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  1. #1
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    Initial Landshark Review

    I don’t want to tread-jack this, so here is my initial review of the Landshark carbon tandem. So this is probably going to come off as a bit of a fanboy/fangirl post - sorry in advance. Please keep in mind that prior to the Landshark, the tandem we have the most experience with is a 2002(ish) Burley Duet with a stoker softride beam. The Burley purchase (less than $1000) was designed mostly as a starter: a cheap way to see if we wanted stick with tandems and buy something nicer. Thus far we have about 500 miles on the new bike. We are a 300 pound team.

    The frame: It is very nice. As one would expect out of higher end carbon, it is both stiff and comfortable. I would say that it handles very much like a nice single road race bike. Yes, that means that it is quite twitchy compared to a Santana (to pick a not-quite-random example), but it a feeling that I am fond of. It is longer and bigger, but it is as close to a racing single as I imagine is possible. The frame is custom geometry to fit our measurements and I feel that this shows in the handling and overall feeling of the bike. The frame is quite stiff, so much so that my stoker said she could feel my movements on the bike much more than on the Burley. This took some getting used to for both of us as the Burley just kind of flexed without providing the immediate feedback. The frame is very light, competitive with or lighter than the Calfee Dragonfly or Co-Motion Macchiato. The total bike weight is 25.35 pounds with Ultegra Di2, 1600 gram +/- wheels, Lightning cranks, and R785 disc brakes, including pedals and computers.

    A couple drawbacks: The frame 135 mm rear hub spacing and the 142 thru-axle is not an option with Landshark. This would have been a nice addition, but it I haven’t had any problems with the rear wheel yet. The combination of the eccentric, which is BSA, and the PF30 means that the captain’s spider is slightly inboard of the stoker left spider, requiring chainring spacers for the captain’s chainring. It’s not really a big deal, but a minor annoyance when trying to get the belt precisely lined up. Digital calipers are a big help when doing this.

    We test road several tandems before going with the Landshark in order of preference: Calfee Tetra, closely followed by Co-motion Carrera and further by a Robusta and a Santana (a Sovereign I think, though I don’t remember for sure). It was kind of leap of faith to buy a bike this expensive without getting a test ride. I expected it to be most like the Calfee of the bikes that we tested. I think that that is right. While it was a while ago and we have comparatively little experience with the Calfee, I would say that the Landshark handles better. However, that feeling can probably attributed to two things: better fit (the Calfee we rode was a bit on the big side) and the fact I really want to like it because we did just spend a whole bunch of money on it.

    The final decision to go with Landshark came down to liking John Slawta’s work. It was also nice that it comes with things (custom geometry, paint, tubing and ‘cable’ routing) that are optional extras with most brands. The bike in the pictures is mostly stock, with the two upgrades being the wheels and the R785 brakes (stock build was HED Ardennes wheels and TRP Hy-Rd brakes).

    Di2 and Discs (sounds like recent thread): Di2 the best shifting there is. I highly recommend it, though it does take some getting used to. The front and rear derailleur move at different rates, since the front has farther to move. Executing a smooth double shift takes a bit of practice, but no more than a standard mechanical setup. The 11 speed systems allow for press and hold feature that will go through as many gears as you like, which is very convenient.

    The Shimano R785 hydraulics discs (180 mm rotors) provide good power and modulation. Really the best thing about this that I can say is that they are similar - modulation, power, lever feel, etc - to the XT mountain bike disc brake (this is not a coincidence as they share a caliper), which I think are fantastic. The levers are bigger than standard shimano STI levers, so they might be somewhat uncomfortable for someone with small hands.

    A couple weeks ago we went down a 4 mile decent that averages 9%, with pitches at 18-20%, and several hairpin turns that have an advisory of 10 or 15 mph without any brake fade or other adverse effects. Granted, we descend fairly aggressively and only brake into corners to the extent necessary. I really like that the brake is isolated from the rim, especially since I have personally witnessed a carbon clincher explode (not mine, a guy two bikes in front of me) from braking heat build up and that is not something I have any interest in risking on a tandem. The discs give me less pause about using carbon rims in the hills.

    That is quite a lot of words, looking back on it. There you go, I will post additional updates as we have more time on the bike.

