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  1. #1
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    Cannondale 2004 RT 1000 issues

    We just purchased this and after 40 miles or so found the following issues. I was wondering if other RT1000 owners experienced the same issues when first starting? Other than these minor things the bike rides beautifully.

    1. Brakes
    Stoping seems to be somewhat weak for what I expected. I have disc brakes on my MTB bike and stopping power is really good (same or better then rim). I expected the disc brakes on the RT1000 to have stopping power of same of better than rim brakes - is this a reasonable assumption given the added weight of a tamdem (bike and riders)? We rode some rolling hills and slowing down or stopping seems to be a real challenge with our combined weight of about 300 lbs.

    Also, talking with my friends they said that disc brakes like all new brakes req some "break-in" period before effective stopping power can be obtained. Some thing to do with the the braking surfaces adjusting to each other.

    2. Ping noise when the left crank is forward.
    This only occured on the second day of riding. We where pushing hard when I noticed a pinging noise comming from the bike when we where riding hard as the left pedal came forward (about 135 degress) I cannot figure what what this. When freewheeling or just spinning with the bike (no force is added to the pedals) there is no sound. The sound is definitely something taping on the frame - that hollow ping of aluminum.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
    dave

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by digitalWok
    Stoping seems to be somewhat weak for what I expected. I expected the disc brakes on the RT1000 to have stopping power of same of better than rim brakes - Also, talking with my friends they said that disc brakes like all new brakes req some "break-in" period before effective stopping power can be obtained.
    Disc brake pads & rotors must bed-in before they will acheive full braking power and the amount of time that it takes depends on how often and hard you use the brakes. They will improve each time you use them and perhaps Mark or one of the other C'dale owners will quantify just how it took for their brakes to go through the bed-in process. However, that said, brakes on tandems will always feel weak compared to the brakes on your personal bike -- particularly when you first start riding tandems; as you note, the increased weight is a major factor. You will most likely adjust to the difference without too much trouble and may often times find that the opposite becomes true on your single bike, i.e., those brakes begin to feel too strong. I often find myself skidding the rear wheel on my personal bike as I come to a stop after a long weekend of tandem riding... something about the rear end of the bike getting light without that extra 4' of bicycle and my lovely wife being back there to hold it down.

    By the way, you will want to make a habit of keeping a spare set of Avid disc brake pads sealed up in a small plastic tire patch kit box. While it's nice to think that you'll always check your brake pads for wear before a ride, disc brake pads tend to be more "out of sight, out of mind" than rim brake blocks. The last thing you want to do is find yourself in hilly terrain with a worn-out set of brake pads or on a tour where the LBS doesn't have the pads you need. Rim brake blocks are easy to find and you don't need a perfect match, whereas having the right disc pads can be something akin to looking for a 27" tire: ain't no way to make a 700c fit no matter how hard you try. You'll also want to check the rotor bolts that attach it to the hub every now and again. If one of the bolts backs out it will make an awful (and unnerving) racket as you apply the brakes and it's not alway intuitive what the source of the noise or problem is UNLESS you've had it happen to you or someone you're riding with in the past. Loctite goes a long way towards adding piece of mind for those little suckers. Speaking of which, you'll want to make sure you have a multi-tool with a torx-head driver in your seatpack that fits the bolt heads on your disc.


    Quote Originally Posted by digitalWok
    Ping noise when the left crank is forward.
    This would be a good thing to drop Mel a note on as he'll most likely be able to tell you where to look to confirm the likely source(s) and a fix. It can only be one of a few things.

    That said, and for future reference, I would note that Cannondale's tandems are notorious for eccentric noises; creaks, pings, pops, etc.... Our C'dale was a '98, pre-CAAD model, but it was always a challenge to get the eccentric adjusted tightly enough without coming close to damaging the wedge bolt. Similar to the disc brakes, there are two maintenance tips for the C'dale eccentric. 1) If Mel didn't show you how to use a stack of washers and a 2nd M5 (M5 x .8 x 60mm) bolt to "extract" the wedge from the left side of the eccentric you'll want to visit this URL: http://hobbes.ucsd.edu/tandem/Maintenance.faq 2). It is worthwhile to keep a spare C'dale Wedge bolt and barrel (~$8 - $11) in your seatpack or tool box. Unless they have changed the material or design (which I don't believe they have), you can strip this little sucker without trying too hard, either when trying to tighten it up enough to eliminate any creaking noise or if you follow C'dale's tandem manual's instructions on Page 27 (http://home.att.net/~thetandemlink/99tandsupp.pdf) for "tapping out the wedge" that just doesn't want to come out.
    Last edited by livngood; 08-02-04 at 02:30 PM.

