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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 07-15-11, 01:12 PM   #1
rcschafer
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C & V Tandem, no drag brake

Hello all. I'm a casual rider and have just picked up an '86-87 Holdworth tandem (will post pics once this storm system moves through.) The bike has some typical C & V issues (paint dings, rust, way tight captain's seat post, stuck stem) but is otherwise in good shape and should ride nicely once everything's back together. 531 tubing, cantilever rim brakes and an 18-speed (52-42-32/13-28) drivetrain. Oh, and it's pink



At some point (I'm guessing) the wheelset was replaced and the drag brake was removed. It now has 27" 36 spoke Matrix Titan Tour rims laced to no-name low flange hubs; the rear hub is not threaded for a drag brake. Eventually I'll build a stronger wheelset and install an Arai but these should be ok, strength-wise, for now (I'm 180lb and my prospective stoker is around 115-120lbs.) I'm in New Orleans, LA (flatter than a pancake) so the missing drag brake doesn't bother me at the moment.

It's possible that this might be our ride for the MS150 in October, which does have some moderate hills:



(route map)

Question: would the wheelset upgrade and drag brake be necessary for this ride? I plan on doing it eventually anyway but I'm not sure if it's a showstopper if I don't have it together in time for the ride.
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Old 07-15-11, 04:11 PM   #2
barkersoldbean
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Personally, having had experience of a similar tandem (Bill Phillbrook with Mafac canti's) - i would not worry about the need for a drag brake with the ride you are anticipating - with <300m of climbing you will not be likely to overheat anything on the way down or face a situation where you had insufficient braking force. If you ever plan to do longer, steeper rides, then i would seriously consider upgrading the braking area - either a drag brake if you have the clearance (we couldn't as the rear spacing on our tandem was 130mm) or at least upgrade brake pads. BTW - we changed the hubs from 36h campag sheriff star to 36h shimano ultegra on open pro rims and the average speed increased by 1.5 mph.
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Old 07-15-11, 04:13 PM   #3
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Oh and by the way - if you want a new set of Paul canti brakes - i can provide them!
Tony
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Old 07-15-11, 04:41 PM   #4
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Is it still possible to find a Arai Drag Brake, used?? I've heard they don't make them anymore but IF I could find a used one, I'd think seriously of adding to our new Trek T-900 Recreational Tandem. We live in Colorado Springs and we do have some really good downhills, thanks!
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Old 07-15-11, 04:54 PM   #5
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"Assuming" that you've got new brake pads & cables, those elevation changes & distances don't look extreme.
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Old 07-15-11, 06:38 PM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback - brakes and cables are in good shape (Shimano STX) and I'll take some extra pads along just in case.

The rear spacing is 130mm - does that definitely rule out a drag brake? Seems odd, the frame has braze-ons for the drag brake cable and reaction arm. Hmmm.
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Old 07-15-11, 10:25 PM   #7
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Drag brakes (drum or disc or extra rim brake ) are not mandatory for most hill descents.
Have climbed and descended Kitt Peak in Arizona ((8,000 elevation) with twisting mounting curves and average 7% grade for 11 miles with Mafac cantilever brakes . . . no 3rd brake.
Very do-able. But did stop halfway into the descent to rest my cramping fingers. Felt the rims and they were warm but not hot. Conrtinued descent a few minutes later without any issues.
Much depends on how you brake. Don't wait to the last second and then panic brake.
A consistent on/off left/right on brake levers is recommended.
Also, sit upright to create a bit of wind drag when doing a descent like that.
Have tandemed in Louisiana . . . no hills . . . but do watch out for sugarcane falling off overloaded trucks
Enjoy the ride TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 07-16-11, 04:48 PM   #8
barkersoldbean
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The 130 spacing is an issue. I have walked this route already with our 130 spaced Phillbrook. You can get a hub that fits and has an Arai or disc fitting -problem is spoke count (36h only) and dish on wheel. Net of all this is you have a wheel that is not up to strong braking forces.
We have bought a f/r disc tandem for alpine work. Safety is #1
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