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Old 05-14-04, 07:10 AM   #1
vansiclenr
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How to adjust Tectro Mini-V brakes?

Help, please. I can't get the Tectro Mini-V brakes adjusted the way I like on my new Burley Duet. They stop the bike, but to get the Shimano STI lever to not bottom out, I have to set the brakes so close to the rim that I have to true the wheel weekly.

I wrote Burley. No reply.

I found Tectro's website. Nothing works except the home page. No reply to email.

On a $2,500 bike, I'm kind of frustrated, although I love the bike.

Bob Van Siclen
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Old 05-14-04, 07:21 AM   #2
Steve Katzman
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Bob,

Did the bike come equipped with a set of "Travel Agents"? These are little aluminum disks that the cable wraps around prior to going into the brake arms. The purpose is to "amplify" the distance that the cable pulls the brake arms, with respect to the amount that the lever pulls the cable. If you don't have these, I believe the answer to your problem is to get a set installed. My Co-Motion came with these and the STI levers have more than enough pull to lock up the brakes without bottoming out.

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Old 05-14-04, 10:15 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansiclenr
Help, please. I can't get the Tectro Mini-V brakes adjusted the way I like on my new Burley Duet. They stop the bike, but to get the Shimano STI lever to not bottom out, I have to set the brakes so close to the rim that I have to true the wheel weekly.

I wrote Burley. No reply.

I found Tectro's website. Nothing works except the home page. No reply to email.

On a $2,500 bike, I'm kind of frustrated, although I love the bike.

Bob Van Siclen
In spite of what the Tektro people say, thoes mini-V's don't work well enough with most road brake levers to suit me. You have a few choices:

If your brakes don't have the noodle that has the barrel adjuster built into them, you can buy some. Then you can set the brakes up with the barrel screwed most of the way out and screw the barrel in when you have to remove a wheel. That's probably what I would do if I was satisfied with the brakeing power because it's the cheapest.

Second choice would be the Travel Agents. That would also allow you to change to a longer arm linear pull brake for more braking power. That's what I would do if I wasn't satisfied with the brakeing power. (I'd stay away from the brakes that have the parallel push mechanism built into them too.)

My biggest objection to the old style canty brakes was that they were a royal pain to get set up. Some of the newer designs are much easier in that regard and, I'm sure, will provide at least as much brakeing power as the mini-v's do. Might be a strong choice.

You could get a pair of Dia-Compe levers that are designed for linear pull brake use, but that's a kind of expensive solution and you lose your STI shifters.
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Old 05-14-04, 03:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansiclenr
I have to set the brakes so close to the rim that I have to true the wheel weekly.
That sounds like a problem, in and of itself... Your new wheels shouldn't be going out of true any time too soon. As for your brakes, your complaint is not an uncommon one for folks who have purchased new tandems fitted with the Tektro's


Quote:
Originally Posted by vansiclenr
I wrote Burley. No reply.
It's been my experience that you need to call folks on the phone when you have a problem that needs prompt attention. Email, while 2nd nature to many folks, seems to be hit or miss with many of the folks in the tandem & bicycle business. Toll free - 866-248-5634


Quote:
Originally Posted by vansiclenr
Help, please. I can't get the Tectro Mini-V brakes adjusted...
Mark Johnson of Precision tandems is a big fan of the Tektro's and has previously offered this advise to folks like yourself who have found the Tektro's performance to be lacking on how to properly set-up the Tektro's for proper performance: "The wheel must be very true, the pads set even with no toe-in and the cable adjusted so the pads run within 1-2mm of the rim. The Mini-V's are finicky in this aspect as they have a higher mechanical advantage."

