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Rim brakes on a touring bike

Old 05-04-20, 01:36 PM
  #51  
indyfabz
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Originally Posted by ridesoldtrek View Post
The new stuff is great but not so much better that you need to spend much money. Listen to the advice to JUST DO IT!
You dishonor the millions of touring cyclists who died after flying off cliffs due to rim brakes. Shame on you!

Seriously...My first ever tour was about 6,000 miles on a rim-braked, *gasp* aluminum frame bike that I had only ridden fully loaded once before starting the trip. How did I survive without ever coming close to crashing?
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Old 05-04-20, 01:58 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
... flying off cliffs due to rim brakes.
...
As I read your comment, I remembered a difficult stop I had to make. Rainy day in Iceland, I had not touched my rim brakes for maybe an hour, thus a lot of road grime was coating the rims when a tour bus passes me, and as the tour bus is pulling into my lane in front of me, the driver suddenly realizes that he wanted to turn right so he puts on the brakes as hard as he can. And since he overshot his turn, he came to a full stop, not just slowed for the turn. So, I had to come to a full stop too.

And, yes, buses have much better brakes than a fully loaded touring bike with wet rim brakes. But I managed to stop without running into him. Amazing how much strength your hands can have when it is in the 40s (F) so your hands are half numb on a rainy day.
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Old 05-04-20, 06:05 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Chrisp72 View Post
Hello all!

I wanted to get some opinions on what brakes work for the bike you're riding. I have an older bicycle that uses canti's to stop. Is this enough or should I at least upgrade to V brakes? I've got new Kool Stop pads on my cantis and they're fairly well set so I think it should be decent for loaded touring. I would consider disk brakes for a bikepacking rig but I don't know if they're a good upgrade for the road...
If you WANT a new bike, upgrade to disks by buying a new bike.

If you want to 'run what you brung', and like your current bike, the cantilevers (adjusted correctly with good shoes) will work fine.

If you still are set on new brakes of any type try the V-brakes with the proviso you may need new levers or modify the old ones due to the pull ratios.

I run Shimano CX-50 cantis with Ultegra shoe holders so I can easily replace the shoes without re-doing the toe in, and am very, very pleased. My other bike has Mafac Racer centerpulls and I like them alot.
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Old 05-04-20, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
OMG!! We're all gonna DIE because nobody in history of cycling had ever used rim brakes on a touring bike! /sarcasm

Really? what do you think we all did before disc brakes were a thing? I toured with Dia-Compe center-pull brakes - before cantilever brakes were even a thought. I'm certainly not the only one still alive.
Same goes for 5-6-speed freewheels and triple cranksets vs 8+speed cassettes with 'compact doubles'.

Quit listening to the cycling rags. They take money from advertisers that are pushing these new technologies. Not all that is new is 'better'.

Just ride!!!

I toured on this - BEFORE the triple crankset or six-speed freewheel. Imagine - touring with only ten gears and with rim brakes!!! No braze-ons! Only ONE water bottle!! AND with using rear panniers only on a cheap Pletscher rear rack!: Oh, the horror!!





.
Hey! I had that same Model of Fuji.

It was a great bike. I bought it used in 1973 and rode it as my only bike until 2015. My main upgrade was a set of custom wheels in 1980. I even raced it once when I first got it, as the prior owner had tubular tire wheels on it, but racing was too much discipline for a young me in the 1970s.. Never felt I needed another bike until good 27" tires got scarce and I shrunk a bit making it a tight fit.
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Old 05-04-20, 09:25 PM
  #55  
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Cantilevers are "fine" if the term is not defined.
Cantilevers are "fine" if you've never ridden v-brakes and had to stop hard at speed or with a load
Cantilevers are "fine" if you care more about being an internet know-it-all rather than being safe

The practical upgrade is mini V-brakes, using existing levers. Stopping power is greatly improved with minimal expense.
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Old 05-04-20, 10:01 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by joel1952 View Post
Cantilevers are "fine" if the term is not defined.
Cantilevers are "fine" if you've never ridden v-brakes and had to stop hard at speed or with a load
Cantilevers are "fine" if you care more about being an internet know-it-all rather than being safe

