Top 5 Best Cantilever Brakes Review 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

Cantilever brakes are the traditional stoppers for exploring and cyclocross bikes. They provide clearance for full mudguards and tires, or the great mud and tires. Cantilevers are simple and are lightweight.

Best Cantilever Brakes

They can give great braking power that can also be used on tandems, but they need a meticulous setup to offer the best result. Straddle wire angle make them extremely powerful.

A brake cable hanger and a cable adjuster are required during installation. The front brake hanger is always on the top of headset bearing.

Good cantilever brakes were made to solve the problems of muscle tightening up from constant pedaling especially when you are descending a hill, approaching a person or an object.

The brakes help you greatly in lessening any accident that might occur due to brakes failing to operate normally.

Top 5 Cantilever Brakes you should Purchase

1. Avid Shorty Ultimate Front Cantilever Brake

Many rider passionately love avid Shorty because they are made with aluminum material making them super durable. Avid Shorty weigh 115grams and they are highly recommended by many folks from different corners of the world. The brakes have seven by seven by two inches in dimension. We give Avid Shorty cantilever brake a five stars rating after doing an extensive test.
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They are straight forward and simple to install in your bike. They look amazingly great.

Avid Shorty brakes are compatible with Shimano Ultegra levers. Most of the users have approved they work nicely because they can be adjusted from narrow to wide and vice versa.

These brakes are engineered by the top professionals in the industry. They have an eye-catching design which makes.

  • Avid Shorty brakes are easy to install. You don’t need to be a pro to install the brakes.
  • The brakes have a beautiful design.
  • Made for a hilly or mountainous environment.
  • Avid shorty brakes are highly durable.
  • A little bit expensive.
  • The warranty of Avid Shorty brakes is not well known.

2. Shimano Mountain Bicycle V-Brake – BR-T4000

Shimano Mountain cantilever brake weighs three pounds. It has been given five stars by the users because of its great performance. The brakes are great because they can be fitted easily. Shimano Mountain can lock up the rear wheel with very little effort.
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The brakes have strong retract springs and contain adjustment screws which helps it to not rub against the wheel.

The pad adjustment of these brakes are not complicated and are easy to do. Shimano Mountain Cantilever brakes are easy to position, tighten and toe in.

  • Easy to install.
  • Versatile and adjustable.
  • The brake pad adjustment of Shimano brakes does not come with Allen head or hex nut. The rubber boot of Shimano is relatively shorter compared to other bikes.

3. Tektro CR710 Cyclocross Cantilever Brake

Tektro CR710 cantilever brakes are made of aluminum material which makes them super durable. The brakes comes with bushings and adjustable bolt. They have pads which measure 55mm and a cartridge which can be regulated.
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The Tektro CR cantilever brakes weigh 126 grams and contain a dimension of 21-35mm. Dimension of 7 by 5.3 by 2.2 inches.

  • The Tektro CR 710 cantilever brakes can be installed easily without difficulties.
  • The brakes are adjustable.
  • Durable.
  • The warranty of Tektro CR 710 has not been guaranteed by many of its users.
  • Expensive.

4. Paul Component Engineering Paul Components Touring Front

Paul component cantilever brakes are made to work with road or non-linear pull hilly levers. They are made with carrier and crossover cable. Paul Component have a pad attached which looks so amazing and stunning. The brakes are powerfully made by the best designers in the industry.
Paul Component Engineering Paul Components Touring Front

Easy to adjust the centering and tension.

The brakes weigh 130 grams containing glamorous pad attachments. These brakes weigh 7.5 by 5.5 by1.2 inches.

The shipping weight of Paul component cantilever brakes is 6.4 ounces.

  • The Paul component cantilevers brakes are designed perfectly to last for a long time.
  • Easy and fast to install
  • Easy to adjust and fix.
  • Expensive.

5. Sunlite Alloy Cantilever BrakeSunlite Alloy Cantilever Brake

  • Light and has been forged with alloy.
  • It has linear springs with quick tools to adjust.
  • Threaded post pads.
  • Weighs 185 grams.
  • Dimension of 7.4 by 4.9 by 1.6 inches with 15 ounces.
  • Durable.
  • Sunlite alloy brakes are adjustable and easy to install.
  • Expensive.
  • If you are an amateur operator of Sunlite alloy brakes, they can be challenging when you are doing the installation.

Basic Terms Used for Cantilever Brakes

Yoke Angle this is the angle that stranding cable takes in a horizontal position.

