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  1. #1
    Senior Member transam's Avatar
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    Shimano Sweet 16 Tandem Wheels

    Has anyone ridden these wheels? I am curious as to how strong they are given the low spoke count. Our '04 Santana Sovereign currently has 40 spoke wheels and I'd like to find a way to lighten the overall weight. Is going to the new lower spoke wheels a good idea? Our current team weight is 290 lbs. Thanks.
    Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed.

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    The following are links to postings by Santana's President & Owner, Bill McCready, made to the Tandem@Hobbes list regarding their Sweet 16s. Bear in mind that these are essentially marketing blurbs and take some of the over-the-top information with a grain of salt. However, buried in these posts are some interesting details regarding their performance, manufacturer recommendations, and warranty info.

    http://search.bikelist.org/getmsg.as...10506.0619.eml
    http://search.bikelist.org/getmsg.as...10506.0621.eml
    http://search.bikelist.org/getmsg.as...10508.0527.eml

    In general, the folks who have the Sweet 16s are pleased with them, just as the folks with the Rolf Vigor Tandem wheels and Bontrager RaceLite Tandem wheels are also pleased. As with any wheel, some folks have had a few issues with the wheels -- mostly Quality Assurance slip-ups, not a product design problem -- and as you'd expect the rims are subject to the same road hazards as any other wheel.

    Anyway, FWIW, here is something I wrote to someone back in early October who was also considering the Sweet 16s that still hold true...

    Wheels: Your wheel choice is one of those things where the variety of opinions covers the landscape. Me, Iím not a fan of full-time race wheels on a tandem and even less of a fan of integrated wheelsets where I'm locked into a manufacturer for my spokes, hub, and rim. Now, donít misread me here: I think the Sweet 16ís look awesome, are every bit as strong as proclaimed, and Lord knows Iíd love to cheat the wind to improve my performance a bit. I'd also be lying if I didn't fess up to having chi-chi wheels on my personal road bikes.

    However, Iíve replaced too many pothole damaged rims on the tandem (the 1/2 bike I can bunny-hop) and probably benefit more from having a little added wind resistance associated with our regular riding adventures to justify the expense and proprietary nature of the integrated wheelsets. Bomb-proof or not, if youíre drafting someone and they fail to call out a pothole you can easily find yourself with a banged-up rim now and again.

    On the bright side, if you have a pair of Sweet 16ís and trash a rear rim while on vacation, a tour, or a rally and are beyond the reach of an immediate replacement (overnighted from Santana or otherwise), with a few extra spokes on hand you (or a qualified bicycle mechanic) can always cannibalize the front wheel for its rim and obtain a 110mm replacement for your front wheel from any well-stocked bike shop or perhaps even another tandem team if they travel with an extra wheelset. While not ideal, itís better than nothing and only a bit more work than doing a quick rear rim replacement on a conventional rear tandem wheel.

    So, even though Iím an advocate of conventional wheels, an objective look gives me some pause as notwithstanding the odd failure here and there, most reports from the field are quite positive from owners of the Sweet 16 low-spoke count wheelsets. In a perfect world and if we raced, the catís meow would be having at least two sets of wheels: the every day 36h conventional wheelset and then the low-spoke count chi-chi wheels for that "turbo boost" or the bling-factor when it really matters... at tandem rallies!

  3. #3
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Wheels, like any component on your tandem can be changed.
    Sweet 16s are well-liked/hyped by Santana. It is their (and Shimano's) design and only made in 160mm spacing. Sort of puts you in a box that you cannot escape from when problems arise . . .
    There are others, just as nice, and even lighter/just as good (if not better) wheelsets out there that can be considered.
    Calfee features a set on Topolino wheels (24 spokes front, 30 rear) weighing around 1383 grams for the wheelset, with kevlar coated carbon spokes on his 'show' tandem that are technically not approved for tandem use. The rear wheel has been reconfigured to fit a tandem and has been successfuly tested by a very agressive team that has busted several other wheelsets. So far, these Topolinos have survived thousands of miles of very rigirous riding. Now if only Topolino would come up with a ready-out-of-the-box tandem wheelset it would nake my day!
    We run a set of nice, light wheels that do not have the bling/low spoke count appeal that some riders want. Velocity Aerohead rims, Chris King hubs, DT Revolution spokes, 32H front, 36H rear. Yes, we could make those a tad lighter at a higher $ by using ti-spokes or use ti-spokes with the rainbow anodizing for more $ to ad some real visual effect.
    A set of light tandem wheels now costs as much as some lower tech introductory tandems!
    We all have our likes/dislikes/opinions, but in the end your budget will dictate what you perceive to be the best/nicest/lightest/blingest set of wheels for your team's tandem usage.
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  4. #4
    Senior Member transam's Avatar
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    TG and zona, thanks for the input. I've read most (if not all) the posts on this forum and I'm leaning away from the Sweet 16's. It seems they are high maintanence and also have a chance of failure in high stress situations. My wife and I are very aggresive riders and I'm leaning toward something a little more stable. The Velocity Aerohead rims w/ Chris King hubs that was mentioned sounds like a more practical solution. Not as light as the 16's, but more worry free. We're still looking and open to suggestions.
    Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed.

