Author Topic: New (To us) Voyager owners  (Read 493 times)

Gib

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
New (To us) Voyager owners
« on: May 28, 2020, 03:41:49 PM »
We (me and our 8YO son) have just purchased a second hand Thorn Voyager Child back. Well what can I say we both love it and I remember why I used to love cycling!

I used to be a wheeler many moons ago (90ís) but life took over and its only been in the last couple of years that we can do rides that are worthwhile with out both of use being caput. So the idea of getting a tandem has been on the table for around a year as it kills two birds with one stone. 1. We can extend the range (up to 20 miles so far) 2 We can travel on busier roads with out both of use feeling a little bit urgh.
The other added bonus is the respect, when I was in a club I didnít have a bib or club jersey and doing mostly cross my kit was usually knackered. When you saw any one on the road you might get a nod if they recognised your bike was odd but generally I was ignored. These days all cyclist recognise us as kings of the road!
We still ride in any old clothes ( although I now have the cash and inclination to buy some Fignon Renault kit) but I do need to do a but of upgrading to the bike.
The key question for the moment is braking I weigh 85Kg my son weighs just under 25Kg SO pretty light in the world of tandems and in all honesty I canít see us doing more than an overnight with minimal gear so 130Kg all up.
The bike as it stands has V brakes front and rear, The options going forward
1. Simple upgrade of pads on some new Alex rims
2.Front hub brake, ditch the V brake
3. Front Disc, ditch the V brake
4. Rear Drag

Any ideas opinions?

IMG-20200524-WA0001

martinf

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 689
Re: New (To us) Voyager owners
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2020, 06:05:18 PM »
If you can keep the weight down to 130 Kg, I reckon good brake pads should suffice, along with replacing the cables and housings if these are not up to scratch.

When I had a tandem about 30 years ago I had Mafac cantilevers front and rear. After I had replaced the rather mediocre original brake pads, these brakes were sufficient even for brutal emergency stops (in dry weather, I didn't ride the tandem much in the wet). All-up weight was about 140 kg

My tandem also had an Atom drum brake (big, heavy and inexpensive, with a large hub shell that dissipated heat reasonably well. Basically the same brake as used on French mopeds at the time). I modified this to work off a ratcheted thumbshifter for use as a drag brake on long downhills.

Changing to a front disc or drum brake would, in my opinion, have a serious risk of overstressing the fork, with risk of catastrophic failure, unless the fork is already designed to take a hub brake. I reckon the Thorn in the photo doesn't have a disc-ready fork.

I found a drag brake useful for two things :

- easing the stress on my hands.
- postponing rim heating.

Both only really relevant on long downhills, where the cheap option is to stop and look at the scenery while the rims cool down and your hands recover.

Not sure if you can still get a drum-brake hub suitable for tandem use. IMO a disc wouldn't be as useful as a drum for use as a drag brake.


More recently, my all-up weight was 127 Kg at the start of a month's tour on an old mountain bike equipped with a front cantilever and rear U-brake, again with the best replacement pads I could find. I had no braking problems on wet mountain descents, the only caveat was being aware of possible rim overheating on slow twisty downhills, so I stopped occasionally to check for this. In similar conditions with disc brakes, you would have the risk of brake fade.

Andre Jute

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3439
Re: New (To us) Voyager owners
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2020, 10:00:01 PM »
One of my bikes has Shimano roller brakes front and rear, and another has an earlier Shimano roller at the back and a disc in front.

I have little faith in discs and have never had a satisfactory disc installation; they all ate pads at an enormous rate because I'm heavy and my gear is heavy, and I have a heavy hand on the brakes because I like speeding downhill and at the bottom of my hills one often finds a T-junction.

The later Shimano roller brakes are in some senses a superior solution to disc brakes, but they require a torque reaction arm on precisely the same pattern as disc brakes, with which they're largely interchangeable. Scroll down on this page --
http://coolmainpress.com/BICYCLINGsmover.html
-- and you'll come to some large photographs illustrating the torque arm mounting and the huge cooling discs. The big black hubs you see are not part of the brake but a hub dynamo and a hub gearbox. The roller brakes mount to the side of these.

Early roller brakes from Shimano were limp but the later ones -- -75 series on my Trek Di2 in the photos linked above and newer as in higher numbers -- are ferocious stoppers, and don't complain about being used as drag brakes on long hills when I want to slow to talk with pedal pals who ride their brakes down every hill. Between me and my painting gear, there's often a minimum of 130kg on my bike, so the later Shimano rollers cope well.