The practical upgrade is mini V-brakes, using existing levers. Stopping power is greatly improved with minimal expense.
Joel, what have you toured on and what is your touring experience?
If 1952 is your year of birth, there's a good chance you've ridden all kinds of braking systems, so you know fine is all relative.
Bicycles don't brake as hard as motorcycles
motorcycles don't brake as hard as cars

and of you drive a car in snowy icey winter, you know we have to make a judgement call of what stopping distances we have for a given road surface, and we adjust our speed accordingly

just like we do on touring bicycles.

but yes, of course more stopping power is better. That's a given.
and yet good braking technique and good judgement are the real factors, yet yes cantis are still a viable option
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Old 05-04-20, 11:33 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Joel, what have you toured on and what is your touring experience?
If 1952 is your year of birth, there's a good chance you've ridden all kinds of braking systems, so you know fine is all relative.
Bicycles don't brake as hard as motorcycles
motorcycles don't brake as hard as cars

and of you drive a car in snowy icey winter, you know we have to make a judgement call of what stopping distances we have for a given road surface, and we adjust our speed accordingly

just like we do on touring bicycles.

but yes, of course more stopping power is better. That's a given.
and yet good braking technique and good judgement are the real factors, yet yes cantis are still a viable option
Debating whether cantilevers are "fine" or "a viable option".is fine for experienced riders who are willing to ride with wholly outdated brakes.

The OP asked a noob question. He wants to tour, not ride around the block. He could find himself on a 2 mile long 6% decent.. He asked if he should upgrade. Under the circumstances, it would be irresponsible to tell a noob that he is ok with cantilevers.
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Old 05-05-20, 12:34 AM
  #58  
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He is fine with cantilevers.
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Old 05-05-20, 01:37 AM
  #59  
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Two things comes to mind:
- the biggest variable in rim brakes aren’t what kind of brakes they are, but whether the rims are wet or dry. And just about all who’ve ever ridden further than around the block has survived rainy rides, usually w/o any near-death experiences to share. If riding in rain is an acceptable risk, riding with any of the common brake types is also an acceptable risk.
- the ”who has done what with what” has a limited value. People have toured the world on high wheelers, one guy rode across the Rockies on a unicycle, another was on his way to ride through all US mainland states on a BMX, backwards.
The individual spread in physical, mechanical, enjoyment ability and hardship tolerance is HUGE.
There was a woman who posted updates about her European tour on a local site. She set out on an old Dutch bike, wearing rubber boots, carrying basically a tarp, a blanket and a guitar.
It was a repeating story about mechanical issues, hooking up with ”cool dudes”, getting the bike fixed, having what little stuff she had stolen, finding new ”cool people” who got her going again. And she seemed to enjoy pretty much all of it.
Now, I might feel a bit concerned about her personal safety while off the bike, but if hand-to-mouth touring works for her, then who am I to say otherwise?
Her only firm goals was to either be back home, or reach the mediterranean before winter.
Somewhat related:
I’ve done a fair amount of inline touring.
Descents, rough road surfaces and rain pose considerable challenges.
Yet inline touring is in many perspectives simpler than bicycle touring.
We do our homework, plan our routes.
If we get it wrong, we get the skates off and walk. Take a bus. Easy.
With that mindset, I could pretty much tour on a coaster brake single-speed in safety and comfort.
I’d still want to carry more parts & tools than the woman above though. Spending a night on a cargo pallet in a culvert b/c of a flat doesn’t appeal to me...
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Old 05-05-20, 02:43 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by joel1952 View Post
Debating whether cantilevers are "fine" or "a viable option".is fine for experienced riders who are willing to ride with wholly outdated brakes.

The OP asked a noob question. He wants to tour, not ride around the block. He could find himself on a 2 mile long 6% decent.. He asked if he should upgrade. Under the circumstances, it would be irresponsible to tell a noob that he is ok with cantilevers.
Absolutely fair enough, and the change to a v type and levers that will work properly, if he feels the need and is sure the bike fits him well and is in good shape, is a relatively inexpensive change, but still requires more than new pads.

It is rare to hit long steep downhills, and if you keep things in control on most hills, it works out.

Have you toured Joel?
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Old 05-05-20, 03:57 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by joel1952 View Post
He wants to tour, not ride around the block. He could find himself on a 2 mile long 6% decent.. He asked if he should upgrade. Under the circumstances, it would be irresponsible to tell a noob that he is ok with cantilevers.
Yes he could. I'd expect that he will. I assumed that touring for most riders would be likely to involve long steep descents at some point if not possibly on every tour.

