Tandem Cycling - mini-V or Travel Agents?
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the desert fox
03-26-08, 09:01 AM
Thanks to craigslist, I am able to convert from a flatbar to dropbar with very little cost.
Of course that includes a lot of patience waiting for the right part to come along.
Anyway, my question is about brakes and which way to go. I can either buy a Tektro mini-V or just use my Avid SD5 and buy Travel Agents, which would be the better set-up? pros and cons? Cost involved will just be the same on either set-up.
Thanks in Advance!
It depends on the brake levers you have. I tried the mini V's with road brakes and they really didn't pull enough cable.I had to set them up extremely close to the rim,and the cross cable limited tire tire clearance quite a bit.
Mine were on a cross bike,and I needed rim/tire/nud clearance,and I ultimately took them off.
It you have the Cane creek/Dia Compe brake levers for V brakes,you can use either style of brake. For road brake levers,I'd use travel agents.
03-26-08, 09:27 AM
Buy some inline barrel adjusters if the levers on the drop bar don't have them.
03-26-08, 09:41 AM
i'm a visitor from the cross forums, so i have no specific tandem knowledge... though i really want to get my old schwinn tandem cruiser running!!
anyways, the way i understand it, the 85mm arm length mini v's are the best ones with road levers. the 80mm ones are the ones that typically don't work quite right, have to be set too close to the rim, etc.
what are you running for shifters? if you're running some sort of brake lever/shifter combo (sram/sti/ergo power), then it seems you'll have to run a travel agent or try the mini v's. travel agents seem like a pain and put soo much extra friction in the cable IMO.
if you're running barend or downtube shifters, then you could keep your single digits and run dia compe 287 levers or the cane creek levers dfcas suggested. i wasn't aware cane creek was making such a lever! of course, those dia compe levers cost waaay more than mini v's...
with all that said, why not just run canti's?
03-26-08, 10:13 AM
I can't speak to the Mini V's but we ride our C'dale tandem in a pretty hilly area and converted from barends to STI with "avid SD7's and travel agents". The braking power is outstanding and I would recommend it highly.
03-26-08, 10:21 AM
no no no on the mini Vs! those things came on our burley duet and the first time we went down a small hill at 25-30 mph we sailed right through the stop sign at the bottom with both levers pulled tight to the bars. from my experience, they are useless. they also required the wheels to be perfectly true and the pads to be a mm away from the rim to have even the slightest stopping power.
go with the travel agents. we now have the travel agents on avid arch rivals with kool-stop pads , a night and day improvement.
03-26-08, 10:32 AM
Switch to cantilevers. You will get better pad life and not have to deal with the Travel Agents.
03-26-08, 10:38 AM
Travel Agents are about $20 each so $40. And while they work, they are a rig job IMO. It also creates more resistance when you pull the levers, at least it did for me on a prior setup.
For less than that you can buy cantilever brakes which have no such thingamajig. You will need canti hangers though. The brakes you could probably find on CL for $5 or new Tektro Oryx on Ebay for $35 shipped. You can probably get $10-15 for your SD5s.
03-26-08, 11:04 AM
Switch to cantilevers. You will get better pad life and not have to deal with the Travel Agents.yes, the obvious solution, especially if you want to go cheap. you should be able to find a used pair cheaper than a pair of travel agents. you might even find a new set cheaper. nashbar has a front and rear set for $22.99.
03-26-08, 11:06 AM
If you use Dia Compe 287V brake levers, you can use direct-pull ("V" brakes) without Travel Agents.
the desert fox
03-26-08, 11:50 AM
here are more info on the set up (sorry, i should have posted it in the original post)
bike is TREK T900 (i know, i know...why did i do the swap on such a bike. well, i just need to find out so i know what my next tandem will be.)
levers are shimano 105 STI
rear brake is AVID BB7 road with 203mm rotor (no need for any Travel Agents here)
front brake is AVID SD5 (here is where i don't have enough cable pull)
i forgot to consider the canti option, and i don't have the cable hangers anyway.
i think i'm now more inclined to go with the SD5 + TA set-up.
i can easily switch tires without worrying about clearance.
I run SD5's front and rear with travel agents on our CoMotion (they came with it), using Shimano 105 STI. I have no real problems, but it is still harder to stop a tandem than a single. Certainly cannot lock the wheels, but haven't really panic'd it yet. Brake pad wear is very high, I have noticed. I don't think a properly set up Travel Agent is that much of a drag, but it would be nice to have nothing, and I have considered cantilevers, but haven't figured out where to get the hanger parts.
04-04-08, 10:43 PM
I just swapped out my XTR v brakes with travel agents for Tektro Oryxs on my Kona Major Jake. The breaking is far superior with the simple and inexpensive cantilevers. Even with the travel agents, I could not get enough leverage to stop the bike.
I am reconverted to the cantilevers. Plus, they were only $40 for the set.
04-06-08, 02:08 PM
We use travel agents on our Santana with DA shifters. I think they work great! YMMV
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