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Best Brakes for CX(11 posts)

Best Brakes for CXrickbr
Nov 20, 2003 7:15 AM
I know this has been talked about quite a bit but....
I'm in the process of building up my Moots X-YBB and down to the brakes so...Avid, Spooky,Paul???
Ultegra STI 9 speed shifters/levers and Paul top Mounts.
Thanks in advance!
From what I've read in the archives....SS_MB-7
Nov 20, 2003 8:26 AM
I'm currently using XTR V's with Dia-Compe 287V (V-compatible) and hate them...way too finiky. I scanned the archives and here's what I've found.

The new Avids squeal. The older Avid Tri-Aligns seem to come highly recommended.

Spookys offer little adjustability but are otherwise a good brake.

Pauls are great. The Neo-Retros are very strong, but offer less heel, thigh, foot clearance. The Paul Touring canti is often used in the rear since it has more clearance in combo with the Neo in the front. Both offer excellent adjustability.

After all that, I actually went with a set of NOS Shimano M732s, since they came highly recommended from a fellow singlespeeder, MTB'er, etc. over at I haven't got them mounted yet (only 2 races left in the season so I don't want to fool with anything), but I'm going to have them mated with a set of Campy Record carbon brake levers (no shifters).

Ride Hard,
Mike B.
From what I've read in the archives....laffeaux
Nov 20, 2003 12:09 PM
Regarding the Paul brakes...

I had Neo-Retros on both ends of my bike. I definitely do not recomend them in the rear as they do stick out too far. They bothered me while riding, and if you race it's way too easy too kick them as you bring your leg around. They do work well in the front.

Recently, on the rear of the bike I install and old (early '90s) set of Ritchey Logic cantis that I had laying around. I think Ritchey brakes were made by Dia-Compe. Anyway, seting up traditional cantilevers is a pain in the butt compared to the Paul brakes (which use v-brake pads). However once they were finally set up they work as well as the Paul brakes did. Both are capable of locking the rear wheel, and both have good modulation.

The Pauls look cooler, and are way easier to set up and adjust. They also cost more.
The answer is....yes.MShaw
Nov 20, 2003 10:24 AM
As Tullio Campagnolo said "all brakes do is slow you down."

I've run XC Pro, XT, LX, Onza, and even some Shorty4s. They all seem to stop well if they're set up right.

I have friends (ATPJunkie) that swears by his brakes, but I can't remember exactly what they are right now. (Spooky?)

So, it don't really matter too much WHAT you run as long as they're adjusted right.

The answer is....yes.atpjunkie
Nov 20, 2003 8:58 PM
they all work. love my Spooky's, similar to the Pauls, just cheaper and without cartridge pads. love how simple and old school they are. You want toe in, bend the damn post. had a set of the old Paul CNC's, they were the bomb as well. found a new pad, see link below and love my Spooky's even more
You deserve the best: PaulsDale Brigham
Nov 21, 2003 7:56 AM
I had to make the same decision last year when equipping my Steelman EC 525. After talking this over with Brent Steelman, who was quite willing to sell me anything I wanted, I got Pauls Touring cantis for my new bike.

Since my Steelman is set up as more of an all-rounder than a dedicated cross bike, I went with the lower-profile (compared to the Neo-Retros) Touring model both front and back. Plenty of clearance and stopping power for my needs. If I were mucking about in the mud, I might go with the Neos in front because of their extra pad distance from the rim. I concur with other statements here that the Neos would be real heel-clippers in the back, and thus would go with the Touring model astern.

Yes, Pauls cost a bit more than most of the alternatives, but you will soon forget the few dozen extra bucks you spent to get a beautiful, reliable, highly functional product. After all, you and your Moots are worth it!

Paul Touringflyweight
Nov 21, 2003 9:47 AM
I've used and worked on Avid, Paul, Spooky, old Shimano, Froglegs, Mafac, Modolo, Campy and the new Shimano cantis. The Paul Touring is the best. As much (or more power) than anything else (and certainly more power than you'll ever need on a cross bike) and easy pad set-up. Plus you can use cartridge style pads which means you just have to fiddle with set-up once. The Neo Retro is nice for the front provided you have a really stiff fork. Otherwise it can cause some serious chatter. The Neo Retro sticks out too far in the back for most people.

A nice, less expensive runner up is the new Shimano cantilever. Looks a lot like the Avid but without the squealing issues.
Paul Touringrickbr
Nov 21, 2003 10:22 AM
I was leaning towards the Paul brakes anyway so I will most likely go with those, what's a few more $$$ at this point! I am wondering about New Shimano Canti's??? I can't find any info on these???
New Shimano cantiflyweight
Nov 24, 2003 10:36 AM
You can find them at:
New Shimano cantirickbr
Nov 24, 2003 12:28 PM
Have you had any personal experience with the Shimano BR-R550's? Or know someone who has? They are quite a bit cheaper than the Paul's. Bikeman's has them for $27 each wheel.

re: Best Brakes for CXAsh
Nov 21, 2003 10:36 AM
Don't overlook the Tektro Oryx brakes.
They have a wider profile shape than XT cantis, are cheap, and readily available from any Quality dealer, and take Vbrake style pads.

The only bad thing I've heard about them is that the stock pads aren't that great, but other than that they are supposed to rock.