However, I agree with Martin: if you want discs or rollers, you'll need a new fork.

One minor irritation with the Shimano roller brakes is that the closure for the service port (a complete service consists of squirting a shot of grease through the port) is a miserably little rubber plug, untethered, easily lost. Buy several spares when you buy the rollers, if you decide on them, and a few of the tubes of special grease. If SJS doesn't have them, try Petra Cycles, who specialize in rare and wonderful Shimano parts.

***
It may interest you that both the bikes with rollers are in the loft, three storeys up, from where they won't return to the road in a hurry; they're simply more brake than I require.

Instead, I've found the best brakes for my use -- heavy cyclist and heavy gear -- is Magura's rim hydraulics. They cost about the same as cheap discs, they're sealed for life, zero service except brake blocks, they work very progressively, they clamp like crazy in an emergency, they're very economical of brake blocks (10,000km is possible in tarmac countryside use with zero commuting), and they have a huge cooling rim to work on. The two suitable lines of Magura rim hydraulics are labelled -11 and -33; there used to be a difference in clamping power between them, so I chose the lower clamping force -11 series as more progressive and threw off the fork bracing plate too for the same reason, but today both clamp the same and the more expensive -33 offers trivially better convenience in adjustment for the substantial difference in price. Unfortunately these wonderful brakes also require specific socketry to bolt the calipers to, but at least up near the fork shoulders, not down on the slender part of the fork.

***
I seem to remember a recent thread here on the Aral drum brake's availability, if you want to search for it.

lewis noble

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 518
Re: New (To us) Voyager owners
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2020, 10:08:15 PM »
I would certainly overhaul brakes thoroughly before thinking of anything else, others have pointed out very real dangers of trying to fit disc brakes on to non-disc forks, even if that is possible.

Replacing cables often makes a big difference, and also replace lead pipes, the gizmo that goes into the v-brake itself.  Usually 90 degrees bend or 135 degree bend.  A lot of resistance can develop in that pipe, and replacing cables on their own would be a waste of time, in my experience, if the pipes have been on the bike for a while. 

Brake pads??  No specific recommendation from me - I use Kools-stop Salmon or Dual Compound - brake well and better than most in the wet.  My bikes have the Salmon, but they wear quickly (not a problem with my relatively low mileages), but would wear even more quickly on a tandem.  I would try Kool-stop Dual Compound. 

Lewis
 

Mike Ayling

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 197
Re: New (To us) Voyager owners
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2020, 06:04:19 AM »
(Mary and I  have a Raven Twin. We specced the Shimano XT v brakes.
Our combined weight is 125kg and we credit card tour with 15 to 20 kg of luggage.
I have vever had a problem stopping the bike with the v brakes.
Ads others have said overhaul your cables and perhaps consider a softer brake pad.

Mike

martinf

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 689
Re: New (To us) Voyager owners
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2020, 08:00:55 AM »
SJS seem to have a replacement for the Arai screw-on drum brake:

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/brakes/karasawa-screw-on-tandem-drum-brake-replaces-arai/

The Arai, with its big cooling fins, was what I would liked to have had on my 1980's tandem instead of the Atom. But the Atom did it's job well enough, so I never bothered changing.

I think that if I needed tandem brakes nowadays I would go for very substantial rims to slow down rim heating rather than a third hub brake. And still be careful about stopping to let things cool down on long twisty descents.

I'd stick with cantilevers or V-brakes. Andrť's hydraulic Magura brakes would probably be even better, but I am not familiar with hydraulics and simple cable-operated brakes are easy to repair.

Gib

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: New (To us) Voyager owners
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2020, 08:11:40 AM »
Thanks for the advice.

I like tinkering and setting up a drag brake was the way i was leaning, but based on price and availability of drag brakes and suitable hubs we are now going with a swap out to some nice V brakes i have used on another bike before. On my Forme X-er i have Kool-stops, Thin line from memory???

I will be swapping out the inners, outers and noddles for new parts. It makes a change from 25 odd years ago when i scrabbled around robbing of one bike to go on another as new parts were not in budget.

In other news, the bike came with a Brooks Cambium (C17) i have nether believed in the hype and certainly not the cash that these overpriced slithers of leather cost.

3 weeks and 100 mile in and i need to buy one for my son. They are as good as they say, i have rode many miles with a Allen key in my pocket stopping adjusting , readjusting and convincing myself  a saddle will bed in . Where as this has been comfy right from the get go and that is with a less than ideal fit due to the current setup ( This is being changed).

martinf

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 689
Re: New (To us) Voyager owners
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2020, 12:40:07 PM »
I like tinkering and setting up a drag brake was the way i was leaning, but based on price and availability of drag brakes and suitable hubs we are now going with a swap out to some nice V brakes i have used on another bike before.

