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Cantilever Brakes Overhaul - 2 Questions

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Cantilever Brakes Overhaul - 2 Questions

Old 12-26-09, 07:22 PM
john hawrylak
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Cantilever Brakes Overhaul - 2 Questions

I am overhauling an 1990's Giant Rincon MTB with DiaComp Cantilever brakes. When I removed the front and rear arms I have 2 questions:
1. The bottom of the stud has a small plate with 3 holes: bottom, middle and top. Does it matter which hole I place the one end of the brake spring in?

2. The REAR Right side arm (drive side) had a plate as part of the arm assembly, which contacted the plate on the stud. The end of the spring fit into this plate instead of the thin plate on the stud. The REAR Left arm had the brake spring connect to a hole in the stud plate.
The FRONT Left side arm was similair to the REAR Right in using a plate on the brake arm assembly instead of the stud plate. The FRONT Right used the stud plate.
The question(s) are
What is the purpose of the plate which was part of the arm assembly?
Do I need to use the brake assembly plate or can I use the stud plate?


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Old 12-26-09, 08:03 PM
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The middle hole is the default one to use. You can use either of the other ones if you need to make centering adjustmentthe outside the range built into the adjustment screw on the brake arm. Sorry I dont knopw anything about the Diacomp brakes so cant advise on the other question. Howvever if the cantilevers are anything like the old Shimano ones with the pads mounted on posts, I suggest replacing with modern ones cantilevers with pads mounted with spherical washers and nuts (Tektro Otyx or Avid Shorties). These are much easier to adjust.
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Old 12-27-09, 01:03 AM
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Might want to post a pic of the area in question.
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Old 12-27-09, 01:19 AM
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If I recall correctly, Dia Comp brakes used the plate attached to the arm as a spring adjustment - if the brakes are not balanced (one pad is closer to the rim than the other) you can loosen the brake pivot bolt on the brake with the built-in plate, and using an appropriate size cone wrench (13 or 14mm, I think) twist the plate in or out to set the preload on the spring, then re-tighten the pivot bolt to lock the adjustment in place.

I recall these brakes being a bit finicky to adjust, and possibly prone to damage from overtightening.


I found this article on Sheldonbrown.com:

Adjusting Traditional Center Pull Cantilever Bicycle Brakes
(scroll down to the heading "Spring Adjustment" and the sub-heading "Dia Compe")
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