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1937 Tandem Hub Brakes

Graham Blackburn2021-09-22 08:45:00

The restoration of my 1937 tandem is 99% complete.

I am however having trouble getting the brakes to work correctly, they have new brake shoes, they all fit Ok, the cables are correctly adjusted etc.

Does any tips as to how I can make them more efficient, do they need bedding in? someone has suggested that I score the shoes but I am  reluctant to do that unless you think that it may help. It has also been suggested that I emery paper the hubs to take away any residual dust etc.  from the old brake shoes.

David Tudor2021-10-11 18:35:46
Hub brakes on tandems are a minefield. The most popular were British Hub Co brakes and they were never very good. I had some reshod and after a few years one jammed on me and locked the front wheel resulting in the front forks bending. I replaced the forks and had a Mafac cantilever fitted which worked very well. The best hub brake I did have was on a triplet and was a Blumfield. I could lock the wheel 3 up or just slow down gently, perfect. Sturmey Archer tandem hub brakes were also very good too but with all these brakes you do need to have perfectly oil/grease free surfaces. I do remember when I was in Sheffield going down a steep hill with a friend on my Sun Wasp tandem and it began picking up speed. I had the heel brake pressed hard as well as the front lever pulled as hard as I could. Eventually the tandem did start to slow down and when it stopped there was a lot of smoke pouring from the hubs. The brakes were much better after that. Remember too that hub brakes must be bedded in effectively ensuring that the whole lining surface is touching the hub but I don't recommend using the method I just mentioned unless you can get the road cleared as we stopped about 1 foot short of the main road between Sheffield and Manchester!