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Old 08-11-11, 06:22 PM   #1
akexpress
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Tandems on Mt Ventoux

We just returned from a Santana tour of the Sarone /Rhone river area of France. In addition to an exception tour the opportunity to ride Mt Ventoux was presented. Initially
about 50 tandem teams expressed interest although after a week of riding and better description of the mountain only 15 teams did the ride with 13 completing all of it. Mt Ventoux is one of the classic beyond category climbs in France with about 5400 ft of climbing in 14 miles with not a single ft of level road. The grade averages 6% with some extended pitches at 10%. Many stage rides of the tour de France have included Mt Ventoux. We think it may have been the largest number of tandems on the mt at one time. The professional photographers that are on the side everyday kept commenting every time a tandem went by. On a side note all the tandems had either a disc or drag brake for the descent. Every brand of disc brake had issues except one.
The avids all melted the inner adjustment ring which is what we have on our Calfee, the winzips all went thru a complete set of pads before the bottom. It did not matter what your descending style was they all had problems except the Bengal calipers now on Santanas.
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Old 08-11-11, 07:41 PM   #2
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Nicely done! Congrats on the major climb. Wondering about the brake issues: were the discs that had "issues" all being used as the main/only brake, or were some used with or as the drag brake. A few years ago we did a major descent from the "Col du Pas de Peyrol" in central France on which we melted the decals off our avid being used as a drag brake, and the disc itself smoked and turned blue, but it worked - allowing me to use the rim brakes just for feathering the speed for switchbacks, etc.

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Old 08-11-11, 08:23 PM   #3
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Climbing Ventoux is a major accomplishment for a tandem team no matter how you slice it. It's hard. Well done.
Which side of Ventoux did you descend? If you came down the twisty side to Bédoin, I can see it would be very hard on brakes. But if you climb that side and descend to Malaucène you don't have to brake all that much. Aerodynamics exerts a heck of a lot of drag at 90 km/hr, especially sitting up, elbows and knees out, and jackets unzipped and flapping. (We are sub-300lb though.) There is some hard braking for the bends and you need to get started on the braking early but if you can tolerate speeds over 75 km/hr you don't need to brake much on the long tangents, and a quick hard pulse to slow down still leaves lots of time to cool the rotor. We came down non-stop, twice (in two different trips),...nothing melted, no need to adjust pads or anything. There are many much harder descents in France. The north side of Port de Balès in the Pyrenees is very demanding.

The descent from Pas du Peyrol that 2frmMi did is a whole 'nuther matter: 2 km of 15% you wish you were dragging a railway tie behind you with a logging chain.
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Old 08-12-11, 07:24 AM   #4
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2 km of 15% you wish you were dragging a railway tie behind you with a logging chain.
Ha! Hadn't thought of that solution. Maybe next time.
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Old 08-12-11, 08:02 AM   #5
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I notice that the only brake complaints in the OP are from disc-equipped bikes. The drum brake folks didn't have a problem? We put on a drum after reading that the only thing that would stop a Santana triple on a steep descent was a drum.
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Old 08-12-11, 08:24 AM   #6
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akexpress, Just curious, were there any Arai drums on the trip? If so, how did they fare?
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Old 08-12-11, 10:50 AM   #7
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akexpress, Just curious, were there any Arai drums on the trip? If so, how did they fare?
The bikes with drums had no issues and good control although they all said they could smell them off gassing. We climbed from the Bedoin side and descended the Malaucene side. No one used the disc brakes as drag brakes to my knowledge.
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Old 08-12-11, 11:56 AM   #8
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Great achievement! Ventoux is hard on singles. I'd be using the Arai for sure.
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Old 08-12-11, 01:00 PM   #9
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Is there a Strava or Garmin Connect upload of the ride you can link? Also, is there a group photo sharing set at site such as Flickr or Picasa?
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Old 08-12-11, 02:10 PM   #10
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I just read in the UK tandem club magazine of a recumbent tandem pair that made it up Ventoux.... that seriously impresses me since IMHO a recumbent is all about descent and flat riding and to climb that way must add a whole other dimension of difficulty.
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Old 08-12-11, 04:22 PM   #11
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So then to be clear, the Bengal caliipers were not damaged and operated properly for the entire descent? That would be very interesting news on many levels.
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Old 08-12-11, 06:49 PM   #12
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Jenni and I climbed Mt. Ventoux in 2004, up from Bedoin and down into Malaucène, where we were staying. It was the day of a Dauphine time trial stage up the mountain, so there were plenty of spectators. Had spectacular weather and climbed non-stop from Bedoin. As I remember, it took us almost exactly twice as long as the top pro cyclists (Lance among them.) Dunno what the spectators were saying, but we got plenty of comments. IIRC, we saw only one other tandem among the hundreds (thousands?) of cyclists heading up the mountain that morning. We had only standard reach caliper brakes on our Bilenky and experienced no brake-related issues on the descent. We did stop once not far from the top to let the rims cool, because we were stuck behind a line of cars who were all leaving the mountain when we were. Once traffic cleared, we didn't have to brake very often. Yes, it probably helped that our combined net weight (i.e., buck naked) was/is only about 270 lbs.

Definitely something to put on your tandeming to-do list, though I can imagine that it's not as much fun on a cold and windy day.