No personal experience with those on my own tandems but I have fiddled with them on a few Burley tandems. When adjusted as Mark Johnson describes, they are quite grippy.
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Old 05-14-04, 07:57 PM   #5
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I have Tektro's Mini-V brakes on my touring bike. I am using conventional Tektro road levers. They are a great improvement over the old style canti's that were on the bike for a variety of reasons, but the setup is critical. As Mark indicated you must have true wheels and the pads need to be adjusted close to the rim. However, once setup properly they are fantastic stoppers and work trouble free for many miles.
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Old 05-15-04, 04:39 AM   #6
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I'm using the Tektros with Ergo levers and had to go with the Travel agents to get the necessary travel. I don't think they give quite as much sensitivity but they do provide enough travel and power.
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Old 05-15-04, 04:01 PM   #7
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Have a Tektro Mini on rear of our tandem and it works fine without a travel agent. Do have adjustable noodle. Was using D?A STI, replaced them with barcons and Diacompe V287 levers. Brakes equally well with either shifting system.
Adjustable noodle would be the cheapest answer for your problem or the Travel Agent.
Also there is a small set of screws at the underside of each Tektro arm that could be adjusted somewhat. Call Burley and ask to speak to a tech rep.
Good luck!
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Old 05-16-04, 08:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonatandem
Have a Tektro Mini on rear of our tandem and it works fine without a travel agent. Do have adjustable noodle. Was using D?A STI, replaced them with barcons and Diacompe V287 levers. Brakes equally well with either shifting system.
Adjustable noodle would be the cheapest answer for your problem or the Travel Agent.
Also there is a small set of screws at the underside of each Tektro arm that could be adjusted somewhat. Call Burley and ask to speak to a tech rep.
Good luck!
I'm still new to some of these, but my Raleigh has Tektro brakes...is there a picture of a Travel Agent and "adjustable noodle" somewhere so I can be sure what we're talking about.

Dan
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Old 05-16-04, 10:43 AM   #9
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[QUOTE=vansiclenr]Help, please. I can't get the Tectro Mini-V brakes adjusted the way I like on my new Burley Duet. They stop the bike, but to get the Shimano STI lever to not bottom out, I have to set the brakes so close to the rim that I have to true the wheel weekly.

Bob:

I recently purchased a new Tosa (your's aluminum cousin). I agree, I could get my brake levers to touch the bars if I squeezed hard enough. I thought that was strange. My MTB or old road sidepulls never felt like that at the lever. I was able to adjust them with a narrow clearance at the rim without rub. On the road they stop fine. I suspect it is a mechanical advantage thing (will let Mr. Linvingood give us the real answer). The noodle does not come with the barel adjuster, and no Travel Agent is used. I upgraded my rims to Velocity Deep-V's thanks to my dealer (we are a big...not fat...team). I am not sure if he built the wheels, but so far so good. No true issues.

As far as gettting a response online from Burley....forget it. You may get a response, but don't hold your breath based on my experience. I agree call.

My dealer is not very close, so I dealt with my own adjustments. He wondered if the new Tektro Minis may be a little different this year.

Let us know how it goes.

So far, I am very pleased with my purchase. I feel it is a very good value tandem, and is bringing us a lot of fun.

HTH (your not alone),

Mark
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Old 05-16-04, 08:44 PM   #10
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Those Burleys are great tandems! Have ridden over 30 makes/models of tandems and Burley is the biggest bang for the $$!
A noodle adjuster should solve the problem. The adjuster is attached to the noodle and works similar to adjustement barrels on sidepull brakes.
The Travel Agent costs about $19 and is a bit more difficult/frustrating to install.
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Old 05-16-04, 09:11 PM   #11
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I don't remember the exact numbers, but most road brake levers pull around 11mm of cable, while mountain bike levers pull about 23mm of cable. The geometry of the powerful linear pull brakes requires more cable--thus the 23mm pull on the mountain bike cable, it creates more of a mechanical advantage at the brake pads. The shorter arms on the Tektro Mini-Vs requires less cable pull to move the pads given amount--and thus has a bit less mechanical advantage compared to a standard linear pull. However it's a compromise. They do need more cable pull than a road sidepull or a properly setup older style cantilever.

