View Full Version : Cantilever brakes - are some designs worth the upgrade

02-26-2012, 03:16 PM
I tend to let my brakes go way too long between maintenance. So I recently had the front brake pads on my Specialized Sequoia replaced. The cantilever brakes on this 19 year old bike leave a lot to be desired. Long story short, they did little good in an emergency stopping situation yesterday and I crashed. Embarrassing details here: http://rootchopper.blogspot.com/2012/02/what-maroon-utilitaire-gone-bad.html.

I took the bike back to the shop to have the fork repaired. The mechanic suggested that I upgrade the cantilever brakes to something newer. I've only had one bike with cantilever brakes so my question is: will the upgrade provide better braking or are cantilever brakes generally inferior to begin with?

02-26-2012, 04:07 PM
Rootchopper, You can convert Cantis to V-brakes (aka linear pull brakes). From what I understand the advantage of V-brakes over Cantis are in the ease of adjustment and not stopping power. If you change to V-brakes you'll need to change your brake levers, too, since they have a different amount of travel. Cantis also give you more clearance for fenders compared to v-brakes. I'm not really sure why V-brakes are the standard these days. Maybe others will have a better idea. If you're replacing your fork then you can look at upgrading to disk brakes. Sorry to hear about the collision.. at least you weren't texting when it happened. :D

BTW, thanks for your comment on Bikes For The Rest Of Us.

Tom (from Bikes For The Rest Of Us)

02-26-2012, 05:24 PM
Sorry to hear about your fender bender. Your write-up was funny though.

02-26-2012, 06:32 PM
When I kept complaining about my cantis, my shop "downgraded" them from the expensive lightweight racing variety to some big ugly cheapest Shimanos. And put on the salmon cool stop pads. Much better now -- better panic stopping power, especially when the pads are new. They're still a little grabby and noisy when it's wet, though. Not ideal, but the downgrade to a cheaper, heavier model worked for me.

02-27-2012, 07:30 AM
I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that canti's were a compromise brake until I sprung the $ for Avid Shorty Ultimates. That was an upgrade worth every penny. I think between those and the TRP's it's an even battle.

And yes, while you can change a non-canti bike to vBrakes understand that the pull ratios are different, so if you're using drop bars you're going through a convoluted adaptation process to get the pulls correct..