Upgrading touring bike cantilever brakes


My newly acquired Raleigh Royal lightweight touring bike has Mavic Open Pro wheel rims and Avid Shorty 6 cantilever brakes. The front brake is O.K. , though not great , but the rear is very poor . I've put new ordinary Clarks brake shoes on but it's made no improvement. Is there an obvious solution to this problem ? Different blocks ? Different type of brakes ? Any ideas would be welcome !


How high is the yoke? Do the blocks contact the rim properly? Is the rim clean?


Middle aged bald git.
Well adjusted canti's work well and most touring bikes are still fitted with them. If they are not very effective I would guess they are poorly adjusted or the brake blocks are poor quality or not yet bedded in.
I have to say I agree with what's been posted -cantis can be excellent brakes with the right setup, etc. However, I do think cantis suffer from being a bit per more finickety to setup.

i. make sure your rims are clean (scrubbing pad and hot soapy water with a rinse works for me) and true
ii. make sure all your cable runs to the brakes are fine, and that your cable and housing are in good condition
iii. make sure your straddle height is set appropriately
iv. use good quality pads -personally, I use Koolstop salmons on the brake pads, I find they are excellent
v. finally, and this is a tough one -it may be your brake levers aren't pulling enough cable. Different brake levers pull slightly different amounts of cable (and I'm not talking about long pull i.e. v-brakes vs short pull i.e. canti brakes either, but different brand short pull brakes levers can differ slightly) Even a couple of mm difference can make a big difference -I found older Shimano STI levers pull less than newer Cane Creek levers and it really made the brakes so much better.

Obviously try the cheap solutions first -clean your rims, replace the brake pads...possibly replace your cables.

If you are prepared to put in the time to get these brakes right, it will be worth it -however, I know that v-brake style brakes can be easier to setup and use -and sometimes the cost of getting new different style brakes, levers and cables can offset all the messing around you have do -not least if you end up buying new brake blocks, cables and potentially levers anyway.....

*you don't mention if you are using integrated shifters with your levers -if you are, obviously that will limit changing levers.
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