9 Best Cantilever Brakes to Explore the Ground beneath Their Feet

Cyclo-cross, the words that boil your blood!

Am I right?

Let me take a wild guess; you are a cyclo-cross geek and crazy about it.
The popularity of this sport is skyrocketing in the United States since the mid-1990s. As a result, Cyclo-cross races are regularly held in every fall and winter seasons throughout the USA and continue to grow its popularity.

Table of Contents

Top Cantilever Brakes

Surprising, isn’t it?
For lighter riding experience, the weight can make a big difference. That’s why professionals use the cantilever brakes. Yes, investing a few bucks on cantilever brakes can make magic.

Wondering what the best cantilever brakes are?
Don’t worry. Below you will find out some of the most exceptional cantilever brakes that will help you to be a show stopper.

Let’s get this show on the road.

Are Cantilever Brakes Good?

Cantilever brakes are a perfect tool for providing better sustain. Here are some benefits of it that are listed down below:

  • Youngsters are incredibly amazed by premium cantilever brakes to use on bikes.
  • It gives a better impression on you to bike daily like a superstar for attracting people to use.
  • A better, wonderful, and brilliant supports on traffic or jam or busy roads are Cantilever brakes.
  • Cantilever brakes give full freedom for travel in hilly or mountain area ride.
  • The brake support helps to boost your self-esteem by reducing the fear of accidents or mishaps.
  • By using this, you don’t need to spend extra on-bike fuel as it is cost-effective.
  • You’ll find perfect protection by riding a bike with cantilever brakes that give excellent support.
  • Cantilever brakes are significant in value that gives features at a logical cost to purchase.

Discover 9 Best Cantilever Brakes That Will Take Your Breathe Away

Here are our reviews of 9 of the best cantilever brakes to whom Cyclo-cross rider rely on.

 SHIMANO Altus Cantilever Bicycle Brake - BR-CT91

Looking for a set of brakes for a touring bike?
Then here you go.
Shimano cantilever brakes br-ct91 ensures optimum performance and longevity. The best part, you gonna get maximum safety.

Wow features of Shimano cantilever brakes BR-CT91

  • Spring tension adjuster for quick brake set-up
  • Packaged in a pair to suit front forks
  • Side mounts pads for fast pad replacement

Why we love it?

Alloy brakes with a gorgeous polished silver finish, ideal for cyclocross, mountain, and even touring bikes. Original Shimano parts and accessories guarantee that all pieces work perfectly.

Sound’s impressive, isn’t it?

The installation of bicycle brakes is a literally of an art. If you don't get the process right, it can squeal and won’t stop effectively. So if you are a novice, make sure to watch a couple of installation videos first before you try.

But wait – there’s more!

These brakes are pretty easy to use and make a cool addition on the cyclocross bike. It's well worth comparing buying the Mtb cantilever brakes to get the best set up.

The good

  • Good design
  • Good braking performance
  • Easy setup

The Bad

  • Good design

Avid Shorty Ultimate Rear Cantilever Brake

Imagine what it would be like when you got the freedom to adjust your arm from wide to narrow.

Sounds impressive, right?

These avid cantilever brakes allow you to enjoy that freedom to ride with pleasure. And if you own cyclo-cross, this Avid’s cantilever brake is just that. Undoubtedly, it’s hands down the finest ‘cross canti we’ve ever tested.

Wow features of avid ultimate cantilever brakes

  • Cable pinch bolts great resist rounding
  • Fussing with an open-ended wrenches
  • Shorty Ultimate, with exceptional performance

Why we love it?

Let me say this straight:

At first experience, the performance of the gadget didn’t make an authentic impression. Instead, its prowess kind and made you realised just what actually Avid has developed. 

So what am I talking about?

Braking with the new Avid Ultimate is not only powerful but also consistent and ensure better lever feel than any other brakes currently out there.

Now let’s talk about its design.

Made up with aluminum, this cantilever comes with post mount type — the new Ultimate’s feature set which nicely keeps pace with another brake on the market. Plus, the Shorty includes an in-line straddle adjuster, acclaimed SwissStop pads, and benchmark pad adjustability for alloy rims.

The good

  • Great compatibility with all bikes
  • Excellent swiss stop pads
  • Easily adjustable

The Bad

  • The saddle cable nipple

Shimano BR-CT91 Altus Cantilever Brakes; Front, Silver

When the good brake isn’t good enough!

Shimano Altus cantilever-brake comes with such stunning features that gonna blow your mind. Stunning set of brakes, easy to install, and really solid construction makes it one of the hotcakes to cycle lover.

Wondering what so special about this brake?

Check out this Shimano Altus cantilever brakes review:

Wow features of Shimano Altus cantilever-brake br-ct91

  • Adjustable brake toe ensures superior performance
  • Adjustable spring tension makes it handy in the long road
  • Comes with straddle wire for convenience

Why we love it?

