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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 07-07-12, 09:48 AM   #1
Goldrush
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Switch Between Rear Disk and Caliper?

I'm close to pulling the trigger on a new Calfee Tetra. We are snowbirds who want an Avid BB7 rear disk for riding in Indiana in the summer time. In the winter we do fast club rides in Florida. We need to save every gram possible to keep up with the fast singles in our club.

Is is practical to remove the disk and go with a caliper when in Florida? This saves around 330 grams according to TandemGeeks Calfee build info.
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Old 07-07-12, 04:16 PM   #2
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I'm curious about the need for a rear disc in Indiana. The posts I see describe Indiana as relatively flat/rolling. Need a disc? Conversely, will 330 grams make a difference in flat Florida; might accelerate just a tiny, tiny bit slower, but in FL you'll be at the front anyway.

A number of disc-equipped tandems have brake bridges so I can't see a technical reason preventing you from going back and forth. From a weight perspective probably best to have a standard rear wheel so you don't have to go to the trouble of removing the disc.
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Old 07-07-12, 04:28 PM   #3
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Is 330g the difference between keeping up and getting dropped?
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Old 07-07-12, 04:37 PM   #4
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I have ridden a tandem all over Indiana with V brakes but on the hills in southern Indiana I am more comfortable with a disc. The Bloomington area is where the Hilly Hundred ride is located which has over 5200 ft. of clime in 100 miles.

Your new bike can be built for either disc or caliper brakes and that would give you options. Changing the brake would require re-routing cables. My Co-Motion Supremo is built for disc, rear drag, or caliper but I have stuck with the disc.
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Old 07-07-12, 04:46 PM   #5
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My question also: need/necessity for a rear disc brake in Indiana???
Have ridden in your state; even a 5 day tandem B&B tour including the Hilly Hundred area.
Cantis worked fine, not even a drum needed. Unless you are racing for $$$, 330 grams will not be an issue.
Work a bit on your team fitness instead?!
Having said that, yes that would be an option if that makes you happy.
Just our input/experience.
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Old 07-07-12, 05:32 PM   #6
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Our tandem was built to do exactly what you are planning, have the flexability to go either disc or calipers. After 4+ years of riding the bike I have never used the caliper option. I do use the brake bridge for mounting a rack when touring. I was recently thinking of having the bridge moved so that I would have the option of 650B's. Tandem geek has his calfee set up to use either brake and I believe he does occasionaly switch them out.
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Old 07-07-12, 06:06 PM   #7
Goldrush
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Thanks for the replies, and you are right that a disk isn't required in Indiana. We do however plan on touring out west with the bike and I also admit to being a wimp going downhill. 40 MPH is my max. 330 grams will not make the bike into a lightweight. You must however look at the entire build which will drop several pounds from our current bike. If you are trying to accelerate with 15 pound singles over a long ride, every gram does count. My fitness is excellent thank you, but I could probably stand to lose a few grams myself.
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Old 07-07-12, 06:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldrush View Post
Is is practical to remove the disk and go with a caliper when in Florida?
It is both practical and rather easy to do so long as you wrench on your own bikes and have thought through your wheel selection. It take me about 15 minutes to change our Calfee over from disc to caliper / caliper to disc.

I tend to run our Calfee with the rear caliper most of the time as we really don't need the disc for our local mountains. I've also been running our Topolino wheels for the past two years and they do not accommodate a disc rotor.

I started off this season doing some product testing with a Bengal disc but pulled it off until I could address a noise/vibration issue with the pads and haven't gotten around to putting it back on to complete my product testing.
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Old 07-07-12, 07:39 PM   #9
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Is 330g the difference between keeping up and getting dropped?
No it isn't.
How many people got dropped because they were carrying 1/2 a bottle more water than they needed?
If you are going off the back you are going off the back. This sort of weight saving won't change it.
But in saying that, I do appreciate the desire to save a few grams so that you feel like you are giving it your best shot from an equipment point of view.
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Old 07-07-12, 07:48 PM   #10
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Our Screamer came with two V-brakes and a BB7 as an auxiliary rear brake. I removed the rear V-brake and set up the disc as the main rear brake. Works great. In Indiana.
Indiana is flat. Indiana has significant hills.
It's good to have options.
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Old 07-07-12, 07:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
No it isn't.
How many people got dropped because they were carrying 1/2 a bottle more water than they needed?
If you are going off the back you are going off the back. This sort of weight saving won't change it.
But in saying that, I do appreciate the desire to save a few grams so that you feel like you are giving it your best shot from an equipment point of view.
I'm of the opinion 330 grams wouldn't make a different on a single bike let alone a tandem.
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Old 07-07-12, 08:10 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
No it isn't.
How many people got dropped because they were carrying 1/2 a bottle more water than they needed?
If you are going off the back you are going off the back. This sort of weight saving won't change it.
But in saying that, I do appreciate the desire to save a few grams so that you feel like you are giving it your best shot from an equipment point of view.
I agree, I was asking the question in jest.

Thinking about it further, I can understand wanting to take it off. Not because of weight but because of cable routing and brake modulation. My dads tandem has two of the three brakes going to the same lever. The setup works but not as well as one lever. Brake feel alone may be reason enough to swap back and forth.
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Old 07-07-12, 10:00 PM   #13
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Our new Seven Ti, almost finished, is equipped with canti brakes and a rear disc.
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Old 07-09-12, 02:14 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Goldrush View Post
I'm close to pulling the trigger on a new Calfee Tetra. We are snowbirds who want an Avid BB7 rear disk for riding in Indiana in the summer time. In the winter we do fast club rides in Florida. We need to save every gram possible to keep up with the fast singles in our club.

Is is practical to remove the disk and go with a caliper when in Florida? This saves around 330 grams according to TandemGeeks Calfee build info.
Yes, no problem. My Calfees set up this way. Let Calfee know which rim brakes you want to use and they will set the brake bridge at the right height for you. I use SRAM Force brakes and they have been excellent, but the BB7 disk also has good feel so I don't notice a big difference when I change them out. The Force brakes have 49mm reach IIRC and they will let you use 28mm tires. You could spec a higher bridge and run bigger tires especially with the disk, but your choice of rim brakes will be limited. As with other comments, I've been surprised what I'm willing to ride with just the rim brakes - plenty of power - but you can warm the rims on a twisty descent. Be careful of light teams advice on brakes - an extra 100lbs can make a big difference to how much work the brakes are doing.

I also recommend having a spare set of disk wheels (or rear wheel at least). Makes the swap quick and easy and it's surprising how often those spare wheels come in handy.

Last edited by tredlodz; 07-09-12 at 02:20 PM. Reason: add content
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Old 07-10-12, 04:35 PM   #15
twocicle
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I took a somewhat modest approach to building our Calfee Tetra (2007 frame). With BB7 it came in at roughly 29lbs before adding bottles, pump and req'd support tools.

Since building the tandem I have personally reduced the combined tandem/team weight by 8lbs and plan to reduce it by another 8lbs over the next 2 months - all at no additional $ cost. That is a 16lb reduction without the need to alter the original build.

If you subtract my reductions from the original tandem build weight, at 13lbs we will be riding a UCI illegal weight bike

---

PS: If you really want to save grams, limit your stoker to jersey pocket capcity only and do not provide extra storage space in the form of bags. I know, that just ain't being stoker friendly...

Last edited by twocicle; 07-10-12 at 04:42 PM.
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