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Brake Replacement/Upgrade

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Brake Replacement/Upgrade

Old 10-31-16, 09:58 AM
  #1  
Lorenzo
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Brake Replacement/Upgrade

Hi all. First post of a lurker;-). I've enjoyed many of the discussion and the wealth of knowledge and experience here.

We've been riding tandems a little over 10 years. We have a Bilenky Tinker (coupled) that we travel with and a Trek 1000 that we keep out east for when we visit family. Ride about 2000km per year on the tandem (3-5k more on the 1/2 bike) including supported and unsupported hub and spoke, and point to point touring. We're currently planning to Bike the Rhine from source to mouth next year credit card style. Running Dyads and 28c Conti4Seasons currently. Team weight is about 300lbs.

The Avid Single Digit 7s v-brakes on our Bilenky are past their best before date (adjusting screws don't adjust any more.) They've done the job, but in spite of different pads, rims, lots of rim cleaning and anything from some to massive amounts of toe-in they've been noisy buggers;-)

Any suggestions as to what we could replace them with that would have a bit more stopping power and might be quieter? (and no, we're not interested in converting the frame to handle discs

Regards,

Larry
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Old 10-31-16, 11:13 AM
  #2  
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Those are sort of he "go-to" brakes. Have you thought of some of the other after markets companies like Paul's Components? https://paulcomp.com/product-categor...onents/brakes/
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Old 10-31-16, 01:27 PM
  #3  
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I have, but don't know enough to gauge which of the Paul's (or other makers) should be considered, and whether there's enough return to warrant the extra coin. For example, are the Paul Neo-retros preferred over the Touring Cantis or Minimotos, and will they stop better or squeal less than the Avids or Tektro CR720s - which cost a lot less. Looking for folks who have been there, done that, and can speak to the differences.
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Old 10-31-16, 03:55 PM
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Here's my experience:

Our 2005 Ultegra T2000 came with Avid Shorty cantilever brakes. The front brake was noisy despite pad adjustment. The shop swapped out the front brake for Avid 7 linear pull with a problem solver pulley. Still noisy. I installed a brake arch stiffener and that helped, although I was never completely satisfied with the braking. I swapped out the Avids for some Shimano XTR V-brakes that I had lying around, the type with the parallelogram pad mechanism. No real difference from the Avids.

I wanted more power in the rear brake, and our rack attachment didn't allow room for a pulley, so I decided to try a Tektro mini-V. This is a very inexpensive brake, not flashy but good quality. Adjustments are easy and stay put. Really great stopping power. I was so happy with that brake that I replaced the front Avid 7 with another mini-V to eliminate the pulley.

The other change that made a real performance improvement was switching to Swissstop green pads. They are always quiet and powerful, and last a long time. I now couldn't be happier with our brakes. Tons of power and good modulation.

You know, a linear pull brake is a pretty simple device. Just a beam with some fittings, plus a spring. Even the adjustment screw is kind of optional if you are good at finessing the bend on the spring. But if the bushing is worn at the post, it can cause some problems and noise. Otherwise, tough to understand much performance difference between brands of brake of the same basic design. Changing arm length and brands of pads, now that's a different matter.

Last edited by reburns; 10-31-16 at 03:56 PM. Reason: Forgot something
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Old 10-31-16, 04:32 PM
  #5  
Lorenzo
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Originally Posted by reburns View Post
Here's my experience:

Our 2005 Ultegra T2000 came with Avid Shorty cantilever brakes. The front brake was noisy despite pad adjustment. The shop swapped out the front brake for Avid 7 linear pull with a problem solver pulley. Still noisy. I installed a brake arch stiffener and that helped, although I was never completely satisfied with the braking. I swapped out the Avids for some Shimano XTR V-brakes that I had lying around, the type with the parallelogram pad mechanism. No real difference from the Avids.

I wanted more power in the rear brake, and our rack attachment didn't allow room for a pulley, so I decided to try a Tektro mini-V. This is a very inexpensive brake, not flashy but good quality. Adjustments are easy and stay put. Really great stopping power. I was so happy with that brake that I replaced the front Avid 7 with another mini-V to eliminate the pulley.

The other change that made a real performance improvement was switching to Swissstop green pads. They are always quiet and powerful, and last a long time. I now couldn't be happier with our brakes. Tons of power and good modulation.

You know, a linear pull brake is a pretty simple device. Just a beam with some fittings, plus a spring. Even the adjustment screw is kind of optional if you are good at finessing the bend on the spring. But if the bushing is worn at the post, it can cause some problems and noise. Otherwise, tough to understand much performance difference between brands of brake of the same basic design. Changing arm length and brands of pads, now that's a different matter.

Great feedback - thanks. I've some follow-up questions if that's ok?

What's your sense of how the Shorty compares to the Avid Linear and the Mini V power wise, and how much of your current satisfaction to you think is attributable to the Swiss Stop pads vs what you ended up with for brakes?

Team weight?

Our squealing and shuddering usually develops when we have to deal with steep descents and switchbacks - 12-20% ish with a 180 at the bottom of it - wash rinse repeat and bingo, whiny brakes. Have you had the chance to use your set-up in similar conditions?

