I have a set of Avid Shorty 4 cantilever brakes, well two sets (front and back) and wish to upgrade the pads.

These are centre pull, linear pull brakes and have brake pads which are mounted from the centre, ie the post (which is threaded) is centred in the pad.

Looking for new pads I see that there is a much wider variety of v-brake pads than cantilever pads. As v-brakes are a subset of cantilever brakes can I use v-brake blocks with my cantilever brakes? I note these tend to have more brake pad at the back of the mounting post than at the front of the pad.

I would also like if possible cartridge mounted pads any recommendations would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

  • There are some differences in the size/shape of mounting posts of different "generations" of pads, but the basic function and the geometry is the same regardless. There is some difference in the "optimal" pad characteristics depending on short vs long "pull", but nothing major. Feb 22, 2013 at 22:43

1 Answer 1


Yes, they are interchangeable.

  • Thanks. Can you please explain why v-brakes have a longer rear section than front, ie why the mounting post is off-centre. Some of the cantilever suppliers I was looking at seemed to imply that the fact the mounting post was in the centre of the brake pad was an advantage.
    – Ian
    Feb 22, 2013 at 22:45
  • I don't know the answer to that. I have a Trek 520 that came with cantis and the mounting post was of center. My guess would be that it's a marketing tactic but that's just a guess. This would be a good question in its own right.
    – jimchristie
    Feb 23, 2013 at 1:11
  • 1
    The post non centered position is almost a separate question, but I'll try to help. Most rim brake systems have to cope with flex on the pad and the arms. As the rim drags against the pad it tends to twist it. This creates a force that pushes the pad's leading end, and lifts the trailing end off the rim rendering it less useful. This will cause uneven pad wear and inefficient braking. Placing the post towards the trailing end arm flex turns into an advantage as the longer leading end is pushed "naturally" towards the rim, featuring a type of "self assisted brake" and the pad wears more evenly
    – Jahaziel
    Feb 23, 2013 at 1:15
  • Thanks Jahaziel, but that puzzles me as my sons bike which has v-brakes has pads with the post towards the front and the directional arrows on the blocks indicate they are in the correct positions. Is your response the wrong way round?
    – Ian
    Feb 26, 2013 at 22:22
  • Not all pads are well designed. A major factor is an attempt at "toe-in" to alleviate chatter or squeel. Kids bike are very often having weird cheap parts put on them.
    – rusl
    Aug 30, 2014 at 8:04

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