Author Topic: Tandem Brakes  (Read 7865 times)

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Offline DWW

Tandem Brakes
« on: May 05, 2011, 03:44:57 am »
I have a Santana Sovereign SE with the old style drum brake that threads on to the hub. I want to upgrade to a disc. Is there a disc brake that threads on to the hub like the old drum does or will I have to buy a new hub set up for a disc?

Offline Tourista829

Re: Tandem Brakes
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2011, 08:49:40 am »
What year is your Sovereign SE? I have a Santana Tandem with the Arai Drum brake. I could not modify it because the clearance was not there. All Star modified my drum brake. They took an old thumb shifter and ran the drum brake separately. What I like about this set up is, on steep tricky descents, I can dial in the amount of drag I need and still maintain excellent control. I also have no fear of heating up the rims.

If you have your heart set on converting to disk brakes, here are some excellent resources:

Allstar Bicycles    (they know tandems and Andy likes to modify anything for a price)
Quail Corners Shopping Center
5011-A Falls of Neuse Road
Raleigh, NC 27609
(919) 876-9876

TANDEMS EAST | contact@tandemseast.com | 856-451-5104 | 86 Gwynwood Drive Pittsgrove, NJ 08318
Mel Kornbluh www.tandemseast.com

TANDEMS LIMITED 2220 Vanessa Drive Birmingham, AL 35242-4430 (205) 991-5519
Jack Goetz info@tandemsltd.com www.tandemsltd.com

Offline Tourista829

Re: Tandem Brakes
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2011, 08:54:43 am »
FYI, I would keep your regular brake on the front and only put a vented disk brake on the rear. This will save you money and you really don't need one on the front. ;)

Offline whittierider

Re: Tandem Brakes
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2011, 04:24:43 pm »

Quote
I have a Santana Sovereign SE with the old style drum brake that threads on to the hub.  I want to upgrade to a disc.  Is there a disc brake that threads on to the hub like the old drum does or will I have to buy a new hub set up for a disc?

When I was on the T@H tandem forum (when we were riding the tandem all the time), Bill McReady (sp?-- can't remember), president of Santana, told about his tandem braking tests down a certain road near Santana.  I'm not familiar with the exact road, but it's in an area we'ver ridden countless times.  None of the discs could handle the load like the drum could.  The extreme heat would warp the disc, melt caipler parts, or, in the case of the hydraulics, boil the fluid and make the brake useless.  It was rather steep (16% IIRC), but we've been down even steeper ones.  We have rim brakes (which can make even the front tire skid, wet or dry, with one finger on the lever, and I've never noticed any fade) and I added the drum brake for drag down those steep, curvy descents.  It is really nice to have the third control there for it as a bar-end shift lever, as I can set it to the appropriate amount and not have to keep holding it.  I would not consider a disc an "upgrade."  If you really must do it, get the 8" rotors (or maybe there's something bigger now-- I haven't been keeping up), and get the mechanical ones.  I think Aavid BB ones were what some of the tandem teams were liking.  They were still saying however that the pads didn't last anywhere near as long as rim-brake pads, or the shoes in the drum brake.

Someone on that forum said his motorcycle had discs and they were great, and he thought bike technology was lagging.  Then another member who knew a lot about motorcycles jumped in and said the disc brake system on the motorcycle weighed 40 pounds and that's even though the motorcycle can use the engine for braking, meaning it would have to weigh even a lot more otherwise.  Disc brakes also change the way stresses are put on the bike's frame, requiring it to be stiffer and heavier in the chain stays and fork blades.  If you're riding a lot in ice and snow, it might be worth it.


Offline danacf

Re: Tandem Brakes
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2011, 06:44:21 pm »
Santana didn't like the performance of other disk brakes so they engineered their own.  The rotor is 10" and screws on the hub and the caliper bolts to the mount on the chainstay.  You also have to rivet a cable stop to the chainstay for the cable that activates the mechanism.  That's not that difficult to do if you have a sharp drill bit and a decent rivet tool (the rivets are stainless steel, not aluminum).  It's a little pricey, but works very well and in my opinion is well worth the piece of mind it brings when riding in the hills.

Offline DWW

Re: Tandem Brakes
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011, 08:19:26 pm »
Hmmm, plenty of good info. Maybe the drum...

Offline cgarch

Re: Tandem Brakes
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2011, 01:36:06 am »
I have a disk on my tandem and am very happy with it. Warped the first rotor, a Formula. Gave up on that and went to the Avid mechanical and have not had any problems with it. That being said, it has always been a concern and when I saw this modified Avid setup I was totally intrigued. Here the fellow has modified the caliper and the brake and it makes a lot more sense for a tandem. Wish I had his phone number so I could get more info on the mod.

Offline Tourista829

Re: Tandem Brakes
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2011, 08:35:59 am »
Cgarch, nice Caffee Tandem!!! I hear they are a pleasure to ride. I wonder if the Santana's have the spacing to do this set up? Do you have mechanical disk brakes on both front and rear? Although heavy and antiquated, I really like my Arai Drum Brake. As stated before, being an auxillary set up, I can set the level of resistance i need and it holds in place and I do not have to hold the brake. If I need a little extra help, I can use my normal brakes or dial in a bit more resistance. It makes riding safer, gives me more confidence, and I can really take advantage of twisty downhills.

Offline cgarch

Re: Tandem Brakes
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2011, 02:46:23 pm »
Thanks but I can't take credit for that setup. I have a Calfee Tandem that I do use for touring, but the photo is from another Calfee that I picked when working SAG duty on the Mendocino Monster last year. The brake setup rocks. I can't remember whether he had a front disk on it. Wound-up is making a front fork for tandems that includes a disk brake mount and an option for rack mounts. The next spare $700 I have is going to one.

I don't remember his explanation of the disk, but he did mention that he split and widened the caliper to fit the disk - you can see the brass nuts where they modified it to fit the disk. Obviously some work but worth it.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2011, 07:37:07 pm by cgarch »