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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm building up a cross bike from scratch (SOMA Doublecross) and I've had some problems getting the Shimano BR-R550 Cantilevers set up. I'm using Shimano 105 road levers.

1. The canti's shipped with two different lengths of "unit link" the wire bridge that connects to both levers and to the brake cable. Which one to use "E" or "F" ? Right now I've got too much brake lever travel--I'm bottoming out before stopping!

2. How to hang the front cable? I've got a cable hanger that goes around the stem like a spacer. The problem is that it needs to have a stem with an upward angle.. To set up the bike right for me, I've got a downward slope on my stem; the "noodle" and the stem interfer with each other. Any alternatives?

3. Any good ideas on how to get some cable slack adjustment on the front brake?

Because of these problems, I've got a pair of V-brakes on it right now, but I'm not happy with those either.

Thanks for any help (especially the cheap kind).

-Kalukis
 

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a good place to look is Sheldon Brown, he talks about canti set up pretty good as well as Keith Bontrager.

Next, you can use a fork mounted brake stop or a rear brake stop bolted into your stem's face plate (check out wunlap's bike in the post your bike sticky) this is easiest, and works better.

also you can add an inline cable adjuster to the brake lines to dial the brakes in a little at a time.

hope this helps, do a search on rbr as well.

jeremy
 

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Lose the one-size-fits-all Shimano unit link, and find some proper straddle wire hangers, like Avid Tri-Dangles. Your LBS probably has some lying around, or something equivalent. In all the times I've tried using those Shimano things (and the clones that Avid now supplies with the Shorties), I've only once gotten satisfactory performance, and that was only for one wheel--just a fluke combination of brake boss placement, size/shape of the canti arms, position of the cable stop and the dimensions of the unit link.

Once you have the straddle wire hangers, just follow Sheldon's instructions (as jeremyb said) and you'll be amazed. There's no reason you shouldn't be able to get good braking from a canti/road lever combination if you do the set-up right.
 

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I've a Soma double cross, shimano BR R550's and Sora STI's.

I replaced the shimano cable thing with either a avid or tektro thingy as mentioned above (cant remember which)
Absolutely no problems setting them up, plenty of modulation, plenty of clearance and still easily able to lock the wheels.

Not the best photo, but you see what I mean.



Nice bike btw, hope you enjoy it, I love mine. (i've trimmed the gear cable outers since then so it looks a bit tidier!)
 
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