21. How to Adjust Cantilever Brakes
Adjust brake levers, re-surface pads, set cable tension and center cantilever style brakes.
In today’s tutorial I’ll demonstrate how to adjust cantilever style brakes. I will cover linear pull, or V-brakes in a future tutorial. For this job you’ll usually need a 5mm allen key, a 10mm open-end wrench, a strip of sandpaper, and an optional cable puller.
The first step is to set up your brake levers. Start by loosening the clamp and then align the levers so that they match the angle of your arms when you’re riding. Once the angle is set, tighten the clamp.
If you have smaller hands and your levers are hard to reach, you can set them closer by tightening the reach adjustment screw on the inside of most levers.
Before you begin, you should also check to make sure your wheel is properly centered in the frame, as this will affect the position of your brake pads. Make sure the axle is securely fastened all the way up in your dropouts. If the wheel is still off-center you may need to check the dish, which is further explained in the previous wheel truing tutorial.
Now loosen the tightening bolt on your brake arm and tighten the lever’s barrel adjuster all the way.
Loosen and then remove both brake pads from their mounting posts and inspect both their surfaces to make sure they are not too worn. If you see any metal poking through the pad surface, you’ll need to replace them. If the pads are in good shape, it’s a good idea to resurface them using some sandpaper.
With the pads removed, adjust the brake cable until both brake arms are parallel straight up and down, and then tighten. Using a cable puller makes brake cable adjustments a lot easier.
Now reinstall the brake pads and align them so the pad face is flat against the rim. Then tighten the pad so that it’s snug, but still loose enough to move around.
Take a look from the side to make sure the pad is in line with the rim’s brake surface, and not touching the tire or hanging off the bottom of the rim. If you can’t avoid one or the other happening, your pads may be too wide for your rim, and you’ll have to find some narrower pads.
Cantilever brake pads should be set so that the front of the pad touches the rim before the rear when you pull the brakes. This is called ‘toe-in’, and it prevents squealing when you use them. It’s a bit tricky to set up, so you may have to re-tighten the pads several times before it is correct.
For proper toe-in adjustment, there should be a gap of a few millimeters at the rear of the pad when the front is touching the rim. Park Tools recommends temporarily wrapping a rubber band around the back end of the pad to help set the spacing. Don’t forget to remove it when you’re done adjusting the pads.
Some bikes like mine have a link unit that sets the straddle wire position for you. If you’re using a carrier style with a pinch bolt, make sure the carrier is tightened as low as possible, while still providing enough clearance for your crossover cable, tire and fenders.
Now adjust the cable tension on the brake arm by pulling the cable through the pinch bolt and tightening. You’ll have to play with this adjustment until your brakes feel good. I like to have mine set so that the pads hit the rim when my lever is pulled about 1/4 of the way.
Make sure both pads now have equal clearance, and are not rubbing against the rim.
For minor centering adjustments, there is usually a screw on the left brake arm that sets the spring tension on one side. Tighten this clockwise to pull the pad away from the rim, and counter-clockwise to set the right pad closer to the rim.
I am converting a MTB with 26" wheels to 700c. I live in the UK and do not go off road, but would like a bike to ride on canal tow paths (some of which can be a "little rough". All is OK, have swooped out the front forks to a rigid type (with the correct bosses for mounting a V brake onto a 700c wheel) - but....i would prefer too fit V brakes on the rear, and the bosses are in the wrong place. I know that Mavic used to do a converter, but cannot find one anywhere. Has anyone else done this? and what did you do?
Many thanks in advance.
Kevan... Read more >>
I'm trying to get an old Cannondale M500 mtb back rolling again. I'm missing the post that screws into the fork on each side and the back seat stay post too, so I can install some v-brakes. I'm not sure what the true name for these post are or where to find them. Anybody know... ??
Thanks... Read more >>
I understand there are 2 types of disc brake pads either sintered (metallic) or resin (organic). I just bought some disc brake pads. How do I tell which type it is when im looking at it?