When it comes to a quality product for the cycle, Shimano is unbeatable. They never compromise about quality which makes it the most trusted brand in the bicycle industry.

Think I’m exaggerating?

Not really.
Fully-forged one-piece wheels are machined from a single aluminium forging to make a wheel that is exceptionally strong, extremely stiff, and very lightweight.

The result?

The strongest, stiffest, and lightest cantilever brakes possible. Like other Shimano a brake, this one also comes with Side mount brake pads for flexible pad replacement.

The good

  • Cost-effective
  • Solid construction
  • Easy brake set-up

The Bad

  • Poor spring retainer

Avid Shorty Ultimate Front Cantilever Brake

These brakes are just killer!

The name says; the Avid Shorty Ultimate kit is just that. It’s literally adjustability, lightweight, and they surely got the stopping power of shorty brakes.

Want to know more about this impressive brake?

Let’s take a closer look.

Wow features of avid cantilever brakes

  • Standard brake pads for easy to replacement
  • The arms are entirely width adjustable
  • A flexible, quick release on the cable

Why we love it?

Avid's cyclocross brake is beloved for the ultimate balance of control, power and weight. The Avid Shorty front Ultimate is designed with an in-line cable adjuster.

But wait – there’s more.

Aside from all of that, the arms themselves are nicely finished with excellent anodization, and they pivot through a bushing that places directly on the cantilever brake post.

Still not convinced?

The Avid Shorty Ultimate front Brake looks trick enough to work the mid-'90s CNC classic cottage industry proud. As the name suggests, They come as a set of front brakes and are available in Grey/Black or Black/red combination.

The good

  • Lightweight
  • Better resist rounding
  • Built-in tension adjuster

The Bad

  • Tricky to install

Ventura Alloy Cantilever Brakes Set for Front and Rear

If you ride cyclocross, M-wave Ventura Cantilever Brakes will change the game; undoubtedly it's the finest ’cross cantilever-brake we've ridden, but still a canti brake.
Can this really be true?
This silver finishing, gorgeous looking brakes is a universal fit. Let’s get things underway:

Wow features of Ventura Alloy Cantilever Brakes

  • Features Adjustable bushings and bolt
  • Rear and Front included for a smoother experience
  • Includes link wire with the package

Why we love it?

Clearance is sufficient, as is the cantilever brake’s weight of 1 pound. Even the price is affordable.

What else?

The Ventura’s feature set keeps pace with another brake on the market. If you're looking for an old bike safely go back on the trail road or, this kit is a right choice. Certainly one can't beat the price.

Let’s not forget, some bikes come with the pinholes on the opposite side for spring tension adjustment. However, the springs in these can be swapped to accommodate this, yet the brakes work perfectly.

The good

  • Functional kit
  • Versatile
  • Alloy Construction

The Bad

  • Poorly designed mount

Sunlite Alloy Cantilever Brake

Yearn for a faster move?
The Sunlite Alloy Cantilever Brake is the kit you probably don’t want to miss if speed is your concern. Such an excellent cantilever design for road and Mountain touring!
No doubt about it!

Wow features of Sunlite Alloy Cantilever Brake

  • Convenient, 185g each
  • Linear spring with easy tool adjust
  • Forged aluminium construction

Why we love it?

Having more brake than need is usually a good thing. For cantilevers, in rough, dry conditions, the Sunlite Brake seems to have more than decent power, when it set in the narrow profile position.

What makes this so unique?

At about 95 mm, it’s way too long to get vital brake force on Old Mountain and touring bikes. Also, it seems to work great with a simple cross-wire between the brake arms. It includes a excellent link cable.
All in all, simple, nothing fancy. But totally gets the job done.

The good

  • More durable
  • Lightweight forged alloy
  • Threaded post pads

The Bad

  • Straddle cable seems weak

Forte Cantilever Brakes

Give your cross bike more stopping power with this high-performance, lightweight Forte Cantilever Brakes.

Sounds good?

They're easy to adjust and install. The best part, cartridge pads make changed worn pads a cinch.

Wow features of Forte Cantilever Brakes

  • Features Dual micro-tension adjusters
  • Wide profile arms give ample mud clearance
  • Cartridge pads are easily replaceable

Why we love it?

They feature a vast range of clearance, so riders don’t have to panic about mud build-up while they are ripping it up on the course.

Astonishing, isn’t it?

This low profile design is suitable for both front and rear. Thanks to the Dual micro-tension adjusters. This single feature keeps it ahead from the rest of the other.

The result?

You can adjust the angle of your pads for flexible stopping power for the specific wheel and also can help to reduce brake chatter.

