Wednesday December 16th 2009, 8:40 am
Filed under: Observational Review

So, these were the hot brakes to had to have on your ‘cross bike this year. I’ve posted before of the lightness of this line of brakes. As far as mechanics go, they’re just about the same. The same in the fact that they’re both an interesting resurrection of a brake technology that, in many people’s opinion, should have remained “obsolete”.


TRP and any others that have “developed” new brake calipers that utilize the posted-cantilever brake shoe have basically brought back the scourge of mountain bike history. (Over-dramatization intended). Surely, for anyone that has worked in a bike shop has been glad, that the infinitely adjustable cantilever brake has been replaced by more easily adjustable systems for a while. Only to be found on cheap mountain bikes, the kinds of BSO’s that have “Cantilever Brake Technology” written on the chainstays, or, more preferably on nostalgic touring bikes where some Dia-compes or Suntours are being used. Even on the nice ones, a frustrating half hour could be spent adjusting a customer’s bike.

I can’t see how this resurrection can be deemed an advantage in a race (unless it’s just a matter of mere lightness). Perhaps, on the course, where a race likely only lasts an hour, it isn’t a problem; but setting them up sure could be easier. This is a component that requires eight tools to install and set up (not something I’d like to have to tackle in the pits). Interestingly enough, the design foregoes one adjustment in particular, the vertical alignment to the rim’s braking surface. Therefore, if the frame’s canti posts aren’t dead on, you’re going to have your pads hitting the rim at an angle. So why’d we return to this design? Is the shape of the arms merely a factor for lightness, and the posted shoes were the only way to execute it that way? Mechanics want to know!

But how well do they work? I’ve only ridden them on a test ride, and they brake like a cantilever brake does. Lever and cable action feels great, but we’re really just scrubbing speed here, not necessarily stopping on a dime—maybe a half-dollar. They feel a whole lot like my Tektro CR720’s. Yeah, yeah, who needs superior braking power in a race anyway. It only slows you down, and we all know that’s no way to win a race.

2 Comments so far
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The alleged benefit of wide profile canty’s is mud clearance. The short profile, such as the Avid Shorty has a ton more power but less clearance. This would have made a difference this year in the OVCX series in several races.
At Gun Club, for example the mud was thick and got caught up in everything. During several sections, as I ran with the bike I was clearing mud out from btw the tire and the fork. The wide profile is supposed to minimize this. Granted, as you said wide profile cantilever brakes don’t stop you, they just scrub speed. In a cross race, that’s all you need. Ride road and trails with your cross bike as many of us do, and narrow profile’s make a bit more sense.
Let the arguement continue!!

Comment by bsegal 12.16.09 @ 10:42 am

Yeah, true, I didn’t mention the mud-clearing capabilities of these—certainly a benefit on the muddier courses. That being said, it’s not clear to me that the “posted” aspect of the brake shoes contributes to shedding mud.

Comment by Michael 12.16.09 @ 7:36 pm

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