It is primarily thanks to the Mafac touring cantilever brake that early mountain bikes had sufficient braking power during the late 1970’s to mid-1980’s. Dia-Compe, Shimano and Weinmann were always following close behind.
The market exploded from the late 1980’s with numerous new entrants from small machine shops, but this swiftly contracted in the late 1990’s when linear pull brakes(V-brakes) became OEM for many bicycle manufacturers and Shimano and Avid dominated the market.
The cantilever brake was slowly resigned to it’s final stronghold, Cyclocross bikes. However, in 2013 the UCI permitted the use of disc brakes for Cyclocross races and the game was over.
Today, the future for humble cantilever brake would appear to be for collectors and purists only.
With such an array cantilever brakes from the Golden Era of mountain biking, feast your eyes on these (mostly) wonderful creations…
Avid (Tri-Align, Arch Supreme, Arch Extreme)
Brooklyn Machine Works (Snot Rocket)
Brovedani (ABS) STM
Campagnolo (Record OR)
Castagnino [FRO] Italy
Devil [Bad Beast, Light Beast] Germany??
Interlock Racing Design (IRD)
Marinovative (Cheap Trick)
McMahon Racing Components (MRC) (Powerbrake, Linear Decelerator, Batwing)
Oddyssey (Straddle Rod)
Onza – H.O.
Precision Billet ‘Proshift’
Scott/Pedersen (Self Energising – SE)
Strange (Strange Brake)
Wasatch Cycle Works (Clamp)