Mt. Tandem Suspension
Hello Fellow Tandemists,
I've been hunting for an ideal suspension fork for my Cannondale mt. tandem for a while now. I've spoken to Ventana and they say they're using the Dirt Jumper with success.
I'd really like an air-sprung fork for ease of spring preload adjustment.
White Bros. introduced a tandem-specific fork last year that looks ideal. However, I'm aware of the fact that they've had some quality issues over the years. Saw it at a shop in Salida and the owner says it has preformed very well.
So, what are you using? I'd love to hear what people have tried, not liked, loved, etc.
We weigh 320lbs and ride pretty agressively (when we can get a babysitter!). We ride Hole in the Ground in the Sierra, have done Trail 401, Hermosa Creek in CO, and have destroyed two rear wheels on Slickrock! I currently have an RST triple clamp Chubby/Noleen on it. It's okay (it was the right price - free!!), but I can't adjust spring load (it's at max and not high enough - even with a spring upgrade) and it flexes a fair amount.
Thanks for the advice!
Send a note to Alex@MTBTandems.com and he'll give you the low-down on exactly what's available today (vs. what may no longer be available or no longer the cat's meow) in the way of suspension forks.
Alex was instrumental in working with Marzocchi to fine-tune their Dirt Jumper forks for tandem use and has established similar relationships with the other fork producers who are presently offering tandem-rated forks.
Our current fork is a Stratos S5-T.
Time for a change.
Originally Posted by LV2TNDM
Had an RST on the Dale MT2000 when I got it and it was useless. Springs nowhere near stiff enough, although Triple Crown was too flexible. Investigated the Single crown forks around and a choice of two-- Rockshox Duke that would take the punishment, but heasvier weight springs were not available. They were but not in the imminent future. Talked to Marzochii and they suggested the Free ride range or the special Tandem one they were trying but was not currently available. Went for Freeride Dropoffs with the heaviest weight springs and these were good. Still not heavy enough spring but change of oil to 20 grade and overfilling with oil and they worked-- Unfortunately when we went Disc-Hope M4's with 200mm disc-- and we got used to a brake that would lift the rear wheel at 40mph, we found that they were flexing a bit too much. Rethink necessary and my local shop offerred me a 2004 Boxer Race at a very sensible price. Heavy weight springs and a set of preload adjusters to take the sag out of the forks and they were good- once again changed the oil weight to 20 grade and boy do these work.
Travel height-- Marzochis were 135mm. the Boxers are 150mm or 170mm. We set them up for 150mm. Don't know what is recommended for the Dale but the change in suspension travel and the ride height has not led to any handling difficulties. In fact-- if there is a Downhill Tandem, we have it. The whole bike is set up for strength as since fitting the boxers, Hope Brakes,. Full downhill spec wheels, we found that when we hit something hard on the trail, we were bending things(like handlebars, seat stems,Seat rails etc.) Stability uphill at slow speed can be tricky but it is so stable at speed downhill, that nothing can stay with us. I do mean nothing as one of my riding mates is a downhiller with a long suspension XC bike and he cannot take the lines that we do, or the lumps at the speed we do. Example-- a hill we hit for 1/2 mile, not excessively steep but rutted, loose flints, soft scree mixed with chalk, Horse hoof pocked where a trail crosses, and grip is at a premium. Max speed for me on solo-37mph before it is dangerous-- Downhill friend is 39mph(I am fast even on my solo) Tandem- no pedalling from the top- just rolling over the crest--max speed 47mph. must try pedalling sometime. The Marzochiis were slower, but that may have been due to a confidence brake when we had the V brakes. A good brake that you have confidence in can add 5 mph down hill.
I have heard of people in the UK using the Marzochii Junior "T" but I do feel that 200mm travel is excessive. What is not though is a Quality triple crown fork. All you have to ensure is that a strong enough spring is available. Our boxers have them for our all up weight of 400lbs, but so have other manufacturers. Incidentally I would also suggest the 20mm bolt through Axle. Especially if you have disc brakes. Never had a problem with the standard QR, but have more confidence and trust in the 20mm.
I have No experience of Air sprung on a Tandem, but they are a NO-No for heavy weights on Solos. I have a 100kgs mate that blows seals on his Marzochiis frequently. Suddenly having no air in an air suspension fork is not pleasant. The weight hanging over the front of a Tandem, even at rest without hitting the bumps, is a lot more than a solo with a heavy rider on. In any case, theres only one spring load tension to set on a Tandem. The hardest you can get. Change the oil to 15 or 20 grade, set the rebound adjustment to slow, and that is all you need. Mind you, What may not be bad is a fork that has the ride height adjustability whilst riding. Then you can set a low ride height for uphill and let her rip when gravity takes over.
Thanks for the input. I'll contact Alex and see what he has to say. This is a great forum; thanks to everyone for the great advice!
On the advice of Alex, I got in touch with Dean at ATC Racing, and he hooked us up with one of his dual crown forks. Works great, and is totally user-serviceable. My only regret is that it is too bulky for a coupled tandem, so we'll be swapping to a Marzocchi DJ before we use the bike for travel.