Cross season is finally here (#crossishere) and everyone has been busy for months training and thinking of new ways to get a leg up on their competition. Well at least the pros have. But for the rest of us trying to get ready now, the bike is an easy place to make a couple changes and see big rewards. Brakes are a big part of your equipment choices for road and mountain biking, and even more so for cyclocross. Brakes slow you down so how can they make you faster. Well the later you can brake going into a corner, the more time you can spend at a higher speed. Cyclocross cantilever brakes are slowly fading away with the new disk brake revolution, but cyclocross cantilever brakes still serve a purpose. Some of the top euro-pros refuse to ride anything else and the one big benefit for everyone else is that you don’t need an entirely different wheelset. Here are a few that are considered the best and why.
These cyclocross cantilever brakes are well known and have been tested to the extreme for years. Avid is well known in the brakes department and have been supplying quality brakes for years. These brakes specifically are lightweight, claiming to be just 115 grams for the front and rear. One nice thing about these cyclocross cantilever brakes is they use regular road cartridge pads, opposed to V-brake pads. The pad height is easily adjustable and offers ample room for mud clearance.
TRP changed the game with the TRP RevoX Carbon cantilever cyclocross brakes. These brakes weigh 118 grams per set and deliver profound stopping power. They have dual spring tension adjusters and integrated barrel adjusters for easily changing the clearance and alignment on the spot. You can also adjust the angle of the pads for better stopping power for your specific wheel and can help to eliminate brake chatter. These are a bit more expensive, but you get what you pay for and brakes are not the place to go cheap!
These Tektro brakes are a great deal for someone looking to test the waters in cyclocross. Tektro’s cantilever cyclocross brakes are a bit heavier weighing 144 grams per set. This brake set works best with Shimano 7900 series and above. They do have a “barrel adjuster for cable/pad clearance adjustments on the go” which is a nice ability to have. These brakes are aluminum and strong enough to handle any abuse you put them through!
Shimano always makes quality products and these brakes work exceptionally well when paired with Shimano shifters. These brakes have a more open design for greater mud clearance and a lower profile to make run-ups more comfortable when the bike’s on your shoulder. These cyclocross cantilever brakes have “road brake cartridge style brake pad holder for compatibility with pads for carbon wheels”. These brakes are easy to use and will make a great addition on your cyclocross bike.
The FSA SL-K line is known for being some of the best components available and the cyclocross brakes hold true to this. These brakes weigh only 113 grams per caliper and conveniently make changing pads easy. “The SL-K Cross brake has a stiff but light design, with easy to use cable adjusters integrated into the caliper. Open design clears mud easily, while maintaining a positive lever feel.” These brakes are for serious business and will not hold anyone back.