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  1. #1
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    Brake setup reccomendations (or help I am confused)

    The Wife and I recently purchased a used 2000 Santana Arriva XL size. We love the bike and love riding together. Problem is, I am not sure if I need a different brake setup on the bike. We live in Western North Carolina off the Blue Ridge mountains. This gives us many choices in terrain from fairly flat to steep climbs and descents. We have put 150 miles on the bike but stayed away from steeper routes. The bike is stock with Avid single digit V brakes front and rear. As a team we weight in at 400lbs. We don't do packed touring. I like the idea of a disc only rear, but don't like the idea of having to adjust the brakes mid ride (as per some posts here). Not crazy about a drum brake due to the fact of needing a third lever.

    So are the stock brakes good enough or should I consider one of the other set-ups?

    I know there are hundreds of posts on here about brakes but I couldn't find any where weight was mentioned. Surely that needs to be part of the discussion.

    Thanks for the time,

    richard

  2. #2
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    If you haven't had a problem, and have no intention of getting into steeper terrain, or carrying more of a load, you're probably OK. Given that it is used and about 10 years old, it may or may not have the stock shoes on the brakes. Especially at your weight, but also due to the potential age of the brakes it is likely worth at least investing in a good set of shoes. There are several opinions on what constitutes good shoes, but I think I can safely narrow your choices to shoes SwissStop Green or CoolStop Salmon. And you should inspect and probably clean your rims from time to time, depending on how clean and dry the roads are when you go riding.

    The two risks inherent in rim brakes are that
    1) if you do overheat them sufficiently you can cause the front tire to blow off the rim [possibly mitigated by using an aramid (Kevlar (TM) )-bead tire].
    2) you will have slightly poorer braking when wet [quality pads (see above)] will make wet braking close enough to the same as dry that the risk at the tire-road interface is greater than that at the brake-rim interface.

    It is because of 1) above that most folks planning to do loaded touring - which for us would mean roughly 360-375 pounds for riders plus gear (not including bike) - use a drum brake when riding in steep terrain. You don't need to - but it is easier (descending - harder by a couple of pounds climbing). If you don't have a drum brake and you go down a sufficiently steep hill that presents the need to slow down or stop - either a stop sign at the bottom, or a sufficiently tight curve, or even surface conditions that don't warrant the speed you might otherwise go - you may need to come to a full stop from time to time in order to let the rim and brakes cool off. As Sheldon Brown says, "For pure stopping power, good rim brakes, properly adjusted, can stop a tandem as well as they can stop a solo." It's repeated slowing that's the issue, especially just leaving the brake on.

    On our tour last summer I would have used the drum once had I had it installed. But we managed. The rim was hot enough to be quite uncomfortable to touch, but nothing failed. This was a case of a (very) steep hill with a stop sign at the bottom and a 30 (20?) MPH speed limit (park road). I wasn't sure how much in excess of 20 MPH above the limit I should let it go, so I slowed way down two or three times on the way down, and then just let it go in between.

    Bottom line: at your weight, if you're going to be in seriously steep terrain - other than straight and smooth - I would recommend adding the dreaded drum. Overheating your rims can cause catastrophic failure in the form of the front tire blowing off. Overheating a disk brake can reduce its effectiveness, just when you need it most (which is true of rim brakes if the tire stays on). But if you're willing to slow down to a stop and let your brakes cool when you get to a point of risking overheating, your current system or disks will do the job.
    Last edited by WebsterBikeMan; 02-24-10 at 03:20 PM.

  3. #3
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    I think it depends in part on your riding style, and how risk adverse you are.

    As Webster points out it's not a question of stopping the bike, its a question of the rims over heating.

    If you descend fast, using the brakes only to slow for turns, not to limit speed overall (i.e. braking hard but sparingly) you're less likely to overheat the rims, than if you use the brakes to limit your speed down the descent in general, and are on them pretty much constantly.

    So slower descending teams actually need to be more concerned about rim over heating.

    Personally, I would try the bike out as is (perhaps with new pads) and do some of the steeper descents you're going to ride, stopping frequently to check the rims, and see how it goes. That will tell you whether you want to add a drum.

