Look After Cantilever Brakes On A Bike


It's important to keep your cantilever brakes in working order. There are 3 main elements - the lever, the cable and the brake itself. Pads need to be checked most frequently, but are easily replaced if need be. As the pad wears sometimes you will need to correct the point of contact by adjusting the position of the brake.

This is a long guide, so you can choose to either watch the entire video above, or follow it in smaller chunks by clicking on the individual steps below.

Steps to Look After Cantilever Brakes On A Bike:

Diagnose Brake Problems - MadeGood.bikes

1. Troubleshooting Brake Problems On A Bike

A cable operated rim brake has three elements. The lever, the cable and the brake itself. Separating the elements helps decide which element needs attention, and where your brake problems lie.

Open A Cantilever Brake - MadeGood.bikes

2. Open A Cantilever Bike Brake

It's simple to open a cantilever brake to remove a wheel or dismount the cable.

Check And Service Brake Blocks - MadeGood.bikes

3. Check And Service A Bike's Brake Blocks

Rim brakes slow and stop the bike by pressing soft blocks against the wheel rim to produce friction. A brake block wears away with use.

Replace Rim Brake Blocks - MadeGood.bikes

4. Replace Rim Brake Blocks On A Bike

Brake pads wear in use and need to be replaced before the indicator slots disappear. Rubber hardens with age, so replacing old pads after a couple of years will improve braking performace regardless of wear. Some brakes have removable blocks that sit inside the shoe, these can be replaced independently without the need to replace the entire shoe. Other brakes have an integrated shoe, where the whole unit needs to be replaced.

Set Up A Cantilever Brake - MadeGood.bikes

5. Set Up A Bike's Cantilever Wheel Rim

A traditional cantilever brake has two arms like modern v-brakes. Both arms are pulled by a short straddle cable that is pulled by a yoke mounted on the main brake cable. The brake arms mount on bosses on the bike frame.

Check A Caliper Brake - MadeGood.bikes

6. Check A Bike's Caliper Brake

There are a number of elements that wear in a caliper brake system, so they should be checked for operation regularly.