What are the advantages of cartridge brake pads compared to non-cartridge ones? Do they offer better braking characteristics?
I'm about to replace brake pads on a 1994 MTB which has Shimano STX brakes (front) and STX-RC brakes (rear), model BR-MC33. Both are 'classic' low-profile cantilever brakes. The STX-RC brake has cartridge brake shoes (type M64/T for aluminium rims), whereas the older STX brake has non-cartridge ones.
Stores still sell Shimano non-cartridge replacement shoes for 'classic' cantilever brakes, but the replacement inserts I need are almost nowhere to find, anymore. I wonder if it's better to replace the brake shoes completely with cartridge ones from some alternative manufacturer, or to just go with easy-to-find non-cartridge replacements.