The good

  • Specify both Front or Rear
  • Adequate mud clearance
  • Lightweight

The Bad

  • A bit pricey

SHIMANO BR-CX50 Canti Cross Brake (Silver, Front 0r)

The beauty of the br-CX50 is that it has stunning stopping power. This makes the situation far less cluttered, and you gonna find enough space around everything.

Sound’s simple, and really it is!

Keep reading shimano br-cx50 review, and you’ll find out why to adore it so much.

Wow features of Shimano br-cx50

  • New SLR gives SUPER braking performance
  • It is Compatible with pad and straddles carrier/wire
  • Increased mud clearance

Why we love it?

As you can see, The SHIMANO CX50 brake comes with increased mud clearance along with a low profile design. As a result, it is perfect for all cyclocross events and flat-bar bike applications.

But that’s not all!

Shimano CX50 brake matches Super SLR drop levers, making these compatible with the Road STI levers. Meanwhile, the Low profile makes it lighter porting.

Apart from these, it comes with three sizes of pad spacers which depend upon the width needed. The spring-loaded adjusters perform really well. Altogether, the br-CX50 is a classy canti brake, certainly won’t disappoint you.

The good

  • Maintaining a low profile
  • High power
  • Comes with road cartridge pad

The Bad

  • A bit difficult to adjust

Tektro CR720 Canti Brakes

Lovely easy to adjust brakes! Look good, are light enough and Work well.
At this price ranges?


Maybe a little bit heavier, but These Tektro brakes cr720 are an excellent deal for them who want to check the waters in cyclocross.

Wow features of Tektro cr720 cantilever brakes

  • Dual linear springs along with micro-tension adjusters
  • Powerful braking gives a good feel of modulation
  • High leverage forged aluminium arms increase braking power

Why we love it?

These are great stuff for the price.

The powerful braking combined with the micro-tension adjusters gives you the best of both sectors, in this brake. Therefore, the setup is quick and easy, work well, and finish is stellar.

Let me say this straight:

The pads probably are not the best and don't really show what it is capable of. But undoubtedly, they are much simpler to set up than any other brakes currently available on the market. 

Pads are kinda cheap and brake feels really good with the hard pads.

The good

  • Great stopping power
  • Well Made
  • Great stopping power

The Bad

  • Uneven springs

Cantilever Brakes Vs V Brakes

There are many discussions on v brakes vs cantilever brakes that don’t give accurate answers. However, we have done some research on this hot topic to give a perfect answer.

V brakes are getting better attention nowadays for their advanced tech to give better support on the brake with max power. It is a superior version of cantilever brakes. Conversely, Cantilever brakes are perfect for touring with higher economic support for riding a bike at ease.

Sound’s impressive,isn’t it?

Frankly speaking, V brakes are known for their incredible design to brake quickly, even in different positions. It is super simple to adjust than Cantilever brakes. Also, linear-pull or v brake has replicable pads that are easier to exchange than the others.

One the other hand, Cantilever brakes are significant in value and popular among youths for riding with full protection. It doesn’t require adapter or still-cable to adjust quickly like v brake that makes it unique that others.

Both come with some superior features and facilities that might lack in the other type. So it’s actually up to you for choosing the best possible option that treats your riding style most suitably.

Types of Cantilever Brakes

Cantilever brakes have 3 types of brake to support protective stopping. And, these are wide profile, medium profile and low-profile brakes.

Wide Profile Brakes:

Wide profile is counted as more than 90-degree angle that gives better support to the brake. This style of brakes gives less powered benefits and requires more pressure on the brake bar to find better efficiency for diverting power.

Medium Profile Brakes:

Medium profile brakes are set up on about a 90-degree angle for finding level power option. This type of cantilever brake is being used in the 90s and 80s mountain bikes.

Low-Profile Breaks:

The low-profile brakes are designed below the 90-degree angle to find benefits on a quick pressing option. With this profile brake, you can press the brake smoothly for finding juts to the quick operator. This sort of brake has great features and higher risks for that reason you have to be careful to use it.

How to Adjust Cantilever Brakes?

Cantilever brakes are most likely working the same as Caliper brakes angles to change the dimension of pad from the axle. You can adjust Cantilever brakes by setting up the axle’s angle in the right way.

There are lots of debates on caliper vs cantilever brakes for finding a winner of this topic. For them, Cantilever brakes are a good choice to adjust quickly.

So, how can you adjust it rightly? 

Well, you can adjust it by finding a perfect position to adaptable the brake by fitting the stranded cable in the last part.

Now, you have to put the smaller strand cable that needs the hook to be set in the main cable. By doing that, you’ll see your brake bar require pulling harder for the hard brake. Also, the yoke angle improved quickly that gives simple adjustments on Cantilever brakes to adapt while testing on a parking lot.

Here’s the scary part:

Don’t expect to be perfect with adjustments in one try. You surely have to go for multiple tries before being used to the adjustments.

