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Canti's seem to be the norm(16 posts)

Canti's seem to be the normB2
Nov 26, 2002 7:31 AM
Last time I used canti's was on a 1990 mountain bike. When I tried V-Brakes I was amazed at the increased braking power. No more having to stop on the descents just to shake out the fatigued forearms.

My question is - why are canti's the "norm" in cyclocross? Has the performance improved that much? Or are the descents in cyclocross relatively short? Why not V-Brakes and Travel Agents? I've not ridden cyclocross before so please let me know if know if my perception about canti's being the norm is not correct.

it's a matter of physicslonefrontranger
Nov 26, 2002 8:01 AM
Every single 'cross racer I've ever known who's gotten this idea and installed V-brakes has removed them after 1 or 2 rides. The reason is that the contact patch on a cross tire is so small, coupled with the larger "lever" of a 700c wheel, that it's too easy to lock the wheels up, even using travel agents.

Disc technology seems to be coming to 'cross bikes, but currently at a weight penalty. One also wonders whether the roadie-style lightweight wheels used for 'cross would hold up under the additional stresses of "windup" created by braking at the hub, particularly on a larger radius wheel (see the "longer lever" issue above). Especially since discs seem to be the choice of heavier riders.

The best brakes for 'cross are the "frog-leg" type cantis. These provide extra cable pull and torque for added braking power, but not at the expense of overwhelming the minimal contact patch a skinny 'cross tire provides.
Mud clearancetihipscrew
Nov 26, 2002 8:22 AM
Cantis can be adjusted both to provide adequate stopping power and to sit quite a bit away from the rim. They tend to foul less in the mud.

I live in CO where it's never muddy tho. Ha.
re: Canti's seem to be the normCrossBones
Nov 26, 2002 9:22 AM
LFR and THS have already mentioned a couple of good reasons why you don't see more V-brakes in `cross. The clearance issue is, to my mind, probably the number one disadvantage of V-brakes; to get them to work properly with road levers (even with a travel agent or similar), the pads need to be so close to the rim that any kind of slop will turn that area into a mud magnet. Further, as LFR eloquently points out, a "proper" V-brake setup comes at the expense of modulation, making it pretty easy to lock up your wheels. FWIW, I'm not a big fan of discs on `cross bikes either, for the reasons LFR points out, and any increases in braking power don't really mean much to me the twenty-fifth time I'm shouldering the damn bike ; )

You're also correct though; on a "typical" `cross course the descents aren't really on the same scale that you'd find on an MTB ride or race (there are some exceptions), so you don't necessarily need the extra stopping power that V-brakes provide. Finally, IMHO, the greater modulation allowed by a canti setup is better suited for `cross racing; one should use the brakes to control your speed, which (as I mentioned) is harder to do with the V-setup. And after all, in `cross racing, the idea is to go fast, eh? ; )

Take it easy,

re: Canti's seem to be the normatpjunkie
Nov 26, 2002 1:36 PM
agreed with all. we see more vees out here in Cal due to less slop factor. (our last 2 races were in the 80's ) cantis seem to modulate better and also have mass luddite, retrogrouch appeal. I just think they look cooler. makes me miss my old Mafacs.
Sticking up for V'sOffRoadTourer
Nov 26, 2002 6:33 PM
The only rational argument against V's so far has been the mud factor. I live where it isn't muddy and I would never use canti's. I don't lock my wheels, I find my V's and travel agents have TONS of modulation.

Suggesting that having less braking power will make you go faster is absurd. More powerful brakes allow you to brake later, thereby retaining your speed for longer. That's why DH mountainbikers use incredibly powerful hyrdaulic discs (like Hayes with 8" rotors), so they can go FASTER.

Besides the mud argument the only other plausible reason for using cantis is the luddite, retrogrouch appeal ATPJ mentioned. That's fine, but if you want to halt the progression of time get back on some birch or cane rims and lose the gears. But don't warp the performance argument into complete nonsense, V's provide plenty of modulation and will allow you to go faster than cantilevers if you don't have to worry about mud.

(Man, I sound angry don't I?)
cantis v's discs blah blah blahtihipscrew
Nov 26, 2002 9:01 PM
Meh, you just sound wrong to me, but whatever. I sincerely doubt yr brakes will change yr placing, so choose brakes you like.

However, I'll grant you this: At a recent race there was a screaming downhill to a 90 deg right-hander with an immediate barrier. Eventual winner (by minutes) came down the hill (25 to 30 yards?!) at full speed, standing on his left pedal ready for dismount, with his (carbon) rear wheel locked up, just skidding the whole way. He was easily making 3 seconds plus right there. He schooled everyone. I don't know which "incredibly powerful" brakes he was using, but he definitely had the right idea. And his b@lls in a backpack. Apparently the guy is the nat'l semi-pro norba champ or some such. (Racing 3s).
and....... (long)TWD
Nov 27, 2002 9:36 AM
I agree with what OffRoadTourer said and have a couple of other thoughts.

In general, the mud clearance on the V/Travel Agent setup is less than you can run on cantis, but if you take the time to set it up properly, you can get a reasonable amount of clearance, modulation, and stopping power. I haven't had any clearance problems, and I ride lots and lots of mud (about 9 months worth here in Oregon). I think the clearance is about the same as on a MTB with Vs, but I haven't heard of any problems with clearance from the MTB side.

I think it is true that Vs have more power and less modulation than cantis, but the amount of power and modulation a rider needs has alot to do with his/her weight, speed, riding style, and terrain. A 140 lb cx rider braking in an off-camber hair pin turn in slippery mud at 10 mph probably will think the Vs have too much power and too little modulation.

