Friday, July 3, 2009

Upgrading the brakes - part two

Well the upgrade is complete! First the new brake handle. Common on recumbent trikes apparently, this new handle is metal alloy with a push button park brake that is automatically released when you squeeze the handle hard. The park brake button is a bit hard for the weak little fingers on my left hand to push in but might loosen with a bit of use. If not it can be adjusted to make it a bit easier to engage. The following two photos show the handle with the park brake button disengaged and engaged -

The other good feature of this handle is that it directly controls both brake cables so no need for a splitter box anymore -

The new Avid BB7s can be adjusted very easily by the red knobs seen below or you can use special allen keys (supplied) if you are unable to fit your fingers through the spokes in the wheel or require a bit more leverage -

The fitting of the Avid's required some drilling into the frame to reverse one of the existing brake mounts. A quick check with Andrew, who recently put Avids on his Christiania, confirmed that the drilling was necessary on his also - thanks for the quick advice there Andrew!

The stopping power is very good! With a bit of riding around Simon's shop to test them, plus the ride home and for school pickup (about 10km all up in pouring rain at times!) I found they bedded in quite quickly. The right wheel may have bedded in before the left at it now locks up quite dramatically when stopping at speed. I'll ride for a bit more to see if the left one follows suit before undertaking any adjustments.

All up a very worthwhile upgrade to the trike! Thanks to Simon for doing the hard yards installing them.


  1. Aaron, thanks for this post. It has led us to having the BB7 modification completed on our trike, and I second your opinion in relation to their performance. Really, the OEM disc brakes that arrived with the trike were laughable; probably fine if you live/ride on the flats (and then only with light loads), but not really suitable when any real downhill runs are on your route, particularly with children that are no longer as light as when the trike first arrived! I'm not too sure about some of your other mods. though ...
    KInd regards, Plod, Hobart.

  2. Hi Aaron

    We live in a hilly part of Adelaide and I'm trying to research ways to transport my kids (already 2 and nearly 7). If you were buying a new trike now, what would you change straightaway?

    Also, how is the trike going now that your kids are growing.


  3. Hi - I replied to your email Ros but for the benefit of others now that the kids are getting bigger I still use it for the grocery runs etc and I still enjoy riding it. When the whole family goes out for a ride I tend to also use it as opposed to my 'normal' bike as I can throw in picnic blankets, footballs, scooters etc for use at the parks with great ease!

    If I was buying a new trike now I would just make sure I got one with the motor instead of having to fit it myself!