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Upgrade Cantilever brakes to V brakes .

Discussion in 'Technical Know How' started by Jerry Atrik, 5 Feb 2011.

  1. Jerry Atrik

    Jerry Atrik Well-Known Member

    Location:
    South Devon
    Hi Guys , i want to upgrade my cantilevers to v brakes or is it mini v brakes on my tourer . I was going to put it in my LBS but things are a bit tight at the moment . Can i do it myself and what brake set to order ? Have been looking on Wiggle and Chainreaction but they dont make it clear on clearance for mudguards and tyre width ect . Will normal v brakes fit ? And my bike by the way is a Dawes Sardar if that is any help . Thankyou .
     
  2. RecordAceFromNew

    RecordAceFromNew Swinging Member

    Location:
    West London
    In case there is any misunderstanding, if your existing brakes are cantilever brakes (i.e. with cable running down the bike's centre line) then you have to be aware that they do not have the same mechanical advantage as V brakes (with cable from the side). I am asking because it seems recent Dawes Sardars have V brakes, not cantis. But of course yours might be a little older so different.

    If indeed you have cantilever brakes, then whether you could replace them with V brakes directly without changing brake levers is depending on what brake levers you have. Perhaps you can check and see if the model is one of those at the back end of this document and see whether it can be set to work with V's. If new levers are potentially needed are the existing integrated brake-shifters and if so how many speed?

    Why do the cantis need to be upgraded?
     
  3. Jerry Atrik

    Jerry Atrik Well-Known Member

    Location:
    South Devon
    Hi Recordace . My bike is the older steel version which had drops and sti shifters and breaks which i have changed to butterfly bars with deore thumb shifters and nexus break levers . I jusr want to finish it of with v brakes as i find the cantis dreadfull when wet , fully loaded or going downhill .
     
  4. vernon

    vernon Guru

    Location:
    Meanwood, Leeds
    I fount that changing to Froggleg cyclo cross cantis made a considerable difference to my Dawes Galaxy and i used Tektro 520 on my Audax bike to similar effect.
     
  5. PpPete

    PpPete Veteran

    Location:
    Chandler's Ford
    Are the Nexus brake levers you have fitted a V-brake specific lever? If not, braking will be worse if you fit V-brakes.

    Get some proper wide cantis (often called cyclocross brakes) such as the ones Vernon suggests and fit Salmon (or Dual Compound) Koolstop pads to them. Braking will be at least as good as any V-Brake... and limited only by the tyre friction on the road.

    If your rear rack doesnt allow enough space for CX cantis, these are an option, but beware it is incredibly easy to lock your wheel with these so don't ever ever dream of putting them on the front.
     
  6. MacB

    MacB Lover of things that come in 3's

    if you've already ditched the sti's and you're shifter pods are seperate to your brake levers then it's just a case of a set of v-brakes, possibly some v-brake levers and maybe some new cable outer - I'd say could do the whole lot for £30
     
  7. RecordAceFromNew

    RecordAceFromNew Swinging Member

    Location:
    West London
    As the Shimano compatibility doc I linked to earlier indicates, many Nexus flat bar levers are not suitable for V brakes as is. Theoretically one can introduce Shimano power modulators to make those levers work with V brakes but I am unsure how good they are. I also believe similar devices like travel agents tend to have mixed reviews.

    If the existing levers are not V brake compatible, a simple alternative is just to replace existing levers with V brake ones. You can get a perfectly adequate pair for under a tenner.

    But if I were the OP I would also consider trying to tune the existing cantis per Sheldon's guide in my earlier link, perhaps replacing the pads with Kool Stop salmons. I don't think old school cantis need to be any worse in performance than modern V brakes if brakes, levers and cables are properly matched and set up.