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Thread: My mini-V setup

  1. #1
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    My mini-V setup

    I've been experimenting with mini-V's on my bike and I thought I'd share what I've found. In my experience, they're generally easier to deal with than cantilever brakes, but not necessarily better in every respect. These are my experiences -- YMMV.

    I have some very short brakes (80mm) and some slightly short ones (95mm). For comparison, Shimano V-brakes are 107mm and "standard" Tektro V-brakes are 102mm.

    Pro:
    - Very cheap.
    - No squeal or shudder.
    - Simpler to set up, especially in the front.
    - No need for cable hangers and related cable routing issues.
    - Did I mention no squeal or shudder?

    Con:
    - Quick release can be difficult. (see below)
    - No cable adjustment. (see below)
    - On some bikes, might not leave enough clearance for fenders.

    The quick release issue isn't really a problem if you use Campagnolo levers, which have a QR on the brake lever. Also, if you get noodles with barrel adjusters, or have inline cross levers with adjusters, they can help give you the necessary clearance. Finally, you can file down the end of the noodle so that you don't need to pull it as far to release the brake.

    One important factor to pay attention to is the vertical distance between the brake posts and the rim. ("Vertical" isn't exactly vertical, but rather measured along the length of a v-brake arm.)

    In the first three pictures, the distance is approximately 29 or 30mm, measured center of post to middle of braking surface. The brake in these pictures have 80mm arms, resulting in a mechanical advantage of about 2.66. I find that this gives me good braking power (better than the cantis I had) and even with a 32mm tire, there's plenty of mud clearance (see pictures 7 and 8). They also have plenty of clearance to the rim (see pictures 5 and 6). Using brakes with longer arms will result in more braking power but less rim clearance.

    On the rear of one of my bikes, the vertical distance is about 38mm. You can see this in the fourth picture below, where the brake pads are set to the highest possible position. When I had cantilevers on here, the back brake was almost useless because, in addition to the somewhat low mechanical advantage of that brake design (Avid Shorty), the higher pad position resulted in even lower MA -- that is, more travel and less force (also, a firm brake feel at the lever). When the post-to-rim distance is greater, you need a longer arm to clear large tires. In this case, I'm using 95mm arms, which gives a MA of 2.5, similar to the others. If I used 80mm arms, there would be less vertical tire clearance, but the MA would be greater, at 2.1, resulting in more rim clearance and less power.

    I've heard others say that tire clearance is an issue, but it hasn't been for me. Even the very short 80mm arms leave plenty of space for the tire -- slightly more than the fork crown shown in the pictures with fat tires.

    I think that one of the reasons that there's more braking power is not just mechanical advantage -- it's also that there's less flex in the entire system when you brake, compared to cantilevers. And I think the reason there's no shudder or squeal is because there isn't the feedback loop where the arms and/or hanger flex and pull the cable a little tighter, increasing the pressure and friction on the rim, and then once the arms get pulled far enough, the pads let the rim slip and this cycle gets repeated.

    If you find that you want more or less mechanical advantage, the thing to do is get a brake with different length arms. Fortunately, they're very cheap. I paid between $9 and $13 a set, so for the price of a single Paul brake, I can equip about four whole bikes!

    I made a list of different brake lengths, using information from the Tektro web site (which seems to be down right now). There may be others, but this is just what I found:
    - 75mm: 917A
    - 80mm: 926AL
    - 85mm: BX3V, BX1V, RX1, RX3, RX5
    - 90mm: RX6 (this seems to have a special quick release; it might solve the QR issues)
    - 95mm: BX25, 930AL, BX310, 918AL
    - 102mm: Tektro "standard" V-brakes
    - 107mm: Shimano V-brakes
    - 110mm: Tektro "long" V-brakes

    If you're thinking about getting mini-V's, try measuring the post-to-rim distance (although this isn't easy), then multiply by the desired mechanical advantage to get the arm length. As I mentioned earlier, MA=2.5 to 2.6 gave me good power and adequate rim clearance. In my case, 2.6 x 30mm = 78mm, so 80mm arms worked. Or you can just buy a whole bunch and see what works!


    A side note: I gather that Shimano's new Dura-Ace 7900 levers pull more cable than their previous models, so maybe these and other future Shimano STI levers will allow for longer V-brakes with more clearance...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My mini-V setup-mini-v-1.jpg   My mini-V setup-mini-v-2.jpg   My mini-V setup-mini-v-3.jpg   My mini-V setup-mini-v-4.jpg   My mini-V setup-mini-v-5.jpg  

    My mini-V setup-mini-v-6.jpg   My mini-V setup-mini-v-7.jpg   My mini-V setup-mini-v-8.jpg  
    Last edited by winstonc; 09-13-2008 at 05:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    Great analysis! Thanks

  3. #3
    elmar
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    here is my experience.
    if you work with adjustable noodles ,cable adjustment and wheel change are easy.
    i ride mini-v since 3 years now. (15-20 crossraces, 10-15 roadraces)
    in germany it is nearly standard now , to use mini-v.

