I have a 25 year old Colnago road tandem on which I would like to update the brakes.

The problem I am having is that they are 27" rims and I can't find a proper brake setup that will work.

What brakes will work best?

  • 1
    What sort of brakes do you have now, and what limits do you have in terms of modifying the frame? I assume it has caliper brakes, so adding cantilever brakes or disks would mean structural changes. The more we know about your bike the more we're able to make useful suggestions.
    – Móż
    Oct 31, 2016 at 4:26
  • Photos would be handy - we don't even know what bosses your frame has. Are they steel rims?
    – Criggie
    Oct 31, 2016 at 4:40
  • You didn't even ask a question. We need more information to provide any answers. Oct 31, 2016 at 5:06
  • Why do you want to "update" the brakes? Oct 31, 2016 at 12:02
  • @bryantrembley So what did you do in the end? What difficulties did you have with changing the brakes?
    – Criggie
    Aug 30, 2017 at 8:18

1 Answer 1


Here's the sole Colnago road tandem picture I could find anywhere.

Is your bike anything like this ?

enter image description here

From http://www.ebay.com/itm/Colnago-Tandem-Bike-X-Campagnolo-Groupset-Pantographed-Vintage-Very-Rare-/151292492125?hash=item2339bc395d&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&nma=true&si=3DCdggTFjbiHTJYmI3jOxvB%252FJrE%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557 and there are more photos there.

If so - it has single pivot caliper brakes, and definitely steel rims.

Your first bet would be to swap out the brake pads. Then change all the brake cables, both inners and outers. These are both maintenance tasks and do not detract from the bike.

Replacing the single pivot with dual pivots would help, but finding something period might be difficult. IMO safety is more important than originality, but others disagree.

Finally, steel rims tend to be poor at braking anytime. If you can find some 700c alloy rims, they will brake much better. Downside is they're fractionally smaller than 27" wheels, so you'll need new tyres and tubes, and the brake calipers will need to reach further, which can compromise their effectiveness.

  • My tandem had a third brake, a drum in the hub of the rear wheel. This was used to take the edge off descents, and as a final resort should the other two fail.
    – Criggie
    Oct 31, 2016 at 7:29

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