In the cantilever brake system, there are two arms pulled toward the rim by the cable from the brake lever. These arms swing into the rim on an arc sweeping downward. The pivot for the arm is below the braking surface. There are many styles of the cantilever brake: non-threaded or smooth post and threaded post. In this essay, we will look at the non-threaded or smooth post brake.
A hex wrench for tightening pinch bolts, combination wrench for pinch bolts and for pad setting, cable cutter for cutting the cable, torque wrench to ensure proper security, grease for the brake frame fitting and the spring and thread locker for the mounting bolt.
Install the calipers.
The cantilever brake mounts on a frame fitting that allows it to pivot. The fitting will hold the bolt and hold it secure. It’s a good idea if the brake has been on and off a few times, to put a little removable thread locker inside. The outside of the post should get some lubrication. It’s common that the frame fitting is made with three holes: upper, middle, and lower. These holes permit adjustment to the overall spring tension. If you place it in the top-most hole, the tension begins quite early and it’s going to be a very strong spring action. If you start it in the bottom-most hole, it starts much closer to the rim and it’s going to be weaker- the spring is wound up less and gives a weaker feeling of the brake. Generally, start with the middle hole. It’s important that the left and the right brake be on the same mounting hole. Then install the mounting bolt with a fairly modest torque- 4 Newton meters is a common setting and really all you need there.install and adjust the cantilever
Install the straddle cable.
There are different designs to connect the left and right caliper arms. We’ll complete the rest of the procedures using a link unit and have the arms approximately parallel from the mounting bolt to the brake pivot bolt. That will give us the beat mechanical advantage. Too long or too short of a link unit does not allow good mechanical advantage. We’re looking for approximately parallel from the mounting bolt of the caliper to the bolt that is holding the pad. To install the link unit, there’s an access port for the primary wire. Feed the wire through that and out into the housing. Next, engage the primary cable in the vertical slot and hook the quick release end in one arm and feed the cable through the pinch mechanism in the other. Make sure there’s contact between the housing and the caliper arm. If you have selected the correct link unit- A, B, C or D, you’ll have the alignment slot in the lint unit head in line with the cable and the arms will be approximately parallel. At that point, secure the pinch bolt and this flattens the cable.
Center the caliper arms.
Squeeze the lever to allow the arms to find their natural position, and use the centering screw to bring the arms to the rider’s left. If you don’t have a centering screw, you can skip the step.install and adjust the cantilever
Loosen the back nut and hold with the front. That allows you to make the adjustments. Then bring the pad to the rim. You don’t want to push the arm over- again, you’ve already set your arm in a working position- so bring the pad to the rim as if it is in a working position. If the brake is set flat and the bike is used and there’s no squealing, then it doesn’t need toe. If you are happy with the position, hold and secure. Repeat the process on the other side. Again, bring the pad to the rim, don’t push the arms around.
Set pad clearance.
Squeeze the lever with force and set by feeling at the lever. This tests the cable pinch bolt. It also helps settle in the housing and cable. Screwing the barrel adjuster inward effectively shortens the housing, relaxes the cable and gives more clearance.