An exceptional choice for your latest cross build or rim brake equipped MTB, The Neo-Retro is a wide-profile cantilever brake with a design based on the geometry of the famous Mafac Tandem brake. Where the Neo-Retro differs from its classic heritage is in its modern materials and adjustability.
The arms of the Neo-Retro are machined from lightweight 6061 aluminum. Their T-shaped cross section prevents the brake from flexing too much under load. The brake pads mount to slots in the arms that allow for vertical positioning. The toe-in and angle can be fine tuned thanks to the spherical washers on the brake pads' threaded posts. The long arms give the Neo-Retro lots of mechanical advantage and supreme mud clearance. However, for smaller frames and those with panniers, Paul Components recommends their narrower Touring Canti brake.
Like all of Paul Components' brakes, the Neo-Retro has a sealed pivot mechanism. Rubber seals and a stainless steel bushing keep the brake arms turning smoothly no matter what you're riding through. The spring tension can be adjusted in both pivots to center the brake and to adjust the strength of the return swing.
The Neo-Retro stands out with its stopping power, high adjustability, low easy maintenance, and classic looks. The brakes come with their pivots pre-greased and with all necessary hardware.
The Paul Neo Retro cantilevers are styled after the ancient Mafac cantilevers. Hence the larger circular area in front of the brake pad mount. That circular area serves no other purpose than to visually mimic the old Mafacs. The Paul Touring Cantilever shares this design feature.
That said, these are nicely made brakes and are lightweight with nearly infinite return spring adjustment (similar to Suntour XC pro cantilevers from the 1980's). Like other modern hight-quality cantilevers (including linear-pull) they pivot on sealed sleeves instead of directly on the frames brake bosses. This makes for longer service life with less play. Paul's makes available plenty of service parts so if something wears out or breaks you'll be able to replace it.
Most cyclocrossers will run the Paul Neo Retro in the front and the low-profile Touring cantilever in the back. (This is from the belief that the Neo Retro's are more powerful-- they are NOT, the low-profile Touring canti's are!)
In any configuration the Paul cantilevers are as powerful as any "old school" cantilever that I've ever used. For even better performance, install Kool-Stop's "Cyclocross Pads" brake pads.
Style considerations aside, these make excellent additions to a classic steel cycocross bike build.
PROS: Easy To Install, Lightweight, Attractive Design
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