Shimano CX50 Cantilever Brakes
Every once in a while Shimano develops something that appeals to us. It doesn't happen often. I mean, we like the derailers and hubs---hey, if Shimano makes it, you can bet it's not lousy, and it's likely really good. This new brake is fantastic. It is, for now, the winner among all cantilevers, and it is the winner for a slam dunk reason that closes the door on all debate:
When released, the pads open up enough to clear even the superset fat tires.
(What's "superset"? I/Grant wrote this originally and am now editing it for our site makeover and came upon that, and I don't remember writing it before, and have no idea what it means, but for now, I'm leaving it be.)
On other brakes, the long pads hit the fork blades or seat stays, limiting the size of the opening for the tire to pass through. Up to about 47mm it's no impediment, but above that, you have to deflate the tire to move it out or put it in. NOT the end of the world, but when a new brake comes around that gets around that, then it's jump for joy time.
Oddly, all cantilevers had this feature until about 1989 or so. They all opened up, and fat tires went in and out like it was nothing. But in the '90s and up to now, that feature disappeared. There was a good mechanical reason for repositioning the pads closer to the frame, but it was largely theoretical. Practically, the wide-mouth types were better, and now we have one back again. Others will follow, for sure.
Nice but nothing spectacular silver painted finish is not as fancy shiny as the discontinued CX70's but the CX50's are practically half the price of CX70. On top of that, it's easy to adjust, as cantilevers go. It works like this: If money means nothing to you and you want cantilevers, get 'em. If money means something to you, but you regularly ride tires 50mm or wider, bite the bullet and get 'em. If money means something to you and you stick with tires smaller than 50mm, the Tektro CR720s are the way to go.
Irony: These were developed specifically for cyclo-cross, and you aren't allowed to ride tires fatter than 33mm. At that tire size, these brakes have a lot of competition.
Sold as a set, enough for one bike.
Buy fancy 54mm length cartridge brake shoes when the included cheapy pads wear out. Fancy cartridge style shoes are worth it because it's a lot easier to insert new pads since you're not having to adjust toe-in from scratch everytime your pads wear out.
Note: we used to sell the more expensive, better looking CX70 version of this design Shimano brake but as of March 29, 2017, the CX70 are no longer available and have been discontinued. The CX50's are much cheaper and function exactly like the CX70's so get these while Shimano still makes them which who knows how long that'll be. #discbrakefuture?