    Bike.jpgScale.jpgBike2.jpgBoom.jpgDrivetrain.jpgFront.jpg
    Last edited by TooMany; 07-17-15 at 08:01 PM.

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Nice... and nice write-up.

  3. #3
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Thanks for the very nice write up. How long did the process take, from starting the order to delivery?
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    Thanks for the very nice write up. How long did the process take, from starting the order to delivery?
    8 weeks. We had about a two week delay at the beginning because we wanted to wait to get a bike fit before ordering, so it was 6 weeks from finalized geometry - the start of John actually being able to build anything - to delivery.

  5. #5
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Nice report on the Landshark!
    Have only seen a couple Landshark tandems, and was impressed with the workmanship and great paint jobs.
    Enjoy the ride TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zontandem

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    TooMany,

    How did the ride compare to the Comotion Carrera? Also, what kind of wheels did you put on it?

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by tandemraw View Post
    TooMany,

    How did the ride compare to the Comotion Carrera? Also, what kind of wheels did you put on it?

    Thanks
    Similar to the caveat above, we only had a short time on the Carrera, but these are my impressions based on the test ride. I would say the Carrera matched the best ride qualities of the Landshark (and the Calfee) fairly well. Of course, it is heavier and not as stiff as either of the carbon bikes, but ride quality and road feel (for lack of a better term) are similar. This is in contrast to the (also lateral-less) Robusta, that we felt was just harsh and uncomfortable, without being noticeably stiffer. The Carrera is a much better bike than our Burley Duet. Design matters much more than frame material. After doing the test rides it basically came down to a choice between Calfee, Landshark and a Co-Motion Supremo (higher end steel).

    The rims are chinese-made all-mountain 29er hooked carbon rims (425 grams each +/-, 30 mm outside/26 mm inside width), Sapim CX-Rays, brass nipples and DT Swiss 350 centerlock, thru-axle front wheel, QR rear.

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    2Many; Nice bike. Can we could on you for an update at 6 months and one year in? Glad to see you are having good experience so far with the cRims...as they would make me a bit nervous, at least for a few more years (I am real conservative).
    /K

  9. #9
    Senior Member colotandem's Avatar
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    Maybe @ebnelson will chime in, he's had his Landshark for a couple of years now.

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    Congratulations on your new Land Shark! It looks great. We probably should have let John go crazy on our paint and probably will if we get our frame repainted. The write up seems accurate from our perspective. Our reference tandem was a Co-Motion Supremo. The Land Shark is quicker, nimble, and more like a single bike. Still, for me, a single bike is way more twitchy after being on the tandem for a number of rides. The Land Shark rides like a Cervelo tandem would if Cervelo ever made one. It's definitely a racing style tandem like the others out there (Calfee, Paketa.)

    I ordered our frame with a 130mm rear end so we can use regular road hubs. Our team weight is 250lbs and this has been fine. We used Dura-Ace 9000 hubs for the first couple of years and are using a Power Tap hub now. We've been using Dura Ace 11-sp Di2 and it has worked out well. We also have Lightning cranks. We started with a same side timing set up that John had run but switched back to left side timing after a couple of ugly chain suck experiences. The Land Shark's boom tube and over size top tube combo make it so I can't tell the difference between left or right side timing on our frame. John said our frame weighed 4lbs before paint.

    I would have ordered disc brakes if an integrated Di2 hydraulic disc combo was available at the time. We have the Dura Ace 9000 rim brakes and Stan's Alpha 400 rims. The braking performance on these latest model Dura Ace brakes is pretty good but not like disc brakes. Our only brake fading is in wet weather which we avoid anyway.

    We have Light Bicycle carbon rims on our mtb tandem and like them a lot so I can see where you are going with them. I wasn't aware that the 29er rims can handle road tire pressures. We run our Stan's Alpha 400 rims with tubeless tires and Maxis Padrone tires.

  11. #11
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    That looks like an awesome tandem. Love the paint job.
    Looks similar to Calfee in construction with some differences, notably the rear triangle.
    If I didn't already have a Calfee I would be talking to John.
    Didn't even know John was building carbon tandem frames.
    You probably know this already but John built the bike that Andy Hampsten won the Giro on back in 1988:

    Belgium Knee Warmers?: Andy Hampsten's Land Shark

  12. #12
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Another congratulations on your new Land Shark.

