Tandem brake upgade - a good idea?

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DaveP
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Tandem brake upgade - a good idea?

Postby DaveP » 16 Oct 2014, 9:46pm

I've been looking at our old Orbit tandem, which we didn't use this year, and thinking about preparing it for next year. One of the things I have has in mind is to replace the front forks so that I end up with a Thorn style stack of spacers round a long steering tube as opposed to the existing situation of a steering tube that has been cut very short and fitted with an extender. (We aren't the first owners!)
The bike works as is, I just feel that doing away with the extender might give a more comfortable ride. If you have any thoughts on this I'd love to read them.
The main reason for posting is that I have discovered that the makers now offer a fork with disc mounts. Do I want one? Will stiffer fork legs detract from ride quality?
The existing front V and rear disc works well, but we've never ridden it in wet weather, and that is about the only area where I see the possibility of significant improvements.
Is it likely to be a worthwhile upgrade, or is my inner gadget freak running wild?
Thinking isn't getting me anywhere, so if you have any relevant experience I'd love to hear from you
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hamster
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Re: Tandem brake upgade - a good idea?

Postby hamster » 23 Oct 2014, 3:41pm

I swapped the front V on mine fro Magura hydraulic rim brakes. We've done 3000 miles with them now, very satisfied. Over the years I have run Maguras also on MTBs and my solo tourer. Maintenance is a doddle. On the MTB all they ever required in 16 years was snap-in replacement of the pads. No leaks or adjustment, nothing. on the tourer I have had a slight leak on one slave cylinder in 12 years...on a system I bought secondhand.
They have loads of power and modulate better than anything else I have tried over the years. They managed to bring a fully loaded touring tandem controllably to a halt down a Devon 1 in 4 in a storm when the water was rushing 10cm deep down the road.

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DaveP
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Re: Tandem brake upgade - a good idea?

Postby DaveP » 24 Oct 2014, 7:50pm

Thanks, that's a very interesting suggestion. I'd heard of these, but never made the connection to my needs. They aren't cheap, but when you take into account a new wheel and an Avid disc... Hmmm.
How are they when removing and replacing the wheel? Our tandem carrier requires the wheel off, and pumping the tyre every time could be a little tedious.
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horizon
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Re: Tandem brake upgade - a good idea?

Postby horizon » 28 Oct 2014, 11:50am

DaveP wrote: a steering tube that has been cut very short and fitted with an extender. (We aren't the first owners!)
The bike works as is, I just feel that doing away with the extender might give a more comfortable ride.


I'm not convinced that it was necessarily cut short by the previous owner - our Dawes Galaxy Twin came with a heavily cut steerer - it seems to be the way Dawes did things (and some bike makers still do). So I too was looking at a new fork. It isn't a particularly expensive improvement (about £60) and in our case gets rid of, yes, the stem raiser and an adjustable stem - I cannot believe that either are particularly beneficial in terms of both handling and strength.

Of course, as for you, it opened up the possibility of a front disc brake. That's £40 more for the fork and then the wheel and brakes etc. We've currently got Vs and a rear Arai and together these are satisfactory. It wasn't the braking that was the problem - simply the too short stem. So while I'm still prevaricating over the new forks, the disc brake idea has gone out of the window. I'm not saying it wouldn't be an improvement, just not worth it at this stage.
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DaveP
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Re: Tandem brake upgade - a good idea?

Postby DaveP » 28 Oct 2014, 9:22pm

Thinking about it, I believe that ours was probably finished in a similar style. I can't imagine why anyone would cut down a steerer and then fit an extender and adjustable stem. You'd certainly need to have a very distinctive physique to ride it with the bars fitted very close to the headset!
The adjustable stem is already making its weight felt in the parts box - I was lucky enough to find a riser stem of the right size. Not easy these days.
I think I will replace the forks. I have wanted to do so almost from day one and, as you say, its not a big outlay. However I have now officially overcome the temptation of the disc brake :D FWIW I note that the manufacturers now do a disc model and offer it as an upgrade on other models, but they are hardly pushing the idea and I suspect that in this respect they are simply responding to market forces.
Two V's and a rear disc have worked well for us and the front wheel comes out easily. Its probably the best compromise for me. If we ever actually encounter a need for more braking power, that could be the time to go hydraulic.
Thanks for the help - sometimes these shiny new things can be so-oo tempting!
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hamster
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Re: Tandem brake upgade - a good idea?

Postby hamster » 29 Oct 2014, 11:39am

DaveP wrote:Thanks, that's a very interesting suggestion. I'd heard of these, but never made the connection to my needs. They aren't cheap, but when you take into account a new wheel and an Avid disc... Hmmm.
How are they when removing and replacing the wheel? Our tandem carrier requires the wheel off, and pumping the tyre every time could be a little tedious.