Regards,

Larry
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Old 10-31-16, 06:04 PM
  #6  
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Brake squeal is caused by vibration. Anything that can be done to stiffen up the brake arms can help. Make sure pad adjustment bolts are tight. This usually cannot be done without leaving the pads askew so the pad adjustment bolt is left short of full tightness. Most V-Brake pads have a complicated assortment of washers and shims to allow pad alignments to eliminate squeal. I've never understood their real purpose. Mostly my various v-brakes (several pairs on various bikes) brakes do not squeal. I upgrade OEM V-Brakes to Shimano V-Brakes in the $2?.00 each price range. Cheap OEM V-Brakes have very weak pad retraction springs and that is more annoying to me than brake squeal. Shimano V-Brakes have no slop at the mounting boss pivot when the bolts are fully tightened. Other v-brakes, even decent ones often have a degree of 'slop' when the pivot bolt is tightened. The OEM v-brakes on our latest tandem (over $1.2k retail) have this problem. Rather than replace them, I am looking for a way to shim the calipers against the main pivot boss to reduce or eliminate the slop. This I feel will address the squeal, and they do squeal. Changing to Kool Stop pads has not fixed it which reinforces my opinion that it is vibration occurring in the pivot arm itself. FWIW.
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Old 10-31-16, 06:23 PM
  #7  
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[QUOTE=Lorenzo;19160550]Great feedback - thanks. I've some follow-up questions if that's ok?

What's your sense of how the Shorty compares to the Avid Linear and the Mini V power wise, and how much of your current satisfaction to you think is attributable to the Swiss Stop pads vs what you ended up with for brakes?

Team weight?

Our squealing and shuddering usually develops when we have to deal with steep descents and switchbacks - 12-20% ish with a 180 at the bottom of it - wash rinse repeat and bingo, whiny brakes. Have you had the chance to use your set-up in similar conditions?

About us: team weight about 320 lb naked, maybe 370 total assembly with bike, water, clothes, tools, etc.
We live in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains and almost always encounter a few double digit grades when we ride. Have also ridden Mallorca, New Zealand, Croatia, etc. Our bike is equipped with an Arai drag brake that the stoker engages during extended steep descents, strictly for rim temperature management.

My impressions: the Shorty had much less stopping power than any of the linear pull brakes. I was motivated to replace it in the rear because there was a big contrast with either the Avid 7 or Shimano V in the front on extremely steep grades. After replacing it with the Tektro 926, the rear then felt well matched with the front.

I was still occasionally having squealing problems, depending on weather, phase of moon, who knows. Tried Koolstop salmon, dual compound, then various Shimano pad materials. Used Shimano extreme condition pads for a while since they never squealed, but they would make a rasping noise if pushed hard. Seemed like they were hard on the rims too. The Swissstop green pads eliminated all noise problems, seem to be easy on the rims, yet have at least as much power, maybe more, than any of the other pads I tried. We don't ride much in the wet, but no problems there either in our limited experience. They are expensive (maybe more than the brakes!) but don't seem to wear out. It's like they are magic.

I was tempted to try the Paul brakes for the coolness factor and likely high build quality, but their centering adjustment scheme conflicts with a brake arch. TRP also makes a higher end mini V. But the shortest arms of any mini V I've ever found are on the 926, and that means a little more rim to pad clearance when matched with my 2005 ultegra brifters. And really, I have never found the build quality of the 926s lacking in practice.

If you end up with mini Vs, I suggest using an adjustable noodle for easier wheel removal.
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Old 11-01-16, 09:54 PM
  #8  
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Lorenzo what brake levers are on the bike?

If normal brake levers and bar-end shifters, go for the Tecktro 520 brake levers and a set of Shimano XT v-brakes with Swiss-Stop pads.

All this for <$150 and superb braking. What we did on the T200, ridden hard in bunches, team weight 175kg.

It gets trickier with STI shifters/brifters. I am converting our Fuji Absolute Le with drop bars from Ultegra brifters, v-brakes, and Travel Agents to Tektro 520s, bar-ends and v-brakes with SwissStop pads. Set forget brake.
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Old 11-01-16, 11:58 PM
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[QUOTE=WPH;19163439]Lorenzo what brake levers are on the bi

We're running Tektro 520s as well. Which colour Swiss Stop are you using?

Last edited by Lorenzo; 11-02-16 at 12:01 AM. Reason: made a mistake
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Old 11-02-16, 05:34 AM
  #10  
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Interesting subject-especially since I'm sorting the brakes a new-to-me tandem. I just purchased a 99 Burley Duet with very low miles. Kind of a time capsule of late 90's tech. Having never been on a tandem I found the brakes to be less than inspiring. It's set up with Shimano 105 road dual control activating Tektro mini-V's. I've had Tektro full-size V's on mountain bikes before but never the minis....which I guess are supposed to limit the travel on road levers. They still had the original Kool Stop pads which I have replaced with two new Ultracycle sets. Now I've only ridden it around the block a couple times but....front brakes squeal like a little girl, apologies to any little girls who might read this. I had dialed in some toe-in originally but the lever travel was just too scary. There's no wear on the pivots so I don't think it's vibration there. I'm going to try dialing in a tiny bit of toe-in tonight and see if that helps. I will say in spite of the lever travel the minis seem to have plenty of stopping power. I may also get a set of the Swiss Stop pads and see if that helps.

I may also try a "problem solver" on the front to better manage lever travel...
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Old 11-03-16, 11:51 PM
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[QUOTE=Lorenzo;19163582]
Originally Posted by WPH View Post
Lorenzo what brake levers are on the bi

We're running Tektro 520s as well. Which colour Swiss Stop are you using?
Them dual compound pads, red and black. I am not sure how they compare to the Salmon pads, but they are well good. Occasional squeak under emergency braking, but they work.

Then all you need are some nice full-size v-brakes - we got XTs from CRC for AUD28 an end.
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