  3. #3
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    Whatever the ‘ping’ sound is, just ride it until it breaks…then you will know for sure what was making the noise! (sounds like loose bottom bracket, crank arm, chainring bolts, cassette or stem to me).

    With regard to disk brakes, you may wish to read what one tandem manufacturer has to say at: http://www.rodcycle.com/testspecs.html

    I am sure Mark would disagree……

  4. #4
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    With regard to disk brakes, you may wish to read what one tandem manufacturer has to say at: http://www.rodcycle.com/testspecs.html I am sure Mark would disagree……
    Yes and no. Disc brakes on tandems are not for everyone and all riding situations. They tend to be better suited for aggressive riders who don't do loaded touring or have any need for a true drag brake.

    The subject of disc brakes on tandems has been addressed in this forum and several others with a good bit of detail. Rather than going through it all, I would suggest anyone who wants to read more do a search of the Bike Forums Tandem Forum archives using they key words "disc brake tandem".

    As for the info on the Rodriquez Web site, I believe it is a bit dated. In general, the article on brakes is fair and balanced for when it was probably written. It also omits a discussion on the pros and cons of caliper road brakes which are also an option that is attractive to go-fast tandem teams. However, back to what they did write, canti's are a good default choice of rim brakes for multi-use tandems and V-brakes, while more powerful, come with some of their own issues which are addressed in the article. As for disc brakes, there are disc brake problems to be addressed and I suspect that the criticisms in this article are aimed at Santana's Formula rear disc, and not necessarily at the current application of the Avid BB disc brake. The Formula disc is a hydraulic disc brake that Santana adapted for use on it's tandems back in the late 90's. When perfectly dialed-in and wearing freshly broken-in brake pads the Formula is an impressive brake. However, it requires a great deal of attention and more than basic mechanical skills to keep properly maintained. Thus, for many of the folks who have purchased their Santana tandems with this particular disc, it has been nothing but trouble. The ones who really got hung-out to dry were the first year buyers where even the brake bosses for Canti's or V-brakes were not included for future refits. About 1/2 way through the production year the bosses reappeared so that V-brakes or canti's could be used. More recently, a gentleman in Colorado who grew tired of his Formula disc problems has successfully adapted an Avid BB mechanical disc to his Santana Sovereign and many Formula (or former Formula owners) are switching over to this set-up. Avids, which ARE endorsed for use as primary brake devices on tandems, come in a dual-disc configuration as standard equipment on Cannondale road and off-road tandems, as well as optional equipment on daVinci, Bushnell, Erickson, and Steve Rex tandems, and as a rear-brake option on Co-Motion's tandems. Again, they're not necessarily optimum for use by all tandem teams, but there are certainly teams who can and are using them with great success.

    Once again, to understand what options are available and may be suited for your riding style it's best to consult with -- as in send an Email or call -- builders or tandem specialty dealers who have access to the latest and greatest information.

    Personal experience:

    We're a 275lb team and both of our road tandems are fitted with Campy Chorus brake calipers; dual-pivot front and single-pivot rear. They do not stop the tandem as well as they do my personal bikes, but they are more than adequate for our needs and my riding skills/judgement. Our first tandem came with XT cantilever brakes and were quickly updated with XTR brake blocks to improve their performance. We have ridden tandems with about 5 different types of cantilever brakes and perhaps 4 different V-brake installations.

    Since 2000, our off-road tandems have been fitted with front & rear Hope Enduro / DH04 hydraulic disc brakes. Our '98 C'dale had both V-brakes and Magura Hydraulic HS-33 rim brakes.