    Handling feel can be tuned by choosing different fork rakes. Calfee's road standard was typically 45mm with the straight steerer non-disc, but then for a time moved to ENVE's 43mm tapered fork, which as I mentioned elsewhere is IMO a bit too slow turning. Both TRP (47mm) and Whisky (49mm version) disc forks will provide a quicker steering. What is your fork model & rake?

    Quote Originally Posted by ebnelson View Post
    I wasn't aware that the 29er rims can handle road tire pressures.
    +1 on this question. Provide a link to those rim specs?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
    Handling feel can be tuned by choosing different fork rakes. Calfee's road standard was typically 45mm with the straight steerer non-disc, but then for a time moved to ENVE's 43mm tapered fork, which as I mentioned elsewhere is IMO a bit too slow turning. Both TRP (47mm) and Whisky (49mm version) disc forks will provide a quicker steering. What is your fork model & rake?
    It is a Whiskey No. 9 (43 mm) according to the geometry chart provided; the bike has 57 mm of trail. I didn't get too heavy into the exact geometry with John. I figured he knows better than I do. I haven't ridden a lot of different tandem a bunch of miles, so maybe faster steering is possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
    +1 on this question. Provide a link to those rim specs?
    The rims aren't from Light Bicycle. They are from my preferred bike shop here in Portland. The shop imports them and call them their 'house brand'. As I noted they are hooked, so they can handle road pressures (up to 120 psi), similar to the older style ENVE XC rim. I run them at 90/95 and the contact patch seems to be about right at those pressures. Apparently the factory that makes them also supplies a bunch of midrange carbon (think $900 to $1600 for a wheelset) to other brands. I think that I am the first one to buy them for tandem use, but many others have used them for road applications before me. Reynolds makes a set of rims in the ATR that are similar, though a bit narrower.

  14. #14
    Senior Member joe@vwvortex's Avatar
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    Sweet ride. Will seriously consider Landshark when we are ready for a new tandem.
    Administrator and Contributing Editor - Vortex Media Group

  15. #15
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    Beautiful ride!

    My impression is that Shimano R785 uses 140 or 160mm rotors. Did you use adaptors for the 180mm rotors? What's your hub, lacing pattern and rim width?

  16. #16
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtseymour View Post
    Beautiful ride!

    My impression is that Shimano R785 uses 140 or 160mm rotors. Did you use adapters for the 180mm rotors? What's your hub, lacing pattern and rim width?
    Although the product description indicates rotor sizes of 140 and 160mm, like most disc calipers the Shimano R785 will work with much larger rotors such as a typical 203mm for the rear. Caveat with this caliper is that they are very strong brakes and so 203mm may develop too much force for a frame to handle. The downside of going with a smaller rotor is reduced heat capacity (larger rotors handle heat dissipation better). You will need to decide which size will work for your setup and usage.

    The appropriate adapter size required is not unique to this caliper, it just depends on the frame or fork mount provided. For example, the Whisky No.9 disc fork post mounts need a 203mm Post/Post adapter to work with a 180mm rotor, but the rear ISO mount on our Calfee uses a typical 203mm ISO/Post adapter for a 203mm rotor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtseymour View Post
    Beautiful ride!

    My impression is that Shimano R785 uses 140 or 160mm rotors. Did you use adaptors for the 180mm rotors? What's your hub, lacing pattern and rim width?
    Quote Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
    The appropriate adapter size required is not unique to this caliper, it just depends on the frame or fork mount provided. For example, the Whisky No.9 disc fork post mounts need a 203mm Post/Post adapter to work with a 180mm rotor, but the rear ISO mount on our Calfee uses a typical 203mm ISO/Post adapter for a 203mm rotor.
    There is an adapter for the fork, as laid out by twocicle. The rear is a 180 post mount. Wheels are mostly covered above - hubs are DT Swiss 350, lacing is three cross.

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    Quote Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
    Although the product description indicates rotor sizes of 140 and 160mm, like most disc calipers the Shimano R785 will work with much larger rotors such as a typical 203mm for the rear. Caveat with this caliper is that they are very strong brakes and so 203mm may develop too much force for a frame to handle. The downside of going with a smaller rotor is reduced heat capacity (larger rotors handle heat dissipation better). You will need to decide which size will work for your setup and usage.

