Tandem Cycling - Wheel for a frame with 126 rear spacing
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08-27-12, 12:50 AM
I have recently purchased an old tandem from the mid-80s and it has 126mm rear spacing. I need a new rear wheel for it. Would it be reasonable to build a wheel at 126mm rear spacing and expect it to last, something like a Phil 48 hole hub to a Velocity Dyad, or should I have the rear triangle re-spaced? If respacing is the answer, how much could I safely expect to increase the spacing by? What have the rest of you with old tandems done (besides buy a new tandem)? This is a starter bike, and it won't be used for racing, just casual rides around Alameda (which is flat as a pancake). We are about 330 pounds, but with a different stoker could be up to 360ish.
08-27-12, 07:51 PM
The important pieces of info would be the frame material and who made it. With that, perhaps some of the folks who have been riding a tandem longer than I would have an idea on this.
08-28-12, 09:19 AM
Another factor to consider is your desired durability. I may want to take a different approach on a bike that will get 200 miles a year vs 6,000 miles a year.
You mentioned it will be flat land riding. How are road conditions? Smooth, vs Potholes ?
Also do you want to keep the same gearing or upgrade to modern gearing?
All of the above feed into your budget. Do you want to limit the cost as much as possible?
08-28-12, 09:58 AM
This is a starter bike, and it won't be used for racing, just casual rides around Alameda (which is flat as a pancake).
You should be fine with your 126 spacing for the type of riding you describe. One would have to ride an awful lot of loops of the island to rack up thousands of miles a year. No bicycle-eating potholes that I know of in Alameda and certainly no steep descents with sharp turns. Fully loaded touring would be a little pointless when you're never more than 5 miles from home. Doesn't sound like riding that demands the ultimate in wheel strength to me.
08-28-12, 08:05 PM
Thanks for the input! To clarify, the bike is steel. Alameda has pretty nicely paved roads and is pancake-flat. We would be looking at 500 miles a year, tops. I have no plans to upgrade the shifting gear at this time. I'm not concerned about budget, I just don't want to have to replace a wheel every six months. If we get more into it, we would probably upgrade to a newer bike, but it sounds like a strong well-built wheel will do just fine for our current purposes. Again, thanks for the help!
For a data point, our old Santana Arriva S has 130mm spacing and we're running 36 hole Mavic Open Pros on Shimano 105 hubs (built by previous owner). Yep, plain old road wheels. Our team weight is similar to yours. We've put about 1000 miles on those wheels and I've had to true the rear once so far. I imagine with a 9sp drivetrain the dish on our wheels is no better than yours.
So, while I wish the rear wheel was a bit sturdier I haven't felt the need to replace it so far. So I agree, if you build a sturdy 126 I think you'll be fine. The main reason to go to 130 is if you want to upgrade the drivetrain. That said, cold setting from 126 to 130 is apparently pretty straightforward.
08-29-12, 01:24 AM
Our tandem is from the mid-60s and has 120mm rear dropout spacing. We had issues with the original 36-spoke rear wheel in '75 when we used the bike for some camping trips. I rebuilt the wheel at that time with a Phil Wood 48-spoke hub and that is still in use with no further problems. I agree with the comments above that sticking with the current spacing should be fine unless you want to upgrade the drivetrain to a cassette hub with more cogs. If you do want to upgrade it shouldn't be any problem to have the spacing changed to 130 or 135mm, but go to a shop that has the proper alignment tools so the dropouts remain parallel.
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