I used to have Shorty Ultimates on my S&S CX bike, but for travelling this is a pain, as I would have to release the spring tension to pack the bike, and reset it on arrival, which needs a 15mm spanner, a 4.x allen key (because the bolts aren’t quite 4mm), and time to balance the spring tension left to right.
Given I have 6600 Ultegra, which pulls less cable than 6700, or SRAM, the shorter the arm, the better for modulation and pad->rim clearance. The shortest arms on the market to my knowledge are the 80mm Tektro 926AL BMX mini v’s. Any shorter and the noodle will start fouling on tyres >28mm. As a bonus, they’re hella cheap at $10 each end. Add an adjustable noodle and some good pads and the price doubles, but still a bargain compared to TRP CX8.4’s, which are too long anyway.
How to fit Tektro 926 AL 80mm mini v brakes to an Alpha Q CX20 fork:
Turns out the shortest arm mini v’s (Tektro 926AL, 80mm) have the pad slot quite far back, which wouldn’t be an issue if my fork (Alpha Q CX20) didn’t have so much carbon around the studs. If TRP made a CX8 model I’d have bought that, but no such luck.
But then I had to trim the brake pad washers down because they hit too. Then I chose between four different kids of brake cartridge to minimise the distance between pad face and back side and maximise the amount the arm can retract so I can get my wheel out without deflating the tyre.
Kool Stop V brake pad retracts much further than “CX” pad.
Then, just when I thought I was done, I discovered that the bushings were proud of the canti stud, so when you tighten the bolt, the arm binds. So I lapped those back too with some #600 silicon carbide paper and a very flat surface (aka glass louver panel).
Bushing sits proud of stud
Lapping bushing down & keeping it parallel.
Bushing is just below stud, no more binding.
Now I can finally cable the damn things up and use them.
If you want ballin’ buy TRP CX8.4s, don’t bother with CX9s. 84/90mm arms. (ebay/JensonUSA/etc)
If you ball even harder, buy Paul Minimotos (83mm arms, Aspire Velotech / local Paul dealers)
If you don’t ball at all, buy Tektro RX5/BX3V (ebay/JensonUSA/etc) BX3V are the cheapest and nastiest.
If you absolutely must maximise your rim clearance, buy Tektro 926 (ebay/JensonUSA/etc)
If you don’t want Tektro, Sinz and some other BMX companies make mini vees, and Campy did some 85mm arm ones for a while.
Edit: Shimano are now making Sora/Tiagra/105 level mini v brakes for 2013. 90mm arms though.
BR-R573 - 105 V-Brake
BR-R463 - Tiagra V-Brake
BR-R353 - Sora V-Brake
If you’re not using flatbar levers, you absolutely must buy an ‘adjustable noodle’ for each brake.
Also, I’m just going to leave this note that I sent to a very handsome gent earlier this week here for you all:
As far as I can remember, cable pull (The more cable you pull the less leverage you have) from least (needing shorter mini v arms) to most (working with longer arms) is something like:
Shimano aero non integrated // Shimano 8/9/OG10 Campy 8/9/10 Tektro R200/Cane Creek // Shimano current10 SRAM // Linear pull MTB levers Drop bar linear pull levers
Don’t know about Campy 11, but based on how chorus 11 is working with my shimano touring cantis in my shimergo setup I’m assuming similar pull ratio to Campy 8/9/10.
Unsure where the RL340 sit, probably similar to R200, or TRP RRL, (which IMHO are much much better from an ergo point of view, and everyone who’s used them loves them). I wouldn’t bother with RL340s generally.
Edit: Lever mechanical advantages: New Shimano: 1.4:1, older Shimano, SRAM, and Campy are 1.3:1
Ok, so for mini v’s you have 3 choices: 80/83-85/90mm arms:
80 to my knowledge are only available in 926 BMX model, shortest arm, leads to the most rim clearance and and “lowest” power, but let’s be honest, if I can do stoppies while I’m seated, it’s hardly low power. Being the shortest, tyre clearance might be an issue at the noodle, but my setup will take a 32-35mm tyre easy, and the noodle’s above the fork crown. They’re hella cheap, and the QA/QC isn’t stellar, if you buy them, you’re best off buying 3-4, as you might need to mix & match if you get a dud part. The spring tension is quite light, the lever feel nears hydros on my 6600 ultegra setup! Significant for chunky carbon forks: The pad slot is really close to the stud base, I had to file it down a lot.
83-85 are available in a few BMX brands (Sinz etc), Tektro do a couple of 85mm (RX5 BX3V), TRP do the 8.4, Campy did an 85mm one once and there’s the Paul Mini Moto (83mm). The RX5 & BX3V are cheap and nice, and with a pad upgrade are near perfect, at ~5x the price of the tektros, the TRP is balleur with Ti hardware (but weighs the same…) and significantly: the brake pad mount is further forward from the canti stud, which helps with pad->fork clearance when getting the wheel out, less of an issue with steel frames/forks. Mini Motos are hella nice, but price is out of control, even compared to TRP, at ~10x the cost of the tektros, and the visual asymmetry of the arms kills it for me. Plus they’re a little more fiddly to setup adjust, with external springs.
90 (TRP CX9 / Tektro RX6 / 2013 Shimano mini Vs) are a waste of time. Whilst they’re aimed at longer cable pull levers (new Shimano), why bother, as the rim clearance will be better with 85s and the power is still phenomenal, and 85s will clear a ~40mm tyre. They do have the highest leverage of all the brakes. Paired with linear pull levers (designed for ~100/110mm arms) they’d probably give good power and rim clearance.
Making it all work
For your pompino, if you have SRAM SS levers, which don’t have a return spring, I’d go RX5 / BX3V, or TRP CX8.4 if you want to ball hard. If you get the cheaper brakes, grab a set of Kool Stop Cross cartridges (don’t order the smooth stud ones by accident) or MTB cartridges and fill with your pad of choice (KS Salmon). Keep in mind that cartridge / pad shape will affect how far the arms can retract. I went through 6 different pads/carts until I found the slimmest one to maximise opening for wheel removal.
If you want different levers, skip the RL340, I don’t think they’re much chop, either go straight to TRP RRL or I can hook you up with a set of the good old Tektro R200s.
If you are going to a flat bar, you can also just use regular MTB v brakes with linear pull levers, and you can get linear pull drop levers too (Tektro RL520).
The other option is an MTB v brake and a travel agent with caliper/canti pull levers, but it’s a kludge that you don’t have to do.