There is a huge range of different types of brake options for bikes. And, among them, V-brakes and Caliper brakes are the most common brake systems as well as popular.

Each brake has many other systems, and riders can choose the brake method according to their needs. Today’s special article is for more understanding in choosing the right brake for yourself. Throughout this article, I will explain V brakes, cantilevers, and caliper brakes, their benefits & drawbacks, comparison chart as well as which one is better and why you should choose it. So, let’s start the comprehensive conversation.

Discussion About Caliper, Cantilever, And V-Type Brakes

1. Caliper Brakes:

When it comes to caliper brakes, the first thing that comes up is the bike rim brake. That’s because caliper brakes are widely recognized as the most popular style of a rim brake. These days, we see such brakes on various models of road bikes, many single-speed bikes, and even hybrid bikes. Because with a caliper brake, the entire bicycle brake is usually mounted at a single point on the top of the wheel which would normally theoretically center the bicycle’s brake arms completely around the rim.

Types Of Caliper Brakes

There are some unique types of caliper brake designs. These are-

  1. Dual pivots.
  2. Dual symmetric pivot.
  3. Side pull.
  4. Center pull.
  5. Linear pull (Which is also called V brake sometimes).
  6. Cantilever – 2 types of smooth posts and also threaded posts.
  7. U brake – This brake is very Common on BMX bikes and also on some of the older mountain bikes.

2. Cantilever Brake:

Cantilever brakes were once known as more sophisticated brakes. And with that, there is evidence that these types of brakes have given adequate service over many years of heavy-duty touring. But nowadays most bicycle manufacturers have focused more of their development efforts on brake technology with V-brakes and Disc-brakes in tandem.

Cantilever brakes can be more difficult than V-brakes when it comes to installing and adjusting the pads. But cantilevers are known to be the least expensive brakes. Also, over the years various touring standbys have been used for riding. Moreover, these brakes are most compatible with standard road levers (Road Bikes) and do not require a separate adapter.

3. V-Brakes:

V-brake or linear-pull is a specially evolved version of cantilever brakes that can provide more power to the bike through increased leverage. Also, they are considered a unique and popular braking style as well.

  • These types of brake levers are designed for greater cable tension.
  • V-brake or linear-pull brake arms are much longer and have different angles. These brakes are still only actuated, but the V-brakes are much easier to adjust than many traditional cantilever brakes.
  • V-brake or linear-pull brake pads are much easier to replace than cantilever brakes. As it can be seen that the need for a v-brake has increased the cable tension of the bicycle lever.

So, if you want to use them compatible with different styles of brake levers on road bikes, adapters must be installed to get proper functionality. It is important to note that-

  • The adapter you install must be a slightly spare, but inexpensive type.
  • There is also a new original equipment model road lever that works equally well with both V-type and cantilever brakes.

Digest Of The Above Discussion

  • A cantilever brake is a common brake that you will find on most bicycles.
  • As most of the time, V-type brakes are generally considered to be the best and considered the most powerful.
  • For this reason, V-Brakes are mostly used for mountain bikes and off-road bikes. It is also used for commuter bikes.

V- Brakes VS Caliper Brakes

Advantages Of V-Brakes:

1. V-Brakes Are Consistent With Bicycle’s Suspension Frames and Also Forks.

V-brakes usually connect properly to the lower leg of whatever suspension fork the bicycle has. And then the bike’s fork doesn’t move as it compresses. In theory, V-type brake could make the fork’s arch stronger, and by installing this brake on it, it would be possible to create a special suspension fork to work easily with caliper brakes. But if you look carefully, you will see that since the bike’s suspension forks are specially designed for very wide tires, it is easy to think that you will not find any practical value in all such combinations.

That is largely devoid of its practical value.

  • Unlike caliper brakes, riders can easily install V-brakes on suspension forks and accompanying frames.
  • But in this case, some special conditions are observed, that is, in the parts of the bicycle where the V-brake is brazed-on.
  • Looking at the caliper brakes, it is not possible to install them properly on the suspension fork of the bicycle. That’s because they interlock with the crown of a fork.
  • Just as the suspension compresses the caliper brakes tend to move under the rim and thus become ineffective.

2. Tyre Clearance

After reading the above discussion, you should understand that the V-brake is a special invention for a Mountain Bike. As a result, these brakes typically offer much more tire clearance than the caliper brakes used on most road bikes and a variety of old-school commuter bicycles.

In short, V-Brakes can provide riders with much more comfort in terms of tire clearance.

