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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 08-20-12, 05:38 AM   #1
Drtumolo
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brake recomendations

Looking for brake recomendations for the tandem I am building. It is a road tandem with drop bars and ultegra brifters. It has no provisions for disc. My options are cantilevers, v-brakes with travel agents and mini-v-brakes.
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Old 08-20-12, 09:09 AM   #2
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You will find a variety of opinions . Here's my two cents:

Cantilevers are a good choice if you have skinny tires, such as 28s or narrower, and if you don't plan to mount fenders. EDIT - due to brain fade this opinion is about CALIPER brakes, not cantilevers. Sorry!

V-brakes with travel agents are are a good choice, especially if you have wider tires and/or fenders.

Mini-V-brakes are sort of in-between so far as fit is concerned. In addition, not from personal experience, but from what I have read on this forum, the opinions on mini-v-brakes are quite polarized, with some loving them and others hating them.

Regardless of the type of brake, you may also want to plan on replacing the OEM brake pads shortly after you install the brakes. We are very happy with Kool-Stop pads, and I have read good things about other premium brands. The premium pads seem to make the OEM pads feel like fingernails scratching on a blackboard.

Last edited by mwandaw; 08-20-12 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 08-20-12, 09:44 AM   #3
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We have had success with Avid and Shimano V-Brakes and now use cantilevers on our tandem with 38mm tires and Campy Record shifters. Wide profile (like shown below) Canti brakes are great with wide tires. I personally don't like low profile canti brakes.

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Old 08-20-12, 11:11 AM   #4
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Our Speedster shipped with Avid v-brakes & travel agents. The set has worked well for us here in flat-ish NE FL. You could also opt for a disc front fork. With a metal fork, that should work fine. A carbon fiber disc fork should be viewed w/ great caution. From Santana's website: http://santanatandems.com/Techno/MechVsHydro.html ("why not up front").
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Old 08-20-12, 12:50 PM   #5
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I agree the report on mini-v brakes go from one extreme to the other. Cantilever brakes are kind of the same in reviews but it seems like the cantilevers are more of a setup issue. I really like the idea of mini v due to not needing the travel agent.
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Old 08-20-12, 04:38 PM   #6
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I've grown to dislike the travel agents. We don't usually use fenders except when touring. And without fenders the travel agents eventually get enough grit in them they no longer operate smoothly. I'm trying out Paul Components MiniMotos on the my single touring bike. I like them so well I'll be installing a set on the tandem to try out. My review on CGOAB here:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/revi...1&nested=0&v=K
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Old 08-20-12, 05:18 PM   #7
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What type of terrain do you ride (flats, hills, steep hills, etc.) How much does your team weigh? Just some of the factors to consider when you need to control your speed.
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Old 08-20-12, 07:52 PM   #8
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NE PA so pretty hilly. Total team weight is @270lbs
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Old 08-20-12, 08:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CGinOhio View Post
I've grown to dislike the travel agents. We don't usually use fenders except when touring. And without fenders the travel agents eventually get enough grit in them they no longer operate smoothly. I'm trying out Paul Components MiniMotos on the my single touring bike. I like them so well I'll be installing a set on the tandem to try out. My review on CGOAB here:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/revi...1&nested=0&v=K
I would love to hear your impressions on using a pair of mini-vees on a tandem. I am currently looking at a way to replace the single digit/travel agent combo on my KHS. I would like to have a good replacement pair of brakes before I switch out shifters so I don't have to set the travel agents up again, which I have never done. I currently have one tektro mini-vee sitting around and would love to know if I should buy another.
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Old 08-21-12, 03:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CGinOhio View Post
I've grown to dislike the travel agents. We don't usually use fenders except when touring. And without fenders the travel agents eventually get enough grit in them they no longer operate smoothly. I'm trying out Paul Components MiniMotos on the my single touring bike. I like them so well I'll be installing a set on the tandem to try out. My review on CGOAB here:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/revi...1&nested=0&v=K
These would be my choice with a good brake pad and some form of "slip in" pad holder.