Caliper Angle this is the angle that the brake arm takes from a vertical position.

Cantilever Angle this is the angle between the brake pivot line and the brake shoe.

Caliper Length this is the length which is defined in terms of D1 to D2 distances.

Anchor Angle this is the angle that the brake arm takes to the stranding cable, at the position when the pad comes into contact with the rim.

Types of Cantilever Brakes

Wide profile this is the cantilever angle brake which is greater than 90 degrees. These types of brakes have a low mechanical advantage and need brake levers with powerful mechanical benefits.

Medium profile these are cantilever brakes with around 90 degrees. Most of the MTB from the early 90s and late 80s have this kind of calipers.

Low profile these are cantilever brakes with below 90 degrees. The key benefits of these kinds of brakes are that they do not stick out so much, and hence they don’t catch things. If not set correctly, the bike can harm you especially when you are going down a hill.

Mechanical Advantages of Good Cantilever Brakes

Three main advantages of these brakes. Check Below
Brake Levers Mechanical advantage of the lever depends on the intensity of the cable pulled and the lever length.

The ratio cantilever brakes is usually D1: D2. The mechanical advantage is ordinarily between 1 and 2.
Anchor angle the brakes offer a mechanical strength when they are 90 degrees.

Yoke angle cantilever brakes have an amazing yoke angle which makes them so useful when riding. The smaller the yoke angle, the more mechanical advantage your bike has.

High-Quality Cantilever Brake Adjustment

Caliper angle of ninety degrees offers the least mechanical benefit. As the angle becomes narrower, the mechanical advantage goes up, but the pads move less.

With narrow profile brakes, it is highly recommended that the pads should be towards the rim as much as possible. This is done to anchor the cable out as much as possible.

Pads should not be too far from the rim. The best angle is the one at which pads come into contact with the edge.
When decreasing the angle, pads must stick out towards the rim.

Adjustment of Yoke Angle
It is important to note that the smaller the yoke angle, the more mechanical advantage it has. The small possible yoke angle is the one that gives the straddling cable to clear the mudguards, tire, rim, etc.

Yoke angle adjustment has a powerful effect on the mechanical function of the best cantilever brakes. Overdoing this can result to some technical problems to your bike.

Strong mechanical advantage leads to brake lever bottoming out against the handlebars, before any effective brake force applied. Remember that levers do not have an infinite limited range of motion. Low mechanical advantage can lead to a weak brake force.

Using the Best Cantilever Brakes in the Real Life

Brake pad distance can be regulated on most of the models of cantilever brakes. Brake pad distance affects the cantilever angle, caliper ratio length, and caliper angle. This is especially crucial for low profile brakes.

Cantilever angle is relatively small with low profile brakes. As the pads depreciate, the caliper angle diminishes automatically; this lowers mechanical advantage in a rapid manner.

It is always recommended to set low profile brake pads as close to the rim. Lowering the yoke angle will offer optimal mechanical benefits.

Correlation of Adjustments
Changing the distance of the pad from the pivots significantly changes both caliper and cantilever angle. As the bike user, this is the first thing that you should do.

After the caliper angle is okay, yoke angle is regulated by putting one stranding cable at the end in one side of the calipers. Afterward you need to pass it over the hook that is attached on the major cable.

Shorter stranding cable needs to have smaller yoke angle and requires that the hook be fixed to the major cable.

As the Brake lever is pulled harder for hard braking, a couple of things happen

  • Pads start to move towards the rim.
  • Calipers move towards the rim, resulting in the caliper angle to be narrower.
  • The yoke angle increases immediately.

While the impact of greater yoke angle decreases mechanical advantages, the result of caliper angle change depends on the specific achieved angle. This can be known only when it is tested.

Factors to Consider before Buying Cantilever Brakes

Budget Before you buy the best cantilever brakes consider the price first. Go for the brakes which fit your cash.
Durability Longevity is very important when you are purchasing any product. Buy the cantilever brakes that last for a long time without developing mechanical break-down.

Quality Go for the high-quality cantilever brakes that will prevent any accident.
Warranty purchase cantilever brakes that have a warranty- in case of a fake product you can return it to the company where you purchased.

Cantilever Braking and Turning Your Bicycle- Stay Tuned

Since your bicycle has two brakes, one for every hand, you need to use cantilever brakes efficiently to avoid multiple accidents. You need to pay a lot of attention on how to use cantilever brakes.