Best Cantilever Brakes Buying Guide

What Factors to Consider When Buying Cantilever Brakes

Believe it or not, there are lots of considerations before buying Cantilever brakes for daily usage. As some product comes with better quality and feature but is high in the price section. On the other hand, some product is affordable but lack in features.
Get it?

A novice gets confused on getting any product for giving them a short and simple solution; we find some factors to consider before buying Cantilever Brakes.
Let’s look at it in detail:

Budget is a big deal!

Let’s be honest; you’ll need a balanced budget to get any product, right? For that reason, you have to find a product that is good in value and perfect to adapt. You can get the cheap priced product, but it’ll give less support for maintenance.

Admit it!

So, we would like to suggest getting a pricey product that has many adjustable features even if you have to save money to get. Always try to make a perfect budget for getting a desirable outcome.

Now by the term pricey, we are not saying you should go for any expensive model that comes your way. Of course, be careful about the other features and facilities it provides. If the functioning and quality deserve the price tag it demands, surely make a deal. It’s not going to make you regret this way.

Does It Durable Enough?

Obviously, Cantilever brakes workings are essential for using it regularly. Therefore, you have to pick a product that has good durability for working with it quickly. Also, try to get a product that doesn’t stop working or break down easily after a few usages.

High Quality for Regular Using!

Like everything else, you have to pick a product that has excellent usability with its better quality. The product works well if the quality is ideal for using daily. Also, make sure to pick a product that has high-quality performance and suitable for long-term usage before buying any cantilever brakes.

Warranty matters!

Another thing to notice before getting any product is the manufacturer servicing. The simple truth is if you get a costly product that delivers broken or mistaken; this manufacture service will help you with finding a replacement. For that reason, we recommend you to buy a product that has better servicing.

How to Set Up Cantilever Brakes?

When you ride a bike with the Cantilever brakes, it needs to learn about the working of front brake. The simple truth is you’ll need a little practice in a safe area or a garage.

Choose an area where you can easily practice the braking after while riding on speed. A smooth surface spot is usually more preferable for such practices.

You have to put pressure on the front brake by working it without delay in getting the perfect technique of an expert. It’s going to need your multiple attempts to really grab the overall technique. But once you do, the efforts will become much easier.

Basically, most of the braking occurred while using the front brake harder for raising it off from the land. It will result in the bike back wheel to skid better. However, it would be better if using a bike with Cantilever brakes to practice braking while pedalling at once. This way, you are going to understand the overall movement even better.

Make sure to press brake but not clutching the bar for understanding usage of brake whether it requires or not. With regular practice, you can stop the ride with one press on the right time to hold it like a pro.

Frequently Asked Questions  (FAQs!)

1. Question: Are V brakes better than cantilever?

Answer: Let’s be honest, V brakes and Cantilevers brakes both are better in their own ways. V brakes usually provide better power efficiency and good supports. Cantilever brakes are most likely for giving better balance for riding in hilly places. Both brakes are great for road rushers to ride with full protection.

2. Question: How do you set up Tektro cantilever brakes?

Answer: Firstly, you have to release the secure bolt that is on the arm and tense up the levers barrel. After that, open the parts and remove both pads from the escalating position. You have to adjust the brake cable on both arms for pressing it up and down faster.

3. Question: What is a cantilever brake?

Answer: A Canister brake is made of a frame that has brake arm and cable on both sides to support the axle. It also helps to provide amazing braking technique with a little pressure it stops quickly with no tension of losing fuel.

4. Question: Are cantilever brakes short pull?

Answer: Of course, cantilever brakes are suitable for short pulls brake bar. It has the least control and power than a long pull brake bar. But, they work fantastic as the cable of short pull is attached for working quickly with safe gears.

5. Question: How do cantilever brakes work?

Answer: Actually, cantilever brakes are made for providing safe using to operate perfectly on mountain bikes. This type of brake basically sets across a cable angle to divert braking power into the wire to stop the ride at ease.

Wrapping up: Which cantilever brakes Caught Your Eye?

Due to a more extensive distance between the pads and mounts, cantilever brakes are preferred for bicycles that have wide tyres, for example, mountain bikes. Originally, cantilever brakes had kinda horizontal arms and designed for utmost clearance on cyclo-cross bicycles or touring.

Out of all of these nine best cantilever brakes, which one did we consider as our favourite?

So let’s get down to it:

1. Best Overall: Shimano cantilever brakes
"Most versatile kit for the money"

2. Runner up, Best value: Avid shorty ultimate cantilever brakes
“Great brakes for cross cycle for pro”

3. Best Budget: Sunlite Alloy Cantilever Brake
“A handy cantilever brakes that won’t break the bank”

The choice is yours!

So I’m ready for the next season. Are you?
Good luck and have fun.