3. Too Much Affordable

I have already mentioned earlier that the V-brake is a special component of an old mountain bike.

  • For example, they cost significantly less than the average caliper brake.
  • You may be able to afford a V-brake for much less.
  • Even with that, it’s a top-of-the-line model that can be acquired by riders for a reasonable ride.

Disadvantages Of V-Brakes:

1. V- Brakes Are Really Non-Consistent With Road Bike’s Brake Shifters.

  • Long pull brake levers are often required when using V-brakes. Because of this, it is not possible to use them in combination with the modern type of brake shifters found on road bicycles.
  • There’s a long-pull road brake lever that’s particularly suited to using V-brakes.
  • However, you won’t find any built-in shifters on these models, which could be bad news for riders.
  • And, for this type of brake use, the biker must use an independent shifting mechanism, such as a bar-end or downtube shifter.

2. Braze-ons Required

V-brakes are mounted on the frame of the bicycle and use a fork through the brake boss. This can greatly complicate the processes involved when manufacturing bicycle frames and forks.

Also, V-brakes look a lot harder and they don’t adjust properly to the lines in many slim bikes.

Advantages Of Caliper Brakes:

1. Very Simple To Ride

Caliper brakes are much stronger than all other brakes and can last as well.

Some of these brakes are considered to be the strongest and the main reason to stick with them is that these brakes can provide a much more aesthetically pleasing riding experience. And with that, it is able to satisfy all types of riding needs of riders by meeting all the needs of different types of road bikes while remaining very simple.

  • If you look carefully, you will realize that there is no need for 2 additional brake bosses or braze-ons for riders using caliper brakes in the reverse direction of the V-brake.

The bike’s calipers are held in place by a single bolt that passes through the bike’s fork, along with the front brake, and the bike’s seat stay bridge, which acts as the rear brake.

  • This particular feature of caliper brakes can make the production of a mass-scale frame and bicycle fork much easier.
  • Additionally, these types of brakes allow for greater flow with the bike as a whole while cycling.
  • It can also be seen that road bikes use fairly narrow tires. Those measuring mostly 25 mm and also having limited tyre clearance do not pose any particular problem when riders use this type of brake.

2. Perfect & Great Compatibility With Road Bicycle’s Brake Shifters

Caliper brakes offer plenty of mechanical advantages.

  • Each different brake type requires a specific type of brake lever which usually has a different amount of wire tension. Also, more leverage is available with V-brakes. That’s why the wires tend to pull more when they meet the lever. If these conditions are not met, the brake shoes may grip the bicycle rim sufficiently to lock the brake lever to the wheel.
  • Conversely, you will see that the caliper brakes need to be properly connected to the small pull levers. Otherwise, the brakes may lock the rim of the bike before the levers for the bike reach the end of their travel. This can create bad modulation, which depends a lot on the control of braking force.

Due to the length difference caused by cable routing, road bike brake shifters are not compatible with V-brakes at all.

  • Short pull levers are also compatible with caliper brakes, cantilever brakes, and mini V-brakes.

Disadvantages Of Caliper Brakes:

1. Limited Tyre Clearance For Riding

When you install caliper brakes on a road bike, those brakes tend to be a lot more aesthetically pleasing. But there are some downsides. Notable among them is that-

  • When caliper brakes are installed on road bikes, the size or measurement of bicycle tires tends to be severely limited. Due to this mud accumulates during riding which, in particular, tends to create a real problem.
  • For this reason, it is often seen that cantilever brakes or disc brakes are used on cyclocross bicycles. Cantilevers often offer more tyre clearance than V-brakes when properly matched to the brake shifters that road bikes have.

2. Little Expensive

Caliper brakes that are high-end are naturally a bit more expensive. A typical quality brake set can cost as low as USD 100 or more. One of the main reasons for this is that caliper brakes are usually a special component of a road bike. And due to being so expansive, not all riders can exert this brake.

3. Leaning of The Rider’s Arms

A particular set of caliper brakes takes a very wide type of tyre and therefore the bicycle’s brake arms have to be very long.

Due to the extra length, these brakes tend to reduce arm stiffness in use and can also create an opportunity for twisting. In that case, riders find a superior design in V-brakes.

However, there are several long-reach type caliper brakes on the brake market which give a very decent performance. But still, notice that these caliper brakes don’t match the clearance that the basic V-brakes have.