    Our experience FWIW

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  4. #4
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Agree with the above postings.
    Much of it depends also on the team's comfort level and how you brake.
    Grabbing 2 handfuls of brake levers at the last second is only reserved for panic stops . . . yes, we've had a couple.
    Modulating the brakes on long descents lets the rims cool momentarily. Apply front brake, let go and do rear brake . . .
    Have done an 11 mile continuous 7% downgrade with mountain curves with only old Mafac canti brakes back in the very early 80s without issues. However, did stop half-way into the descent as my fingers were starting to cramp from the repepetitive on/off braking. While stopped we checked the rims; they were warm, but quite touchable and not hot. Continued our descent without any problems.
    We are a rather light weight team (under 250 lbs) and had been warned by so-called 'tanbdem experts' that we would not be able to descend the mountain without a drum brake.
    So much for tandem 'experts'!
    Brake systems and pads have improved greatly since then.
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  5. #5
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratfink74 View Post
    So are the stock brakes good enough or should I consider one of the other set-ups?
    Others have addressed most of the key things to consider. The only thing I'll add here is a question and an answer to that question:

    Have you ever experienced brake fade on your bicycle or tandem in the past and know what it sounds like as your brake blocks heat-up enough to start out-gassing and glazing over? That's the real key to understanding when you need to take action, as it's typically prolonged braking once brake fade begins that spells trouble with regard to having a tire blow-off or simply losing your ability to safely control the speed of your tandem.

    If you've not experienced it, or didn't realize what it was, when brake pad materials exceed their design limits for heat capacity they begin to out-gas and what you hear and begin to feel is a very gritty sound coming from your brakes accompanied by a gradual loss of braking effectiveness. In other words, even though you may be applying even more brake lever pressure there is not much effect because your brake pad's have started to glaze over as hot gasses exit the pad face against the rim's brake track.

    Now, in a worst case scenario where someone has been riding both front & rear brakes to the point where they have brake fade on both wheels, getting the bike to stop can become nearly impossible on a steep descent. Therefore, if you find yourself on a long, steep descent where almost constant braking is needed to keep your speed in check you'll want to do a couple things to maximize your braking power and fend-off brake fade:

    #1 - Don't let the tandem accelerate to uncomfortable speeds in the first place; the higher the speed the more friction that will be needed to reduce that speed.
    #2 - Remember that the air flowing over your rims as you descend provides almost all of the cooling power...
    #3 - Take advantage of that cooling effect by alternating the use of your front & rear brakes so that each rim will have a chance to bleed off some of the brake-induced heat: 1/8 of mile on the front, then an 1/8 of a mile on the rear.
    #4 - If you start to detect brake fade on one of the brakes and you're not close to the bottom of the descent or a level section of road that will allow your brakes to remain off for a while, look for a safe place to pull off and use the other brake to quickly bring your bike to a stop, aided by the weak brake only as needed.
    #5 - Enjoy the views, a sip of water and some quality time with your riding partner as the rims and brakes cool off, then on your way...

  6. #6
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Wondering just have many of us BF tandem posters have themselves experienced *brake failure*?
    Near failure?
    Under what conditions?
    We have not yet in our 225,000+ miles of tandeming.
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy anbd Kay/zonatandem

  7. #7
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    I like the Arai drum brake. Does your tandem have the boss welded on to the left chainstay? The Arai is really just a drag brake. The third lever is not a big deal; just ask the stoker to apply it at times and it will dissipate a good deal of energy. It is not going to cause the bike to come to a screeching halt. Think of it like an engine brake on a big semi truck.

  8. #8
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Wondering just have many of us BF tandem posters have themselves experienced *brake failure*?
    Chances are, if you're not a very large team (and clearly you and Kay have always been welter weights) or don't push road and off-road tandems to the ragged-edge where high brake demands and heat loads truly get generated, then you would probably not have much experience with brade fade. From my '04 Survey of Hobbes, BikeForum/Tandem & Double Forte readers, this was a pretty good representation of the bell curve on team weights. Again, I suspect you and Kay are way up on the top / light end of this scale while the OP is clearly on the lower / heavy end.

    Presentation2.jpg

    As for the masses, Question #8 from my 2008 Survey of Hobbes, BikeForum/Tandem & Double Forte readers, (extracted image posted below) explored this subject and the number of affected riders is probably about right at the macro level: http://www.thetandemlink.com/surveys/fallsurvey_08a.htm

    Presentation1.jpg

    From personal road experience, we've had partial brake fade with both rim and disc brakes several times during extremely hard braking ahead of switch backs on very high-speed descents, , e.g., dropping from 55 mph to 20 mph in 1/8 to 1/4 mile really cooks your brakes.