A 210 lb clydesdale coming into a corner at 25mph after a fast downhill won't have a problem with too much power or too little modulation, even when grabbing a pretty good fistfull of brake.

If the question is confined to CX racing only, sure, V-brakes may be overkill for alot of racers and cantis work great. How many of us only ride our CX bikes at races?
For me, CX racing only accounts for a very small percentage of my time spent on the CX bike, since I ride it all week long between races during the fall, and keep on riding it over the winter, spring, and occaisionally in the summer.

My typical winter ride involves a 5 to 10 mile paved commute to the trails, then about 1500 to 2000' worth of climbing on gravel fire roads, then 1500 to 2000' of sustained downhill on extremely sloppy hairpin singletrack descents then back home on the roads.

Running canti's in these situations isn't an option. I've tried it and its scary. Having both levers squeezed to the bar and not slowing down enough to make the switchback. The Vs at least get me through the turns on the trail and upright. Cantis just don't work when it's really wet (think continuous downpour and rivers of water running down the trail). The same descent on my MTB with discs is incredible, rather than just a fun excercise in survival.

My point is, no one brake (canti, V, or disc) is the best for every rider in every situation.

Ok, I'll shut up now.
Nov 27, 2002 11:37 AM
okay and I'm 230 lb Clydesdale / Luddite running canti's, yes I have to brake sooner, regardless of vee or canti. In cross braking later/harder isn't always advantageous as it's better to carry some speed through the corner. Unlike DH we don't usually have gravity on our side to help with reacceleration.
so a smoother more modulated approach is sometimes faster than a balls out to complete stop, reacceleration that vees may provide. I have them well set (my canti's) race, commute and ride trails. I've never had a stopping problem (except this morning on a fast, loose off camber corner where I got so much grab I rolled my front tire partially off the rim). OH INERTIA
Nov 27, 2002 1:32 PM
I agree with you totally. I did one CX race this year that had about 15 tight hairpin turns per lap. I run about 210 lbs and felt like I could never fully get up to speed to gain ground on the "little people".

All I could do was to carry as much speed through the turns. I think the thing I love about CX racing the most is that most of the climbs are short power climbs which suit me well. I love climbing, but I can't compete with the featherweights on the longer stuff.

I ran Vs front and rear last winter, and switched back to XTR cantis in the rear for race season (would have done the front too but didn't want to hassle with it). They worked great since the four races I did happened to be dry, which in itself is an oddity for this time of year in Oregon.

My problem lies primarily on long descents in wet weather. My cantis are set up great for dry, they just don't get any bite on the rim when wet (soaked actually). I pull as hard as I can until the levers hit the bar at times and they won't stop me on the steeper trails. Hands cramp alot too.

I find the Vs work a bit better in the wet, and that the wet and grit tend to give the Vs a bit more modulation that in the dry.

I'd still run discs on my CX if I had a frame with disc mounts and wheels. As it stands, running rim brakes around here, I still wear through the sidewalls of a set of rims every 1500 miles or so.

Such is life.
Nov 27, 2002 1:53 PM
our last race was like that. lotsa tight turns and a long grassy climb followed by a long dirt climb. I didn't stand a chance. I was blown by lap 3. At least I didn't come in last. Living in Sunny San Diego I lack the wet experience I used to get in NorCal. For instance our 2 races have been held in dry 80 degree weather.
It doesn't feel like cross season here until Feb. It may rain this weekend (I'm hoping) as I'm one of the only in my class with 2 bikes. Would love to get back at some of the pip squeaks as the course is also fast and suited to my riding style. Ya ever notice every sport that benefits big guys (Wrestling, Rowing, Boxing etc..) is conveniently broken down by weight but sports where the advantage is in being small it's a free for all. It's a conspiracy of little people. I'm ready for Masters Clydesdale cross racing!
Nov 28, 2002 1:29 AM
I don't want my own weight class, what I'd like to see is weight handicapping. I do a lot of rides with my son in tow in a trailer. I'm thinking the the weight difference between me and some of these guys is about the same as that trailer.

I figure, you just put a scale in the registration line and everybody has to show up with a backpack or trailer. You get your allotment of lead weights til everybody is even and see what happens.

After turkey day, I don't think I'll need any lead weights.

I better get my butt out of bed and do a long ride tomorrow before the feast.

Gobble Gobble
Nov 29, 2002 3:05 PM
like horse racing. I'm all for it. You can kick my a55 right now, try it with 70 lbs of rocks on your back. Would love that, just once even!
Dec 10, 2002 11:06 PM
In response to TWD's posting. I completely agree. I'm looking into V's for my "not-only" cross set-up. Do you or anyone have opinions on a good V-brake selection? Of course I've used XTR's on my Mt bike and like them with a couple of Shimano-esque exceptions.

What do you think about Paul, Tektro or other V's? I'm also going against the tide with my handlebar/brake lever setup, so I won't be using drops. Sorry to the purists.

If you're well adjusted....unclefuzzy_ss
Nov 27, 2002 5:03 PM
ANY brake will do. Be it V, canti, caliper or disc. Personally, I know that a well adjusted canti will stop my 220 lbs carcass in any situation. I like the frog leg style brakes like Pauls or Spooky's. I have found that when set up right, they work like a hooker on the prowl. When set up poorly though, they suck like a hooker on the job ;). Same goes for V's. If you set them up right, they rock, especailly on MTB's, less so on Cross for the above mentioned physics reason (too much power for a small contact patch). That being said, they still work quite well.
The traditionalist in me says they're a no-no on a cross bike though...

If you're well adjusted....atpjunkie
Nov 27, 2002 5:35 PM
agree. want to see how my spooky's do. hopefully change next week. big on the traditional thing as well.