A Short Comparison Chart Of V-Brakes & Caliper Brakes

V Brakes Caliper Brakes
It is easy to Adjust. Little hard to adjust.
Provide More braking power. Less brake power than V brake.
Better performance in wet weather. Overall performance.
Affordable. Costly.

But Are All V-Type Brakes The Same?

V brakes are universal most of the time. But there are only some models with mini V brakes that are slightly different.

  • The mini V brakes usually use a small pull brake lever on the opposite side of the long pull. They are limited to a much smaller type of arm than normal all-V brakes, which makes them stand out.

Shimano and Tektro have been making v-brakes for a long time now with a very good economical repair. In this case, only the model number changes over time, but the type remains very similar.

Then, How To Pick The Right Brake For Your Bicycle?

Right now you are probably thinking that I just learned all these great facts. But how do I make the perfect decision about which brake to use for me? If you want to know my personal experience or preference, I would say that linear-pull or V-brake is the perfect one. Because it can provide you with much better-stopping power. Also, you can get V-brakes for much less. Also, linear-pull brakes can save you from going completely brakeless.

  • Due to the fact that these types of brakes are very common, if there is any problem with the brakes of your bicycle during any trip, then any bike shop can adjust these V-brakes. And, any bike shop mechanics should be able to help you fix these brakes.
  • All V-brake components such as levers, pads, and cables are usually interchangeable between different brands.
  • Due to this the availability of parts increases, if it is the case that your bicycle’s brakes are beyond repair, bike shops may have suitable and affordable replacement sets that can install the brakes in a jiffy.

But if you want to use a set of brakes with road brake levers, then you should not use V-brakes. Because this brake is not specially designed for road brake levers.

  • In this case, You should use cantilever brakes to avoid the hassle of using different types of necessary adapters.
  • Hydraulic disc brakes are the most powerful, precise, and therefore, the most efficient of all other brakes. A brake set like this can be used on mountain bikes.

However, there may be variations in the brand which may cause problems later on.

  • Disc brake systems require levers, rotors, calipers, and sometimes cables that are often not easily interchangeable with other system parts and brands.

Sometimes your brake system needs to be replaced with a different part made for it. At some point, disc brakes will be ideal for riders.

So, you should choose any brake system for your bike according to your convenience, needs, and comfortability.

Some V Brakes Model Which May Perfect For Your Bike

1. SHIMANO BR-T4000 Front V-Brake:

Special Features

  • X Type V-Brake
  • Specially formulated for smooth and also quiet curbing strength
  • Productive layout with low utilizing Force
  • Mudguard impedes additional expansion of mud
  • 107 Mm Arch

2. Tektro New 837AL Linear Pull V-Brake Bike MTB, Hybrid:

Special Features

  • Material Melt Forged Aluminum Arms
  • Dual linear spring, beginning or rear appeal
  • Arm Length 102 mm
  • Dimension 20.5 mm to 36.5mm
  • Pads- 63 mm
  • Weight – 158 g/ Wheel

3. Promax V-Brake Set:

Special Features

  • 110 mm Arms
  • Made of Aluminum
  • V Brake and also Cantilever with adjustable screw
  • Promax Aftermarket Packaging

Some Caliper Brakes Model May Perfect For Your Bike

1. Tektro R559 Silver Nutted:

Special Features

  • Forged Aluminum Arms
  • 53 Mm To 73 Mm Long Arms
  • 182 Grams Per Caliper
  • Dual Pivot Caliper Brake

2. SHIMANO XT BR-M8100 Disc Brake:

Special Features

  • Lever Adjustability: Reach, Free Throw
  • Caliper: 2 Piston
  • Actuation: Hydraulic
  • Lever: Aluminum
  • Mount Type: Post

3. Origin8 ProPulsion Classic Road Brake Caliper Silver:

Special Features

  • Forged Aluminum Construction
  • Dual Pivot Design
  • Recessed Nut
  • 165 g Each
  • SHIMANO Equivalent

4. Tektro R559 Bike Bicycle Long Reach Brake Calipers for Old School:

Special Features

  • Dimension: 53 mm To 73mm arms.
  • P422 Adjustable Angle Cartridge included Pads.
  • Perfectly fits with Road Bike 700c Frames.
  • Dual Pivot Caliper Brake.

Final Thought About The Guidance Of V- Brakes VS Caliper Brakes

Well, my dear bike lover friends, that’s it for today’s discussion on V-brakes and caliper brakes. And I really hope, these careful considerations will help you choose a perfect brake for your bike, which will be useful for your future bicycle braking system.