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How do I adjust Cantilever Brakes?
How do I adjust Cantilever Brakes?
Updated over a week ago

How To Adjust Cantilever Brakes

Although rare, some bikes like our Original Gravel, feature cantilever brakes.

A cantilever brake is a rim brake where each brake arm has the brake shoe and the cable attachment both on the same side of the support (the pivot).

Step 1: Align the brake pads

  • Firstly, ensure the wheel is properly clamped in place and your quick release/thru axle/axle nuts are tight. Align each brake pad so that it contacts the braking surface squarely. Each side should look the same and be centred to the eye.

  • On most Cantilever brakes, there's a spring that extends up the inside of the brake arm. If the brake arms spring back unevenly, one of the arm's pads can drag against your rim, causing rub. Usually you can fix this by adjusting spring tension via a small screw located on the side of one or both brake arms.

  • Centre the brake by loosening or tightening these as required.

Step 2: Adjust the cable tension

  • Most brake levers will have a barrel adjuster. Wind this all the way in. This is for fine adjustment later.

  • Adjust angle of straddle cable-to-brake arm so that it's at 90-degrees when the pads are in contact with the rim.

  • Loosen the cable pinch bolt on the caliper and adjust the cable to the desired tension. Leave a little room between the pads and the rim.

  • Tighten the cable pinch bolt.

  • Squeeze the lever and spin the wheel to check your work.

  • Adjust the cable tightness as required to get a good feel and no rub. Fine adjustments can be made at the lever using the barrel adjuster.

  • Confirm the cable pinch bolts are tight.

If the rim of your wheel looks like it wobbles when you spin it and you get an intermittent rubbing from the wheel on the brake pads, then your wheel is likely out of true and will need to be taken to a mechanic for truing.

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