Thank you... Read more >>
Anyone know the link that's out there for replacing the recessed nut studs on tektros top end sidepull brakes (I did it on the quartz) using tektros lower end sidepull nutted studs. Believe it was a YouTube vid.
Have a friend who wants to do something similar and the link to the video would be far easier than trying to word by word the conversion.... Read more >>
My 90's road bike is working but the brake to the right is loose a little bit (from the brake sleeve or what ever that's called) it's still braking but the cable is trying to come out. How do I fix that?... Read more >>
Simple one for you. I have an Azzurri Tigre which has the gear changers intergrated into the brake levers.
What is this system referred as?
Thanks in advance for the education.
Daniel BACH... Read more >>
hey im having a difficult trying to figure two thing out one is my mountain bike able to have disc brakes and two is it a good idea to switch to disc brakes from vbrakes any help please and im trying to get my two mountain bikes ready for the summer time in georgia so please any words of advise or great tips or suggestions will be glady taken because im at a major confusion im bout to go crazy trying to figure this out... Read more >>
On Wife's ~1970 Gitane Grand Sport Mixte, with Mafac Racer Brakes, at the handlebar brake lever (Safety Brake levers, by the way).....
At the point where the brake cable enters the brake lever, is a cream colored plastic nipple that mates the cable shield to the brake lever assembly.. Not adjustable, just an interface from cable shield to brake assembly.....
The brake assembly does not contain plastic covers, just aluminum metal.
One cracked earlier this year, and I bought two loose pieces that look like this type:
[url]http://www.ebay.com/itm... Read more >>
Did a search and didn't see any info on it... have any of you guys ever tried this tool ?
I like the tool... it even sets the proper toe in and adjustment. The only thing I find troubling about it, is the lip on the top of the tool keeps the pads from going high enough on the outside edge of the rim. The pads run closer to the inside edge near the spokes(see pic)(Is this the proper position for the shoes or should it be higher ?) Other than that, it seems to be a great tool.
What do you guys think about it ??... Read more >>
My original set of rear pads prematurely expired due to crooked wear on the outside pad. Upon closer inspection I see the piston extends at an angle, or crooked. This is not how the front brake extends (same model). Anyone know if opening the caliper to address this is possible? Thanks... Read more >>
Gitane Mixte circa 1970 or so.. Trying to find date-codes..
Did they have any?... Read more >>
Picked up some strong mtb(36h,dw) disc and rim brake compatible wheels for a great price. Was looking to convert my mtb from v-brake to disc(frame and fork have the mounts for disc brakes).
Been looking at some mechanical knockoff Avid BB5, BB7 disc brake kits that come with what is in the pic.
Anyone know anything about these? Will they work?
From what I can tell, they are just like the brand name stuff, just don't have the brand name branded on them.
Have not had any experience with disc brakes and I'm looking to try some out. If there is a better br... Read more >>
Bought some new wheels(36h, DW) for the MTB to replace the old beat up original wheels(32h) that my MTB came with. The original wheels had the machined V-brake rim surface for the brake shoes to rub on. The new set has a painted brake rim surface and the brake pads are leaving black marks on the rims. They also are making a lot of noise when braking(shoes have been toe'd in too).
Should I be using a different type brake shoe with the painted rims??
Thanks... Read more >>
Hello, I bought a bike the other day simply for getting from a to b. It was second hand with a back flat, no biggie. However the back breaks, when I pulled them they don't seem to spring back out for the wheel to turn, so I was fiddling about with it and made it a little better but then I noticed the break cable by the handle bars have come out of its mount, the wire is still in the lever but there is no tension.
Could someone help me with this? Tried looking on the Internet but can't see any clear videos or information about fixing it. thank you!... Read more >>
where can I get the best price and decent equipment for an XR200 front disc brake???All that is there is an old stretched cable and the disc. I am a golf course rider....... Read more >>