The places that I toured almost all involved long steep grades and the majority were with cantilevers. The majority of riders I met were also using cantis and no one seemed to be complaining. I never felt my brakes were inadequate as long as I was aware of their limitations and used proper braking technique. I think there were places where I could have over-heated any brakes with improper braking, but was fine with the cantis. I met lots of riders with cantis doing some really long steep descents on the Trans America, Southern Tier, Sierra Cascades, and so on. On the Trans America in particular there tended to be a lot of folks who were doing their first and maybe only big tour. I don't recall anyone complaining much about their cantis.

As far as upgrading I really don't really see a v-brake as necessarily being a big upgrade over a good properly adjusted canti. So unless going to a disc I still say just sticking with a decent canti is a reasonable option. I definitely like discs better myself, but don't consider them a necessity.

In any case I definitely don't consider it irresponsible advice to say sticking with cantis is okay. To me it seems like yesterday that they were state of the art. I guess that shows my age
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Old 05-05-20, 03:59 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by joel1952 View Post
Debating whether cantilevers are "fine" or "a viable option".is fine for experienced riders who are willing to ride with wholly outdated brakes.

The OP asked a noob question. He wants to tour, not ride around the block. He could find himself on a 2 mile long 6% decent.. He asked if he should upgrade. Under the circumstances, it would be irresponsible to tell a noob that he is ok with cantilevers.
And you know what, if they had good pads and were adjusted right, it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference going down that 2 mile 6% descent. He'd get the same braking as he would with V Brakes, and possibly better than some cheap discs. Manufacturers didn't like cantis because they were fiddly to install. Punters don't like cantis because they are fiddly, you need to learn something to adjust them.
My first tour was on cantis on my 1992 MTB, 5 weeks, lots of downhills in Japan, they worked fine pulling up 320lbs. Next couple of tours were on V brakes because I got a new $70 MTB- they were fine too. Tours since then on discs because I got a great deal on some wheels withdiscs and a Rohloff. I'm now on my 3rd disc upgrade to solve a fading problem I didn't have with cantis or Vs. Think they are OK now, 203mm two piece discs and semi metallic pads does the trick when you are stopping 330lbs
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Old 05-05-20, 05:31 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
Punters don't like cantis because they are fiddly, you need to learn something to adjust them.
That is the one reason why I might have just a little hesitation about recommending them to someone, but I think you just have to adjust them properly. It is up to the rider to either learn how to set them up properly or to get help from someone who knows how.
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Old 05-05-20, 06:14 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by joel1952 View Post
Debating whether cantilevers are "fine" or "a viable option".is fine for experienced riders who are willing to ride with wholly outdated brakes.

The OP asked a noob question. He wants to tour, not ride around the block. He could find himself on a 2 mile long 6% decent.. He asked if he should upgrade. Under the circumstances, it would be irresponsible to tell a noob that he is ok with cantilevers.
joel1952...I never asked if I should upgrade... I wanted to get opinions about disk brakes to see what people who tour feel about them. I am fairly new to touring but I don't consider myself a noob as you put it. Maybe the question is a noob one to you but I don't think you and I are on the same page. I have a bike with cantis and I've never toured with a fully loaded rig. I think my bike is good for the area I'm cycling in and I'm a curious person. It seems that most of the people here agree on canti's being good for the job. I would like opinions from experienced riders and here is a forum full of them.

I don't think that disk brakes are as great as you think they are. They may not work well in colder climates or at high elevations. Cantis will. There is a fair amount of adjusting for disk brakes and as people have noted they can be difficult to contend with when changing a flat. The world isn't as black and white as I feel you think it is. Disk brakes may be the popular choice now but they're not perfect. Maybe it's a generational thing but I'm comfortable adjusting cantis and they worked for mountain bikes I rode on without problems.

I look forward to hearing your input on various topics and hope to glean some information from your experiences.
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Old 05-05-20, 06:46 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by joel1952 View Post
Debating whether cantilevers are "fine" or "a viable option".is fine for experienced riders who are willing to ride with wholly outdated brakes.

The OP asked a noob question. He wants to tour, not ride around the block. He could find himself on a 2 mile long 6% decent.. He asked if he should upgrade. Under the circumstances, it would be irresponsible to tell a noob that he is ok with cantilevers.
I've toured thousands of miles on a 1983 Trek 720, fully loaded, and when on a long downhill (with more than 6% grade) the cantilever brakes work fantastic. For touring under load, raw stopping power is what you want. That's why they put cantis (or now V-brakes) on serious touring bikes. Rivendell Atlantis, Surly Long Haul Trucker, or any bike you might select to do ACTUAL touring, have rim brakes. I know the Trek 520 has disks, but that's no longer considered a serious touring bike.

