Sturmey Archer front drum brake on touring bike?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Bob Taylor, Apr 16, 2003.

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  1. Bob Taylor

    Bob Taylor Guest

    I've read the thread about the problems one could have with disc brakes on a touring bike and now I
    have qualms about a project I had planned for this summer. I intended to build up a touring bike
    with a Sturmey Archer front drum brake in addition to conventional canti brakes. I intended the drum
    brake for use in wet weather when rim brakes sometimes don't work too well. I wanted to use a front
    drum brake because it's a lot easier to run the cable to it. The drum brake hub is a NOS one from
    the mid 80's. The frame I have is a Cannondale hybrid (lot's of clearance and it won't rust). The
    fork is rigid steel with robust looking blades. The blade diameter is large enough that I'll have to
    use a longer screw to get the reaction strap holder to fit around it. The dropouts had lawyer's lips
    but they've been ground off by some previous owner. After reading the threads I had some questions
    and I hope somebody can help me out:

    1. Does it seem that it would be safe for me to go ahead with this plan? The brake was made in a
    time before lawyer's lips and was meant to go on a road bike fork with blades of the normal
    diameter. It is a bolt on design but I suppose the axle could slide out of the dropouts.

    2. Would it seem adequate if I had replacement lawyer's lips brazed back onto the dropouts and
    perhaps a stiffining rib brazed up the back (or front or both) of the left fork blade (the one
    the reaction strap mounts to) or perhaps both fork blades?

    3. Years ago bikes sometimes came with a retaining device rather than a lawyer's lips. The ones I
    remember were just a washer with a tab with a pin (about the size of a chain pin) that projected
    inward so it could go into an eyelet on the dropout (just the usual fender stay or rack eyelet).
    This retainer was generally only used on one side but I see no reason not to use two of them.
    These reainers went onto the skewer to prevent the wheel from sliding out even if the QR was
    left loose. How about something along these lines to retain the axle of my SA hub rather than
    brazing lawyer's lips back on?

    My idea was to improve safety but maybe I'll just be creating more problems than I solve. Perhaps I
    should just resign myself to that delay until the brakes bite when it's wet out.

    Thanks,
    Bob
     
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  2. Bluto

    Bluto Guest

    [email protected] (Bob Taylor) wrote:

    > 1. Does it seem that it would be safe for me to go ahead with this plan? The brake was made in a
    > time before lawyer's lips and was meant to go on a road bike fork with blades of the normal
    > diameter. It is a bolt on design but I suppose the axle could slide out of the dropouts.

    Just tighten the axle nuts normally and you'll be fine. Nutted axles are unlikely to give any
    problems even with disc brakes. Drum brakes apply their reaction torque in a direction that does not
    tend to push the wheel in the direction of the droupout opening.

    > 2. Would it seem adequate if I had replacement lawyer's lips brazed back onto the dropouts and
    > perhaps a stiffining rib brazed up the back (or front or both) of the left fork blade (the one
    > the reaction strap mounts to) or perhaps both fork blades?

    No need to do this. Removing a drum-braked wheel is quite enough of an operation even without
    lawyer lips. :)

    > My idea was to improve safety but maybe I'll just be creating more problems than I solve. Perhaps
    > I should just resign myself to that delay until the brakes bite when it's wet out.

    You won't have a safety or reliability problem with them. Be advised, however, that drum brakes on
    large diameter wheels are not very impressive stoppers. They are finicky about what lever pulls them
    too; modern drop bar levers don't pull enough cable and most short-blade MTB levers lack sufficient
    mechanical advantage. Expect to modify the hub's brake arm cable anchor point if you have committed
    yourself to brake levers that don't do the trick.

    I have a rain bike equipped with Sachs drums front and rear. The brakes are very consistent and
    reliable in stopping my almost 400 pound gross vehicle weight, but they're not very strong and they
    fade somewhat on descents. Trial-and-error with different levers helped a lot to get acceptable
    performance.

    Compared to Sachs/SRAM drum brake hubs, Sturmey Archer units are roughly equal, maybe a bit better.
    Shimano roller brakes bite much harder and fade much more quickly and dramatically, pretending to be
    good brakes until you really need them. Atom/"Schwinn Approved" drum brakes suck irretrievably. And
    I've no good riding experience by which to compare Maxicar or Arai drums.

    Chalo Colina
     
  3. Bill Putnam

    Bill Putnam Guest

    [email protected] (Bob Taylor) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I've read the thread about the problems one could have with disc brakes on a touring bike and now
    > I have qualms about a project I had planned for this summer. I intended to build up a touring bike
    > with a Sturmey Archer front drum brake in addition to conventional canti brakes. I intended the
    > drum brake for use in wet weather when rim brakes sometimes don't work too well.

    Chalo covered some of the pros/cons of drum brakes nicely, one question I would have is how you
    would actuate the conventional canti brakes and the drum brake? Possibly use an upright style lever
    mounted on the handlebar close to the stem for the drum brake and regular levers in their normal
    position for the cantis? The drum brake would give faster response in rain, and I can't imagine that
    brake fade in the rain is as much of a concern as you should already be riding more conservatively
    in the rain.

    Still, are standard canti's that much of a problem? I ride year round and when it rains I allow more
    distance for stopping, knowing the wheels need to revolve a few revolutions for the brake shoes to
    wipe off the water on the rims. I had a bike set up with a Sturmey rear and Sachs front drum brake
    for wet weather riding, but found it was more hassle to have the drum brakes than it was worth. YMMV

    Bill Putnam, back to riding with only caliper brakes in the rain.
     
  4. [email protected] (Bluto) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > [email protected] (Bob Taylor) wrote:

    <cut>

    > And I've no good riding experience by which to compare Maxicar or Arai drums.
    >
    > Chalo Colina

    I have an Arai as an auxilliary drag brake on my tandem (rear wheel). It serves this function
    admirably, but experience/experiment show that it certainly can't bring the bike to a brisk stop
    on its own.

    I certainly wouldn't rely on its stopping power on a loaded touring bike.
     
  5. In answer to one of the posts:

    I had planned to use a Paul's cross lever for the drum brake. These can be used on their own as well
    as in conjunction with a drop bar lever (I asked Paul about this by Email) This particular cross
    lever can be set for use with Vbrakes and that's the way I'd use it for the drum brake. SA drums
    need a lot of cable pull.

    Yes, rim brakes do work in the rain (after some delay) but a couple of years ago I was coming down a
    steep hill in heavy rain into a town in Scotland and I really didn't like waiting to see when I'd
    have braking power and how much there would be.

    Besides, I'd had that hub for close to 20 years and it seemed that I should put it to use.

    Bob Taylor
     
  6. We have Arai Drums as the only brakes on one of our tandems. They work very well. Presumably because
    the bike has 20 inch wheels, fore and aft. This bike is a 2 wheel drive machine and a photo is
    available on my earthlink site below.

    We have A Maxicar drum brake on the rear of our Gitane tandem. It is very strong even with the
    oversized 700 rear wheel. The main advantage of the Maxicar, is the very high flange. It allows me
    to change a spoke on the rear drive side without removing the free wheel. The flange is higher than
    the largest cog. A long tour without such a flange is unthinkable.
    --
    Bill "Pop Pop" Patterson Retired and riding my Linear, my front drive low racer and our M5 tandem.

    See some Bikes At:

    http://home.earthlink.net/~wm.patterson/index.html

    PC

    http://www.roadkillbill.com/r135.html

    Class and Helicopter

    http://www.calpoly.edu/~wpatters/

    Reply to [email protected]
     
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