    more pros .
    even cheap brake pads work .
    superlight brakes possible ,my tuned rx 5 are 116 gramm. My tuned avid are 101 gramm !
    -v-brakes are much faster modulated and very easy to set up . toe- in is possible ,( canti like frogglegs are not possible to be toed-in .
    without special brakepadholders or a knife ....)
    disadvantages of mini-v
    -cables need to run fine .
    - a little less mud clearance than Shimano or avid cantilever.

    the parts of the the low cost tektros are identical-similar to cane -creek and avid , because they are all built there ,too.so if you need spare parts or tuning kits ............................,
    the strongest springs are on tektor rx 5.
    Best length seems to be 85 mm .
    i have been riding campagnolo .too. but there springs are not so strong .
    they are nicer in their finish .brakepads for them are super expensive in germany .
    they have an own standard for the pads .

  4. #4
    Game on, b*tches!
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    Looks like it would be fine, as long as you don't race them in mud. My Tektro Canti's were quite easy to set up and they have a huge amount of clearance.
    Originally Posted by tetter
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by elmar schrauth
    superlight brakes possible ,my tuned rx 5 are 116 gramm. My tuned avid are 101 gramm !

    the parts of the the low cost tektros are identical-similar to cane -creek and avid , because they are all built there ,too.so if you need spare parts or tuning kits ............................,
    Thanks, Elmar... I have a couple questions:

    What did you do to reduce the weight so much?

    Also, what kind of Cane Creek and Avid brakes are you referring to?

  6. #6
    A wheelist
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    Yes I agree that the Tektro mini-v is a great brake especially for the money (<<$14>>).

    Mine was easy to set up, it's dead quiet and it doesn't make my carbon fork shudder, which is what probably would happen, I was assured, if I fitted a front cantilever.

    The only downside would be the closeness of the cable to the tire for cyclocross (9/16" on my bike) but as I don't race CX and rarely ride in really crappy conditions, it's not an issue.

    With the Travel Agent, the cable pull with STI levers (Ultegras in my case) is fine and I got the model with the built-in adjuster. I left the rubber cable bellows off on purpose.

    Edit - for those with eagle-eyes, those mounting stud bolts aren't standard Tektro issue. I have a small stash of high-quality aluminum brake post bolts. Think of the weight I save!!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My mini-V setup-mini-v.jpg  
    Last edited by Mike T.; 09-14-2008 at 08:59 AM.
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  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=Mike T.]

    With the Travel Agent, the cable pull with STI levers (Ultegras in my case) is fine and I got the model with the built-in adjuster. I left the rubber cable bellows off on purpose.
    QUOTE]
    Isn't the idea of the mini Vs that they are compatible with road levers without a travel agent?

  8. #8
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCBR1
    Isn't the idea of the mini Vs that they are compatible with road levers without a travel agent?
    Not that I was ever aware of and looking at my own setup, without the TA, the pads would have to be very close to the rim - which doesn't seem like a good idea when using these brakes for their intended purpose - dirty conditions riding.

    Edit - from the Bikeman.com website - "Problem Solvers Travel Agent: Allows use of non-linear pull brake lever with any linear pull brake. Great for touring or cyclocross aplications with road STI or Ergo levers."
    Last edited by Mike T.; 09-14-2008 at 11:07 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCBR1
    Isn't the idea of the mini Vs that they are compatible with road levers without a travel agent?
    FWIW, I didn't use travel agents in my setup pictured above, and I'm using Campagnolo ergo levers, which I think pull the same amount of cable as Shimano. You can see the brake clearance in some of the pictures.

  10. #10
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    I also ran the mini-v's with Campy ergo levers on my cross bike. I've since gone back to canti's, because I couldn't get the mini's to modulate as well as canti's. They were either on or off.

    I am now using the mini's on a singlespeed "monster cross" bike with 287v levers, designed for v's, and the feel and performance is much better.

  11. #11
    NeoRetroGrouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCBR1
    Isn't the idea of the mini Vs that they are compatible with road levers without a travel agent?
    Yes, you don't need them. If you're going to use the Travel Agent, then you can use std Vs and get a lot more clearance above the tire. - TF
    "Don't those guys know they're old?!!"
    Me, off the back, at my first 50+ road race.

  12. #12
    elmar
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    Quote Originally Posted by winstonc
    Thanks, Elmar... I have a couple questions:

    What did you do to reduce the weight so much?

    Also, what kind of Cane Creek and Avid brakes are you referring to?


    i changed all bolts and nuts , and the brakeshoes(KCNC) .
    the inner parts (bushings ) from steel to alloy .(avid tuningkits from sl brake )

    my lightest brake is an avid mtb brake ( magnesium ) which i cut to 85 mm .
    when i will get titanum sprngs it wll be sub 100 gramm (including brakeshoes-pads)


    the bushngs of all tekro rx 5, avid shorty,cane-creek scx5, avid mtb v-brakes seem to be the same .

    a very big advantage of mini-v is ,that you dont have to change brakepads ,when changing rims from alloy to carbon .
    Last edited by elmar schrauth; 09-15-2008 at 04:45 AM.

