V-brakes on drops, state of play?

Discussion in 'Cycling Archive' started by David Damerell, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. I am fed up of adjusting cantilevers.

    Sure, when they are correctly adjusted they work fine, and I've defended
    them in the past on that basis, but I fear I was wrong and it's a bit more
    complicated than that.

    I can't help but notice that if I borrow a bike with V-brakes, as long as
    they work at all and it's not some horrible rusty heap, they work jolly
    well. H's bike, which is maintained only inasmuch as she brings it to me
    when something really doesn't work, has superb brakes.

    So, question for the group: is my impression of the situation right, and
    if so, what's the current easiest way to fit V-brakes to a machine with
    drop handlebars? (I am assuming the canti studs work just fine for this
    David Damerell, Sep 16, 2015
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  2. David Damerell

    Tosspot Guest

    If you don't want to change the levers, a travel agent. I think
    Dia-Compe make levers if you think the travel mate looks ugly.


    I'd put a travel agent with some lowish (Tektro?) brakes to see how it
    all works, then think about doing a proper job.
    Tosspot, Sep 16, 2015
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  3. David Damerell

    Rob Morley Guest

    The variable that V-brakes remove from the adjustment equation is
    straddle cable length/angle - there's no reason that a properly set up
    cantilever can't work as well as a V-brake. V-brakes also pull twice as
    much cable as traditional cantilevers, which makes them generally
    unsuitable for drop handlebars [1]. Otherwise the two types are very
    similar. Either will go out of adjustment with block wear, removing
    slack from the cable at the brake lever has little effect on the
    geometry of a V-brake but can significantly alter the behaviour of a
    cantilever. Generally, take slack out of a cantilever by shortening the
    straddle or moving the blocks towards the rim. The width of the rim
    and tyre combined with the height and separation of the brake pivots
    can have a significant effect on the ease of adjustment and
    effectiveness of both cantilever and V-brakes.

    It's worth noting that the Shimano style of cantilever straddle wire
    with a mini cable casing on one side was introduced as a safety measure
    and installation tweak rather than a performance improvement - if the
    cable breaks it won't grab the tyre and lock the wheel. Replace it with
    a traditional straddle and bridge arrangement to get a better range of
    adjustment, and use a cable tie to hold the straddle off the tyre if
    you don't have mudguards.

    [1] There is a very small range of long-pull drop levers available,
    also "travel agent" gadgets to increase the pull of a road lever. Mini
    V-brakes, if they are tall enough to fit your application, pull less
    cable because of their shorter arms so may work OK with road levers.
    Rob Morley, Sep 16, 2015
  4. David Damerell

    Ian Jackson Guest

    It's not really an answer to your problem, but I have reasonable
    quality caliper brakes and they don't generally need adjustment.
    Ian Jackson, Sep 16, 2015
  5. David Damerell

    kimble Guest

    The BSO-issue fork crown mounted front reflector serves a useful purpose
    in this context.

    (Or fork crown mounted lamp, but if you've got one of those you've
    probably got mudguards, too.)

    kimble, Sep 16, 2015
  6. I have a lamp bracket and mudguard on both affected bikes, so that's not
    an issue, but... five years ago, I would have written much what you have
    written above. But "in practice, theory and practice are less like each
    other than they are in theory". It all _ought_ to be true, but I've spent
    a fair bit of my life fiddling with cantis to get them to work nicely and
    AFAICT Vs are much more prone to "just working".
    David Damerell, Sep 17, 2015
  7. Ah, I'd forgotten those exist. Thanks. I have the sort of bicycle with
    things attached with cable ties and electrical tape, so I think I can be
    fairly blase about aesthetics.
    David Damerell, Sep 17, 2015
  8. Assuming you are not using STI levers, it is not too hard. You just need
    some brake levers with the correct pull ratio for V-brakes.

    The current options seem to be:
    Dia Compe 287V - these have been around for a while, most reviews say
    they are not great.
    Tektro RL520 - fairly cheap, work fine in my experience.
    Cane Creek Drop V - probably also made by Tektro, but more expensive.
    They have a different shape hood, which may be more comfortable.

