I spent today sequestered in the basement building the Nashbar touring frame into a working bicycle. The first step was getting the brakes working. I bolted on the handlebars and levers then started cutting the cables. My Dad gave me some Avid Shorty 4 cantilever brakes to use on this bike, after some internet research I found out that cantilevers are the brake of choice for touring and tandem bikes.
I was a little bit ticked about these brakes, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he gave them to me, but I really don’t like cantilever brakes. My early mountain bikes all had cantilevers and I still have nightmares about trying to get them to work properly. Seemed like I’d get them centered and before I knew it they’d be rubbing the rims again.
The good news is the Avid Shortys are way better then those cheap cantilevers I used to have, the bad news is they are still a pain to set up, though most of my problems weren’t their fault. For some reason I can’t understand Nashbar doesn’t include cable stops for cantilever brakes, I guess they expect you’ll use V-brakes. My not-so-local-bikeshop had some handy adaptors for me, and the front one worked fine, but the rear one didn’t really work. I had to rig it.
The handlebars and shifters are from the old Schwinn that has been my back up, and makeshift touring bike. The handlebars are a 46cm Bontrager and the levers are Uletegra 9 speed that are only have a few thousand miles on them. When I dismantled them I found that I had used shift cable housing on the brakes, opps. The cables were comming apart and busting out of their stops. No wonder this bike didn’t stop very well.
I put the wheels on and adjusted the brakes which seemed to take forever, and they don’t really feel like they have anymore power then road bike brakes. They probably need more adjustment.
I spent about 6 hours working on this bike today, and 2 of them were messing with these brakes. It usually only takes me a few hours to build up a road bike.
My next post will cover the drive train and the rest of the bike.