First things first: What size road bike to you ride today? How close are the Serotta's dimensions to it? Is the Serotta significantly smaller or pretty close? The only funky dimension is the head tube length @ 17cm; that's really tall for a top 53cm top tube x 53cm seat tube.
Fork span is the distance from the fork crown's headset race to the axle drop-out, aka. fork length or race height. Typical tandem fork spans are right around 395mm to 400mm, with some of the carbon forks being as short as 374mm (True Temper's Alpha Q X2). Fork length is used in conjuction with the fork's rake and headtube angle to establish the steering geometry. As for "standard tandem rake", there's no such animal and I suspect that Serotta used a stock Santana fork which happens to have a fork span around 405mm and the 55mm of rake, i.e., standard for Santana and a few other builders. However, it's worthwhile to note that different models of tandems and tandem forks use rakes of 50mm, 48mm, 47mm, 45mm and probably a few others. Bottom Line: if this tandem would fit you properly you would do well to contact Serotta (the builder may still be on staff) to discuss how you would like it to handle and to get their thoughts on which fork might work best. Off the top of my head, the "default" and safe choice in a carbon fork would be a Reynolds Ouzo Pro tandem with 1.125" headset which is designed to work with Santana's geometry.
Other build issues?? 135mm rear spacing isn't necessarily problematic but you'd want a stout set of not less than 36h wheels with a beefy tandem-rated hub, e.g., Chris King. Of course, since the frame is Ti, you could have Serotta respace the rear drop-outs to 145mm which would give you a few more tandem-specific wheel options. If it's a brushed finish, no worries on respacing. If it's painted.... ask the folks at Serotta.
Finally, I would definitely ring up the folks at Serotta to discuss their thoughts on this frame, e.g., was it built for touring, racing, and how would he characterize it's riding characteristics. Serotta has built very few tandems and when it was done it was usually at the behest of a customer who simply had to have a Serotta tandem.
Keep us posted and, if you opt not to buy it let me know. I'm 5'8" with a 30" inseam and it looks like it might be a good fit for me... well, except for that head tube. I think mine are more like 10cm.
Thanks for the great info.... I currently ride a 54 cm serotta with a 100cm stem, I also ride a 55cm toptube bike with a 90cm stem, I have noticed that I tend to like short top tubes and thus thought that this would be a great fit.... In regards to fork span, I really appreciate the heads up!
I currently ride a 54 cm serotta with a 100cm stem, I also ride a 55cm toptube bike with a 90cm stem, I have noticed that I tend to like short top tubes and thus thought that this would be a great fit....
Make sure you get all the dimensions sorted out with the seller and get the C-T-T dimension for the captain's and stoker's seat tubes before closing on the deal. A simple C-T-C measurement on a tandem can be misleading if the tandem has a very tall seat tube mast that extends several centimeters above a steeply sloping top tube. The 17cm head tube is what suggests that this tandem may have been built for a taller rider and, as a result, this frame may have a very tall C-T-T dimension, perhaps something on the order of 59cm.
Dave Kirk is the guy at Serotta (or wherever he is these days) you'd want to talk to regarding this tandem as he probably designed and fabricated the frame. He might also know if they spec'd a Co-Motion fork or the Santana. The general size of the tandem frame suggests the Santana.
You'd have done just fine... good move checking the Serotta site. Just about any Serotta tandem that pops up on the Web for sale will generate a thread at the Serotta forums, much the same as it does at the Calfee forums when a TetraTetra comes on the market.
Anyway, if it doesn't fit but otherwise looks really nice it might make for a great piece of wall art... particularly if you're a big fan of Ben Serotta and the Serotta brand.
Hi Guys... now I am really torn...
I went home and most of my bike from center of BB to top of saddle is about 70cm... so there should be enough room, but I am not a very skilled bike technician.... Do you think this will be a nightmare to build up? I am also very tempted just to bite the bullet and save up for a tetra-tetra (one day) or Arizona or cannondale.....
What do you guys think?
Thanks again for all your input....
If you want a performance tandem, the Serotta may or may not be it. Again, give Dave Kirk a call or send him an Email to discuss his recollections of their design and construction. Most Serotta tandems are simply OK, paling in comparison to the performance of their stock & trade racing bikes and the guys who designed and built them will usually tell you the same thing. Again, some Serotta owners simply had to have a Serotta branded tandem and the folks at Serotta obliged them by buildling a few, none of which I'd want to own except as an object d'art to hang in the garage or on a wall in the house as an interesting converstation piece.
For perspective, a new Cannondale RT1000 at $2,300 would, in the end, cost you less than building up the Serotta and most likely outperform the Serotta by a wide margin, even when factoring in your team's relatively light combined weight. If you want a tandem that handles with the crispness of your Serotta you'd want to do what most Serotta enthusiasts who ride tandems do which is check out the Co-Motion line of tandems. Used or new, Co-Motions continue to be very popular with folks looking for performance-oriented tandems. Moroever, a Co-Motion Speedster will cost you less than the Calfee frame alone which, unless you spec. Co-Motion geometry, may or may not provide you with the same crisp handling of a Co-Motion.
If you should decide to buy this frame, building it up will be no more of a challenge than a regular bike once you verify that it has its eccentric and figure out what size bottom brackets, seatposts, and fork steerer size / type you'll need. A set of vernier calipers will confirm those dimensions. Basic mechanical skills are essential as are a good collection of bicycle mechanics tools, e.g., bottom bracket installation tools, various hex wrenches, a torque wrench and if it has a quill headset some headset wrenches, many of which your LBS may allow you to use on their premises. You'd want to refer to the Park Tools site for torque specs. and to review various component installation procedures before tackling each one to give you the best hope for success. If you're buying new components, thoroughly read the instructions that come with each part, again, paying particular attention to what types of lubricants, any thread locking compounds, and the torque specifications.
Bottom Line: If you are looking to get into tandeming, find yourself a nice second hand model (C'dale, Co-Motion, Santana, Burley, etc...) that's already assembled and properly fitted. If you really want to have a Serotta tandem because it's got the Serotta name on it and have $850 or so burning a hole in your pocket (I believe that's what the last seller was asking), go ahead and buy the frame and take it on as a long term project bike... finding '98 vintage parts (new or used) as you can to rebuild it for the least amount of $$ that you can. Once you have it built, you'll have enjoyed tandeming for a while and will have both your every day tandem and the Serotta for special occasions. If it turns out that the Serotta is a better handling tandem once you have it built, sell the other tandem to recoup the cost of building the Serotta.
Serotta has a magic ring to most folks; however, like any other builders, there have been faillures.
Know personally of one of the few Ser. Ti tandems built that rear triangle separated. Yes, it was fixed under frame warranty for free.
Same for a Legend Ti single. Broke, was fixed for free.
Have personally had a tandem frame failure (twice . . . once at 50,000 and once at 56,000 miles, but another stressed tube) and one tandem fork.
Sometimes it is just wear, other times . . . ?