When I got it, my tandem had both rim brakes working off one lever, with the other working the drum brake. I didn't like this arrangement at all, so quickly changed this to three separate levers, the drop-style levers working the cantilevers and a third "guidonnet" style lever working the drum brake. After a while, I replaced the "guidonnet" by the ratchet thumbshifter.

The drag brake was nice to have, and at the time I had the appropriate reflex as I was working as a bus driver. Most of the vehicules had a Telma electromagnetic retarder, which has a rather similar effect to a drag brake. So I put the thumbshifter under the handlebar on the right, mimicking the position of the Telma lever under the steering wheel.

Downside of this type of control is that you have to remember to take the brake off.

Gib

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: New (To us) Voyager owners
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2020, 07:33:36 AM »
Thought i would check which pads i have and surprisingly i was right red Kool-stops on the Forme, I didn't realise i also had Blue ones on my Muddy fox.

20200601_185842

20200601_185836

PH

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 923
Re: New (To us) Voyager owners
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2020, 12:29:44 PM »
What a great photo your lad's face says it all, I can see you both having a lot of fun on that.
I'm 100kg and sometimes carry over 25kg of camping gear, I like disc brakes particularly in the wet, though I've never felt unable to stop with V's.  You do need to be aware of their capabilities, they're not going to bring to to a quick stop from 50mph downhill, but they can keep it all under control so you don't get into that position, but you already knew that...
Pads and set up are important, I like Koolstop Salmon or BBB Tristop pads.  Don't underestimate the difference well fitting cables can make, I cut the ends squarer than they come on most new bikes! and use good metal ferrules so they seat firmly in the lever and brake. I can't see the rear cable run on your bike, if it's a long outer compression losses will be significant, I'd consider a compressionless cable.  Then really good, smooth SS inners and keep them lightly oiled.  Lastly, I'd avoid any tight bends, even if this means a slightly longer cable.   
These things are not complicated, maybe it's because they're so simple that some people don't think there's any benefit from doing it well.  I swapped bikes for a week with a friend so he could try a Rohloff, when we swapped  back he couldn't believe we were running the same brakes, by then I'd already sorted his, I couldn't ride with such poor stopping.
I have little experience of the Magura's rim hydraulics Andre recommends, they're very popular with German cycle tourists so they must be good.  I don't know about tandem use, but Thorn used to advise against using them on their solo bikes.

Gib

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: New (To us) Voyager owners
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2020, 08:29:48 AM »
Well just under a hundred extra miles which is not bad for an unfit middle aged man and an 8 year old, the only Low light being a dropped chain and the fact I didnít have a tool kit sorted for the bike at this time. The chain was on the bike when we got it so no idea of the history (Unbranded ).

Recent work has been stripping , cleaning and installing alternative gear. So I have stripped her down to just the cranks, BB@s and eccentrics. Which were left in place they are smooth and at the moment I donít want to find a horror story that means we miss the weather whilst waiting for parts or repair.

The headset was a bit graunchy but new bearings sorted that out other wise all threads were clean and didnít need chasing. I have touched up a couple of scrapes with Hammarite (of the shelf red) which is close enough and have replaced the decals going from Yellow to Black, in fact this will be the first bike I have built where colour seems to play a part going for a Black and Red combo !!!

The wheels set has ben replaced and we now have Deore hubs (8 speed in BLACK) with Alex rims which were brand new with wear strips.

Ultegra old school rear mech  with Deore LX front and a new Shimano HG  chain I like these and they are cheap.

Brakes I have stuck with just cantiís, Deore DX levers and arms in RED. With Kool-Stop Salmon pads

No change as yet on the chain sets but we have already got a replacement  Stronglite middle and the outer is staring to wear so will need replacing at some point.

Pedals, my trusty Wellgo smoothies for me and on the rear a set of platform traps with Cinelli Kinks. My son likes them I am not sold as yet , they were cheap were as the power grips I used back in the early nineties are neither cheap or accessible in the UK these days. Time will tell.

The only other big change was the bars I used to ride Zoom Brahma Bars but these are unobtainable but i got a ridiculously good deal on a pair of Fasttracks which are all but the same.

Otherwise Tandem life is the good life.






PH

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 923
Re: New (To us) Voyager owners
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2020, 05:31:09 PM »
Looking good.
I have workshop envy just from the cabinets  8)