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Old 05-05-20, 07:02 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Jeff Neese View Post
I've toured thousands of miles on a 1983 Trek 720, fully loaded, and when on a long downhill (with more than 6% grade) the cantilever brakes work fantastic. For touring under load, raw stopping power is what you want. That's why they put cantis (or now V-brakes) on serious touring bikes. Rivendell Atlantis, Surly Long Haul Trucker, or any bike you might select to do ACTUAL touring, have rim brakes. I know the Trek 520 has disks, but that's no longer considered a serious touring bike.
Yep, I worked out I can carry 10kg of luggage on a new Trek 520 (including the weight of any panniers) to be under the manufacturers specs. 9kg if I want to wear clothes, 8kg if I add some shoes.
The reality, I've discovered, is if you want to go real heavy on a touring bike and use discs, you need to go big and think about heat dissipation or ride like a grandma.
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Old 05-05-20, 07:48 AM
  #67  
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While I think Cantis are fine. I don't agree with a few negative things that have been said about discs. Opinions are just that, but...

I find that discs are easy to adjust and maintain, maybe easier than rim brakes. Different, but not harder to deal with. I have found the ones on my MTB to be completely trouble free. Yes you do need to learn a different adjustment procedure, but it is an easy one.

Oh, and the idea that changing a tire is some big ordeal because of disc brakes... It really is no big deal. It seemed annoying at first and then quickly became a total non issue. I pretty much never need to fix flats on the bike since I went tubeless but I do take the front wheel off all the time to put the bike on the rack and the back wheel once in a while to haul it in a car. It just isn't a problem.

The notion that all real touring bikes come with cantis... How do you figure? You mention a couple models including the LHT and the Atlantis. Why do they make a disc trucker? As far as the Atlantis, what do you expect? Rivendell is targeted at a retro-grouch market. I think all of the CoMotion touring models have discs. For fun I looked up a few touring models to see how many had discs or didn't. I found nothing but discs, Specialized AWOL Expert, Trek, 520, Salsa Marrakesh, Tout Terrain Silkroad, Kona Sutra, Jamis Renegade Escapade, Giant Toughroad, and even the Velo Orange Polyvalent frame set that is billed as a classic touring bike has disc mounts. It actually seem a little hard to find a new touring model that doesn't at least offer a disc option.

So yeah, I agree that cantis are fine and I'll tour on them or other rim brakes (definitely my 105 dual pivots) again, but discs have become the norm on new touring bikes and are pretty much state of the art these days as far as I can tell. I don't really keep up on all the latest trends, but that is what it looks like to me.
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Old 05-05-20, 08:32 AM
  #68  
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I take the front wheel off my disc bike every week to stick my bike in the back of my car, and its not an issue--but as Stae says, I had to learn a new bag of tricks with discs, but hey, thats life, learning new stuff with new stuff--specifically with my bike, I had to learn to properly center my calipers so that when I put the wheel back in, there is minimal "fudging" of centering the wheel to have good clearance of the rotor to pads, but we are talking a millimeter's worth of thumb pressure on the tire and looking carefully at the rotor between the pads to align it properly before tightening the skewer nice and tight.

I love my discs and love how they work, but certainly would not NOT go touring if I had to take either one of my canti bikes or my V brake bike.
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Old 05-05-20, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Chrisp72 View Post
I don't think that disk brakes are as great as you think they are. They may not work well in colder climates or at high elevations. Cantis will. There is a fair amount of adjusting for disk brakes and as people have noted they can be difficult to contend with when changing a flat.
cold might only be a problem with some hydraulic systems, but mechanical systems like mine aren't any different than rim brakes with ambient temps or altitudes--a real plus in my opinion for mechanical discs on a touring bike--they work great and you never have to consider cable damage or seal problems or whatever and fluid loss.
And really, re changing a flat and removing wheels, once you've learned how they work and setup (specifically properly aligning caliper) its pretty straightforward, even if sometimes you have to put on reading glasses.
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Old 05-05-20, 09:47 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by Chrisp72 View Post
joel1952...I never asked if I should upgrade...