    Best brakes of the bunch for pure stopping power = Magura HS-33 (which, at one time were standard equipment on C'dale MT3000's and a road version was OEM on the RT3000).

    P.S. I'm personal friends with the gentleman who builds all of the Rodriquez brand tandems and many of their bikes. Angel Rodriquez, one half of R&E Cyclery, sold his brand and the shop many years ago. The original tandem designer and builder for R&E was the "E", Glenn Erickson (another friend), who had sold his 1/2 of R&E to Angel and went on to build tandems under his own name. Both tandem builders are presently designing and building dual-disc equipped road tandems.
    Last edited by livngood; 08-02-04 at 03:49 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    Whatever the ‘ping’ sound is, just ride it until it breaks…then you will know for sure what was making the noise! (sounds like loose bottom bracket, crank arm, chainring bolts, cassette or stem to me).
    That's a scary though...Personally, I would rather find out what is the noise now verses later...if not for it being downright annoying but for safety reasons.

    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    With regard to disk brakes, you may wish to read what one tandem manufacturer has to say at: http://www.rodcycle.com/articles/brakes.html

    I am sure Mark would disagree……

    Holy bad brakes Batman! This is a very compelling read Maybe my original assessment was way ? Could this be true or just one shop's opinion. Has the industry "pulled a fast one on us"?

    hmmm...My "spidey-sense" tells me that this is important enough to move to another thread:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...279#post556279

    dave

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    I bought the same model this summer. Our team weighs about 360 lbs, and I've found that while the breaks are adequate for stopping, they overheat coming down pretty modest hills.

  7. #7
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andypdx
    I bought the same model this summer. Our team weighs about 360 lbs, and I've found that while the breaks are adequate for stopping, they overheat coming down pretty modest hills.
    Overheat in what way: are they fading or are the rotors just getting hot?

    Is there a bias towards which brakes seem to be most affected, i.e., front or rear?

    How many miles do you have on the tandem thus far?

    Just curious and trying to get a better understanding of what you're experiencing and how much bedding-in the brakes may have. Note: The brake pad compound used by Avid is good but not necessarily the best for tandems; folks have reported good results with EBC Gold which are purportedly long wearing, offer excellent fade resistance, better initial bite, and better braking power overall. However, they wear a bit more hard on the rotors than the softer Avid or the organic pads.

    There are also some modifications that you can make to the Avids to improve the feel of the brake lever which can also have an impact on brake performance, e.g., adding a secondary return spring to eliminate any residual rear brake drag as outlined by Bryan Boldt in this posting: http://search.bikelist.org/getmsg.as...10405.0533.eml and depicted here: http://itandem.home.comcast.net/tips/IMG_2371.JPG
    Last edited by livngood; 08-27-04 at 11:49 AM.

  8. #8
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    I never mess around with stokers. Ever. That means I show up with a tandem that to the best of my ability to check is ready to ride all day. "Ride it until it breaks..." is not an option. You will not be needing a tandem without stokers.

    WHICH left crank? Where does the noise come from? There's not much hung on the frame along the bottom tube and stoker top tube, so if the stoker says the noise is in front of her, that already is helpful. High or low? I bet you'd notice if it was the captain's stem, so I am betting that is not it. Good bet it is loose crank fixing bolt, or loose CR bolts, but the likeliest source for a tandem beginner who can't trace the sound is the Cannondale wedge-anchored eccentric.

    Here's a possible cure (I make no promises!): pull all the parts out and liberally grease the inside of the eccentric BB shell. Grease the BB eccentric, and the wedge anchor, both the outside and the working surfaces. Reinstall it all. Clean off any extra grease. The grease might prevent the sound (only dry parts ping?), but it is likely to muffle any sound that is made. Go for test ride. Of course, because your tandem is new, a good solution is to go back to the shop and tell them to do this. After that, for the next ten rides or so, every time you get off the bike take up the slack in the wedge bolt. Note that you are not making the bolt any tighter, just taking up the developed slack.

    I won't defend the wedge-anchored eccentric. It is very hard to argue against setscrews: cheap and effective. Cannondale should give up on proprietary pride and go to something that is quieter and user-friendly.