They are great brakes, but the setup is critical to use them effectively with road levers, and they require more of the pull of the lever than sidepull or old style cantis, so they have to be adjusted just right. However, in my experience, their braking power is superior to the older style of road brakes--that's why Burly puts them on the tandems. I use them on a touring bike that almost always has a trailer with a load in tow. I didn't want to use a travel agents or other cable amplifying device because I wanted to keep my braking system simple. The Mini-V's have been a great solution for me.
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Old 05-17-04, 08:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wsurfn
I suspect it is a mechanical advantage thing (will let Mr. Linvingood give us the real answer).
I probably should have edited Mark Johnson's comments regarding "higher mechanical advantage". It's a relative statement in that, when used with STI/Ergo brake levers** the Mini-V has a higher net mechanical advantage than conventional cantilever brakes, but lower mechanical advantage than long-arm liner-pull, aka V-brakes. Bear in mind, a V-brake has so much mechanical advantage that it will not work with an STI/Ergo brake lever UNLESS you add an adapter such as the QBP Travel Agent.

Therefore, the Tektro Mini-V (which was originally designed for small BMX bikes, not full-size road or cross bikes and tandems) occupies an odd niche where it almost needs an adapter to work with STI/Ergo brake levers. Without the adapter you can still obtain good performance, but it requires that the brake blocks be positioned quite close to the rim as already discussed.

If you really want to bug out on mechanical brake advantage and cantilever geometry, check out Sheldon Brown's article: Note: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/cantilever-geometry.html
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Old 03-30-06, 04:42 PM   #13
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Tektro Mini V-brakes

Tandem braking has been a fascinating problem for me. I own an old (circa 1980) steel Kuwahara tandem. It was built for 27" wheels, but I use 700C's, a Campag Shamal on the front and a deep-dish 36-spoke on the back (deep rims for strength and to absorb braking heat).Crew weight is about 320 lbs, and we never carry bags or panniers. Last year we put close to 4,000 km on the bike; so far this year over 700 km.

I had been using Shimano LX linear-pull brakes with Travel Agents, controlled by Campag Ergo 8-sp levers (the old lever design). Everything worked OK, but the pads do wear fast. On a 100-km ride last year in the rain, I lost braking on descents and came close to crashing when I forced it over onto the grass. Since then, I've hated v-brakes.

So I was at the Seattle Bike Expo this year, and stopped by the Burley booth, and noticed they were still using v-brakes. They had mini-V's without Travel Agents on one of their tandems, and they seemed to think that this was a better setup than full-size V-brakes with Travel Agents. So I read the posts above and ordered a set of Tektro mini-V's.

I've got them installed on the Kuwahara, but I'm not that pleased. I installed the front brakes first, but found I couldn't use the pads supplied because they hit the edge of the front tire with the pads set as low as they would go in the slot (remember, the bike was set up for 27" wheels). So I used the narrower pads I had on before, and they just barely worked. I used the noodle instead of the Travel Agent, and I did have to adjust it so the pads were really close to the rim before I could apply full force without bottoming the Ergopower levers. Because of the toe-in I couldn't adjust out of (pads maxed even with the concave spacers), we rode over 60 km with the front rim rubbing. Later, the rear brakes went on just fine, and I left the Travel Agents on. I also reinstalled the Travel Agents on the front brakes and hammered the canti bosses so that the pads would line up evenly with the rim (one of the nice things about steel frames is you can do this sort of "cold setting adjustment"). The front pads just clear the tire; I will have to file the slots on the brake arms.

So now I've got less braking power with the combination of shorter arms on the mini-V's combined with the leverage reduction caused by the Travel Agents. And with the Ergopower quick release activated, I still have to force the 23mm tire past the brake blocks to remove the front wheel. Someone mentioned having an adjuster on the noodle. You don't need an adjuster (although I'm using the nice inline adjusters spliced into the cable housing). The bracket that holds the noodle is slotted, so all you have to do is apply the quick release at the lever, then squeeze the v-brake arms together and just slide the noodle out of its bracket. Total release!