Conventional Wisdom

Conventional wisdom states that you should use your brakes at the same time. This is useful advice for the beginners who have not advanced as competent cyclists.

Maximum Deceleration-Emergency Stops

The quickest way that you can stop your bike by a regular wheelbase is by applying the front brake so hard that the rear wheel can be lifted off the ground. In this scenario, the best road bike wheel for the money cannot contribute to stopping power because there is no traction.

Won’t I Go Over the Bars

The rear brake is alright for the conditions where the traction is poor, or when the tires of your bike blow. It is wise to note that in case you stop on dry pavement, the front brake alone offers maximum stopping power, both in practice and in theory. This is the same case cantilever brakes works.

A large number of cyclists fear using the front brake, because of being nervous about flying over the handlebars. The cyclist who depends on the rear brake for normal stopping purposes is on the safe side until an emergency issue arises.

Some of the common accidents that happen to the cyclists is because of braking hard without using the rider’s arms to brace against deceleration.

Learning to Use the Front Cantilever Brake

Maximum braking happens when the front brake is used so hard that the wheel is about to raise off from the ground. At this juncture, the little amount of rear brake will result in the rear wheel to skid.

If you are riding a bike which has cantilever brakes, the right way is to know the use of the front brake. This can be done by practicing in a safer space or a parking lot. You must master the techniques of the pro by using the brakes of your bikes at once, but not forgetting to put most of the effort into the front brake.

It is highly recommended when using a bike installed with cantilever brakes, practice pedaling as you brake. This is done in order for your legs to note immediately when the rear wheel is about to skid.

Always squeeze but don’t grab the brake levers, so that you can know when the wheels are about to skid. Practice regularly, so that you can know the tactics of stopping your bike fast on the edge of the rear-wheel liftoff.

Keep testing your brakes in this manner whenever you are about to ride an unfamiliar bike with cantilever brakes. It is so crucial to know that some brakes are more sensitive than others, and you need to get used to the dynamics of the brakes.

Once you are satisfied with the front brake, start practicing to release the brakes to recover the control. You will do this until this has been registered to your brain and an automatic reflex action has been programmed in your mind.

At low speed, apply the cantilever brakes hard enough such that the rear wheel skids, or start begins to lift off from the ground. When this happens, straightaway releases the brakes and then wear the helmet.

When to Use Cantilever Rear Brakes

Slippery surfaces: On awesome, dry pavement, unless leaning in turn, it is not possible for the front wheel to skid by braking. It is better to keep controlling the speed of your bike with the rear brake to avoid skidding.

Bumpy surfaces: On rough grounds, the wheels may sometimes bounce up into the air. If you are riding your bike on bump while using the front brake, the bike will be weak to ascend the bump.

Front flat: if accidentally your tire deflates on the front wheel, you are supposed to use the rear brake alone to have a safe stop.

When to Use Both Cantilever Brakes Together

Generally, it is advised not to use cantilever brakes at the same time. However both brakes can be applied at the same time:

  • If the front brake is not perfectly powerful to lift off the ground, the rear brake can assist, but the right thing to do is to repair the front cantilever brake.
  • If the front cantilever brake chatters or grabs so you can modulate it smoothly, it is advisable to use it lightly. Again, repair is highly recommended.
  • When bending in turn, traction is shared between turning and braking. Using both brakes in a unison manner reduces the likelihood that one wheel or the other one will skid. The steeper you bend, the less you should brake, so it is advisable to moderate the speed before a curve. When bending deeply, you need to release the brakes completely.
  • Low or long bicycles, such as long-wheelbase recumbents and tandems, maintain the possibility of skidding the front wheel. This is because the geometry impedes the rear wheel.

Bending in Turns

To turn a bike with cantilever brakes, you must bend inward toward the direction of the turn. The sharper the turn, and the faster you go, the more you are required to lean.

This is a must, for a specific speed and a turning radius. The center of gravity of the rider or the bike must be moved sideways to a specific amount of distance; otherwise, the bike will not balance.

