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Old 09-12-10, 07:45 AM   #1
aixaix 
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Phil Wood disc brakes: anybody have real-world experience with these?

Hi all,
I just bought a lightly used Bob Jackson tandem (1980ish) which has Phil Wood discs, in addition to Shimano cantilevers. They are beautifully made and barely worn. Unfortunately, they don't work very well, even after adjusting them. They sure look like they should work better than they do, and given Phil's other products, I cannot imagine he would have put these in production unless they were effective brakes. I've read a little about them online (know about the asbestos issue), but the information is clearly second- or third-hand. Even SB is vague.

Does anyone here have experience with these?

Last edited by aixaix; 09-12-10 at 07:46 AM. Reason: asterisks where word should have been
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Old 09-12-10, 08:22 AM   #2
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I've read the disc was prone to break (shatter), when that happens, no brakes. There was a lawsuit from a tandem pair that were hurt badly. I installed a few sets on tandems when they first came out, I thought the Akai worked better than the Phil discs.
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Old 09-12-10, 09:45 AM   #3
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The Big Drum drag brakes work well for their purpose , turning speed into heat.
dissipated by the big aluminum heat-sink..
but I'd still not touch them or some current steel disc hub rotors, either.

have a cool pint at the pub at the bottom of the hill . let them cool down.
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Old 09-12-10, 11:46 AM   #4
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Unlike modern disk brakes for bicycles, the Phil disk was made from an asbestos composite material held to the metal hub with a series of splines:



The problem was the spines on the composite disk had a (albeit rare) tendency to strip, causing loss of braking. The brakes were eventually pulled from the market.
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Old 09-12-10, 02:17 PM   #5
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Those look insanely overbuilt compared to any disk brake available now. Cool looking too!

Cheers
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Old 09-12-10, 02:27 PM   #6
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They are to function as a Drag brake, rather than the only rear brake, same as now,
tandem setups, for more than flat beach riding ,
are best to have 3 braking systems.. 2 rim brakes and the Drag brake fitted to the hub..

in comparison with the Arai large drum brake the Phil thing is compact..
even now Shimano manufactures their tandem hubs threaded to screw on that Drag brake .
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Old 09-12-10, 06:46 PM   #7
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Thanks all!
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