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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 09-03-07, 11:24 PM   #1
KAHUNA1
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Drag Brake?

We are riding our Trek T1000 around Lake Tahoe soon. Can anyone tell me if the down hills there are so long that it requires a drag brake?
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Old 09-04-07, 08:06 AM   #2
Xanti Andia
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This is discussed often, for example try this thread:

Drum Brakes

Answer depends on a combination of the brakes currently on the bike, team weight, and particularly descent style.....Do you abslutely need it? answer is probably no., but it certainly adds a margin of safety.

We have a AVID drum brake operated by the stoker with a brake lever, V-brakes, 310 lbs team plus the bike and load. The added value we have found is that the stoker has more sense of control on the descent, and descent panic is a common stoker problem. Another solution is a barcon friction control, which is more relaxing to operate, can be set up for either the captain or the stoker, but might be left dragging on ocassion by a forgetful team.
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Old 09-04-07, 09:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KAHUNA1 View Post
We are riding our Trek T1000 around Lake Tahoe soon. Can anyone tell me if the down hills there are so long that it requires a drag brake?
We did the loop around Tahoe several years ago and we do ot recall any prolonged descents. The important variables are your team weight, your team confort with speed and your captain's ability to negociate turns and administer the rim brakes.

Yesterday we came down a 10-mile 5 to 8% downgrade on the triplet with a total team plus gear weight of about 550 lbs. (the extrictly enforced downhill speed on the triplet is 45MPH; particularly this time since our mid stoker was our precious 16 year old daughter and we were rolling 32's armadillos)... I would say that we could have done the descent without the ARAI drag brake but not without frequest stops and may hands hurting...
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Old 09-04-07, 08:09 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info.

BR
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Old 09-05-07, 08:13 AM   #5
oldacura
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When we first got our tandem, the local tandem retailer recommended an Arai drum brake. We bought one "just in case". We ride a lot in the mountains west of our house.

Initially we used the drum because it was there. However, as we developed more confidence with speed, more confidence in the V brakes and keeping atune to rim heating, we used the drum less & less. It is rather heavy & clunky. I removed it several years ago & rarely miss it.

However the situation where it is most needed are long steep hills with tight switchbacks. You have to brake your speed down from say 30 mph to 10 mph every 20 - 30 seconds. This dumps a lot of heat into the rims. On long staight hills, you can just "let it fly" and the wind drag will keep your speed within reason if you don't tuck.

I'm not familiar with the terrain around Tahoe but that's our experience.
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Old 09-05-07, 11:27 PM   #6
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Thank you.
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Old 09-06-07, 12:52 AM   #7
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+ 1 on the advice above. On steep twisty hills, learn to "pump" your brakes on and off. This on/off braking will slow you down, but will allow the rim (and the air inside the tires) to cool between braking cycles.

That being said a drag brake can be a very good thing to have if your loaded down with baggage, just dont touch the hub shell after a steep hill, you will get burned.
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