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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cantilever brakes vs V-brakes vs Disc brakes


As your mom used to say "if everyone else was riding off a cliff would you?" (choose the wrong brake and you might be)

Note: A lot of people assume that we don't build bicycles that use disc brakes, when in fact we do. We have built bicycles and tandems using disc brakes dating back to the 1970's (bet you thought disc brakes were new to the bicycle industry didn't you?).

Why don't we put them on every bike?

The short answer:
V-brakes and disc brakes were designed for mountain bikes, and then adapted for use on road and tandem bikes. We recommend disc brakes for mountain bikes, and we ride disc brakes on our mountain bikes.

Cantilevers have more advantages for road and tandem bikes because they were designed for use on road and tandem bikes. Other manufacturers follow the trend because high-quality cantilever brakes have become hard to find.

Now, for those of you who want to read about the advantages here's the long answer:

(The long answer is based on years of working in busy bike repair shops and designing bikes. It's the same answer, but if you're like me, you'll want more info to convince you that what you read in the catalogs and magazines isn't true.)

Since the (short lived) days of the U-brake I have always said "the problem with cantilevers is that they are lighter, easier to adjust, less expensive, and work better than the other types of brakes."

Most tandem manufacturers use V-brakes or disc brakes , and will tell you that they are better. What they don't know (because they don't have a service shop that deals directly with the public) is that every year, we change out several 'other' brand tandems to cantilevers.

The truth is, it would sure be a lot easier (and less expensive for us) in the retail department to use V-brakes or disc brakes and just avoid this question all together....just pretend that V-brakes or disc brakes are the best. But, because we are a full service shop, our customers will be relying on us to make them work well. We know from experience, that educating you is much less expensive then replacing, at no charge, 48 pairs of brakes for unhappy customers (1997 V-brake fiasco). So, here it goes, the method to our madness...

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