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Replaced my Tektro Oryx brakes with CR520/CR720

20th Mar 2009, 21:09:19

By James Stocks

Tektro Oryx

My Dolan Multicross came equipped with Tektro Oryx low profile cantilever brakes, apparently these are pretty much standard equipment on many new cyclocross and touring bikes.

Under hard braking, the Oryxes screech and scream, then the front fork (a carbon Columbus tusk) begins to judder. The vibration is so bad that I couldn't see properly, the front tyre would alternate between slipping and gripping, causing the front wheel to try to slide out from under me. The feel is quite similar to ABS in a car, but it's a very upleasent sensation on a bike.

The feel at the brake levers is extremely vague and soft, but somehow simultaneously manages to be very grabby and difficult to modulate. Rim clearance is appalingly bad. In terms of performace, these brakes are only just better than a Raleigh Twenty with chromed rims and stock pads - they're really, really, really bad.

I tried some tweaks like different brake blocks, longer z-wires, replacing the z-wire with a straddle wire, you name it I tried it. Nothing I did made much difference. Eventually, after some alarmingly extended stops in the wet (with the levers on the bars!), I decided that the bloody things were coming off - right now.

I'd read some good reviews about the Tektro CR720 wide profile cantis which look reassuringly like the cantis I had on my mountain bike when I was a kid. The different geometry of these cantis make them much less susceptable to judder, as explained in detail by Sheldon Brown. I found that the CR520 model is actually the exact same model (and indeed they are stamped CR720), but with lower quality brake blocks (which I have replaced). I ordered a set of 520s from Zepnat, which seems to be the only stockist of the black version.

I fitted the brakes and all the problems have gone away. There's plenty of feel at the brake levers and lots of easy to modulate stopping power. The rim clearance is very good, I've not tried them off-road yet but I imagine the mud shedding ability is good, too.

If you're having problems with your cantis, do yourself a favour and spend £40.00 on these. You won't regret it.

Tektro CR720

2 Archived Comments

6th Aug 2010, 12:22:52 by rikkus
I'm about to buy a bike which comes with the Oryx brakes and your advice could come in very handy, thanks!

18th Oct 2010, 13:49:33 by simonb
I like the mudguards on this bike -- is that piping reflective?

ps, also considering a multicross; that or an off-the-shelf crosser with the braze-ons. Like you, I'm not sure I can live with the standard components on some of these.

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