Anyway, what I'd really like to do is to replace the front fork with a tandem-rated carbon fork with 1" steerer (do they actually make such things?) and install a standard dual-pivot sidepull. Then I'm planning on replacing the rear v-brakes with cantis. I figure these should stop the tandem just fine. As the R&E article on v-brakes vs cantis (http://www.rodcycle.com/articles/brakes.html) says, "One question they forgot to ask themselves was "what does a 400 pound tandem team, or 250 pound loaded touring bike, barreling down a pavement highway at speeds of over 60mph have in common with a 179 pound guy going 20mph down a dirt road?" The answer is 'very little, if anything.'"

- Luis
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Old 04-02-06, 04:48 PM   #14
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The best adjustment I made to the Tektro Mini-V on our Tosa was to throw it out and replace it with an Avid SD-7 and a Travel Agent. I just never could get the feel of the mini-V right for some reason either.

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Old 04-03-06, 06:59 AM   #15
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Wow...it's been two years and a new bike since I last saw this thread.

We bought a '98 Burley Rumba last spring and I thought the canti brakes were nearly useless, even with a setup and new pads. I had a shop install Mini-V's but they thought that the braking wasn't very good even then. They added Travel Agents and everything is fine now. Probably the biggest setup challenge is balancing the springs on each side so that the brake arms move evenly.
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Old 04-06-06, 06:02 AM   #16
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I ended up doing the same as DrPete. They were usable, but I did not like the feel.
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Old 04-07-06, 11:20 AM   #17
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Mini V-Brake Tips

There are a few tips that I have found to make the Mini-V brakes work better.
1. Throw away the stock pads, and updgrade to shimano or avid v-brake cartridge pads and holders. These pads are harder and thinner than the stock pads and make the brake modulation better
2. I trim down the nooldle where the dust boot slides over the end of the noodle to meke it easier to remove the noodle with the pads set close to the rim.
3. Use a compressionless housing like JagWire Braided Carbon - Nokon etc...
4. Make sure the housing does not have any unnecessary extra length, with reduces the braking performance.

I currently use these brakes with DuraAce STI levers and they work great with those modifications.

I have also added cyclo-cross style, bar top, brake levers to our tandem to give me an extra braking option. This also works better with the Mini-V brakes as these levers have cable pull that is designed for regular cantilevers and a cable adjuster on them that I can adjust while riding if I need to tighten or loosen the front or rear brake. Plus when we take our road tandem off road it allows me to control the tandem from the tops of the bars - and with nice wide 46cm bars I feel I have lots more control on roots or gravel.
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Old 04-16-06, 09:33 AM   #18
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Mini V Brakes adjustment

We had a set of mini V brakes on our first tandem and they worked pretty good with STI levers, like many have said you need a good travel agent (the model with a cable slack adjuster is best) make sure the cable is routed properly through the pully to work correctly ( keep all cables and housing as short as possible for best performance with any brake system). I also have used cycle cross levers on the top part of the bars on all my tandems and single bikes, they work with canti style, duel pivots, V brakes with no problems with STI levers. The trick with the mini V is to set up the brake where you press the arms together squeezing the pads against the rims then set the noodle where it will just slip out free in this position to the tight side. Then center your arms with the tension adjusters on each side so that brake shoes stay balanced with even clearance on each side of the rim and return to even clearence on each side after applying brake (also by setting a little more spring tension than normal on each return arm spring helps). The real key is to have the cable routed properly through the travel agent, this is critical. Also the up graded brake shoes as mentioned in other post are nice. We got real good performance with the ones we had with STI levers and cycle cross inline levers set up properly ( no problems with STI levers hitting bar during braking). We were able to remove the noodle to release the brake with no problems to remove a rim and tire. Also brake shoe alignment is important just like with any braking system.

Good luck,
Bill G

Last edited by Bill G; 04-16-06 at 11:04 AM.
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