Understanding Braking

Santana Brake Options

Generation 4 Disc Brake

Two things led Santana to create the industry's only 10" disc rotor and the only rotor and caliper specifically designed for tandems:
1. The demise of the drum brake left riders who like a drag brake looking for a modern solution. No rim brake or existing disc brake could handle sustained dragging down a mountain.
2. With the V-brake as the benchmark for power, using existing 7" or 8" rotors on a 700c wheel resulted in LESS brake torque for a given lever effort.

We found a brake caliper that used metal rather than plastic bushings and high grade springs to withstand extreme heat, then modified it with a quicker action and stronger return spring to handle the extra cable length of a tandem. We developed a 10" disc rotor to increase brake torque, absorb more heat, and shed heat faster. 3 generations of rotors saw slightly changing spoke and hole designs to reduce warping, run quieter, and resist lateral flex. Our new 4th Generation rotor represents a giant leap forward in these criteria and drops 90 grams! Two piece button construction with aluminum spider and cooling fins and new cutout patern means quieter operation, no rattle over rough roads, more consistent feel on long descents, and longer pad life. Available only on the rear and recommended for riders who do sustained, steep descents or like to drag their rear brake to control speed on moderate descents. Also for riders who want to run up to a 42mm tire or fender.

Shimano Road Caliper

Available in Dura-ace or Ultegra levels for front and rear the classic road bike brake caliper is the lightest, simplest solution and the newest generation boasts tandem capable power nearly on par with a V-brake. Boasting easy setup with generous pad-to-rim clearance caliper brakes require the least amount of attention to keep them centered and working their best. Santana paid careful attention to the design of our frames and fork so that you can mount up to a 32mm Continental Gatorskin tire with road caliper brakes which is the biggest most people will want for pavement use. This brake is recommended in the front for riders who prize low weight, less adjusting, and traditional looks over the slight extra power and greater tire clearance of a V-brake. In the rear we recommend a road caliper for riders who's terrain or braking technique don't demand the heat capacity of a disc and don't plan to mount a fender or dirt tire. How much lighter is a twin road caliper setup vs a front V-brake and rear disc? About a pound and a half.


Available on the front of all our bikes and on the rear of the Arriva, Nuovo Sport, Spirit, and Sovereign models the linear pull or V-brake creates a tremendous amount of braking torque relative to lever effort and has plenty of clearance for fenders or the largest tires you can fit through the frame or fork (usually 42mm with knobs). Riders choose this front brake when they need all the clamping force they can get or plan to venture onto gravel roads and want to mount up suitable tires and they don't mind an occasional centering adjustment to keep them working their best. In the rear a V-brake is a more economical alternative to a disc when you need more tire clearance and braking power than a road caliper offers but you don't need the massive heat capacity of a disc for dragging down long descents.