Paul stuff is not inexpensive, but has proven it self many times in the off-road riding arena. I have never used those brakes, but have ridden other Paul's Component brakes and levers, very lightweight, and a solid feel at the lever with easy to work with feel to control the stop. I would expect similar from these brakes.

PK
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Old 08-21-12, 03:41 PM   #11
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I use Mavic SSC which are one of the strongest caliper brakes. Shimano Dura Ace are also supposed to be good.
I have not had any problems, but no matter what brakes you have on a tandem stopping in a emergency can be a problem.
When I had V brakes on my previous tandem I HATED them.
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Old 08-21-12, 04:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I would love to hear your impressions on using a pair of mini-vees on a tandem...
...so I don't have to set the travel agents up again, which I have never done...
I don't want to hijack this thread...but yes, I'll report back after giving them a try. fyi.. Travel agents are easy to set up. Just follow the included directions.
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Old 08-28-12, 07:02 PM   #13
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Ok I just installed avid single digit 7's with travel agents. The front brake seems to have decent power but the rear is extremly mushy. Also the only way to get pad clearance was to remove all the adjusting washers betwen the pads and the brake arms. Anyone else encounter this or have ideas on how to correct the mushy feel?
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Old 08-28-12, 10:38 PM   #14
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I don't want to hijack this thread...but yes, I'll report back after giving them a try. fyi.. Travel agents are easy to set up. Just follow the included directions.
I know they are easy to set up, I've seen it done many times. I have also seen travel agents destroy cables and just don't like them.

Quote:
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Ok I just installed avid single digit 7's with travel agents. The front brake seems to have decent power but the rear is extremly mushy. Also the only way to get pad clearance was to remove all the adjusting washers betwen the pads and the brake arms. Anyone else encounter this or have ideas on how to correct the mushy feel?
That is exactly why I am replacing my single digits. The front is set so close to the rim that there is no room to toe in the pads, which they need desperately. The back is also mushy. While I was trying to center the pads before my last ride something happened and the brakes lost most of their cable tension, shifting the pads all the way to the right. No amount of coaxing could center the pads. So every time the brake was used the stoker had to manually spread the brakes.

I am replacing them with a Kore Sport cantilever up front and a tektro mini vee out back.
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Old 08-29-12, 08:55 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by jnbrown View Post
I use Mavic SSC which are one of the strongest caliper brakes. Shimano Dura Ace are also supposed to be good.
I have not had any problems, but no matter what brakes you have on a tandem stopping in a emergency can be a problem.
When I had V brakes on my previous tandem I HATED them.
While that may be true in the past - our Speedster with dual discs stops incredibly fast in emergency situations - almost as good as my single bike. While I realize this person can't use discs - I won't own a tandem without them.
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Old 08-29-12, 11:28 AM   #16
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I think the problem is flex in the frame and brake bosses. I am going to try a brace (brake booster) to see if it helps.
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Old 08-29-12, 07:34 PM   #17
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Turns out brake booster didnt do anything for me. Placed the spring for the v-brake in the upper hole in brake boss and readjusted the travel agent. Works a lot better.
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Old 08-31-12, 10:20 PM   #18
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I am 300+lbs, and we are 500+lbs team.

The T50 has Avid SD5 front and rear (flat bars) - works incredibly well.

I have Tektro R536 dual pivots on one solo bike and R559 dual pivots on another. They also provide incredible stopping power with the original pads.

Mini V provide little or no fender clearance - all my bikes have fenders.

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Old 09-03-12, 03:56 PM   #19
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Quote:
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I would love to hear your impressions on using a pair of mini-vees on a tandem...
I installed a set of Paul MiniMotos on our Co-Mo Speedster last week. Plenty of stopping power. Room for rack and fenders. Firmer feel. Details in the review here.
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/revi...1&nested=0&v=N
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