Tektro's 720 are the best cantilevers I've used with drop levers and would be choice upgrades for the lower profile original equipment (OEM) type often fitted to mid range production cross/multi sport and Audax bikes. That said their broad profile and sharp styling doesn't look out of place on older mountain and touring mounts either. Frankly, there's no reason to pay more unless addicted to exotica or desperate to shave every last gram.
In essence these are the 520 as fitted to my crosser but with silver anodised finish and upgraded pads. Thankfully, the 720 enjoy incredibly simple set up courtesy of neat straddle wires; pronounced balance screws and V type pads-meaning readily available spares, especially if you prefer softer pad compounds.
Wide 35mm arms and strong springs are key to the excellent modulation and feel with most modern levers from budget to bling and I’m pleased to report they’ve stopped the Univega, complete with heavily laden trailer dead in our tracks sweeping through rural lanes and town centre alike. Wider arms and pads not only help in terms of mechanical advantage but offer better mud clearance into the bargain; greatly reducing the likelihood of clogging.
Their width poses no problems when dismounting to shoulder the bike over more technical sections and seem fine on classic tourers with horizontal geometry and expedition type panniers. However, look elsewhere if you want brakes for smaller compact and mountain bike framesets.
As generic, all weather pads go, the ones that come fitted are pretty much on the money and certainly up to the rigors of commuting and touring. However, purge the water channelling regularly to prevent them harbouring rim munching grit and dirt and I’d be inclined toward dual compounds for competitive cross or stopping racing tandems/trikes etc.
All you could want from a cantilever except maybe dual compound pads.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Tektro CR720 Quartz series cantilevers
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Tektro's Quartz 720 are nicely finsished, esily adjustable old school cross cantilevers that perform better than most thanks to wide arms, strong springs and good pads. They're great for tourers too-especially upgrading cheaper mid-low profile models.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
35mm wide anodized aluminium arms complete with all weather pads, pronounced adjustment screws.
170 pair (340g complete set)
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
There's no doubt in my mind these are the best cantilevers I've used in a very long time- so easy to set up and work superbly with all lever types (bar linear pulls obviously)but their width might not be suitable for some smaller compact Audax and touring bikes.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great design, lovely finish,superb modulation and feel.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing but would've opted for dual compound pads personally.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)