    Riding off-road, we've melted the rear brake pads off a set of V-brakes as a result of total brake fade on a long, steep fire road descent, immediately after which we upgraded to a new full-suspension tandem with hydraulic, open-system downhill racing discs. We've successfully cooked those downhill brakes to the point where heat expansion caused the rear disc to lock-up on several occasions and have experienced several partical brake fade episodes on some of the faster, technical descents.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 02-25-10 at 09:26 AM.

  9. #9
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Wondering just have many of us BF tandem posters have themselves experienced *brake failure*?
    Near failure?
    Under what conditions?
    We have not yet in our 225,000+ miles of tandeming.
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy anbd Kay/zonatandem

    Descending Brasstown Bald, which is steep, twisty, and dangerous to the point we were not going to bomb down it, our brakes were pretty seriously off gassing by the bottom. If it would have been any longer we would have had to have stopped as the brakes were getting to the point that you could tell they were losing their effectiveness.

    But we've never had them actually fail.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
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  10. #10
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    Never had a brake failure, but I have caused the drum to heat up to the point that it was smoking. This was descending Deer Creek which is longer and steeper than the Westlake side of the hill that the Tour of California will be using on its final stage (May 23, 2010 for those of you who want to watch it). I am sure that the Tour riders (Lance Armstrong, etc.) will be using their brakes much less than I do, but our team/bike weight is probably close to two and a half times theirs and our brakes are not that different. Oh, and I don't pretend that I can descend as well as Lance - I go a lot slower.

    It only takes one time for a heat caused blow out, brake failure or fade to get your attention. Had a friend go down last weekend on a sharp corner on a descent while riding a 300k. Broke his hip, surgery, four titanium pins with a potential for a future hip replacement.

    Brakes are good. Using them is good. Having brakes when you need them - priceless.

    Ride Safe.

  11. #11
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    We had our first interesting experience with braking this past Sunday. We were descending a steep road with a sharp turn at the bottom. Our front rim did get hot and started squealing, then we flatted in the rear just after the turn. Our rear had gotten hot enough for the tube to blow through the Nashbar poly rim strip. A bit of boot material over the failures and we were on our way. Changed to Velox tape the next day. Also replaced the front pads, which were pretty bad, with KoolStop salmon/black.

    Questions: if the pads overheat and glaze, does simply cooling them restore the surface? Or do they need to be sanded or something? Does anyone carry pliers to replace the pads on V-brakes? Or a way to do it sans pliers?

  12. #12
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Questions: if the pads overheat and glaze, does simply cooling them restore the surface? Or do they need to be sanded or something? Does anyone carry pliers to replace the pads on V-brakes? Or a way to do it sans pliers?
    When it happened to us with Dura Ace pads on Dura Ace calipers braking performance returned to normal after they cooled down.

    My bet is the glazing effect would limit the brake's performance for a bit, but some normal light braking after they've cooled appears to be enough to scrape off any problem on the surface of the pad.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
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  13. #13
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    When it happened to us with Dura Ace pads on Dura Ace calipers braking performance returned to normal after they cooled down.

    My bet is the glazing effect would limit the brake's performance for a bit, but some normal light braking after they've cooled appears to be enough to scrape off any problem on the surface of the pad.
    Pretty much...

    Once everything cools off the more typical abrasive interaction of the rim or rotor brake surface and brake pad material will resume. If it doesn't, you'll most likely experience slip-stick/brake squeal or find that the brakes have a coarse-feel in which case you might want to clean your brake track with a 3M scrunge pad and some soapy water or rubbing alcohol and give your brake blocks a light sanding with some medium grit media to expedite the recovery process. For discs, pretty much the same thing.

    However, for severe cases it's not a bad idea to clean the brake track on your rims with

  14. #14
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    However, for severe cases it's not a bad idea to clean the brake track on your rims with
    With .... With .... WHAT??!!

