Classic Rene Herse Cantilever Brake


Many classic Rene Herse bikes lost their brakes when they were modernized. Sometimes we prefer to keep these modifications, especially if they were carried out by the Herse shop and form part of a history that spans many decades of continuous use. In other cases, the modifications are not appealing, and the bike is best restored to its original condition.

For these restorations, we offer the classic Rene Herse brakes as replicas of the originals. Compared to the modern version, they use different bushings to fit on classic Rene Herse canti posts, different springs (hole located at the bottom of the pivot), and a different straddle cable. Like the original, the straddle cable ends are machined from brass, designed to be silver-soldered onto the straddle cable. Eyebolts (steel) and nuts (aluminum), pad holders and black Kool-Stop pads are included. Since most classic bikes still have their straddle cable yokes and bolts to mount the brakes to the frame, these parts are not included. They are available separately.

Sold as set for one wheel, including two brake arms with pads (with black Kool-Stop pads) and hardware shown.


Rene Herse introduced his revolutionary cantilever brakes at the 1938 Concours de Machines. Their superlight weight was matched by excellent stopping power, something that was lacking from previous cantilevers.

Herse’s first version consisted of two aluminum plates, a design that later inspired the famous Mafac cantilevers used by generations of cyclocross racers. In 1945, Herse introduced his definitive model, with a fine-tuned geometry and a die-cast construction that allowed for even lighter weight. Herse’s brakes were not just for superlight bikes in the Concours; they equipped all his bikes and even tandems. Carefully equalized springs eliminate the need for tension adjustment screws, saving additional weight.

  • Forged for superior strength
  • Mounts to Rene Herse cantilever posts
  • These brakes do not fit on modern cantilever posts. For current bikes, use our Rene Herse cantilever brakes.
  • Steel eyebolts and aluminum nuts for the pad holders included
Availability: In stock
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