    The appropriate adapter size required is not unique to this caliper, it just depends on the frame or fork mount provided. For example, the Whisky No.9 disc fork post mounts need a 203mm Post/Post adapter to work with a 180mm rotor, but the rear ISO mount on our Calfee uses a typical 203mm ISO/Post adapter for a 203mm rotor.
    Good to know. Although we're very happy with the Dura Ace 9000 front caliper, we may go with dual disk brakes (probably full-hydraulic with 180mm rotors) at some point. This will provide more consistent brake modulation, and allow us to use a front carbon wheel (our rear carbon disk wheel has worked fine so far).

  19. #19
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtseymour View Post
    Good to know. Although we're very happy with the Dura Ace 9000 front caliper, we may go with dual disk brakes (probably full-hydraulic with 180mm rotors) at some point. This will provide more consistent brake modulation, and allow us to use a front carbon wheel (our rear carbon disk wheel has worked fine so far).
    Wanting to use carbon rims was a primary factor for us moving to dual discs. Although I'm keeping a road/caliper fork and mechanical calipers in my back pocket (for when/if I ever need to go back to using rim brakes), I would never use carbon rims w/rim brakes for general purpose riding which may involve a lot of descending or wet conditions (ie: touring days when there is no other choice).

  20. #20
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    Land Shark and Slawta have an interesting history for those that didn't know. Serotta was building bikes for the famous 7-11 team, and the bikes literally started breaking under the cyclists. This happened to Andy Hampsten a 7-11 rider during a race. Many of the cyclists on the team completely lost confidence in the Serotta bicycles amongst a lot of finger pointing between Serotta and True Temper. The team allowed the cyclists to actually go get their own bikes instead of riding the dangerous sponsor bike. Andy Hampsten actually bought, with his own money, a Land Shark from Slawta. The joke always has been that Slawta gave him a good deal on it. Andy Hampsten then became the only American to ever win the Giro D'Italia on his 7-11 Land Shark.

    A great story:

    Historic Pro Bike: Andy Hampsten's 1988 7-Eleven Huffy Giro d'Italia | Cyclingnews.com

    To the OP, you claimed Di2 is the best shifting their is. If you don't mind me asking, I see a lot of posts from cyclists wanting to validate what they have, but who don't have a lot of experience with really anything else. I take it you've had a lot of Saddle time with Campagnolo Record/Super Record and Campagnolo EPS to make that claim? I think the electronic groups are a reaction to how finicky 10/11 speeds became. You can't keep stuffing more cogs in the same space without things getting persnickety. In my opinion the Campagnolo made Sachs New Success 8-speed group is the best shifting group I've ever used. I've not used the electronic groups, but I'd buy an old Mavic Zap or Mektronic (who did it first, and twice!) if they actually worked. The great thing about New Success was that it used the standard 8-speed shimano movement, but you had Campagnolo Ergolevers and some say even the derailleurs were made by Campy (I've never been able to confirm that). With the triple and long cage available derailleurs, the Ergo levers front trim advantages, and the thicker outer link chain and the wider tolerances on 8-speed, and the convenience of being able to use shimano compatible wheel sets I kind of think of it as the best touring/tandem group ever. I've not tried everything though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    Land Shark and Slawta have an interesting history for those that didn't know. Serotta was building bikes for the famous 7-11 team, and the bikes literally started breaking under the cyclists. This happened to Andy Hampsten a 7-11 rider during a race. Many of the cyclists on the team completely lost confidence in the Serotta bicycles amongst a lot of finger pointing between Serotta and True Temper. The team allowed the cyclists to actually go get their own bikes instead of riding the dangerous sponsor bike. Andy Hampsten actually bought, with his own money, a Land Shark from Slawta. The joke always has been that Slawta gave him a good deal on it. Andy Hampsten then became the only American to ever win the Giro D'Italia on his 7-11 Land Shark.