Top 8 Benefits of Using Cantilever Brakes

1. Youths deeply love the bikes with cantilever brakes
It’s a fantastic thing when you are riding your bike installed with high-quality cantilever brakes ( Here is guide to install bike brakes ). You feel younger and exercise your organs, muscles, and joints by simply pedaling your bike. A large number of youths prefer to ride bikes that are designed with cantilever brakes.
2. When cycling your bike installed with cantilever brakes a lot of people get attracted to you.
Regular cycling makes you feel like a hero or heroine, boost your self-esteem and especially make your friends like you.
3. Cantilever brakes are always perfect, superior, and fantastic.
Because these brakes are designed intelligently, it’s straightforward to maneuver the traffic without causing any accident on busy high ways.
4. You have the freedom to traverse in regions vehicles cannot pass.
Cantilever brakes are meticulously great especially when you are descending a hill. According to most of the users, they say that cantilever brakes cannot fail you even when you are riding down a hill.
5. You will enjoy the cool free air on the road without fearing that your brakes are becoming weak.
Cantilever brakes are made in a durable manner, whereby their quality is high and stay for a long time without developing mechanical problems.
6. Using your bike with Cantilever brakes is highly economical.
You don’t need to worry about fuelling your bike or even paying for its insurance. All that you need is to ride your bike carefully, and this saves a lot of your cash.
7. Riding a bike with cantilever brakes assures you 100% safety.
The bicycles that are installed with cantilever brakes have been awarded five stars becomes of their excellent functionality.
8. The price of cantilever brakes is affordable.
In case your brakes develop a mechanical problem, you can purchase new cantilever brakes at Amazon stores at a reasonable price.

How to Adjust Cantilever Brakes

On this section, it explains excellently how should adjust your cantilever brakes. Read carefully so that you should not miss any point.

When adjusting cantilever brakes, you need a five millimeters Allen key, an optional cable puller, a strip of sandpaper, and a ten millimeters open-end wrench.

Adjust Levers

The first step to adjust the cantilever brakes is setting up the levers. You should start by unfastening the clamp and then aligning the levers should follow. This is done to match the angle of the arms when riding the bike. Once the angle is alright, tighten the clamp.

If your hands are relatively smaller and the levers become difficult to reach, setting them closer by tightening to get into contact with the adjustment screw on the inside of the levers is recommended.

Check the Wheel Center

Before you start adjusting, you should check the best road bike wheel to make sure it is perfectly centered in the frame. This affects the position of the brake pads.

Be certain that the axle is super fastened in the dropouts. If the wheel is not in the center of the frame, it is highly recommended to check the dish.

Set up Brake Pads

It is the opportune time of loosening the fastened bolt on the brake arm and tighten the lever’s barrel adjuster.

Unfasten and the remove both brake pads from the mounting position and check the surfaces to verify that they are not too worn. If you notice that there is any metal pointing via the pad surface, this call for a replacement.

If the pads are alright, it’s a brilliant idea to resurface them using sandpaper. When the pads are removed, you should adjust the brake cable until both brake arms are parallel straight down and up, and then fasten.

Cantilever brake pads should be installed so that the front of the pad comes into contact with the rim before the rear especially when you are pulling the brakes.

Adjust Cable Tension

Now it’s the opportune time to adjust the cable tension on the brake arm by fastening the cable via the pinch bolt and fixing it.


For centering adjustments which are minor, there is a screw on the left brake arm that places the spring tension on one side.

Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ's )

Are Cantilever Brakes easy to install?

The brakes are easy to install if you follow the instructions of the manufacturer closely.

What is the durability of Cantilever Brakes?

Durability of the best cantilever brakes varies. It will depend with the manufacturer you will purchase from the Amazon stores.

Are Cantilever Brakes efficient to use when one is descending down a slope?

These are brakes that are of high quality which will make you feel secure when you are riding down a hill.

Do Cantilever brakes have warranty guarantees?

In terms of warranty, it will depend with which cantilever brake you will purchase. Some have 1 year warranty while others have 2 years warranty.

Are Cantilever brakes easy to fix and adjust?

Cantilever brakes are very easy to fix in case you want to do any adjustment.


Cantilever brakes are awesome, efficient, and fantastic. They are passionately loved by a large number of individuals because of their incredible performance.

All that is needed for you as a buyer is to read the manual of cantilever brakes keenly. You don’t have to take 10 to 15 hours installing these brakes. To fix these brakes in a short time, you need to read the instructions carefully.

Cantilever brakes have been given five stars. They will give you 100% safety especially when you are descending a hill.

Don’t fear when you are on a busy highway. You are required to control your bike like a pro and then keep adjusting your speed to avoid any accident.

Cantilever brakes have been approved by the users to be of high quality, and durable. When you purchase these brakes from the Amazon stores, you will have saved a lot of cash because they stay for a long time without developing mechanical problems.

Purchase cantilever brakes today and they will never frustrate you as an expert cyclist.