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  1. #1
    Cycle for life... woodcycl's Avatar
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    Disc Brakes & the Inline Travel Agent

    I did a quick search on "inline travel agent" and nothing came up ...

    I have the new 05' Cannondale Road Tandem with the Disc Brakes. I wasn't too impressed at first with the stopping power or usefullness of the brakes. I ordered a few things from Mel at Tandem's East and he inquired about my brakes. I mentioned that I wasn't totally sold on their effectiveness ... he asked if my LBS (where I bought the bike) had installed the "Inline Travel Agent" ... and I said no. He stated that the Inline Travel Agent should be part of the bike from Cannondale ...and that LBS's who sell tandems with disc brakes really should be aware of this ... and recommend the inline travel agent. I talked to my LBS ... and they had never heard of this.

    Well, I haven't placed the order yet. And, I'm now starting to get used to the disc brakes as they come on the bike.

    Does anyone have any other information, experience, etc. about the Inline Travel Agent and it's benefits?
    -\Brian
    06' Cannondale Six13 TeamOne
    06' Cannondale Prophet 3 "Lefty"
    92' Trek 5200
    05' Cannondale Road Tandem

  2. #2
    Double Secret Probation R900's Avatar
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    Time to Ride...

  3. #3
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    These things are marketed under the brand name "Problem Solvers", distributed by Quality Bicycle Products (perhaps Security, etc...) and available through Nashbar or any other retailer or Etailer who uses QBP as a supplier, e.g., Jenson USA will sell you one for $20 and AirBomb sells them for $16.95

    There is also a product sold by another odds 'n ends brand (Sidetrak) that performs the same function, but which is IMHO a better design called a Brake Power Booster or BPB. Instead of using the Travel Agent bicycle brake cable "wheel of torture", the BPB is used as the termination point for the cable coming from the lever and a second going to the rear brake that can be put anywhere in-line.

    Now, as for whether or not these things are needed, I'm somewhat at a loss unless you were trying to use Avid's BB7 MTB disc with an STI or Ergo lever. At least that's been my experience with the handful (10?) of rear disc equipped road tandems that I've tinkered with, including my own. That said, I haven't looked closely at the Cannondale installation but I can't imagine that it's all too different.

    However, the one mod I do recommend for road tandems with STI or Ergo levers and the Avid Ball Bearing Road disc brake is a return arm booster spring. This spring puts some additional pre-load on the Avid's reaction arm that takes slack out of the very long rear brake cable run, improves the caliper's return action (that is to say it helps move the pads back off the rotor), and also gives you a slightly improved lever feel from the added resistance.

    You can read about and see photos of our disc installation in the archives at this URL:
    Avid Disc Conversion Complete
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 08-24-05 at 05:01 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek
    Now, as for whether or not these things are needed, I'm somewhat at a loss unless you were trying to use Avid's BB7 MTB disc with an STI or Ergo lever. At least that's been my experience with the handful (10?) of rear disc equipped road tandems that I've tinkered with, including my own. That said, I haven't looked closely at the Cannondale installation but I can't imagine that it's all too different.
    Yes, Woodcyl uses the Avids with STI levers; the C'dale RT has Ultegra STI levers.
    Regards, Marten / www.tandemclub.nl
    '03 Santos Dual Travel | '13 MSC Zion Tandem

  5. #5
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubbelop
    Yes, Woodcyl uses the Avids with STI levers; the C'dale RT has Ultegra STI levers.
    Sorry, that was something of a poorly constructed rhetorical statement. The gist of it was that brake boosters are really only needed when you try to mix STI and Ergo brake levers that have about a 4:1 cable pull ratio with mountain brake components designed around the 2:1 cable pull ratio linear pull brakes. The Avid Ball Bearing Road caliper uses a short throw that is matched to the STI and Ergo 4:1 cable pull.

    If you add a Travel Agent or BPB to a tandem fitted with STI/Ergo and the Avid Road caliper you'll most likely find that you'll have too much braking power and will end up backing the pads well off the rotor to compensate for it or you'll just have to learn to live with really touchy brake levers. Perhaps for some teams this will be preferable. Me, I like a lively lever that allows me to take advantage of the full range of brake modulation... But that's just me.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 08-24-05 at 05:49 PM.

  6. #6
    Cycle for life... woodcycl's Avatar
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    So, it sounds, "in a nutshell" ... that if my disc brakes are working and I am comfortable with their effectiveness, that the inline travel agent isn't "necessary". But, some folks may prefer them for a shorter travel/throw on the brake levers for the brakes to grab and stop the bike. If so, I am fine with the current setup as it is.

    Thanks for all the info!
    -\Brian
    06' Cannondale Six13 TeamOne
    06' Cannondale Prophet 3 "Lefty"
    92' Trek 5200
    05' Cannondale Road Tandem

  7. #7
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodcycl
    So, it sounds, "in a nutshell" ... that if my disc brakes are working and I am comfortable with their effectiveness, that the inline travel agent isn't "necessary". But, some folks may prefer them for a shorter travel/throw on the brake levers for the brakes to grab and stop the bike. If so, I am fine with the current setup as it is.
    Yup, that's pretty much it... in a nutshell. And, it's also important to take into consideration that new disc brake pads and rotors all need to be bedded-in before they will achieve their true stopping power. Therefore, initial impressions during test rides of a new tandem or even during the first several days, weeks, or months of ownership can be mis-representative of how the brakes WILL work once they are broken-in. The amount of time it takes is dependent on how often and how hard the brakes are used. For a new Cannondale tandem sold in Florida, it could be along time vs. one sold and ridden around Asheville, NC.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 08-24-05 at 08:47 PM.

  8. #8
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    The "Travel Agent" or "Problem Solver" increases cable pull while decreasing leverage,making it harder to lock the brakes.That said,you don't need it anyway,since your calipers are designed for road levers.

    Our C'dale tandem is about 2 months old,and the brakes have changed a lot since new.They are beginning to "bed" or "seat",and now require much less effort at the lever.Go down some big hills,or do some hard stops and they will improve rapidly.

    One of the things I did on the rear was zip-tie the housing from the stop just in front of the stoker seatpost to the stop on the rear stay in about 5 places.It keeps it from flexing up and makes it feel much more solid.I don't want nuttin moving but the caliper arm.

    BTW,I live in West Virginia,so good brakes are a must.

    dan

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfcas
    One of the things I did on the rear was zip-tie the housing from the stop just in front of the stoker seatpost to the stop on the rear stay in about 5 places.It keeps it from flexing up and makes it feel much more solid.I don't want nuttin moving but the caliper arm.

    BTW,I live in West Virginia,so good brakes are a must.

    dan
    Good idea, zip-tieing the housing to the frame. I suspect this fancy shiny housing is a bit flexy, thus decreasing the lever feel. Perhaps changing the housing (in time) should help, too.

    BTW we live in the Netherlands so it's not the hills but the traffic that requires good brakes.
    Regards, Marten / www.tandemclub.nl
    '03 Santos Dual Travel | '13 MSC Zion Tandem

  10. #10
    K&M
    K&M is offline
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    When we got our rear disc equipped Burley Rivazza, we found we were having to do a lot of adjusting to keep the brakes close enough to the disc to have good braking power (we do a lot of descending). We eventually added a regular travel agent just behind the brake and it has been a huge improvement - we'd never heard of "in-line" travel agents. At the Terrible Two Double Century we saw a very honed and experienced looking tandem team that had what looked like a regular travel agent (although maybe it was "in-line?") just under the stoker's seat.

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