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Dave
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Old 08-12-11, 08:01 PM   #13
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So then to be clear, the Bengal caliipers were not damaged and operated properly for the entire descent? That would be very interesting news on many levels.
There were I believe 3 Bengal calipers and they all worked fine. I might add that our avid worked fine it is just that the spoke side adjuster melted. Loss of the adjuster could allow the puck to vibrate out. I just changed pads and rode the rest of week without incident and used a torqex bit to adjust the pad on the spoke side. The other Calfee is a very experienced tandem team from Colorado whom don't brake much and had the same issue, they hit 48 mph on the descent per GPS reading. The Bengal caliper is a direct bolt on replacement for the avid and seems to work fine on 203 or 220 mm rotor.
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Old 08-12-11, 09:19 PM   #14
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Is there a Strava or Garmin Connect upload of the ride you can link? Also, is there a group photo sharing set at site such as Flickr or Picasa?
here is the Garmin connect file of our ride http://connect.garmin.com/activity/106023548
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Old 08-12-11, 09:32 PM   #15
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Is there a Strava or Garmin Connect upload of the ride you can link? Also, is there a group photo sharing set at site such as Flickr or Picasa?
no group photo sharing site that I am aware of yet
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Old 08-15-11, 08:46 AM   #16
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Good job! That's an impressive climb via a single, much less a tandem. I've descended the mountain twice (Bedoin side) and the twists and turns can heat up rims and pads pretty quickly.

BTW, I was in the area last summer and noticed that there is a bike rental place at the foot of the mountain in Bedoin that had a nice Cannondale road tandem for rent, if anyone gets the urge to try riding it. See http://www.francebikerentals.com/Ren...3/Default.aspx
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Old 08-15-11, 09:45 AM   #17
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There were I believe 3 Bengal calipers and they all worked fine. The Bengal caliper is a direct bolt on replacement for the avid and seems to work fine on 203 or 220 mm rotor.
Do you know which bengal model? I wonder if the ramps are any steepr than the Avid, that could eliminate the need for brake booster devices.
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Old 08-15-11, 05:07 PM   #18
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The Bengal model is MT700T and I don't know if it has steeper ramps. With my Shimano DuraAce brifters I never felt the need for brake booster devices with the Avids. I think there might be two different models of Avids one for flat bar shifters (mtn) and one for drop shifters(road)?
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Old 08-15-11, 05:11 PM   #19
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The Bengal model is MT700T and I don't know if it has steeper ramps. With my Shimano DuraAce brifters I never felt the need for brake booster devices with the Avids. I think there might be two different models of Avids one for flat bar shifters (mtn) and one for drop shifters(road)?
I think with Shimano road levers create more cable movement than Campy levers.
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Old 08-16-11, 06:55 AM   #20
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I think there might be two different models of Avids one for flat bar shifters (mtn) and one for drop shifters(road)?
Yes, Avid/SRAM makes BB7 (and BB5) calipers in both MTB and Road flavors. For best results, you must use BB7 road calipers with road levers. Another variable is that Shimano increased the brake cable pull of their road levers when they changed in recent years from flopping-in-the-breeze gear cables to under-the-housing cables.

A quick trip to the Bengal site [http://www.bengalperformance.com.tw] reveals that the MT700T is indeed the road version of their MB700 caliper.
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Old 08-16-11, 06:55 PM   #21
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Hey John and Donna,

Nice photo and it looks like a nice day compared to ours When we did Ventoux we had a minor issue with our Avid BB7 203 mm which was primarily because the pads were worn out. We got down without too much drama once we figured out that the noise was the spring that holds the pads apart rubbing on the rotor. This is a warning device like car disk brakes where you get squealing when the pads are near the wear limit.

Peter

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Nicely done! Congrats on the major climb. Wondering about the brake issues: were the discs that had "issues" all being used as the main/only brake, or were some used with or as the drag brake. A few years ago we did a major descent from the "Col du Pas de Peyrol" in central France on which we melted the decals off our avid being used as a drag brake, and the disc itself smoked and turned blue, but it worked - allowing me to use the rim brakes just for feathering the speed for switchbacks, etc.

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Old 08-16-11, 07:58 PM   #22
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Hey John and Donna,
Nice photo and it looks like a nice day compared to ours
Peter
Was VERY hot all the way up, but a pleasure going down. From the pics in your album, looks like your weather was pretty grim. Loved the long glide that followed the diving switchbacks! We most definitely required readjustment of the pads after this descent. Lots of wear. Kind of a revelation for us, as new disc users at the time: had no idea how much wear would occur in a short steep descent. Haven't used the disc brake much recently (not since riding with you in Tuscany), but thinking of doing Provence next summer so will probably put it back on.
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Old 08-16-11, 09:03 PM   #23
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When we did Ventoux we had a minor issue with our Avid BB7 203 mm which was primarily because the pads were worn out. We got down without too much drama once we figured out that the noise was the spring that holds the pads apart rubbing on the rotor. This is a warning device like car disk brakes where you get squealing when the pads are near the wear limit.
Note to self. When anticipating Ventoux descent, check Avid BB7 for worn brake pads.



(The red line is the route from the Garmin Connect link above. Press the Google Earth button there, and Google Earth loads, with the route. Do screenshot of (Control-PRT SCR), and paste into Paint. Upload into image hosting program.)
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Old 08-18-11, 10:44 AM   #24
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Nice job! My brother and I had fun riding a Santana up to the top – passing the single rider bikes on the way up and getting cheered on by the tourists at the top. The way down certainly was interesting. When I noticed the heat on my ankles I figured the drum brake was hot enough, and it was time for a scenic overlook (aka brake cool off stop) half way down the mountain. Certainly a memorable ride!
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Old 09-07-11, 07:32 PM   #25
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Do you know which bengal model? I wonder if the ramps are any steepr than the Avid, that could eliminate the need for brake booster devices.
Yes...

During a recent discussion with Bill he noted Santana's version of the Bengal brakes is re-stroked for use with the Ultegra levers and also use a stronger return spring.

Don't know how they'd work with a Campy lever.
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