I just bought a used bike with cantilever brakes that are very stiff (it's quite hard to push them) and weak. I have been fiddling with them for about two weeks now but to no avail (only the smallest improvement). Since I plan to use the bike for road only (it's originally a cross bike) I tought I would just switch the brakes to caliper ones and be done with it. The problem is that there are no caliper mounting holes only the canti ones. I'm also kinda hesitant to buy new canti brakes because I don't want to waste my money and then find out the new brakes act the same way the old ones did.

My question is: Is it possible to install some kind of adapter/bridge on the cantilever mounting points so that I could install caliper brakes on it?

Also if you have any other ideas I would appreciate them greatly.


EDIT: Here are the pictures I promissed, the front and rear brakes are basically identical, only difference us that the rear ones have longer brake pads.

I also forgot to mention that the spring is in the lowest hole so it should be really easy to push the levers. enter image description here enter image description here

enter image description here

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    Cantilever brakes are not flawed. People have been using them for years. Go to local bike shop and pay to have the problem fixed.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 18:05
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    I have seen photos of "bridges" that allow calipers to be mounted on canti forks, but they would generally be limited to certain forks, and probably expensive. Of course, many forks have a bolt hole for fender mounting which can be used for calipers. Or you can replace the fork. (But I've never found properly installed and adjusted cantis to be a problem. Note that a common problem is that the brake pads are too hard.) Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 18:59
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    There are some cantilevers with bad geometry out there. If you posted a photo, we could probably tell how to fix (or why to replace) them.
    – ojs
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 20:59
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    If they're "hard to push", then something's wrong - maybe your cable housing is corroded, maybe the brake pivots are sticking. Fixing the problem with your brakes will probably be much easier than trying to fit caliper brakes to your frame. Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 5:16
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    @ojs the pictures are in, if you need any more info just ask :) Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 14:28

1 Answer 1


Typically arms are more up. Up arms should give you a little better leverage.


Sheldon geometry of cantilever brakes

If the pads are hard then new soft pads will help.

With cantilever you would have the option of running larger touring tires in the future.

  • Thanks a lot, even though the picture you posted is a different type of canti brakes than I have the article was very informative and it gave me some ideas I'll try as soon as I have some time :) Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 16:15

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