I don't think that disk brakes are as great as you think they are. They may not work well in colder climates or at high elevations. Cantis will. There is a fair amount of adjusting for disk brakes and as people have noted they can be difficult to contend with when changing a flat. The world isn't as black and white as I feel you think it is. Disk brakes may be the popular choice now but they're not perfect. Maybe it's a generational thing but I'm comfortable adjusting cantis and they worked for mountain bikes I rode on without problems.

I look forward to hearing your input on various topics and hope to glean some information from your experiences.
You clearly did ask if you should upgrade
And if you re-read my posts you'll see that I did not even mention Disk Brakes, yet you disagree with my opinion on Disk Brakes!?!?!
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Old 05-05-20, 11:07 AM
  #71  
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A lot of these guys are still using cantilever brakes However, there is an increase in diisc brake use, but I have not seen many V-brake set ups. IMO the use of STI shifters is the reason there are not many v-brakes used in CX. When you see v-brakes, they are usually on flat bar bikes..


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Old 05-05-20, 12:18 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by joel1952 View Post
Debating whether cantilevers are "fine" or "a viable option".is fine for experienced riders who are willing to ride with wholly outdated brakes.

The OP asked a noob question. He wants to tour, not ride around the block. He could find himself on a 2 mile long 6% decent.. He asked if he should upgrade. Under the circumstances, it would be irresponsible to tell a noob that he is ok with cantilevers.
You can't be serious. Sorry, I tour on cantis, and have been on bigger descents than that. I also commuted in the Ozarks for a couple of years and had much steeper descents, every day, loaded. I live in Western PA and have a number of 20 percent grades within a mile or two of me and cantis work just fine. I would even say I feel more comfortable using cantis on long grades than some disk brakes since I have no fear of them overheating and causing brake fade.

Disc brakes are fantastic, but there is nothing at all wrong with cantis.

I will add, that I rarely ride the brakes during a long descent, I prefer to blast to the bottom. Wind resistance tends to limit top speed anyway, so sitting up effectively keeps my speed to around 40-45 max. On my commute in the Ozarks I would have to pedal furiously to hit 45mph on a descent.

Last edited by phughes; 05-05-20 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 05-05-20, 02:23 PM
  #73  
Chrisp72
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Originally Posted by joel1952 View Post
You clearly did ask if you should upgrade
And if you re-read my posts you'll see that I did not even mention Disk Brakes, yet you disagree with my opinion on Disk Brakes!?!?!
joel1952...I didn't ask to upgrade to disk brakes.

I appreciate your opinion and hope to hear from you.
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Old 05-05-20, 02:58 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by joel1952 View Post
,,,. He wants to tour, not ride around the block. He could find himself on a 2 mile long 6% decent.. He asked if he should upgrade. Under the circumstances, it would be irresponsible to tell a noob that he is ok with cantilevers.
I made this comment earlier:

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Regarding down hillls and overheating brakes, I have not done any long downhills with a disc, but I have done some long downhills with rim brakes. Going to the Sun Road, I stopped twice to feell the rims and one of those times I waited for 5 or 10 minutes for the rims to cool before I continued. And dowhnill out of Chisos Basin in Big Bend National Park, stopped and waited for the rims to cool once part of the way down. It is not just discs that overheat.
I just dug out my GPS data and my downhill run on Going to the Sun Road was about 6 percent grade, drop was about 3,000 feet at that grade, and distance for that part of the downhill run was about 10 miles. And I had canti brakes. As I noted above, I stopped twice during that run, which means I had the brake power to stop. And one of those times I waited for the brakes to cool. I had four panniers, a handlebar bag and another bag on the rear rack, thus the bike was loaded down too. Snow was melting and I rode through water runoff, thus some of that time the brakes were wet.

So, I think that two mile long 6 percent descent you mentioned should be ok as long as the brakes were set up ok, my 10 mile run was a bit longer that two.
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Old 05-05-20, 03:30 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by joel1952 View Post
He wants to tour, not ride around the block. He could find himself on a 2 mile long 6% decent.. He asked if he should upgrade. Under the circumstances, it would be irresponsible to tell a noob that he is ok with cantilevers.
Yes, for such a wimpy hill you should use something else.

Based on my experience (I've stopped over 300 pounds on longer and steeper grades just fine with cantilevers), serious touring cyclists should use cantilevers.

Geez, you'd think there was a religion for disc brakes and V brakes. If you want to debate religion, well, that's why there's the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
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