So, what brakes for cx, discs or canti?

Especially for light weight issues concerning cyclocross / touring bikes & parts.

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by illuminaught

Disc brakes are great - especially for technical courses.
But if it's only ever gonna be a race bike... Canti's are king.

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by Ssalmon

I like canti's, have you looked at H Plus Son rims? H+ have a machined brake track and are all black.

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by HillRPete

Ssalmon, they will not be black for very long, when used in cross, though.

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by Beancouter

I am going through the same thought process at the moment. I want to be able to swap rims between the CX and my road bikes, so counts the disc option out. My research was then leaning me to mini v's (trp cx8.4), which are relatively light and considered more
Powerful than canti's. for me I will be predominantly be on trails, so mud clearance not a massive issue.

Interested in other points if view though.

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by ThaRiddla

gt5504b wrote:Well there is also another way to look at it...
I swap wheels with my 29er XC bike.

Ever bike I have now is 700c, and the majority have discs.

Do you not have thru axles on your XC? That would re-complicate it.

Unless you have huge downhill sections, I haven't had any issues with cantis. If you're getting a custom frame, get disc tabs for sure...disc will only get better and better.

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by Ssalmon

If you have thru axels on your xc, you could get the whiskey thru axle disc fork... I suppose the H plus rims would eventually turn silver, but I think the anodizing is pretty durable, but who knows?

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by Dammit

I'm trying MTB BB7's after trying the road BB5 and BB7 with SRAM, and then the Hope V-Twin (again with SRAM).


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by rainerhq

TRP HY/RD seems interesting.
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by captainclarko

In my experience as a mechanic and salesman at a shop, disc brakes combined with road levers is far from a match made in heaven. Integrated levers are designed around specific cable pull ratios. This can affect interchangeability between brands but interchangeability between caliper/cantilever and disc systems can also be difficult to combat as a technician. The fickle nature of the BB5 and BB7 road calipers on the market leave me disappointed with the industry's lack of foresight in engineering a solution to this problem, but there are certainly ways to fix this. Eric Noren of Peacock Groove (love or hate him but you better respect him) has solved this problem wonderfully by moving the pivot point on his campagnolo levers. Creative mechanics, well-thought out component matching, and the time to test ideas, reevaluate, and revise can sometimes do as much to solve problems as a cohesive component group manufacturing from companies that take their time with prototyping and product testing.

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by nayr497

I've read both sides of mud clearance on V-brakes, such as the TRP CX8.4. Some say it's not an issue, some say it is.

I'm in need of some new pads (I use Kool Stop Cross triple compound pads) to use on my FSA SL-K cantilevers, mated to Force shifters. They've been solid and pretty good. I ride and race in the mid-Atlantic so not tons of mud. These brakes have been okay.

But, in looking around a lot of folks like the TRPs. They wouldn't be that much more new than just the pads I'm in need of soon. Thinking about trying them out. Anyone have any major Pros/Cons. Stick with what I have or give 'em a try?

(my bike doesn't have disc mounts, so that isn't part of the equation.)
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by JBV

If you want better braking than cantis, the 8.4 will provide that.

I think the arguments about lack of clearance are a myth. I've been racing 'cross since 1994, using V-brakes since 2009 or so, CX8.4's for the last couple seasons. I don't do a lot of muddy races anymore, but I still do a few per year. I did Louisville masters worlds in 2012, where the bikes literally got caked with mud, and my wheels spun free (and I could still brake) the entire race (I finished 7th in my age group).

The only other functional argument I've heard against them is they are "too grabby". Again, my experience is this is easily solved by choosing the right pad to go with your rims, for the conditions you will race in. Because they use "standard" Shimano/SRAM spec road pads, you have a plethora of choices. The stock black pads probably are a bit grabby, but Swissstop green or Kool-Stop salmon are much smoother on my rims.

The biggest reason I think people don't use them is that they don't have the cool, traditional look of a cantilever brake. They look a bit like they belong on an MTB from 1995. That is, of course, a fashion/style choice that has nothing to do with how well they work.

BTW, the Tektro RX5 is an inexpensive 85mm arm V-brake that is an alternative to the CX8.4. I used them for a couple years before the 8.4's came out, at the advice of a poster here on WW. I think a full set us $30 retail, so you can try them and see if you prefer V-brakes before committing to the 8.4's. The TRP are a much nicer product, better finishing, integrated barrel adjuster, etc, and use more universal pads (road vs. slimline), but the Tektro are only a few grams heavier and a fraction of the price.

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by nayr497

Nice, JBV! This is really, really useful information. And, you've been at it a lot longer than I have so very valuable to hear from someone with long-term experience.

I'm going to need new pads soon & got to doing some reading and thus, considering some v-brakes. I wouldn't say my braking is bad now (and I'm actually working on braking less, being smoother and not wasting energy acceleration, just to have to brake in the next corner) but never a bad thing to have better stopping power.

I spoke to a mechanic friend too and regarding modulation he said, "I don't understand that. If you are flying over your handlebars or locking up your brakes, don't brake so hard."

Great to know about the RX5s and about the brake pads being important as well.

Great info, thanks for sharing.
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by ms6073

JBV wrote:I did Louisville masters worlds in 2012, where the bikes literally got caked with mud, and my wheels spun free (and I could still brake) the entire race (I finished 7th in my age group).
Good point. It was because of my experiences at Louisville Worlds in 2012 combined with muddy races in Madison and Fort Collins earlier in the year that I opted to run disc brakes the next season and because of the snow and ice, the mud was really bad at Masters Worlds in 2013 and unless you could pit and get a reasonably clean bike twice a lap, it really did not matter whether you ran canti or disc brakes.
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by kingkongsfinger

I have some Lyca disc brakes on my cross bike, done a few road rides on them, compared to my XTR MTB brakes they feel chronic and you need to pull a lot of cable through to get them to bite. Got my first cross race tomorrow and its going to be a mudfest, dont reckon they will cope. Anyone tried the new TRP hydraulic/cable actuated calipers, they "look" great?
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by Maximilian

I'm in for a Felt F3X with the HyRd mechanical/hydraulic disks. Looking forward to riding those.

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