My road bike has Shimano 9 speed 105 STI shifters. I want to replace the CAne Creek brakes because they do not seem very powerful. What models Shimano brakes would be compatible with the cable pull of my levers?
Look on the STI levers; you may have to peel back the rubber hood. All Shimano equipment has the model number embossed into it somewhere. If the STI lever says something like, ST (shifter) 5800, the corresponding brake will be
BR (brake caliper) 5800, stamped somewhere on the arms. In some cases you can mix and match models; Shimano did have a habit of changing specifications so some levers matched the mechanical advantage of the same model brake caliper and mismatches would cause unusual performance. It's best to avoid the guess work and just match them as above.
In my own experience, using the new pull ratio calipers with the older pull ratio STI shifters will give slightly less modulation, but more actual power/leverage. Another way to say that is the you'll have more power over the same amount of lever travel.
I ran a bike this way when I was in the middle of upgrading a few years back. I had 7900 brakes with 6600 shifters. The shifters were the same pull ratio as your current 105 brakes, but the calipers were the newer design. Being a heavier rider, I really liked the extra leverage and didn't even notice the tighter resolution. Braking with one finger became second nature on even the nastiest descents.
Unfortunately, Shimano's Compatibility tech archive, while it goes back to 2009 and includes the brake compatibility issue you're interested in, doesn't list the 5500 Series levers and brakes. Go figure.
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