    Yes, you can fit the V-brakes on the canti studs. Depends on how far
    apart they are, you may need to adjust the angles and spacers on the
    pads to get them in the right place.
    Also probably worth adding some sort of inline cable adjuster. That lets
    you tweak the cable tension to allow for pad wear etc.
    Craig Wallace, Sep 17, 2015
  9. David Damerell

    Rob Morley Guest

    That too. Does anyone bother with front reflectors, given that we all
    have legal and effective front lights?
    Rob Morley, Sep 17, 2015
  10. David Damerell

    Clive George Guest

    Cantis are my least favourite brake for what I think are similar reasons
    to yours.

    Vs are my second least favourite.

    I like my DP calipers (deep enough for 700x28 + mudguards with some
    clearance), Magura rim brakes (most reliable) and hydraulic disks (Hope
    on the tandem, low end shimano on a solo)
    Clive George, Sep 17, 2015
  11. David Damerell

    Mike Causer Guest

    All my bikes that might be out and about at dusk have a front reflector.
    But I don't have any legal front lights. Effective, but not absolutely

    Mike Causer, Sep 17, 2015
  12. David Damerell

    Tim Morley Guest

    I know that feeling!
    I did this change a few years back, and its been great!

    Tektro RL520 levers work nicely, though you need to add some adjustment
    as v-brakes assume it in the lever, and tektros don't have that.

    So a pair of 'Tektro 917.12 V Brake Lead Pipe with Adjuster 90 Deg' fixed that


    All in all it works really well and is easier to adjust!

    Tim Morley, Sep 17, 2015
  13. David Damerell

    Adam Funk Guest

    Yabbut getting cantilevers properly set up is more hassle, because of
    the greater number of directions to adjust the pad/post.
    Adam Funk, Sep 17, 2015
  14. What are the recommended options for drop handlebar hydraulic rim brakes?

    Old Magura HS66/HS77 if you can find some and don't want STI levers?

    Shiny new expensive systems:
    Alan Braggins, Sep 17, 2015
  15. 6 degrees of freedom, isn't it. Adjusting brake blocks is the biggest
    advantage of a workshop stand.

    Brendan Halpin, Sep 17, 2015
  16. David Damerell

    Ian Jackson Guest

    I have one. Even though I have a good front light, I think a
    reflector probably helps.
    Ian Jackson, Sep 17, 2015
  17. David Damerell

    kimble Guest

    Some of my legal and effective front lights have integrated reflectors.

    Otherwise no, due to mounting space being in short supply. They're not
    a legal requirement in the UK[1], though they are in other European
    countries, so it would make sense to have them fitted if you're
    travelling abroad with the bike.

    TBH, as with pedal reflectors, their main function seems to be to
    improve the visibility of unlit BSOists. The sort of people who don't
    fit proper lights to a bike also tend to leave the factory fitted
    reflectors in place. Once a bike has decent lights, front and pedal
    reflectors tend not to be very visible.

    I do make sure to have good rear reflectors (again, integrated in
    lights). Experience suggests that they can often be brighter than the
    lights themselves when illuminated by headlights, and there's always the
    possibility that a rear light might fail without you noticing - so
    they'd be worth having even if they weren't legally required.

    kimble, Sep 17, 2015
  18. David Damerell

    Rob Morley Guest

    That depends on the type - many good quality modern cantilevers use the
    same attachment system as most V-brakes. I find that good quality
    post-and-eyebolt cantilevers are fine to work with too, but agree that
    poor quality examples can be a pain to set up.
    Rob Morley, Sep 17, 2015
  19. David Damerell

    Rob Morley Guest

    On Thu, 17 Sep 2015 12:28:31 +0100
    Slide the post, rotate the post, rotate the eyebolt, twist the eyebolt,
    slide the eyebolt ... I'm not seeing a sixth.
    Rob Morley, Sep 17, 2015
  20. You're right, there's no fore and aft adjustment.

    Brendan Halpin, Sep 17, 2015
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