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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 06-10-12, 08:08 PM   #1
fender1
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Vintage Ritchey Tandem

I recently purchased this off of craigslist. I spent some time cleaning etc and it came out nice. ( I think so).

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...LOTS-of-Pics!)

I was wondering if anyone could help me identify the type of drum brake it has? Also, does anyone make an aero-routed brake lever that controls both side pull brakes? The Campagnolo brakes & levers look very nice but don't have the most effective stopping power.
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Old 06-11-12, 06:22 PM   #2
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The drum brake looks to be an Atom drum brake that has been modified and that is missing the face place... which is where the "ATOM" branding was placed on those things.

Frankly, if you're doing a mild restoration to make the bike rideable I'd forget about replicating the original brake control configuration; it's sub-optimal at best. Instead, I'd suggest running your front & rear rim brakes (the original sidepulls or, better yet... some newer standard reach calipers) off of dedicated brake levers (one each), bearing in mind that it's the rims that are really lousy when it comes to brake efficiency even when matched with fresh brake pads. For pleasure riding on tame terrain in dry weather, no worries. Just don't take on any steep terrain that might demand "good" brakes.

As for the drum, does it still work? The first order of business would be making sure those drum brake shoe linings are still viable, bearing in mind that they may have some asbestos in the pad material, i.e., be careful when working with them and wear a respirator if you need to de-glaze them and the brake drum.

If the brake shoe linings are shot, you can probably have them relined or you may be able to find some NOS parts with a little bit of searching. They're rare but available and occasionally found on hand in places that specialize in bicycle & motorcycle restorations (I believe the Atom like the Arai drum was originally made for use on mopeds).

As for operating the brake, I'd suggesting using what most tandem teams using bar-end shifters have used for the past 15-20 years, a thumb shifter mounted on either the captain or stoker's bars.

If you'd like to keep some level of dual control brakes, search for a pair of Dia-Compe 287T brake levers. They have dual-brake cable controls and route the cables out from under the brake lever body. Again, I'd suggest a modification to the original configuration if you go dual control by running your front rim brake off of a single lever and their pairing your rear rim and drum off another.

You can run dual rim and single rear drum... it'll work. But I prefer to see a bomb-proof front brake installation that provides riders with intiutive performance vs. trying to optimize the front & rear rim brakes to operate effectively off of a single brake lever while giving up the other to a drum brake that can't stop your tandem... it can only slow it down. Moreover, if you get the "balance" wrong on the rear rim + rear drum, you'll just skid the rear tire and, well... that's not good either.

Just my .02.
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Old 06-13-12, 09:05 AM   #3
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One other option for the operation of your rear drum was presented to me over the weekend at the Tennessee Tandem Rally by a couple from Indiana. I'd read where folks had done this in the past, but it was the first time I'd seen it first hand....

In this instance, the team was unhappy with the front derailleur shifting from the 10-year old Ultegra STI triple levers and simply replaced it with a downtube index shifter. However, given the STI lever was still needed for operation of the front brake, the team used the STI shift lever to operate their drag brake: pretty slick. Mind you, on those older STI triple front derailleurs there were only three stops so the rear drum only has three friction settings in this configuration.

Newer STI levers would provide users with five friction settings and Campy Ergo levers would provide up to 9 or 10 with much smaller increments.

The nice thing about using an older set of Campy Ergo shifters would be having the ability to decide which lever you'd prefer to use for the drum -- left or right -- and would then allow you to remove the shifting components from the other lever to "clean-up" its appearance.

Just another options.
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Old 06-14-12, 07:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
The drum brake looks to be an Atom drum brake that has been modified and that is missing the face place... which is where the "ATOM" branding was placed on those things.

Frankly, if you're doing a mild restoration to make the bike rideable I'd forget about replicating the original brake control configuration; it's sub-optimal at best. Instead, I'd suggest running your front & rear rim brakes (the original sidepulls or, better yet... some newer standard reach calipers) off of dedicated brake levers (one each), bearing in mind that it's the rims that are really lousy when it comes to brake efficiency even when matched with fresh brake pads. For pleasure riding on tame terrain in dry weather, no worries. Just don't take on any steep terrain that might demand "good" brakes.

