Cantilever Brakes vs V-Brakes (Difference + Comparison)

Although there are many different types of brakes, cantilever brakes V-brakes are the most frequently employed.

Both braking systems use rim brakes, which slow down your bike by pressing brake pads on the side walls of your rims.

Cantilever and V brakes are both types of caliper brakes.

Cantilever Brakes vs V-Brakes

Cantilever Brakes vs V-Brakes (Difference + Comparison)

Here is a complete comparison between Cantilever Brakes Vs V-Brakes. So, kindly keep in touch.

Cantilever Brakes

Although they are an older design of bicycle brake, cantilever brakes are still widely used.

They have extra space between the tire rim and the brakes. This works well in muddy situations.

Mud can also slide behind the brake pads on cantilever brakes and fly off.

Symmetric cantilever brakes are used. This implies that a cantilever brake always has a central pull mechanism and that the design of both brake arms is the same.

A pulley is where the brake cable is attached. Another cable connects the two brake arms by passing through the pulley.

  1. Better tire clearance

Compared to V-brakes, cantilever brakes provide improved tire clearance and reduce mud buildup.

  1. Compatibility with drop bar brake-shifters

Cantilever brakes work with brake-shifters, unlike V brakes. This is one of the key reasons that touring and cyclocross bicycles use cantilever brakes.

  1. Retro appearance

Some people prefer the traditional appearance of cantilever brakes and view V-brakes as “generic.” This statement is obviously subjective.

At the end of the day, however, the majority of people prefer to avoid cantilevers to maintain them.

As a result, although not unheard of, conversions from V-brakes to cantilevers are quite uncommon.

1.2 V Brakes

With this brake system, a metal tube known as the “noodle holder” holds the cable in position when it enters from the side.

After crossing the tire, the cable is secured by the brake cable anchor bolt on the other brake arm.

At the end of the noodle is a boot, which is a piece of rubber. This boot’s function is to stop dirt from entering the noodle and contaminating both the cable and it.

1. V brakes are easier to adjust than cantilever brakes

Two wires run from the brake pads to a hub at the center of the caliper brakes. It’s harder to modify than V brakes if one of the wires is too loose. A screw on the brake mechanism can be used with V brakes to individually tighten each wire.

2. V brakes are easier to squeeze and use

V brakes are easier to press down on. This is because of how V brakes are made. The wheels can be locked out using either kind of brake. Here, you squeeze firmly enough for the tire to stop entirely. This is a significant benefit if you ride quickly or frequently descend hills.

V-brakes a.k.a. direct-pull brakes are considered an upgrade over standard cantilevers thanks to the following improvements:

3. Better leverage

As was previously said, V-brakes pull the brake arms out of a better position. As a result, they are more effective than cantilever brakes.

4. Discrete profile

Cantilever brakes always have a portion of exposed cable above the fork or the seat stays and function with a center pull. This section of the wire is quite vulnerable to harm from the outside world.

V-brakes, which pull directly and don’t need a transverse cable, solve this issue.

5. More Variety

Cantilevers are less common than direct pull brakes. Because of this, the market provides more choices at fair prices.

Cantilever brakes are still made today, and the newer models are unquestionably superior. But for the money, a mid-level V-power brake’s is difficult to match.

What are the SIMILARITIES between Cantilever Brakes vs V-Brakes? 

So, Some are the main points:

Mounting Bosses

Braze-ons or brake mounting bosses, often known as cantilevers or V-brakes, are typically built for either brake system but can often be installed with both.

Cantilever and V-brake braze-ones are typically completely interchangeable, though there may be a few slight differences.

Mechanical Cable Pull 

The vast majority of cantilever brakes and V-brakes are cable-actuated. Hydraulic rim brakes are available which has

а. Greater modulation

  1. Minimized power losses due to the absence of complicated cable routing and housing flex.


V-brakes and cantilever brakes both use a similar braking system.

The brake lever pulls a cable, which causes the brake arms to rotate slightly and hold the rim like a pair of pliers. The bicycle slows down as the brake pads start grinding against the rim.

When the lever is pulled back, strong springs force the brake arms back to their starting positions, releasing the wheel.

What are The DIFFERENCES between Cantilever Brakes vs V-Brakes? 

 Here are some main differences:

  1. Mechanical advantage

The mechanical advantage of each system distinguishes cantilever brakes from V-brakes.

V-brakes have a set, high mechanical advantage, but cantilever brakes’ leverage may be changed by varying the length and angle of the transverse cable that pulls.

  1. Advantageous pulling angle.

The pulling angle used by the cable on V-brakes is highly beneficial.

Both systems make use of separate cable guide systems because V-brakes don’t rely on the transverse cable found in cantilever brakes.

  1. Different Brake Levers

Because cantilever brakes and V-brakes have different mechanical advantages, it is necessary to employ brake levers designed specifically for each system.

V-brakes have a significant mechanical advantage, so applying pressure to the lever causes the brake arms to move less.

V-brakes make up for this by using brake levers that pull more cable.

Cantilever brakes, on the other hand, offer less mechanical advantage. The brake arms move more vigorously when the lever is squeezed. alternatively, the input is less than the output, as was already mentioned.

  1. Different Pads

Cantilever brakes and V-brakes have specific pads as well.

The brake shoes or pads used in previous cantilever types have a smooth post that connects to the brake arms using independent washers and bolts.

On the other hand, V-brake pads have an attaching method. A bolt that protrudes from the pad is used to attach them to the braking arms. Additionally, oblong washers are employed to alter the angle at which the pad makes contact with the rim.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are cantilever brakes?

Cantilever brakes are an old version which are still in use having extra space between rim and the brakes.

2. Do V-Brakes provide better leverage?

V-brakes are constructed to provide better leverage as they can pull the brake arm out of at a better position.

3. Are V-Brakes better than Cantilever brakes?

According to Quora, V-brakes are considered generally more effective as they provide greater rim brake and they can also support heavy weight.

4. How are cantilever brakes different from V-Brakes?

Both of the brakes have different mechanical advantages, they have different lever systems, and they come with different brake pads as well.

5. What similarities exist between cantilever brakes and V-Brakes?

V-brakes and cantilever brakes provide similar operations such as brake systems and mechanical cable pull.


Cantilever brakes lack the bolt that v brakes have to tighten them to the braking arm. Bolts on the brake arm are used to fasten the latter onto the brake arms.

V brakes are generally good. They are the greatest rim brakes available. The explanations are that they are the simplest to squeeze and modify.

Additionally, V brakes are much better if you are heavier because you will need to use more energy to slow down and stop.

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