    Might recommend that if you're at home when you do this, get away from the sand paper that's so easy to carry when touring. Some blocks will pick up some amount of the sandpaper grit just like they do road grit. A file works better if one is handy.
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  15. #15
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Must have been a hanging chad from an edit that I forgot about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Onegun View Post
    With .... With .... WHAT??!!
    A scrunge pad or, as it's now more commonly called, a Scotch Brite Pad or even just a sheet of Scotch Brite



    That or a terry cloth towel is about all I'd ever touch a bicycle rim's brake track with. The lazy-man's way of cleaning your rims is to stick a narrow strip of Scotch Brite between your brake blocks and the rim, holding it in place with a little brake cable/lever pressure. Apply some soapy water or water/alcohol to the Scotch Brite and then while pressing the brake blocks against the rim with brake cable/lever pressure, just rotate the wheel several revolutions. Repeat as necessary until you get the desired amount of brake residue removed from the rim. Wash the wheel with soapy water and rinse.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all the input. New pads are on the way (swiss stop greens). We are going to try it without any extra braking and see how it goes. One reason we haven't tried steeper stuff is the weather hasn't been cooperating. Too much snow up high. I will oscillate the braking to help control speed.

    As for drum brakes, what is the favored way control them? friction shifter? use a cable splitter to tie the front and rear brakes to one lever and control the drum with the other?

    Going back to the Kevlar bead tire comment, I was reading on Percision's website that a team our size should use wire bead. I did replace the tires that came with the bike to the Continental Ultra gatorskin 28c tires. Is a Kevlar bead safe for a team our size?

    thanks again

    Richard

  17. #17
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    So my wife and I did our first organized ride in the rain this weekend in San Diego and the wet weather really wore down the pads on the caliper brakes(whatever comes on the non disc brake cannondales). The brakes ended up failing to the point where we weren't slowing down and after unintentionally running a red light I had to unclip and dragged my foot to stop. After waiting an hour and a half at an REI we bought some new brakes but they also wore down quite a bit and were squealing an obnoxious amount (wife was very embarrassed). We plan to start doing some multi day touring (Glacier Park this summer) and want to upgrade the brakes. I really don't know anything about bikes so trying to find the most cost effective way of upgrading the brakes. Also our brakes are currently setup so they are both applied with the pull of just the left lever (there is no right brake lever on the bike and I've read that might make a drum brake a good option).

    I really just want something that can be quickly added at a fairly reasonable cost (would like less than $300 as that would be a third of what we spent on the bike). I went to a local bike shop and asked about disc brakes and they told me I would need new wheels and was looking at well over my desired price. I've looked on precision tandems website based on some other posts and was wondering if the disc kits would work (not sure about the threaded hub bit).

    If someone could give me some advice (if it is possible at the desired price) and a website with instructions and where and what parts to purchase it would be greatly appreciated.

  18. #18
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by act0fgod View Post
    Also our brakes are currently setup so they are both applied with the pull of just the left lever (there is no right brake lever on the bike and I've read that might make a drum brake a good option).
    Before diving into brake options can you answer some questions....

    What year and model Cannondale is this?
    What type, brand and model of brakes are on the bike?
    What type, brand and model of rims are on the bike?

    Better yet, can you post a photo of your tandem and a close-up of the brakes?

    I'm really struggling with the single brake lever set-up as that takes a lot of careful adjustment to make it work and then to keep it working (basically a bad idea that was in vogue many years ago and thankfully went out of vogue) as well as the extent of your brake pad wear. Knowing what you're riding and how it's equipped will go a long way towards generating more useful information.

  19. #19
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by act0fgod View Post
    So my wife and I did our first organized ride in the rain this weekend in San Diego and the wet weather really wore down the pads on the caliper brakes(whatever comes on the non disc brake cannondales). The brakes ended up failing to the point where we weren't slowing down and after unintentionally running a red light I had to unclip and dragged my foot to stop.
    Your brake pads wore down enough in ONE RIDE in the rain that you ran a red light because you couldn't stop the bike? This is DANGEROUS!


    Quote Originally Posted by act0fgod View Post
    Also our brakes are currently setup so they are both applied with the pull of just the left lever (there is no right brake lever on the bike and I've read that might make a drum brake a good option
    There's no right brake lever?!?!? Maybe this is why your brakes are wearing down so fast - it could be that it's not adjusted properly and you are really using only one of the brakes.

    Good brakes don't have to be expensive - I'll bet that adding a second brake lever and getting everything adjusted correctly would make this a safe bike without spending too much money.

