The Zeste Brakes may be the most powerful and most adaptable cantilever brakes we've tried. Low-profile cantilever brakes are a favorite among cyclo-tourists and commuters because the design helps them clear luggage and, on small frames, your heels. Dirt trail riders and cyclo-cross'ers will appreciate the double plate design for superior mud-clearing.
The brake's strength and easy modulation is due to the extra-long arms for increased mechanical advantage. But just as important is their excellent adjustability:
- There are spring tension adjusters on each arm for easy centering.
- Up and down adjustment in the brake pad slot results in greater frame and fork compatibility; not all canti studs are in exactly the same place on every bike due to manufacturing tolerances or intended specification.
- A barrel adjuster at the end of the straddle wire means easier setup and fine tuning for perfect clearance and wire angle. You'll wonder why all canti brakes don't have these.
- Brake pad holders have adjustable toe-in.
- High-quality, included pads help you stop quickly and safely.
- The pivot bolts and washers are stainless steel for long term corrosion resistance.
- Weight for the arms, pads and all the hardware is 292 gr
Price is for two sets, a bike's worth. Includes straddle hangers, mounting bolts, and cable end caps.
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I've been running these for several years now. As mentioned by others, they are fun to set up, but that comes with having pretty much every possible adjustment available. I'll just about forgive the need for 3 sizes of Allen key.
Once set they are brilliant.
Apart from a few odd, random squeals. I like my brakes very close, so that could be my fault.
I lost a couple of spring adjusting screws, and got replacement ones direct from VO to Europe with no hassle.
Great product, great service.
These brakes look incredible. The spring which delivers the action coils around the brake stud, it’s stunning. The plates which make up the arms are beautifully polished. Everything about them is very well considered. Perhaps with the exemption of the tektro straddle cable hanger.
The set up isn’t easy, particularly if you haven’t worked with cantis before. Maintenance is complicated by a number of atypical tool types and sizes. They require three different sizes of Allan keys to adjust different tolerances, and a wrench which isn’t in the typical multitool. I am a bit worried about having to fix them on the side of the road.
I’m really happy with the stopping power. They work just as well as the mini-vs they replaced. The barrel adjusters make dialling your brakes in easy. Once they are set up they’re great to live with day to day. .
Installed the Grand Cru Zeste on my 80s era touring bike, which has machined sidewall rims of ~22 outside width. These cantis provide the best stopping power from a cantilever brake I've ever experienced. I have only used them with the stock blue pads that come with the brakes (which squeal despite toe-in) but the modulation is very good. Roughing the pads with sanding paper seems to reduce the squeal. For some reason, my canti posts (male mounting post brazed to frame/fork) were slightly shorter than the overall width of the brakes (female mounting hole of cantis), so I had to modify 3 of the Zeste brakes by sanding off a bit of the female extension to keep the mounting bolts from binding on the cantis. I presume this was a problem related to my specific frame, as I had braze-on cantis from one manufacturer and a custom fork from another manufacturer. The rear canti posts were shorter than the fork cani posts; nevertheless, the cantis on the fork were different lengths as well. Only one canti post was long enough to avoid modification. Moral of the story, buy a quality frame and/or check your fitment prior to applying full torque to mounting bolts (or you'll have to hone the female part as I did after the female fitting compressed). Now these were (IMO) frustrations caused by my specific (poorly manufactured) frame, so with that resolved, I still found the setup extremely cumbersome and difficult, but worth the effort due to the quality of the brakes performance. I found the best performance comes from mounting the straddle cable bridge much lower than the 6" recommended in the instructions. When measuring the angle of the straddle cable as it extends from the mounting hardware of the Zeste brakes, I settled on an inside angle of ~100 degrees as the brakes are engaged and pads touching rims. In short, I really like these brakes.
Really good cantilever brake set.
They are lighter and very cool.
With the Grand Cru brake levers you have a really powerful braking. I use in very rocky descendents and work really properly.
I love the brake pad position...if you open the cantilevers brake pads doesn't touch (and scratch) the frame...a good and well thinked detail.
A good buy if you want a good and cool bicycle.
I put these brakes on my Campeur build (https://www.facebook.com/campeurist) per the attached photos (apologies the brake is out of focus in the shot--I was sending an image of the Bruce Gordon taillight to someone) and they look great and work very well though, as others have stated, they are a little hard to adjust the first few times (for this non-mechanic--becomes far easier with a little practice). I also noted that the included pads squeak mightily on first use but some light sanding took care of that. All in all, highly recommended and the compliments, if you care about such things, are frequent.