It Takes Two
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Bloomington, IN
Bikes: 1973 Chiappini w/ Campy New Record, 2004 Kestrel Talon w/ Campy Chorus, 2006 Santana Team Niobium
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Avid Caliper with Santana 10 inch rotor
We purchased our Santana Niobium in January 2006 with linear pull brakes front and rear. The linear pull continue to be wonderful brakes. Having ridden the 3 State 3 Mtn ride in Chattanooga on singles and wanting to do it on our tandem in 2007, we installed a Winzip disk brake. I posted some photos about the install Winzip Disk Installation
After the 2007 3 State 3 Mtn ride and the severe pad wearing I switched to EBC gold pads (sintered metallic). After dealing with the groaning brake noise: bike in stand - spray water on rotor while one person is turning pedals and the other is applying brake pressure - this helped bed / clean the pads and the groan was gone and we're happy. (I've posted about the OEM pads and the EBC pads.)
So the brake worked and the EBC pads are long-wearing but there is a definite metallic rubbing sound when the brake is applied - rather like an automotive disk brake sounds when the pads are worn out. The Winzip served us well after that and I believe many Winzip users now use the EBC gold pads. I believe that Precision Tandems recommends and sells the EBC gold pads for both Winzip and Avid. I've kept the Avid pads but I have some EBC gold pads in reserve.
However, I have never felt like I could really get the Winzip caliper lined up as well as it should and / or the caliper itself wouldn't keep the pads parallel as it pulled them in to the rotor. Everyone who has the Avids has always talked about how easy the alignment is with the hemispherical washers. SO...after talking to a rider last year who had an Avid caliper with the 10 inch rotor, I decided to install an Avid caliper this winter. Mark, at Precision Tandems, confirmed that it would mount on my existing adaptor and that is the set up he uses himself on a Santana triple, so I ordered one. I just got it on yesterday and we went for a ride. The first braking was groaning and I thought, "OH NO - not the groan again!" We continued riding and braking, riding and braking with the brakes feeling good but as the bike would get down to the 5 mph mark the groan and vibration was there. My stoker was willing to spray some water on the rotor while we road along applying the brake and we were soon quiet with good braking.
Regarding the noise, another variable besides the 10 inch rotor, I had also decided I wanted to polish the rotor to make it shinier - purely cosmetic. I put about 10 hours in with tripoli buffing compound on a buffing wheel on a lathe to make significant progress. It's not a mirror but it's much shinier. Anyway, the polish very likely contaminated the braking surface even though I never purposefully buffed the braking track itself. I put the rotor in some boiling water followed by a lot of acetone to clean all traces of compound.
I now have a fairly shiny rotor and a better adjusted caliper.