Monday, 25 November 2013

Mini-moon tandem! (disc brakes on tandems)

This tandem is amazing.  Cindy loves it because its a tandem and it features non-greasy chain drivetrain, a bluetooth speaker, and our Mr. and Mrs. signs.  I love it for all that too, but the Rohloff, stiff frame and great handling are amazing.  
The photo below is the top of Alta Laguna. Steep climb hitting 17% at points and in the sun. Nice climb. Range Rover mean time between sightings was about 30 seconds. Note for way down: right now I'm equipped with an XT hydraulic front brake, with the Ice Tech cooling fins on the pad, and a steel (non-Ice Tech) 200mm rotor; the rear is a 200mm steel rotor that is Rohloff specific and Avid cable pull rear caliper. The contribution to braking from the rear is actually pretty small - compressionless housing might help, but in my little neighbourhood hill test at the place we were staying, with me riding solo, the rear couldn't stop me just slow me down. Doing long steep descents needs real brakes. We did an extended California climb and descent, and boiled the brake fluid at one point on the overworked XT. They're still better at heat managment than virtually anything out there, but 300lbs (two riders plus add to that the bike is say 35lbs), a several kilometer descent with grades between 12 and 18% is a brake torture test. But that's also when you need them most so you don't meet the hood of a Range Rover at the next 4 way intersection.

I'm going to Shimano Saint front and back, and an Ice Tech rotor up front. I'm open to other suggestions from riders, mechanics or tandemers, but that's my understanding of what's powerful, suitable at dealing with heat, and still world available to an extent as every shop has Shimano capabilities (if not pure DH brake work in 3rd world, at least they've seen Shimano product). I don't understand how tandems worked before high power disc brakes. These things need a lot of stopping power.

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