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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 01-25-09, 11:38 PM   #1
jagladden
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Brake pads and rim brake peformance

I realize there have been numerous threads on this forum with regards to brakes, but I would like opinions on two simple questions.

1) What kind of braking performance can one realistically expect from cantilever or linear pull rim brakes with a 300 lb team? I have seen references on this forum to being able to lock up the rear wheel, but the braking performance on my Burley Duet has never approached that. It originally had Tektro mini-V's but I have replaced the back brake with a Shimano LX linear pull and a TA. This arrangement is reasonably stiff, I can exert a lot of handle force without pulling the handle to the bar, but the braking performance is not what I would hope for if the situation was dire.

2) What type and style of pads work best? I see a lot of references to both KoolStop salmon pads and Swiss Stop green pads. Cartridge pads are obviously a lot more convenient to replace, but to they work as well as the one-piece pads? All of the V/Canti threaded post cartridges seem to be of the sort that have the post position offset towards the forward end of the pad, but some of the one-piece threaded post pads have the post centered. Does this seem to make any difference?

I should add that we live in Seattle which means that we do a lot of hills, it is frequently wet, and the roads get sanded in the winter. This combination is very hard on both rims and pads.

Thanks in advance for advice.
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Old 01-26-09, 09:32 AM   #2
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My biggest problem with cartridge type pads are that they slide out when you brake backwards. Why would you do this? Well it sometimes is easier to have my son stay clipped in and I move the bike backwards and when I brake, they fall out.
I had some older cantilever brakes on my tandem and now that I have Campy Record dual pivots [front and rear] I am very impressed and feel very confident on any braking situation. The only issue I have is hills where the rim may overheat.
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Old 01-26-09, 01:28 PM   #3
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We have linear pull brakes on our bike. I think the rears are Kool Stop Thin Lines. Not sure of the fronts. We almost never ride in the wet. The brake pads are fairly old.

Last weekend we were descending a pretty long steep hill and had to slow way down near the bottom (say 40 mph down to below 20). Because some pad material has transferred to the rim (especially on the front), the front wheel squeals like crazy. A thorough cleaning will solve the problem for a bit but eventually the rubber transfers back and the squealing begins again. I'm not sure how this effects braking performance. The squealing is unnerving.

We have never locked either wheel on the tandem. I really don't want to and I'm not sure if we could or how close we have come to locking either one. If the pads were new and the rims were clean, I think we could.

I feel like I can decelerate the tandem better than my single bike with caliper brakes.
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Old 01-27-09, 06:51 AM   #4
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We have a Burley that originally came with mini-v brakes. THEY DO NOT WORK! One word "dangerous". Replaced with a standard v brakes & travel agents, Stopping will be as good as any single bike. I used Avid single digit 5's w/ standard pads. but i suppose any standard size v-brake will work fine.
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Old 01-27-09, 07:20 AM   #5
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I used Avid single digit 5's w/ standard pads. but i suppose any standard size v-brake will work fine.
Nope. Not even close. Avid = good. Shimano = good. ProMax = bad.

FWIW, it's kind of like Kleenex. It has to be Shimano to be a V-brake. The rest are "linear pull brakes".
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Old 01-27-09, 09:49 AM   #6
swc7916
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Go to R+E (www.rodcycle.com) in the University district and talk to them about their cantilever brakes. Our total weight (us plus the tandem) is approaching 400 lbs and I have been pretty impressed with the braking performance of these brakes (in dry weather, of course.) I would caution though that they are pretty pricey - particularly if you have them do the installation.
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Old 01-27-09, 07:58 PM   #7
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My bikes have Tektro V-brakes, Forte V-brakes, and Power Tool V-brakes. Catch me if you can, Shimano legal team!
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Old 01-28-09, 11:02 AM   #8
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These new Avids look interesting for a Cantilever set.....

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Old 01-28-09, 11:09 AM   #9
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Slip in pads and holders have a small pin that secures the pad from sliding backwards and out. I don't know any brand that doesn't unless left out for easier pad changes.

If there is a brand it would be nice to know so they might be avoided and prevent the problems you speak of.

PK
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Old 01-28-09, 09:24 PM   #10
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Slip in pads and holders have a small pin that secures the pad from sliding backwards and out. I don't know any brand that doesn't unless left out for easier pad changes.

If there is a brand it would be nice to know so they might be avoided and prevent the problems you speak of.

PK
My Campagnolo Record [stock holders] do not have any holders. Since they were used I do not know if they came with them stock. I do not see any place that you could attach any holders/pins even if they had them.
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Old 01-29-09, 10:11 AM   #11
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My Campagnolo Record [stock holders] do not have any holders. Since they were used I do not know if they came with them stock. I do not see any place that you could attach any holders/pins even if they had them.
Correct - no road brake caliper that I know of uses pins to hold in brake pads - almost all V-brake pad holders use the pins.
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Old 01-29-09, 11:32 AM   #12
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My apologies, I didn't catch the change in the posts from V Brakes to road calipers. Agreed that all V brakes I have seen have pins to secure the pads thus preventing their ejection.

PK
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Old 01-29-09, 12:24 PM   #13
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My biggest problem with cartridge type pads are that they slide out when you brake backwards. Why would you do this? Well it sometimes is easier to have my son stay clipped in and I move the bike backwards and when I brake, they fall out.
How old are those pads and just how fast do you get that thing going in reverse?

I've used Campy Chorus and Record calipers on all three of our road tandems since '98 and I'll be darned if I can ever recall having a pad back itself out on rear-ward braking. Then again, it's not like it takes much braking power to stop the tandem while backing it up with my wife on board, i.e., we're certainly not moving more than a .5 mph. However, we've ridden a caliper-equipped tandem up and down the steeper streets in San Franciso and elsewhere where we've found ourselves stopped on a steep incline with my beloved still clipped-in and, again, I'm fairly confident our brake pads have never come unseated in those situations.

Not saying it ain't so, but that's got to be a 1:100,000 occurance and/or have some other contributing factor coming into play. A pair of dried-out pads is about the only thing that comes immediately to mind as that's the one thing I've always guarded against since dried-out / old pads also don't stop worth a darn either.
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Old 01-29-09, 12:31 PM   #14
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Correct - no road brake caliper that I know of uses pins to hold in brake pads - almost all V-brake pad holders use the pins.
dura-ace pads use small allens to hold the pads
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Old 01-29-09, 03:24 PM   #15
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dura-ace pads use small allens to hold the pads
Didn't know that - then again all bikes I have - save the tandem - are Campy equipped.
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Old 01-29-09, 10:07 PM   #16
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[quote=TandemGeek;8269658]How old are those pads and just how fast do you get that thing going in reverse?[quote]
Obviously it was not fast [I have a hard enough time to go forward]. Just walking speed. My son hates to dismount and I will not make a turn that is so sharp that I may not make it. I was on a hill and I was rolling it down hill. I noticed the brake got soft but did not worry about it but after about 200 feet of riding I realized that I had no rear brake. I walked back and found the shoe on the road. Koolstop salmons were not dried out. My son is not the most coordinate person and for him to use the pedals to keep us from rolling back to fast is impossible. I am certain that if you dragged the rear brake on a hill while walking it back you might run into the same situation. But I am certain with the experience you have [including your stoker] you would have not got into the predicament I was in. I have only been riding tandem for about a year now so I have been getting to know some of the short comings of tandems [which are very few]. I never have used brakes in reverse with my single bike and do not remember a turn I could not make.

Last edited by Butcher; 01-29-09 at 10:18 PM.
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