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  1. #1
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    Burley Rock n Rooooll whippy!

    Recently, I changed our cranks to oop, which we both seemed to feel was an improvement, until we tried standing up on hills. It really seems to twist, whip, flex a lot more now and my wife has developed knee problems. It just occured to me that the knee thing appeared just after the oop change, and I believe it may be due to her not wanting to stand up on climbs because of the frame twisting. To me, it seems very pronounced (the frame flex). Our combined weight is less than 300 lb., maybe 280. I'm of a mind to change back to in phase on the cranks and see what happens.
    So, I have two questions. First, does the oop contribute to the frame twisting, or am I just more aware lately, as we have only been riding the bike a few months and on weekends at that. Second, the Rock n Roll is built of 4130 cromoly. So would a steel frame using higher quality steel i.e. OX Platinum, or some other high tech thing be less whippy. Yes, I know the tube thickness will be the determining factor, but I'm assuming a higher performance road frame would be stiffer than the rough-road design of the Rock n Roll. Or, should we consider aluminum as a frame material (I'm kind of partial to the ride of steel in general and can't afford carbon in a tandem). And last, where are the affordable carbon frames? Why isn't Trek mass producing an affordable carbon, aside from the fact that they just discovered aluminum for tandems?

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Not sure if you were participating in the previous threads on the pros and cons of "out-of-phase", if not the inability for most teams to stand and ride out of the saddles is the single biggest reason that you don't see many recreational or sport level teams riding OOP and none of the teams who race OOP.

    As for your frame being "whippy", even a Co-Motion Robusta will feel "whippy" if you haven't mastered riding out of the saddle OOP. However, that said, Burley's tandems -- and in particular the older 4130 models -- are not the stiffest frames on the market, even with their relatively short rear stoker compartents. Off hand, having only putted around a parking lot on a Trek, I can't comment on how the ZR9000 stacks up against the other aluminum tandems. However, in terms of stiffness, Cannondale's frames are VERY stiff as are Co-Motion's steel and Aluminum tandems. Burley's OX Plantinum and aluminim frames "should" be stiffer and lighter than their older models, but I'm not sure if they went for total stiffness or compromised a bit of the frame stiffness for some added comfort given their target market.

    Edit: Regarding your stoker's knees, that's another one of the cons for OOP at work. Unless your stoker was a strong rider to begin with, she may be struggling with the extra work load that riding OOP puts on her, particularly if your riding style has you using a low cadence and grinding up the climbs. Riding in phase will usually null out some of the negative effects that a captain's propensity for griding vs spinning can have on a stoker's knees and endurance since the stoker can simply work at their level and let their captain fully enjoy griding away.

    So, at least to the immediate issues at hand with regard to your whippy frame and stoker's sore knees, I'd recommend y'all consider going back to riding in-phase for about 30 days and then re-evaluate if OOP was really working as well for you as it initially seemed to be. You may find that your tandem is just fine for your immediate needs as well.

    Looking again at go-fast tandems and "affordable" carbon frames, the market for carbon tandem frames is pretty darn small and the investment in alignment tables, molds, and autoclaves that are large enough for a tandem is substantial. So, if you're someone like Trek who offers tandems as a way of covering the entire market with what must be a low-volume and low-margin product like a tandem, you'd be hard pressed to build a business case for making the investment in the carbon technology and equipment since the ROIC would be so far down the road.

    Now for the good news: As noted in a thread a few weeks back, Calfee has lowered the cost of their carbon tandems:

    2005 Pricing...
    Tetra Tandem $5,227 (frame only)
    Custom Size Tetra, $5,727 (frame only)
    S&S Tetra Tandem $7,747 (frame only)
    Dragonfly Tandem, $6,900 (frame only)

    2006 Pricing via the Web....
    Tetra Tandem $3,995 (frame only)
    Custom Size Tetra, $4,495 (frame only)
    S&S Tetra Tandem $6,515 (frame only)
    Dragonfly Tandem, $5,795 (frame only)

    Before making a upgrade decision let me strongly suggest you find some way of taking a few different brands and models of tandems out for a test ride. If your local bike shops don't have much in the way of tandems consider heading to one of the major tandem rallies or checking with local tandem clubs to see if you can connect with someone who owns some of the brands and models of tandems you're interested in to explore the possibility of taking one for a test ride. Dropping >$5k on a high-end tandem will "usually" get you a pretty nice tandem that matches the marketing hype: however, unless you will know if a superstiff frame is what you really need for your riding style and activies, you could find yourself wishing you'd spent your wad on a high-end tandem that achieves a different balance between stiffness and comfort.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-13-05 at 06:58 PM.