As for the drum, does it still work? The first order of business would be making sure those drum brake shoe linings are still viable, bearing in mind that they may have some asbestos in the pad material, i.e., be careful when working with them and wear a respirator if you need to de-glaze them and the brake drum.

If the brake shoe linings are shot, you can probably have them relined or you may be able to find some NOS parts with a little bit of searching. They're rare but available and occasionally found on hand in places that specialize in bicycle & motorcycle restorations (I believe the Atom like the Arai drum was originally made for use on mopeds).

As for operating the brake, I'd suggesting using what most tandem teams using bar-end shifters have used for the past 15-20 years, a thumb shifter mounted on either the captain or stoker's bars.

If you'd like to keep some level of dual control brakes, search for a pair of Dia-Compe 287T brake levers. They have dual-brake cable controls and route the cables out from under the brake lever body. Again, I'd suggest a modification to the original configuration if you go dual control by running your front rim brake off of a single lever and their pairing your rear rim and drum off another.

You can run dual rim and single rear drum... it'll work. But I prefer to see a bomb-proof front brake installation that provides riders with intiutive performance vs. trying to optimize the front & rear rim brakes to operate effectively off of a single brake lever while giving up the other to a drum brake that can't stop your tandem... it can only slow it down. Moreover, if you get the "balance" wrong on the rear rim + rear drum, you'll just skid the rear tire and, well... that's not good either.

Just my .02.
Excellent advice on splitting the brakes. I did so on our vintage Santana on the advice of many in this forum and am very happy I did. That said, I am confused by the comment about rims. I totally value TandemGeek's experience and opinion but I am baffled by the comment about rim brakes. Agreed, get rid of the Campy side pulls, put 'em on a vintage single where they belong. But are rim brakes really that bad???? The rims don't appear to be in that bad of shape in the pics. Our 400 pound team doesn't have much trouble descending with rim brakes and an Arai drum, and we live where there are big hills.

Yes to splitting the brakes, some of the best advice I have received. I used an old Deore FD shifter I got at a used bike shop for 5 buck and it works great! The STI lever is an interesting one too.
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Old 06-14-12, 08:41 AM   #5
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One other option for the operation of your rear drum was presented to me over the weekend at the Tennessee Tandem Rally by a couple from Indiana. I'd read where folks had done this in the past, but it was the first time I'd seen it first hand....
Wow, Thanks for this suggestion! I've been racking my brains to come up with a way to get the drag brake lever in a more convenient location since we got the bike; this may be it.
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Old 06-14-12, 08:48 AM   #6
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... I am confused by the comment about rims.
That was a comment specific to his Ritchey tandem's vintage Super Champion rims -- which looked a bit pitted and well-worn -- not all rims in general or Super Champion rims in better shape.

Just looking at the various photos of the tandem, the rims just appeared to me to be in marginal shape which, when combined the also marginal vintage Campy side-pulls would help to support the rationale for possibly needing the supplemental the drag brake. Bear in mind, brakes and drive trains were soft spots for tandems of this vintage and earlier: rims, brakes and drive trains have a come along way since then.

So, although not clearly articulated in my original post, if simply adding new brakes with fresh shoes or newer brakes with fresh shoes didn't improve the braking performance, the well-worn rims would be a logical place to look to make a fairly cost-effective improvement, i.e., a NOS Super Champion rim could be cross laced to the existing front hub and spokes... optinally, a second NOS Super Champion could be cross-laced to the rear. If fresh pads did the trick, great. If it takes some better calipers with fresh pads, all good. If the braking is still not great and there is a lot of brake squeal, etc., look to the rims.


Last edited by TandemGeek; 06-14-12 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 06-14-12, 10:29 AM   #7
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I'm confident that Tektro R539 brakes with the included pads will be a great improvement over the current setup and will be more than adequate.
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