  20. #20
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by act0fgod View Post
    So my wife and I did our first organized ride in the rain this weekend in San Diego and the wet weather really wore down the pads on the caliper brakes(whatever comes on the non disc brake cannondales). The brakes ended up failing to the point where we weren't slowing down and after unintentionally running a red light I had to unclip and dragged my foot to stop.
    First, I agree with the other two who suggested you don't want to have both brakes on one lever. Second, I have to wonder what brand of shoes you're running through so fast. Some brands (Swiss Stop Green, and I believe Cool Stop Salmon) are better at handling wet conditions than others. They cost substantially more and are worth it. As for cost - you're figuring bar tape; a new pair of levers, $43 at Harris; possibly a length of new cable; and two pair of shoes ($30-$40 per pair). Total should be under $125.

    A drum brake is still an option: often controlled with a bar-end shift lever (on one of three possible bar ends - not the same one where you have the front brake control).

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    Thanks for the replies. Iíve attached some photos (the bike still needs to be cleaned as it was only wiped down) but in regards to the brakes I couldnít find a model and only see the Shimano. The bike is a 2002 Cannondale RT1000. The bike is setup so that both brakes are applied with 1 lever because the captain we bought the bike from was missing a hand and therefore couldnít apply the brakes with 2 levers. I didnít/donít know how to change it. Iíve tried to attach a picture of the device that brings them together but the mount for our handlebar bag is kind of in the way (it can also be seen that I misspoke when I said the right was missing the left is the lever that is missing). The left side basically is missing the silver level and the front derailleur level is the switch that you see so he could still shift the bike. In regards to the rims not sure if the Mavic sticker gives you information about the rims but I couldnít find anything else that indicates a brand or model other than the tire.

    In regards to the pads wearing down in 1 ride they werenít new for the race and we have ridding about 1000 miles on the bike and not sure when they were replaced by the previous owner. We obviously should have changed them sooner. It was DANGEROUS. Neither of us really owned a bike other than when we were in grade school (weíre still in our 20ís now) so learning as we go what to do. When we replaced the pads at the REI we threw the old pads and holder away so not sure what brand they were. They were all pretty evenly worn (except the one of the rear pads was significantly more on the rear of the pad). The pads we put on are Avid Rim Wrangler 2 Brake Pads Powered by SRAM (basically what they had at REI). The pads after the 70 miles that we rode on them in the rain look a bit like they melted and when I touched them today pretty large pieces flaked off so Iíll probably replace them again.

    Last I included a picture of what I assume is the threaded rear hub.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  22. #22
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Your brakes are basic Shimano Deore V-Brakes, not the best but more than adequate if they're set-up correctly.

    The gizmo that controls both brakes is marketed by QBP under their Problem Solvers house brand of components and is called a "Cable Doubler". You can find instructions for it here: http://www.problemsolversbike.com/images/DoublerTwo.pdf.

    Your rims are also pretty good, although the brake track could probably stand to be cleaned (see scrunge pads earlier in the thread).

    Anyway, here's my diagnosis: You need to get rid of the doubler, add-back a left-hand front brake lever, get new housings and brake cables installed, get some fresh Shimano brake blocks (just make sure they're really 'fresh' and not old dried-out inventory) that are toe'd-in correctly and you'll want to make sure the Travel Agent V-Brake adapter are set up correctly.

    As for the left hand / front brake lever, if you don't mind using the bar-end shifter for your front derailleur you can vastly improve your braking performance for not a lot of dough by picking up a fairly inexpensive ($21) pair of Tektro RL-520 V-brake compatible drop-bar brake levers. These are dead ringers for the very nice Cane Creek SCR-5V 'Ergo' drop bar levers for half the money. If you'd like to reconstitute your tandem to full STI dual control levers you can probably find a set of NOS 9 speed STI 105 or Ultegra triples on FleaBay for under $100. Newer versions will be more like $125-$150 slightly used. Either way will work but, frankly, the bar-end might be just as good and less of a hassle compared to an older set of STI triple levers that don't have the extra index points.

    If you do all of those things yourself it won't cost all that much if you stick with bulk type cables/housing and $10 bar tape instead of the brand-name stuff. This is just basic maintenance and proper set-up. The V-brake adapter (that silver thing with the wheel) would NOT be needed if you put the Tektro RL520 lever on: they're designed to work with V-brakes, and that would be a good thing. You'll still need the one on the rear brake and you just need to be sure that the cable is routed correctly and the cam is aligned so that the opening is in the 2 O'Clock position. You can find the Travel Agent instructions here: http://www.problemsolversbike.com/im...agent_inst.pdf.

