Just bought a winter beater to ride through the winter. I knew it needed some love but the frame (Giant Yukon) fit well and it was a reasonable price.

I just threw the bike up in my repair stand last night to discover although the brakes were partially working they all have a missing/broken plastic piece (They are missing the plastic piece that is labeled Spring adjuster below). This piece connects the spring that pulls the brake away from the rim to the frame.

enter image description here

Picture taken from Sheldon Brown's Site.

I was thinking that rather than try and hunt around for that little piece that I should just go and buy a new set of brakes. I was hoping to get some suggestions. I was thinking that a set of v-brakes might be a good improvement. They are a newer (but mature) technology. I think if I upgrade to V-brakes that I will also need to get some new levers. I just wanted to double check that they should fit my current bike (ie the pegs are in the same place).

Any other input would be appreciated. Last winter I rode my mountain bike with disks so I am not excited about switching to rims but I want to protect my mountain bike from salt.

3 Answers 3


If you switch to V-brakes you will need new levers. V-brakes are designed for levers that have a lower mechanical advantage, but pull the cable farther. If you mix and match, your brakes will work, but not very well.

If you want to stay with cantilevers, I recommend Cane Creek.


Shimano actually stopped producing those spring retainers not too long ago. So you are on the right track with just looking for a new brake. If the bike is a winter beater and you want to fix it up for pure funtionality, then there are plenty of inexpensive options. Our shop here in Chicago for example carries alloy cantiliver brakes by Sunlite for just this reason. A similar brake shouldn't cost you more than $15-25.

Ellis -- mechanic @ Higher Gear -- www.highergearchicago.com

  • I wouldn't recommend skimping too much on brakes. Especially in the wet of winter having strong brakes will improve safety enormously. I upgraded the brakes on my commuter to Shimano 105's and it's so much better
    – Mac
    Nov 20, 2011 at 23:51

Upgrading to V-brake/linear pulls is relatively painless, the front brake will no longer need the cable end-stop holder on the headset/stem and the back will no longer need the end stop on the seatstays/seatpost. You will be able to ditch those and have cleaner lines on the bike.

On the whole linear brakes are safer, however, you are right to look into the lever situation as the amount of cable pulled for linear brakes is different to cantilevers. See how your existing levers work and maybe consider getting new levers if they are not responding properly.

Skimping on the quality is best avoided as the little metal tube on the end of the brake cable is safety critical and cheap ones can rust.

  • that curved piece is called "the noodle"
    – Criggie
    Aug 29, 2016 at 7:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.