They are pretty simple - you undo the little QR lever on one side, then one side's slave and pad remove totally. It's no more hassle than unclipping a v-brake cable. Maguras are tough as old boots, you can buy used with confidence on ebay, around £40 a wheel.
Tartybikes do a complete range of spares.

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DaveP
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Re: Tandem brake upgade - a good idea?

Postby DaveP » 29 Oct 2014, 8:23pm

Thanks for that - you're making them appear better and better. I think I know where I'm going with the tandem, so to speak, but I do want to put the rigid forks back on my "roadified" mtb. I've been dragging my heels a bit because although I didn't enjoy the suspension fork I'll definitely miss the front disc that goes with it. Now I can see the way...
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Allydoug
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Re: Tandem brake upgade - a good idea?

Postby Allydoug » 19 Feb 2015, 9:51pm

We use V-brakes front and back they seem to last on the other hand Disks are not an option (we don't have mounts on our orbit!).
Disks give more controllable breaking but there is is always the over heating problem...
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DaveP
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Re: Tandem brake upgade - a good idea?

Postby DaveP » 21 Feb 2015, 7:02pm

Allydoug wrote:We use V-brakes front and back they seem to last on the other hand Disks are not an option (we don't have mounts on our orbit!).
Disks give more controllable breaking but there is is always the over heating problem...


I've now come across several comments from people who only have v brakes - and live to talk about it! I think, sometimes, we forget just how good they can be. having said that, I do feel that its good to have a third brake of some sort on a tandem, partly to cover any failure and partly to spread the burden of heat production a little thinner.
My feeling is that just now we are living through a period when tandemists are re-evaluating braking. the traditional model was for two rim brakes and a hub brake used (but apparently not designed) as a drag brake.. That brake is obviously no longer produced. A replacement has been offered, but the hubs to suit it are still problematic. The original Suzue hub is still available but not exactly cheap, and apparently benefits from an expensive upgraded axle. There are others, I am told, but only at appalling prices. I'm not planning to go down that route!
Its quite interesting watching people advocating various combinations of V's and Discs. I'm sure I don't know if a "winner" will emerge :D One thing I have resolved upon. I'm going to follow Robin Thorns advice on descents - using short spells of powerful braking then releasing and allowing the brakes to cool till next time. Its worked on my cars for years...
Of course, its easy to say that, knowing full well that I'm not going to be tandeming in the Alps anytime soon :)
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pwa
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Re: Tandem brake upgade - a good idea?

Postby pwa » 22 Feb 2015, 12:54pm

Rim brakes benefit from simplicity, but they do have two serious limitations that we need to be aware of. Firstly, they cause the rim walls to thin down, so we have to replace rims periodically. Secondly, too much braking on long descents over several minutes can heat the rims to the point where the tyre inner tube splits with a loud bang and all air is lost from the tyre in an instant. It happened to me on a descent in the French Alps in the 1990s, fortunately on the rear wheel. I did some research and found that my mistake had been feathering the brake over extended periods, trying to keep my speed down. Apparently you get less heat in the rim by leaving the braking late, then braking hard. It heats the rim less than gentle braking over a longer period of time. I have since ridden in mountains with no problems.

LWaB
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Re: Tandem brake upgade - a good idea?

Postby LWaB » 25 Feb 2015, 7:10pm

Use a deep section alloy rim (bigger heat reservoir and radiating surface) and use a Velox rim tape or Veloplugs. You won't be able to overheat a tyre/ tube/ rim then.

pwa
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Re: Tandem brake upgade - a good idea?

Postby pwa » 27 Feb 2015, 3:53pm

LWaB

I understand the deep section rim recommendation, but not the bit about Velox rim tape. Surely that only covers the well of the rim (with the spoke heads) and still allows the tube to touch some hot alloy.

Pete

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Tandem brake upgade - a good idea?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 27 Feb 2015, 3:59pm

Yes, but it doesn't soften as the rim heats.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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DaveP
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Re: Tandem brake upgade - a good idea?

Postby DaveP » 28 Feb 2015, 7:39pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:Yes, but it doesn't soften as the rim heats.


Just "enjoying" a weak at the knees moment.
That possibility hadn't even occurred to me :shock:
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LWaB
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Re: Tandem brake upgade - a good idea?

Postby LWaB » 3 Mar 2015, 9:08pm

I've even had a front wheel flat on a solo during a steep (>15%) descent from a tube herniating through a melted rim tape. That was not fun partway through a series of hairpins.