    A great story:

    Historic Pro Bike: Andy Hampsten's 1988 7-Eleven Huffy Giro d'Italia | Cyclingnews.com

    To the OP, you claimed Di2 is the best shifting their is. If you don't mind me asking, I see a lot of posts from cyclists wanting to validate what they have, but who don't have a lot of experience with really anything else. I take it you've had a lot of Saddle time with Campagnolo Record/Super Record and Campagnolo EPS to make that claim? I think the electronic groups are a reaction to how finicky 10/11 speeds became. You can't keep stuffing more cogs in the same space without things getting persnickety. In my opinion the Campagnolo made Sachs New Success 8-speed group is the best shifting group I've ever used. I've not used the electronic groups, but I'd buy an old Mavic Zap or Mektronic (who did it first, and twice!) if they actually worked. The great thing about New Success was that it used the standard 8-speed shimano movement, but you had Campagnolo Ergolevers and some say even the derailleurs were made by Campy (I've never been able to confirm that). With the triple and long cage available derailleurs, the Ergo levers front trim advantages, and the thicker outer link chain and the wider tolerances on 8-speed, and the convenience of being able to use shimano compatible wheel sets I kind of think of it as the best touring/tandem group ever. I've not tried everything though.
    Comparing the shifting of an 8 speed system to an 11 is not an apples to apples comparison. I could progress that logic and say that my fixie is the best of them all.
    But in saying that I have ridden a lot of mechanical groups from 7 thru to 11sp (Record, Super Record, DA etc) and the Ultegra Di2 I use at the moment is the better than all of them.

  22. #22
    Senior Member diabloridr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    To the OP, you claimed Di2 is the best shifting their is. If you don't mind me asking, I see a lot of posts from cyclists wanting to validate what they have, but who don't have a lot of experience with really anything else. I take it you've had a lot of Saddle time with Campagnolo Record/Super Record and Campagnolo EPS to make that claim? I think the electronic groups are a reaction to how finicky 10/11 speeds became. You can't keep stuffing more cogs in the same space without things getting persnickety. In my opinion the Campagnolo made Sachs New Success 8-speed group is the best shifting group I've ever used. I've not used the electronic groups, but I'd buy an old Mavic Zap or Mektronic (who did it first, and twice!) if they actually worked.
    I started riding on 6-speed cogsets and have progressed up to the 11-speed Di2 on the Calfee.

    I wouldn't debate what gruppo has the best the shifting quality when new out of the box and properly adjusted, but what has really impressed me with Di2 are the high quality shifts and lack of maintenance needed. Except for a simple rear derailleur adjustment I performed after my second ride, I have not needed to adjust derailleur settings in nearly 2 years. No cable and housing to replace every 6 months or so.

    No experience with EPS to see how it compares.

    Tight lateral cog spacings do require an engineering emphasis on high quality pivots with tolerances which will degrade gracefully over time. Electric step-motors are a competitive solution to this design problem, and the ability to auto-trim front shifts allows derailleur cage design options not possible with mechanical systems.

  23. #23
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    Great write up TooMany on your new Landshark. Looks like a fantastic tandem with all the good bits on it.
    Di2 shifting is the best there is currently. Don't even let the thought of getting EPS speculate about crossing your mind. It does work well when it's working but has a tendency to drift out of adjustment after a while.
    I can build up a bike with Di2 nearly as quick as a cable bike. EPS takes a lot longer to install and to adjust. Also with the EPS if you snag a cable and damage it good luck trying to get it repaired in a reasonable time frame. With Di2 if you snag a cable just plug it back in. If it's damaged then the replacement is fairly cheap and easy to do.
    Dura-Ace uses better and more efficient motors than Ultegra but apart from that they work just as well apart from the weight difference which is about 360gms.
    The latest versions of Campagnolo, Shimano and SRAM mechanical all shift very well. I'd rate SRAM as the best for tandems though due to the wide gear range and ability to mix components.
    just m2cw
    Last edited by geoffs; 08-11-15 at 05:02 PM.

  24. #24
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    We are just starting our search for tandem #2 after 1 year tandem test on our Cannondale T2. I'm curious, @TooMany, how you were able to test ride the different tandems? Did you travel to their locations?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BNB View Post
    We are just starting our search for tandem #2 after 1 year tandem test on our Cannondale T2. I'm curious, @TooMany, how you were able to test ride the different tandems? Did you travel to their locations?
    There are a couple bike shops that stock a couple tandems were we live. I am aware that it is rare to have one shop that has tandems on the floor, let alone two.

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