    On the other hand, I recall hearing about a guy who walked into a specialty shop (not bikes) and complained that the product was too crude for anyone to use. The shop owner replied that that was a reasonable perspective, but that everybody knew this, and that the market had long since adjusted to these conditions by offering replacement and add-on parts that would upgrade the product to the personal preferences of the particular purchaser, something a mass-production factory could never do, except at a much higher price. The product was successful as a platform in need of upgrade and modification. This, it seems to me, is the proper consumer perception of the Cannondale wedge-anchored eccentric if you can't get it to work, except that setscrews would actually have been cheaper in the first place. If you find that the wedge-anchored eccentric is intolerable, call up Bushnell and order their eccentric, which will be likely to be quiet. The Bushnell opens and closes like a clamshell.

  9. #9
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    Our experiences with disk brakes have been nothing but positive. We have an Avid disk on our Co-Motion Robusta and it has worked flawlessly after 4 months riding aggressively through the Swiss and French Alps. We're a 290lb team and have descended Galibier, Telegraphie, L'Alpe d'Huez as well as countless lesser-known climbs in the Alps and Jura. We use EBC sintered metal pads on the rear Avid and a regular Dura Ace front with Coolstop Salmon colored pads in the front.

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=livngood]
    >Overheat in what way: are they fading or are the rotors just getting hot?

    No fading, but the plastic parts melt.

    >Is there a bias towards which brakes seem to be most affected, i.e., front or rear?

    I melted the plastic adjustment knobs on the rear brake in a 500 foot descent during which I "rode" the rear break. One knob just dribbled off on to the road leaving traces on the rotor. Since then, I've used more careful braking technique, and I've stopped frequently during descents to check on the brakes. After dropping less than a thousand feet of elevation, the plastic on both the front and rear brake gets soft and tacky.

    >How many miles do you have on the tandem thus far?

    I don't know. More than 100 and less than 500.

    >Just curious and trying to get a better understanding [...] EBC Gold which are purportedly long wearing, offer excellent fade resistance, [...]

    Thanks for the interest. The braking power is adequate. I haven't noticed any fading. In fact I like the feel of the brakes. But I can quickly generate more heat than the brakes can handle.

    >There are also some modifications that you can make to the Avids [...]

    I had looked at that after reading some earlier posts. That mod won't change address overheating.

  11. #11
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andypdx
    No fading... I melted the plastic adjustment knobs on the rear brake in a 500 foot descent during which I "rode" the rear break. One knob just dribbled off on to the road leaving traces on the rotor. Since then, I've used more careful braking technique, and I've stopped frequently during descents to check on the brakes. After dropping less than a thousand feet of elevation, the plastic on both the front and rear brake gets soft and tacky.
    Well that sucks... However, your tandem should be under warranty so what if any remedy did your dealer suggest?


    Quote Originally Posted by andypdx
    I had looked at that after reading some earlier posts. That mod won't change address overheating.
    Nope, not if you're riding the brakes down the descents... That's just not something they are designed to deal with vs short, hard braking stints.

    Have you tried to modulate your braking fore and aft to allow each of the brakes a brief cool down between application: more specifically, use only the front brake for about 50 yards, then switch to the rear brake only for 50 yards, and so on down the hill? Disc brakes heat up quickly but they also cool-off quickly when they are moving through the wind at a good clip. By modulating braking effort front to rear you may be able to find a happy median where you get the amount of downhill speed control you want while keeping the brakes from reaching that superhot temp where plastic adjusting nobs start to melt.

    It should be possible for your dealer to work a warranty deal to rebuild or replace your rear disc hub with an arai-drum compabile hub and install a set of rear cantilever brakes as your primary rear brakes, noting that a pair of studs just need to be screwed back in the braze-ons that I believe are still on the seat stays. At this point, you'd just need to leverage your customer satisfaction dividend for a deal on an Arai drum brake and you should be all set for all your braking needs. I'd definitely keep the front disc as it's still better than a rim brake for wet conditions and overall braking performance and use your rear rim and drag brake as any other team without discs would.

    Just a thought....

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