    If you go with STI levers for both brakes, then the front would still need the V-brake adapter. As for brake squeal, I'm guessing that the rims were pretty messed up by the older brake pads and that your new pads weren't necessarily toe'd in correctly. Again, cleaning the brake track and doing a careful job of re-aligning a fresh set of brake blocks on the bike will give your brakes the bite that they should have. You can find V-brake pad adjustment tips about 1/2 way down this page: http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=21

  23. #23
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    How about putting disc breaks or drum brakes on. Is this possible for under 300?

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    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by act0fgod View Post
    How about putting disc breaks or drum brakes on. Is this possible for under 300?
    Yes, but you still need to address everything else first given that it's your front brake that's the true source of your problem.

    A rear brake, regardless of what type, will not STOP a tandem. So, as to whether you'd be better served by a disc or drum for your future trip the question is, what's the combined weight of you and your wife (value #1) and what is the most weight that you will carry on the tandem in terms of loaded panniers (Value #2) or in a trailer (Value #3)?

    Unless your tandem will be carrying upwards of 350 - 400 lbs into steep terrain OR if you and your wife have decided that all steep descents need to be taken at very low speeds that require constant braking, a drum brake is typically unnecessary. I say typically only because there is always an exception to prove the rule. A drum brake can sometimes be found on places like Ebay second hand for between $50 and $150, depending on the condition and if any parts are missing. An example of pricing for new ones can be found HERE and some additional general information can be found HERE. Your tandem is somewhat ready to go for an Arai in that it has a left-hand threaded Shimano HF07 or HF08 tandem hub, a pac-man braze on for the reaction arm and a bar-end shifter which is what's typically used to control drum brakes.

    As for the disc, a rear disc brake is typically used to replace the rim brake not to supplement it. The disc will be more effective in wet conditions at slowing your tandem, however it still can't safely stop a tandem by itself and can also cause a rear-tire skid on wet pavement, particularly in corners; again, the front brake is your most important brake. The disc will also tolerate a significant amount of brake heat if used for prolonged periods of time on a steep decent; but, again... it's not designed to be used as a drag brake. Cost wise, probably about $145 for the caliper, a 203mm rotor, a thread-on rotor adapter and perhaps an inline Travel Agent to make adjusting and using your Avid a bit more easy.


  25. #25
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by act0fgod View Post
    The pads after the 70 miles that we rode on them in the rain look a bit like they melted and when I touched them today pretty large pieces flaked off so Iíll probably replace them again.
    From the photos, it appears that your brake pads are toe'd out rather than toe'd in and that they're not full contact over the entire braking surface. The pads should be toe'd in - that is, the front of the pad should contact before the rear - so that the pad is "pulled" into contact with the rim as you apply the brake. If the pad is flat or toe'd out (the rear of the pad contacts first) the front of the pad will be pulled away from the rim and it will "chatter".


    Quote Originally Posted by act0fgod View Post
    How about putting disc breaks or drum brakes on.
    I perceive a little misunderstanding behind your questions....

    You seem to be convinced that your rim brakes are the problem and that it would be solved by replacing them with disc or drum brakes (as long as it can be done for less than $300.)

    As far as drum brakes are concerned: Drum brakes don't have the braking power to stop the bike and therefore are not used as a primary brake. You will always see them on the rear wheel as a third brake used in ADDITION to a rim brake. They are used to control your speed on long, steep descents so that you don't overuse and overheat the rim brakes.

    It also appears that you envision replacing the front rim brake with a disc. You cannot; the fork on your bike is not disc-compatible so you are "stuck" with a rim brake on the front. You could replace your brakes with a higher-quality V-brake or even cantilevers, but I wouldn't guarantee that it would improve your braking performance.

    The bottom line is: You asked for the most cost-effective way to upgrade your brakes. Replacing the rear with a disc is feasible but not necessary and not cost-effective. Since there is nothing inherently wrong with your brakes, just get a left lever, get rid of the splitter, install new pads, and adjust everything so that it works properly.
    Last edited by swc7916; 03-12-10 at 11:20 AM.

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