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I started cross this year and can honestly admit that I am completely hooked (the wife is just so happy). I have a couple of questions regarding braking.

 

I understand the use of canti's and can certainly see the future value of going to disc brakes. Why has no one used V-brakes? They were the progression in the 90's for MTB.

 

Also, I ride a '11 Cannondale CAADX w/105. I have been reminded of one of the other issues of canti's over V from my days of downhilling - getting tires in and out of the fork when inflated as we had to run oversized as my days were pre-suspension. At this point, I have two sets of wheels that I have to install with the front tire uninflated. Obviously, in a race, this all but ensures a DNF, even if I were to flat at the pits. Is there a set up trick I am missinig that enables the front cantis to open more? The brake pad is catching on the inside of the fork and not allowing it to expand any further.

 

Advice time: As I said, I am a noob, slow and having tons of fun. I ran some CX4 and a couple of Master's 35s this year. The Masters is way to fast for me to even think of trying to do anything more than finish a race on the lead lap. The bonus is that I get an extra 15 minutes on course by running it which helps justify the fact I am driving 1.5 hours plus for almost all races. So, I am thinking I may run single speed and then cx4 and get in two 30 minute races for next year. I would love to hear advice on single speed components as I would probably build my own. Wheels, hubs (flip flop?), brakes, frames, frame materials for single speed etc.

 

Thanks.

Eric

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V brakes have minimal  rim clearance and require either an adapter [clunky] or specific levers [limits choice].

 

Can you run road pads instead of longer MTB pads? Will that even help?

Not sure about a size difference in the pads. I would expect that since the brakes came with the bike that the PM for the bike spec would have put 'road' type pads on it. I'll have to check into that. I'd love to go disc as that is what I run MTB, but that would mean a new bike or two and the doghouse isn't very comfortable....

Actually, I (and Molly Cameron, BTW) run the TRP CX-9 mini-v brakes, and they need no travel agent (adaptor) nor specific levers. I use Chimano Ultegra 6600's, but basically any road shifter/lever will do fine. That's not the case withh all v-brakes, but the mini-v's are being adapted for use in CX. Longer arms are the key, as I understand it.

 

There IS less rim clearance, which is essentially why the Euros (especially, but also most New Englanders)  haven't taken to them. It's too muddy to use them. But if you live/ride where there's less mud, or don't race in so much mud and slop, then you can feel good about using them.

 

Mini-Vs also have another positive: they induce less brake chatter/squeal with the less stiff carbon forks (like mine, which are middle-of-the-line Bontragers). Finally, road pads are standard on the newer mini-v's, and there are lots of comments about upgrading to different pads that allow for differing feel. 

Thanks George! Good info.
No problem! I really like my CX-9s, and although the've been reported to be a little hard to find as yet (they're new on the market), they ride well, stop great, and I've been very comfortable on them while I've moved from roadie to CX rider...where most folks have at least a little trouble at first, getting used to the spongier brake feel of canti's.
I am a 200+ rider, so I get loads of brake vibration. I have considered discs, but really don't want to have to deal with the frustrations of them as well.
I'm right under 2 bills myself, so I know what you're referring to...which is why I chose the mini-v's in the first place. I don't think you'll be disappointed in them. And, at $109+tax or so (I think I paid $120 all-in with shipping to nC), they're cheaper than the disc route. And far less maintenance.
You are in NC as well? Were you at the races in Fayetteville last weekend?

Nope; too far away from me (in Davidson). I did the Polar Bear Metric Century on the 8th, otherwise I'da been in Salisbury. I raced in Statesville and Winston-Salem though, and will do N. Wilkesboro and Greensboro, then down to Dahlonega GA for the Southern Cross enduro-cross (35 mi), and then training until Boone-Roubaix on the roads, and more training until Fall.

 

Go check out www.bikeshopgirl.com if you like--we're starting a team that'll include men and women from all over, and we'll be riding and racing all sorts of things--CX is one part of cycling we'll be featuring! We may not all be fast, but we're strong! (Or, in the words of my college rugby coach--"we're not big but we're slow!")

I was at the Winston Salem race. I joined the Master's 35+ and, well, I did manage to almost finish my third lap before getting lapped by the leaders just before the barriers as they were finishing their 4th lap. Not that it really would have mattered, but I did lose about 2 or 3 minutes at the top of the rise just before you went under the roof of the horse barn when I had an uncomfortable greeting from the stem shall we say on that last 'step up' area. The team looks interesting. Unfortunately, I am pretty far away from Davidson. I am going to try to race Durham on the 22, but can't get away with Greensboro the next day. Apparently I need time at home with the family as well! ;-) Then the cross bike goes away and the triathlon calendar kicks into view.

Right now it seems that the only place to get the CX-9 brakes is either pricepoint or trp direct. None of my local shops could get them. pricepoint is a bit cheaper than going straight to trp.

 

I just set mine up with sram force levers, and there is very little clearance. Maybe 1mm on each side to make sure the levers don't bottom out on the bars. Not usually a problem out here in southern california, but something to think about if you live where it's muddy.

I read your post, George,then I  went out and bought the TRP CX-9 mini-V brakes, only to find in the instructions they DO require special levers. I got them to work, but not well. So now I'm needing to replace my levers.I could have saved a bunch of $$ and just bought any old V-brake. Whoops!

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