  13. #13
    elmar
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    these things save 10 gramms /wheel
    http://crossladen.de/shop/system/det...Dposition1%26+

    its called sd -sl- brake arm springkit
    its from avid.
    part no :
    11-5309-986-00

    they fit avid shorty, cane creek scx5
    avid mtb brakes
    tektro rx5

  14. #14
    elmar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kram
    Looks like it would be fine, as long as you don't race them in mud. My Tektro Canti's were quite easy to set up and they have a huge amount of clearance.

    i race 15-20 races /season .
    since 3 years now.
    no bigger mud problems than the others .
    no mor big changing than the others .


    first ride ,then write

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurboTurtle
    Yes, you don't need them. If you're going to use the Travel Agent, then you can use std Vs and get a lot more clearance above the tire. - TF
    Tektro makes short-pull V-brakes. I don't see how running a brake with lesser clearance combined with Travel Agents is an attractive option.

    It doesn't sound like Mini-Vs are a solution to fork shudder anyway:

    Quote Originally Posted by samuel
    By the way did I mention how much I disliked the Mini V brakes!! Oh yea how about the fork brake chatter.

    Seeking Pic of 2009 Tricross Pro

  16. #16
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    Chatter reduced by > 80%!!!

  17. #17
    NeoRetroGrouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeanutButterBreath
    Tektro makes short-pull V-brakes. I don't see how running a brake with lesser clearance combined with Travel Agents is an attractive option.

    It doesn't sound like Mini-Vs are a solution to fork shudder anyway:
    The length of the pull is determined by the length of the caliper. If they are short pull, they are mini. - TF
    "Don't those guys know they're old?!!"
    Me, off the back, at my first 50+ road race.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurboTurtle
    The length of the pull is determined by the length of the caliper. If they are short pull, they are mini. - TF
    This may be true, but Tektro offers the 930Al as a short-pull V brake that is not identified as mini. :

    http://www.tektro.com/02products/index.php
    http://aebike.com/page.cfm?PageID=30...ils&sku=BR7442

    See also OPs breakdown of the spectrum of brake lengths.

  19. #19
    elmar
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlering
    Chatter reduced by > 80%!!!

    fork shutter is none, with mini-v
    even on suerlight old pythons ( 370 Gramm)

    if there is still shutter: :
    change frontwheel or check headset .

  20. #20
    eat live sleep cross
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    i dug out my old first gen mini-Vs and they were fine for a while with flat bar brakes (old school ones)... but absolutely horrid with the STI Dura-ace 9 speed ones. Couldn't even stop with them. Garbage...

    put the Travel Agent on there, no problems, felt like normal brakes, stopped fine, extra mud clearance all that stuff...

    but, i still prefer the XT cantis i've got on there now...
    "People who don't do it, don't quite understand it.
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  21. #21
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    Great topic.. I am planning on going with v-brakes on my monster cross. Tektro has road levers that are v-brake happy. model # RL520, QBP Stock number is BR7213. My plan is to run XT v-brakes if the pads will reach the rim. If not I will order the Tektro mini v's.

    Has anyone checked the 09 specialized cross bikes ? check out their fancy v's

  22. #22
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    Tekro RX6

    Coupld of guys at the LBS are already riding the 09 Tricross experts..... those brakes are cool and they are tektro's new mini v RX6 andlook like they will work for cross better.....not sure if they can be bought aftermarket yet?

    http://www.tektro.com/02products/10qb.php

  23. #23
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    What is a good economy mini-v brake to use with Shimano 105 brifters?

    Michael

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by barrettscv
    What is a good economy mini-v brake to use with Shimano 105 brifters?
    They're all pretty cheap, so I would figure out what length arms you need, and then get brakes that fit that size. The length will depend on your frame and fork. If you compare the 3rd and 4th pictures I posted above, you can see how much of a difference there can be in vertical post-to-rim distance. If you measure this distance and then multiply it by 2.6 to get the brake arm length, you'll end up with a setup that has the same amount of rim clearance as in the photos. I'm not saying this is necessarily the ideal ratio, just what worked for me.

    You can change it up a bit, too.
    Shorter arms will give you:
    - More lateral rim clearance
    - Less vertical tire clearance
    - Less stopping force (because of less mechanical advantage)

    Longer arms will give you:
    - Less lateral rim clearance
    - More vertical tire clearance
    - More stopping force

    See the original post for a list of arm lengths for different models.

    Or if you don't feel like doing this measurement, you can just go along with what Elmar suggests and get the 85mm RX5. He claims they have better return springs than the others.

    Whatever you get, make sure you have some way of adjusting the cable tension, with either adjustable noodles, inline adjusters, or inline brakes with adjusters.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  25. #25
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by barrettscv
    What is a good economy mini-v brake to use with Shimano 105 brifters?
    My Tektro RX3 ($12.95 @ Bikeman.com) is doing a fine job with my Ultegra brifters which I'll assume pull the same cable as 105. I use Travel Agent (see my pic above) as I don't think the road levers pull enough cable to give adequate pad to rim clearance. The clearance is fine and operation of the brake is impressive.
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