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V brake conversion and Travel agent installation.

Hello Bike commuters and fellow DIY bike mechanics! Yes, as much as I like my local bike shop, there are some repairs or upgrades that I am able to do myself. My Spicer CX had one weakness; its cantilever brakes. Even though I replaced them with new Avid Shortys, I still was not comfortable with their stopping power on a steep downhill.

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So what did I do? Well, I went with V brakes instead. The process of installing V-brakes was pretty straight forward; the only issue I ran into was that I needed to replace the cable housing so it can run all the way to the brake noodle.

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But there was a problem with my conversion; the brake levers from my Spicer CX are designed for short pull brakes and the V brakes that I installed are long pull brakes. I figured that I could get away with it by adjusting the tension on the brakes and having the pads really close to the rim. Well, I was wrong. The rear brake is OK, but the front brake was not grabbing.

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I did what every respectable DIY mechanic would do: “I Googled it”. So Google came up with a little gadget called “Travel Agent” by Problem Solvers and since I had a problem to solve (pun intended) I ordered one of this shindigs online. Mind you, the travel agent was not cheap but braking is sort of important after all.

Installing the travel agent was pretty straight forward thanks to the video and the right tools. If you happen to work a lot on your bikes, I highly recommend the Park Tools Cable and housing cutter.

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I did a quick test ride around the block and man, the travel agent works as advertised! I have now plenty of stopping power on my front brakes! In case you are wondering why I am making these changes to my bike, well, that is because I am training for the Strada Rossa V ride this coming March. More on that later on.

4 Comments

  1. Hōkan

    I have a Travel Agent on my Volpe and it sucks — it just doesn’t work as well as v-brakes with long-pull levers. But the original cantilever brakes sucked much worse and I wanted to keep using my STI levers. So, I’m glad the Travel Agent exists and works for me (and for you).

  2. Tim F

    I am trying to solve a front brake shudder and I think will have to move to v brakes. Is this the one you got? https://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1109646_-1___

  3. George

    Short arm v-brakes will work fine with road bike brakes. Tektro Mini-V’s are a brand I used and they’re fine.

  4. The Bike Geek (Post author)

    Yup, those are it!

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