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Best Rim Brake Options for Strong Team

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Best Rim Brake Options for Strong Team

Old 01-13-15, 07:00 PM
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Best Rim Brake Options for Strong Team

Hello all, my first post to a tandem thread/blog. We are strong solo riders totaling over 325 lbs., we decided to stop racing each other and to start arguing about everything so we bought a second had Trek tandem. We love riding it, we starting getting into some serious miles on climbs and flats but decending still gives us a pretty good scare. we live in So Cal where 10 to 15 percent grades with hairpins and off cambers will need a pretty good handful of lever.

The Trek is a pre disc, canti brake model, we have been told to go with a drum which we will find and install but want to know what brand and model anyone still using cantis suggest. High power XT MTB brakes do not cut it.

The stronger the better!!! What would you use ? or am I chasing a ghost and must settle for drum brake on high and cut the speed on decending?

thanks all
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Old 01-13-15, 08:16 PM
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We have a 2005 T2000 that we love and that came stock with cantilever brakes. We added a drum from the outset. Our team weight and local descents are very similar to what you describe.

I've played with the brakes over the years. To make a long story short, we are now running Tektro 926 mini Vs with adjustable noodles front and rear (no travel agents). Very inexpensive but decent quality brakes with the shortest lever arms available. With the 2005 vintage Ultegra road levers, the brake shoes must be adjusted very close to the rim. Fortunately the Bontrager tandem rims allow that as they have always been perfectly true. The adjustable noodles are a convenience for removing wheels when necessary.

I'm currently using Swiss Stop shoes on the front and Kool Stop dual compound on the rear. I also have a Da Vinci small stiffy brake booster mounted on the front. I added that and went to the swissstop in the front while chasing down a squealing problem. Bottom line, we currently enjoy MASSIVE and quiet brake power with this set up.
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Old 01-13-15, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by reburns
We have a 2005 T2000 that we love and that came stock with cantilever brakes. We added a drum from the outset. Our team weight and local descents are very similar to what you describe.

I've played with the brakes over the years. To make a long story short, we are now running Tektro 926 mini Vs with adjustable noodles front and rear (no travel agents). Very inexpensive but decent quality brakes with the shortest lever arms available. With the 2005 vintage Ultegra road levers, the brake shoes must be adjusted very close to the rim. Fortunately the Bontrager tandem rims allow that as they have always been perfectly true. The adjustable noodles are a convenience for removing wheels when necessary.

I'm currently using Swiss Stop shoes on the front and Kool Stop dual compound on the rear. I also have a Da Vinci small stiffy brake booster mounted on the front. I added that and went to the swissstop in the front while chasing down a squealing problem. Bottom line, we currently enjoy MASSIVE and quiet brake power with this set up.
I was going to ask (and would like to hear anyone's experience) if they are using Mini V with STI?
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Old 01-13-15, 09:35 PM
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These are the brakes on our tandems: https://www.rodbikes.com/articles/bigsqueeze.html
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Old 01-13-15, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by SimplySycles1
I was going to ask (and would like to hear anyone's experience) if they are using Mini V with STI?
Mini-v's work fine with STI levers as long as you choose the appropriate length brake arms. If your STIs have exposed (derailleur) cables, you'll want 85mm mini-v's. If you have the newer STI levers with hidden cables, you can run 90mm mini-v's.

I can't speak to their suitability for tandem use, but for single-bike use, I swore off cantilevers for good after switching to mini-v's.
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Old 01-14-15, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by swc7916
These are the brakes on our tandems: https://www.rodbikes.com/articles/bigsqueeze.html
Any better than other cantis?
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Old 01-15-15, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by SimplySycles1
Any better than other cantis?
I like them. I've used them on downhill runs at 45+ mph and they have plenty of power. I don't have a lot of experience with other cantis, but these are the easiest to adjust that I have worked with.
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Old 01-15-15, 02:16 PM
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Don't forget that the rims' breaking surface plays a big role in how well you're going to stop. Some rims are better than others. And, make sure the rim is clean!
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Old 01-18-15, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by SimplySycles1
........ or am I chasing a ghost and must settle for drum brake on high and cut the speed on decending?.........
For high speed descending you need something other than just rim brakes - unless you enjoy blow outs...... Rim brakes can heat the rims so much that the tire blows out. Given your light team weight, the addition of a 90mm SA drum hub on the front might do it.
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Old 01-19-15, 11:56 AM
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We've got a Santana with the stock Avid V brakes. Never had an issue with them except on one ride where there were several steep 1/2 mile downhills, all with stop signs at the bottoms. Despite alternating between front and back to control speed, after about the 4th one, the brakes started to fade and it got a little scary. Levers bottomed out and the brakes' effectiveness was seriously diminished. I'm wondering if a front disc would have helped?
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Old 01-19-15, 03:37 PM
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Adding a drum brake is really about heat dissipation, rather than stopping power.

And the drum brake doesn't add that much to raw stopping power.


If you descend aggressively, i.e. breaking only for corners, and not riding them between turns, you don't need a drum.

At 350 pounds, team weight, we've raced Everest Challenge, and mountainous road races at Masters Nationals in the Cascades in Oregon, and in Utah, with no issues with rim brakes only. Also have done a lot of steep, twisty descents in the east, which are actually harder on brakes than most of the longer descents you see out west.

Get the best V brakes you can, with good pads and you'll be fine.
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Old 01-19-15, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by nfmisso
For Slow speed descending you need something other than just rim brakes - unless you enjoy blow outs...... Rim brakes can heat the rims so much that the tire blows out. Given your light team weight, the addition of a 90mm SA drum hub on the front might do it.
Fixed that for you. What really heats brakes is going down steep hills, at a pace below what gravity dictates. If you're braking repeatedly, or for prolonged periods on the straights, you're going to have heat issues, and may need a drum, or a supplemental disc brake.

But if you're letting the bike run, and only braking for turns, you don't have the same heat issues.

When we did Haleakala on Maui, the tour group we were with made us put a rear disc on. I guarantee you we would have made it down with rim brakes alone with no issues. While some in our group had to stop from overheating their discs, our brakes never got significantly hot.

The difference is we were hammering in the 53/11 down the straights, seeing how fast we could go, and only touching brakes briefly before the entry of most turns, and some not at all. Those teams that were going slower and repeatedly braking had issues.

So it comes down to a question of how you descend.

The OP team being two racers, I'm betting descend using the brakes less than the average tandem team.
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Old 01-19-15, 04:03 PM
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You ask:
The stronger the better
Magura HS 33, the Hydraulic rim Brake .. one advantage the rear brake with the long Hose will work just as well as the front one with the short Hose .

because its Hydraulic. HS33 R*| MAGURA

Magura Doesn't do disc Brakes . they have a closed system (no expansion Tank)

for the Road, the new one has a cable to Hydraulic converter [+center bolt on calipers ]

RT6 C*| MAGURA

which, the RTC can be combined Mix and Match with the Dual Slave piston Caliper If you want drop Bars .


some clever mechanics and the rim brakes combined on 1 lever and the Arai Or a disc Drag Brake on the rear, with the other, is Possible .

OK a Bit Outside the box, now back to the Rest of the cable operated Brakes (where cable length Matters)

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-19-15 at 04:10 PM.
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