canti brake setup advice

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by piedwagtail91, 28 Mar 2008.

  1. piedwagtail91

    piedwagtail91 Über Member

    my son has just bought a second hand bob jackson, possibly a 531 version of the world tour.i've upgraded it to nine speed.
    the brakes are cantis, not my favourite brake , but they haven't seen much use.
    they have the straddle wire which i think looks a mess. after looking on the net i've found the much neater link cable. unfortunately for me it comes in several lengths.
    can anyone advise on which is the best length?
    i measured the stradle wire from the end to the centre of the "straddle " yoke/hanger thing but have got different lengths front and back -told you i didn't like them [​IMG] .
    any advice on the best length and set up would be much appreciated.
    we can't use mini v's because of clearance , full v's with travel agent would foul the pannier rack, and i'm not prepared to drill out a good frame to leave bare canti mounts to use dual pivots!
  2. Gary D

    Gary D Well-Known Member

    There is an in-depth section on Sheldon Browns site on canti set up:

    I use cantis on my Tricross, but found the standard ones lacking. They used the fixed length straddle wire which I always felt was stretching when I pulled the lever really hard. It was particularly noticeable on the rear when there seemed to be so much "spring" in the set up that the lever ran out of travel before I had exerted any serious pressure.

    I then changed them to Suntour ones which improved things. They use the older type system whereby the straddle wire is a thicker diameter and is adjustable length. The other mod I made was changing to Kool Stop pads. That made a huge difference to braking efficiency.

    Hope this helps.


    PS I have a set of the Suntour ones spare if you are interested. PM if you are.
  3. OP

    piedwagtail91 Über Member

    thanks, i was thinking of changing to the set length straddle wire but may look for the thicker one you suggest.
  4. Dave5N

    Dave5N Über Member

    Longer is better for the straddle as it drops the arms - more leverage. If they are rubbish, you'll probably find newer ones are better. I have 4ZA (Froglegs style) on my bike and they are appalling.
  5. twowheelsgood

    twowheelsgood Senior Member

    Zurich Switzerland
    If the cantis are mass-market jobs from the early days of mountain biking, then they are going to be awful whatever you do anyway. I had some "top-o-range" XTR from 1998 and they were sh*te, even with cool stops. The lastest ones are much better (shimano BR-550). In the past you had to buy something exotic like Paul to expect to stop properly.
  6. MartinC

    MartinC Über Member

    If you aren't using STI both DiaCompe and Cane Creek make Drop Bar Levers you can use with V Brakes. Sheldon Brown's article on Canti set up is really good. One thing to bear in mind is the height of the brake pads above the bosses will affect the geometry. The higher the pads then the less leverage and brake power you'll get.
  7. OP

    piedwagtail91 Über Member

    i've set them up as sheldon says.we're going over malham tomorrow on his day off so we'll see if they work!
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