My 2010 Specialized Tricross has cantilever brakes that look like this:

enter image description here

(Not my bike in this pic - found this image online and yes, they're missing the two small screws that hold the transverse cable in place on the yoke)

I find it very frustrating to adjust the vertical/ main brake cable. The axle of the fastener at the top of the yoke, which has a hole through it for the cable to pass through. That axle is an extension of the front part where you see a hex key receptacle. On the back side is a standard 6-side nut that tightens with a wrench/ spanner. So to tighten the vertical/ main brake cable into the yoke, you stick a hex key in the front to stop the axle spinning while you kind of twist the whole yoke sideways enough that you can wedge a wrench in behind it and tighten the nut a few degrees at a time. I've always found this really cumbersome.

After taking the brakes apart over the weekend for some other maintenance, I decided to put the yoke back on reversed, i.e. rotated 180 degrees about the vertical axis:

enter image description here

I find it a lot easier to wedge a hex key behind to hold the axle still while I tighten the nut from the front with a wrench.

My question is: does anyone see a safety or other concern with doing this?

I can't see how the brakes would be any more likely to fail with the yoke reversed.

And I'm wondering if the manufacturer's choice to put the hex side in front was purely aesthetic. I.e. because hex fasteners, at least to me, subtly hint at higher quality compared to wrench-fastened nuts.

Thinking about this some more, I guess I could have just reversed the axle and not the whole yoke. Maybe I'll flip it back around and just reverse the axle. Either way, I'm still curious about this question.

  • FYI these look like Tektro CR720
    – mkrieger1
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 19:39

2 Answers 2


If you think about it, the same yoke on the back wheel, installed the 'normal' way around - would be the same way around, compared to the direction the rim's moving, as your reversed yoke is on the front. So clearly there's no issue with having the braking force acting either way.

I have the exact same yokes on my old touring bike, they are a pain to tighten up; I've only refrained from reversing mine because I think they look better the "right" way around.

  • Good point. And agreed, they definitely look better in the stock orientation.
    – SSilk
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 12:52
  • 3
    You could use an acorn nut for an aerodynamic appearance. (And it'll keep dirt out.) Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 12:40

The only downside I can see is that the bracket is now facing incoming muck from the tyre. So it will fill up with dirt.

That's not too bad because it is not a moving part.

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