Looking to upgrade our old tandem, my wife and I recently borrowed a Santana Niobium. Handled well and felt VERY comfortable, though this may have been the carbon fork or the low-spoke count wheels as much as the frame. I don't know much about this material and wondered if it is strong enough for touring? Is it more susceptible to dents than other steel frame material. (We are pretty much sold on steel for the comfort.) We are planning to buy a tandem with S&S couplings and were interested to see that Santana uses the same frame material for their S&S and non-coupled steel tandems while Co-Motion uses different material on the S&S and the non-coupled Speedster. Hence my concern that the very thin and light Niobium tubing would hold up with S&S couplings.
The Santana Niobium comes with Shimano Sweet 16 wheels on Shimano hubs, 160mm in the rear of course as it's a Santana. Has anyone had experience with these? Do they break more than conventional wheels? Do they get out of true more easily and more often?
Finally, I am considering the optional Reynolds Carbon fork and DuraAce dual pivot brakes on this Santana Niobium. Is this fork as good as the Santana V-brake carbon fork which comes as standard on the Niobium? I'm not a fan of V-brakes and much prefer side-pull. Combined weight of me & my wife is 26igh 265 - 270 pounds.