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Thread: brake advice

  1. #1
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    brake advice

    So I'm doing well on the Cdale and having a lot of fun. I rode my Colnago the other day, and one real noticeable difference (I mean apart from the fact that there was no one out back trying to talk to me while the wind was making it impossible...) was braking. The standard V brakes are OK, but I am wondering if I should be thinking of either the Arai drum or a disk for the rear? I ride in the coastal plain all the time, i.e.- no real big hills, but we do get rolling along. Brakes are adjusted fine; I should add that switching from the stock wheels to Bontragers made braking a bit less effective even after adjustment (narrower rims).

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    I recently looked into the tandem brake dilemna myself. The results are not pretty. I upgraded our tandem from really cheap v-brakes to Avid Single Digit 7s. They are better...but not even close to my Shimano Ultegras on my single. There seems to be a big unfulfilled market for nice tandem brakes. I have not found a solution that I thought was decent. You're right, you probably don't need a drum brake. I have disks on my mountain bike and I love them. If your frame has the braze-on tabs, go for it. You'd think someone would come up with a good brake solution for tandems.

  3. #3
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Adding TravelAgent cable pull reducers could help your situation.
    Also a curved 'brake booster' that attaches to canti studs could help, as it reduces flex.

    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I found the V brakes I had on my Dale MT were good, in fact as good as my Mountain Bike "V"s. No model number for the V Brakes, but they were Avid and the levers were Avid SD-1.9L. What I did find were different though were the rims. Initially I had Rhyno lites, but a change to Mavic D521,s were an improvement. One thing remained constant though as initially they had XT brake blocks with the interchangable block, but after nearly losing a block, I changed to the LX block with NON replacable blocks. Do get a bit of squeak with these, but braking performance is good and I don't worry about losing braking effect when a block goes missing.

    Properly set up V's do work, and the only downside is rim wear. However I changed to Hope Mono M4 disc brakes for a better brake and would not change back now.

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    If your Cannondale tandem is 2001 or newer, it may have a rear hub treaded for a drum brake and may also have disc caliper tabs on the rear drop out. I purchased an Avid rear disc brake kit from Precision Tandems to upgrade our Cannondale to Avid rear disc. It comes with an adapter that threads onto the rear hub to bolt the rotor on. Adding the rear Avid disc made quite an improvement to the stopping power on our bike.

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    I should add that I'm using Shimano road levers with a travel agent adapter. The adapter, although it works, is a kludge. Its just what it says it is...an adapter. Its not supposed to be there, so its not a real good solution. Tandem riders just have to put up with weak braking solutions until someone comes up with a better product.

  7. #7
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    I have the stock, no-name linear-pull brakes on my KHS Milano with Travel Agents to increase the leverage. I have never had a problem. I have a Shimono 105 STI lever on the right side and a Campy Chorus Ergo lever on the left. Maybe I just don't go down hill fast enough...

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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    I have the stock, no-name linear-pull brakes on my KHS Milano with Travel Agents to increase the leverage. I have never had a problem. I have a Shimono 105 STI lever on the right side and a Campy Chorus Ergo lever on the left. Maybe I just don't go down hill fast enough...
    Interesting, because that's basically the same bike I have, although different levers. Do you have any brake squealing issues? Mine felt like it had NO stopping power. It was a little scary.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJWheelBuilder
    You'd think someone would come up with a good brake solution for tandems.
    There are quite a few good brake solutions for tandems; however, not all tandems are sold with optimal set-ups and in some cases, what works well for one team may be inadequate for another.

    Lightweight racing or performance tandems fitted with dual pivot or differential calipers from Shimano & Campy provide excellent stopping power and are usually trouble free. No, they won't stop your tandem as quickly as your 1/2 bike and it's not realistic to expect that level of performance given the weight differences between the two fully loaded machines. However, calipers only end up on custom, high-end, or "racing" tandems as the default brake for tandems has always been cantilever brakes, to include the linear pull models, often times with an Arai drum brake for teams over 400lbs, folks who tour, or who just don't favor high speed descents.

    As for the cantilevers, the most simple models from the 90's like Shimano's LX and XT models as well as some of the boutique models from Pauls or Strange Brakes seemed to work well-enough and were also relatively trouble free if they were properly adjusted. However, "power" was certainly well off from what most captains expected based on how their personal bike's brakes performed. Personally, I never had a problem with this any more than I do when I jump out of Debbie's 2,300 lb Honda S2000 which stops in only 113' from 60 mph vs. my 6,000 lb '02 Suburban with 4 wheel discs that stops in about 164', which is 20' less than what it took for my '97 Suburban with front discs and rear drums.

    Enter the V-brakes mated to the various adapters, e.g., Travel Agent, World Class, and BPB to allow integration with STI & Ergo levers and all hell broke loose. The linear pull brakes & cable adapters now provided gobs of clamping power that often times overpowered the forks, seat stays, and rims that transmitted that power though those skinny little brake pads which seem to be where the most obnoxious and higher pitched squeals come from. That's not to say there haven't always been brake issues for tandems, but V-brakes certainly didn't reduce them and, in some respects, created an entirely new line of business for the aforementioned V-brake adapter manufacturers as well as the folks who sell after market brake pads, brake-boss stiffeners (aka, boosters), brake cables & housing, as well as the boutique cantilever brakes. As for the folks like ourselves who didn't see a need for large diameter tires or mud guards which are ostensibly what preclude the use of caliper brakes, we simply slap on OEM pads every few years as there aren't any "hot mods" to improve calipers as none are really needed. For folks who do need large diameter tires and mudguards, Shimano's R600 long-reach calipers can be specified when having a custom tandem built.

    However, finally after some 30 years of screwing around with disc brakes for tandems they are becoming mainstream, in both on and off-road applications. There are many, many postings in the archives related to tandems and discs that go into ad nauseum detail but it suffices to say, if you can ignore some of the junk science floating around regarding Avid's mechanical discs, the darn things are really awesome for use as a primary rear tandem brake. Not all teams can use them, but I'd venture a guess that any team who has been OK with cantilevers or calipers can easily jump to a rear disc to gain improved net stopping power for their tandem. Teams that have often times felt they needed a drum or have one on their tandem and rarely use it can also reap the benefits of a rear rear disc. Dual discs, although rare, continue to hit the streets on Cannondale's RT1000's and unless I've missed the reports, the nay-sayers aren't out there pointing to massive failures and saying "I told you so" during the past two years.

    Anyway, as I said at the outset of this note, not all tandems are sold with optimal set-ups and in some cases, what works well for one team may be inadequate for another.

    Oh yeah, sometimes something as simple as a little lube applied to all the moving parts on a rim brake can eliminate brake squeal... weird.

  10. #10
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    How about the old and more than prover Scott self energize Cantilever Brakes,...?
    I run them for years and they Rule in terms of stoping power ( to powerful if anything)

    I just found a very interesting lLittle Article about them.

    actually a well set up cantiliverbrake with some good pads and a nice fork brace can provide extreme stoping power with far better modulation than most V-brakes sistems.

    Maybe some day we need to stablish a "Test bed" data procedure and make a "contest" A.K.A. experiemnt to see what the best braking sistem is.
    Force is never as effective as Leverage.

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