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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 03-20-17, 04:59 AM   #1
Road Fan
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Rim brakes for Tandem?

I need help to identify a few good options for tandem brakes for canti posts that will work well with drop-bar road levers - I like Ergopower, but I can go a different way. I'm looking for suggestions (gonna duck now!)

On my steel Meridian frame, which I'm now building for the first time, I have cantilever posts. I see three options for what calipers to use.

1. Paul vintage-style cantis with Campagnolo or TRP drop-bar brake levers. I have these on my 650b with the silver drillium TRPs, and they work well, but are sensitive.

2. Used Shimano low-profile cantilever calipers - these seem to be kind of a Tiagra grade?

3. a V brake or mini-V brake.

I'm planning for this tandem to use Gen 2 Campy Ergopower levers, but I realize the pull ratios on some of these might not be well-suited to a heavy tandem with heavy riders. I put a set of Paul Mini-V (Mini-moto?) brakes on my wife's Terry, and they are quite powerful but also very sensitive. They also need a better optimized lever than a Campy Gen 3 Ergopower.

A really good combination doesn't just jump out at me.
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Old 03-20-17, 12:58 PM   #2
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There was a similar thread recently:
Mini v's or V brakes with Travel agents?

Use the Ergopower levers if you like them. As you already know, you'll have to pair them with road brakes (or mountain brakes and a cable travel adjuster).

How big tires [and fenders] do you plan to run? If you're staying under 45mm, I'd go with Tektro 926 or RX6 mini-V and some Koolstop cartridge pads. For bigger tires/fenders you'll need to use cantilever brakes or V-brake with Travel Agents. I think you can get some low profile Shimano XT cantilever brakes a few places still.

Your wife's bike might be better off with a less sensitive brake like Spooky, Empella, or Tektro CR720.
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Old 03-20-17, 01:05 PM   #3
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If you can find a pair a Dia-Compe 287V brake levers, these work great with V brakes (don't need a Travel Agent) and provide great stopping power. You'll also have to use bar-end shifters but these work better than the "brifters" that most people use.
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Old 03-20-17, 02:01 PM   #4
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Cantilevers are the obvious solution given that they work with road levers and your frame has canti posts. What am I missing?
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Old 03-20-17, 03:20 PM   #5
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Shimano LX-V v-brakes will clear any size of tire/fender combination made that will fit on a 26" rim. And if one isn't married to a specific kind of lever (like a brifter or something) Tektro makes drop levers in both long and short pull ratios. I had long pull calipers (disc) and could have really made use of the long pull Tektro levers, but I wanted to use Cross Levers as well and Tektro only makes those in short pull grrr. So I had to use Travel Agents, which is an option the o.p. could also make use of. As I understand it, standard Travel Agents for v-brakes outperform noodles. They are considered an upgrade. The same is not true of inline Travel Agents used with disc calipers. Avoid those.
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Old 03-20-17, 03:58 PM   #6
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My bike came with the 287V or a similar product and I switched it back to flat bars. I wanted the V brakes more than I wanted the drop bars.
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Old 03-21-17, 05:19 AM   #7
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I don't think brake clearance of the fenders will be a big issue. Wheels are 700c with Dyad rims (23 mm wide outside, 18 mm inside), and my tires will range from 28 mm to 38. Not sure I can fit 38s with fenders, but if I can I would want 50 mm fenders. I'm not sure standard cantis like Neo-retros are needed, but I have a set on my 650b that I want to swap out. I think the extra performance of Neo-retros would be better used on a tandem than a single-seat rando bike.
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Old 03-21-17, 06:56 AM   #8
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We are using Avid V brakes on our tandem with cantis. We've been using these for years with Travel Agents and have had no problems at all. Early on I had thought about switching out to traditional cantilevers but have found these to work better the the cantis on my cross bike. We are happy with to braking and the adjustment possible. We've had none of the issues some people have talked about on using V brakes with the Travel Agents.
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Old 03-22-17, 01:39 PM   #9
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I can confirm that the Shimano Deore XT cantilever brakes work well on a loaded or unloaded tandem with road levers, Dyad rims, 32-37mm tires, and 52mm fenders. The initial setup is slightly time consuming (as with any cantilever brake). They hold their adjustment well enough that we could wear through cartridge brake pads and only adjust the cable barrel adjuster. (As an aside) I wish I could say the same about my Avid BB7 with 203mm rotor.
The Paul Neo Retros would be fine too. Stoker heal clearance or pannier clearance could be an issue with the Neo Retros.
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Old 03-26-17, 07:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
If you can find a pair a Dia-Compe 287V brake levers, these work great with V brakes (don't need a Travel Agent) and provide great stopping power. You'll also have to use bar-end shifters but these work better than the "brifters" that most people use.
What he said. Tektro also do a good quality, good value v-brake compatible drop-bar brake lever. Bar-end shifters are very good on a tandem, I think they are better than brifters also. I have swapped both my road tandems to this system, excellent braking, excellent shifting!

Post photos and weight when you are done!


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Old 04-01-17, 04:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
.....but I wanted to use Cross Levers as well and Tektro only makes those in short pull grrr. .......
NOT true. They are available in the UK, and probably other places:

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/brake-le...clamp/?geoc=US

New Tektro RL740 Road Bicycle Bike V-Brake Levers Silver | eBay


and for 31.8mm bars:

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/brake-le...clamp/?geoc=US

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Old 04-01-17, 05:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nfmisso View Post
NOT true. They are available in the UK, and probably other places:

New Tektro RL741 Road Bike V-Brake Levers Black | eBay
Good to know. I assure you, however, that 3 years ago when I did the conversion Tektro was only making cross levers in short pull. At least in the U.S. I did look pretty hard.
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Old 04-16-17, 05:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingston View Post
Cantilevers are the obvious solution given that they work with road levers and your frame has canti posts. What am I missing?
HERE is what you are missing:

You are assuming they (Paul Neo-Retros) WILL work with my road levers (Campy 10 speed Gen 2 or Gen 3 Ergopower).

So: Will they? Have any of you tried this? With the TRPs they are not bad, but not as good as a regular road caliper. And are the TRPs equivalent to my Campy Ergos? Anybody have any actual insight to share?
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Old 04-17-17, 08:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
HERE is what you are missing:

You are assuming they (Paul Neo-Retros) WILL work with my road levers (Campy 10 speed Gen 2 or Gen 3 Ergopower).

So: Will they? Have any of you tried this? With the TRPs they are not bad, but not as good as a regular road caliper. And are the TRPs equivalent to my Campy Ergos? Anybody have any actual insight to share?
You might have better luck in the mechanics forum. Here's an almost useful thread:
The Definitive (But Wildly Inaccurate) Guide to Brake Cable Pull Ratios

You'll see in there that Campy road levers generally pull a little more cable than Shimano road levers. This would make Campy levers feel weak with brakes intended for Shimano road levers. Your best bet might be to slap some MTB V-brakes on the tandem, without any travel adjusters. I think I would still err toward shorter V-brakes, in the 90 to 102mm range. Here's a really nice compilation of linear pull brake arm lengths:
Tech Tip: V-Brake Arm Lengths | GRAVELBIKE
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Old 04-18-17, 12:59 AM   #15
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You can buy travel agent pulleys that change the pull ratio to what you want to make any lever and brake combo work.


I like anything in the Mafac tandem vein. Not sure what Paul calls those these days. Strong brakes. They'll crush rims, so they'll stop the bike when it matters.

Don't forget the drag brake.
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