112 they could at least include the straddle cable hardware, but instead want another $42 for the "Moon Units" which strangely enough are sold in a set for two wheels despite the fact the brakes are sold per wheel! So if you spend $112 for one wheel and want the Moon Unit for one wheel, you pay $42 for two even though you only need one.
Just to be clear, Paul provides the straddle cable hardware for each and every brake they sell. The Moon Unit is an add-on but is not ďneededĒ. It does a better job than the OEM cable carrier but it isnít necessary to install the brake.
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Old 09-07-19, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I donít find that cantilevers require any more or less attention to detail or maintenance than disks. Disks can be difficult to set up and tune. Getting them centered and getting the pads adjusted properly requires a lot of attention to detail. Truing a rotor can be an exercise in frustration that is unparalleled in bicycle mechanics. And nothing that needs to be done on brakes compares to the mess and complication of bleeding hydraulic brakes.
I don't have a huge body of experience with disks, but I have found mine pretty easy to live with. I have a couple thousand trail miles on them by now. The rear one was initially slightly off center. Centering it was super easy. Replacing pads was super easy. They have required nothing else other than a few clicks to set the levers to my preference.

They have been way more trouble free than rim brakes of any sort that I have used. At the very least rim brakes required adjustment due to pad wear, often including messing with toe in adjustment. Rims wear out with rim brakes, a bigger deal than wearing out a disc. Depending on the riding conditions that can take a long time or be a too frequent thing. Adjustment and pad replacement both seem to have been much less frequent with disks and there is no messing with toe in.

I have found the brake feel to be very nice as well.


Just to be clear, Paul provides the straddle cable hardware for each and every brake they sell. The Moon Unit is an add-on but is not ďneededĒ. It does a better job than the OEM cable carrier but it isnít necessary to install the brake.
Fair enough. I guess my point is that I figured that for $224 for two wheels I really expect to have a pretty optimum setup. Also if they sell one part of the system by the wheel it makes sense to sell the other by the wheel as well.

The Pauls do sound super nice and I have never heard any one say they were sorry they bought them. On the other hand they are expensive and I have been happy enough with much cheaper set ups and probably won't be setting up another bike with cantis any way so for me the point is moot.
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Old 09-07-19, 09:21 AM
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Whatever brake you will choose but I would upgrade the pads to Swiss Stops (blue compound) if you are running aluminum rims. I always ran Kool Stops, but recently replaced them with Swiss Stops-huge improvement with modulation and braking power over the Kool Stops.

I run TRP mini V-s in front and something similar to Tektro Oryx with a different straddle cable similar to Pual's in the rear and very happy with braking power and modulation.
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Old 09-07-19, 09:25 AM
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To paraphrase Yogi Berra, why spend good money on expensive brakes? You only use them you you stop.😁 But seriously, I spent $60 on a set of Avid Shorty 4s on my daily commuter years ago and they continue to be fine. Good brake pads probably make a bigger difference in performance and feel.
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Old 09-07-19, 09:47 AM
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I was running Tektro CR720's then switched to TRP RevoX. I wanted a more industrial looking brake and got what I think is better braking as a bonus. The TRP's are a bit fiddly to set up.
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Old 09-07-19, 12:39 PM
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Thanks for all the input and opinions - I appreciate it! After riding this “new” CX bike for a few weeks, I think I’m going to keep it and sell my C’dale CAADX. I lose the hydraulic discs, but I gain a bit more comfort and speed. I read a lot of reviews and have decided to look for a used set of Avid Shorty Ultimate brakes - they seem to get good marks and don’t break the bank. I’m not racing, so I feel I don’t need to spend as much on race-level brakes. Until I find a set, I’ll invest in some new pads. Again, thanks for the help!
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