  3. #3
    Dirt-riding heretic DrPete's Avatar
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    I definitely agree that being in sync on out-of-saddle efforts will definitely cause a "whippy" feeling. Even riding our Tosa, which feels like a very stiff frame under any other condition, our 350# team made the frame feel like a wet noodle with a poorly-timed standing climbing effort.

    We're still working on the standing, but maybe the OOP crank setup is knocking you guys out of sync rather than your frame being too flexy.

    DrPete

  4. #4
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Having pedaled OOP for thousand of miles here are our observations:
    We have less "tandem snake" (flex) riding OOP in the saddle. One of us can comfortably stand (keep upper body straight and if pilot stands, don't "throw the bike" as you would on single) but with 2 standing it becomes a bit of a circus act
    Have seen only a couple tandems riding OOP + both standing and doing it rather smoothly.
    The advantages of OOP for us: Less flex (when seated), climbing is easier, faster start ups after stoplight/signs stops as there is always a power stroke going over the top, either his or hers.
    Disadvantages: laying a hard corner in a racing situation or going over one of those old high speed bumps, you *could* bash a pedal. Been told 'it doesn't look nice.'
    Could be also you two are not tuned in enough to each other to stand, OOP or not, and one of you is trying to overpower the other while out of the saddle
    On the knee pain . . . if OOP hurts her too much, switch back to in-phase.
    4130 CroMo is good, OX Platinum/Reynolds 853 is better and *some* alu's/ti/carbon are better yet; but proper technique is half the battle.
    Practice, patience, technique are key words.

    Pedal on TWOgther!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  5. #5
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    Thanks guys,
    We are totally into spinning as opposed to grinding out in a big gear as I to have past injuries that preclude any big gear stuff. We are running a 26/32 for our smallest gear, but for our conditioning and the hills around here it just isn't low enough to spin all the way to the top. By the way I live religiously by my computer cadence and try to maintain at least 85 on my 1/2 bike. Our long wire Cateye with cadence is on the way from Precision Tandems now. My wife just told me I'm making to big of a deal over one ride and that she didn't try standing today at all which may have contributed to the knee thing. I encouraged her to try standing more on big hills when we go out again and she is fine with that. She loves the oop, so maybe we'll keep the distance shorter and with fewer hills for a while.

    We really arn't in the market for a new tandem yet. We still have much to learn on this one and I agree that getting around and trying others over time would be a much better plan. Just musing I guess, as one who is always looking at the next jump up. Bad habit really and one that I should probably curb in order to better enjoy what I have now.

    Thanks all,
    rlong

  6. #6
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    I have never tried OOP and don't really see that any minor advantages would outweigh the disadvantages.

    I like to stand and climb and practice standing and climbing together and just think it would be darn near impossible with out-of-phase cranks. I like the butt break and the little arm workout you get by standing. Plus, you can keep you speed up on small rises with a little stand effort instead of gearing down. When I am on my single, I stand way more than on the tandem, so it's just my style. If my stoker could stand and climb longer, we would do it even more, but she is only good for a short hill. It's tough enough to get it right every time in phase!

    And, there is no rule against climbing in a small gear when standing.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    I have never tried OOP and don't really see that any minor advantages would outweigh the disadvantages.

    I like to stand and climb and practice standing and climbing together and just think it would be darn near impossible with out-of-phase cranks. I like the butt break and the little arm workout you get by standing. Plus, you can keep you speed up on small rises with a little stand effort instead of gearing down. When I am on my single, I stand way more than on the tandem, so it's just my style. If my stoker could stand and climb longer, we would do it even more, but she is only good for a short hill. It's tough enough to get it right every time in phase!

    And, there is no rule against climbing in a small gear when standing.
    Galen,
    Right on! I love standing on a hill for as long as possible just for the butt break. With the OOP we can stand individually no problem, just let the other half know when you're going up. It will take some practice to get both of us up together and steady. On that note, my offended better half took issue with me insisting that we stood up together smoothly and for quite a bit on last weeks climb out of our valley. Go figure.

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