  5. #5
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by transam
    TG and zona, thanks for the input. I've read most (if not all) the posts on this forum and I'm leaning away from the Sweet 16's. It seems they are high maintanence and also have a chance of failure in high stress situations. My wife and I are very aggresive riders and I'm leaning toward something a little more stable. The Velocity Aerohead rims w/ Chris King hubs that was mentioned sounds like a more practical solution. Not as light as the 16's, but more worry free. We're still looking and open to suggestions.
    Just to be clear, I don't believe the Sweet 16s are any more or less prone to fail than any other high-end wheelset, e.g., the freehub/cassette "guts", hub bodies, rims, and spokes are as robust as any of our Chris King or Phil Wood & Velocity Deep-V wheelsets. Also like our conventional wheelsets, they're not immune to road hazards and they require occasional attention to wheel trueness & spoke tension adjustments, particularly after rides on rough road surfaces. They can also withstand a single spoke breakage, perhaps even the failure of a paired mate, much the same as conventional wheels.

    The rest of my previous comments still stand. As for wheel choices going forward, again if all you want to do is reduce the weight most conventional deep section rims @ 500gr can be mated to lightweight White Industries or Chris King hubs and achieve similar weights to the paired spoke wheelsets for about 60% of the cost of the super-wheels.

  6. #6
    Senior Member transam's Avatar
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    TG, similar weight for 60% of the cost sounds good. Just beginning the search so no decisions yet.

    I found the comments by Bill McCready in your links to be very interesting. I'm curious to know if Santana/Shimano have any future updates for the Sweet 16's planned in the near future. BTW they are still in the picture.
    Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed.

  7. #7
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by transam
    I'm curious to know if Santana/Shimano have any future updates for the Sweet 16's planned in the near future. BTW they are still in the picture.
    From Interbike this year we learned that in '06 Shimano reduced the rim weight of the Sweet 16's for a combined wheelset weight reduction of 150g, still with no weight restrictions and a two year warranty. Note: Santana is the warranty authority; all maint. issues need to be directed to Santana for resolution. Do-it-yourself types who are not mechanics and non-authorized Santana dealers would do well to leave their hands off.

    For weight comparison purposes, the first number is what Mark Johnson of Precision Tandems reported as the actual weight when he weighed a set of Sweet 16's last year and the second set of numbers assumes that 75g were taken out of each rim for the '06 model wheelset:

    Current Sweet 16 weight: 951g front + 1256g rear = 2207g
    '06 16's with lighter rims: 876g front + 1181g rear = 2057g


    In contrast, these were some weights that I put together back in May of '03. We're running a set of White Industries Racer-X w/Deep-V's and the cost was well under $450 for the set as our "lightweight" wheels and our travel tandem runs the much heavier Phil Wood FSC with Deep Vs.

    Chris King 160mm tandem hub with Steel cassette body
    Hubs (160mm w/Steel).....118g F......422g R
    Velocity Aerohead............405g.........405g
    36 Spokes (DT 14/15)......208g.........208g
    Brass Nipples....................30g...........30g
    Total...............................761g........1065g (1826g total)

    Chris King 160mm tandem hub with Steel cassette body
    Hubs (160mm w/Steel).....118g F......422g R
    Velocity Deep-V............520g.........520g
    36 Spokes (DT 14/15)......208g.........208g
    Brass Nipples....................30g...........30g
    Total...............................876g........1180g (2056g total)

    White Industries 160mm Jockey tandem hub with Steel cassette body
    Hubs (160mm w/Steel).....230g F.....310 R
    Velocity Deep V ...............520g.........520g
    36 Spokes (DT 14/15)......208g.........208g
    Brass Nipples....................30g...........30g
    Total................................988g.......1068g (2056g total)

    White Industries 160mm Jockey tandem hub with Steel cassette body
    Hubs (160mm w/Steel).....230g F.....310g R
    Velocity Aerohead............405g.........405g
    36 Spokes (DT 14/15)......208g.........208g
    Brass Nipples....................30g...........30g
    Total...............................873g........953g (1826g total)

    White Industries 145mm Racer-X MTB hub with Steel cassette body
    Hubs (145mm w/Steel)....151 F....265 R
    Velocity Deep V ...............520g.........520g
    36 Spokes (DT 14/15)......208g.........208g
    Brass Nipples....................30g...........30g
    Total................................909g.......1023g (1932g total)

    White Industries 145mm Racer-X MTB hub with Steel cassette body
    Hubs (145mm w/Steel)....151 F....265 R
    Velocity Aerohead............405g.........405g
    36 Spokes (DT 14/15)......208g.........208g
    Brass Nipples....................30g...........30g
    Total...............................794g........908g (1702g total)

    Phil Wood FSC 145mm Hub with SL Axle (-80g)
    Hubs (145mm w/Steel)....278 F....465 R
    Velocity Deep V................520g.........520g
    36 Spokes (DT 14/15)......208g.........208g
    Brass Nipples....................30g...........30g
    Total.............................1036g.......1223g (2259g total)

    Your results may vary as the weights may have changed a bit since '03.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 05-20-06 at 06:46 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member transam's Avatar
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    A nice collection of combinations that I've saved for future reference. Thanks for sharing them. However, as per Bill's post on July 29, 2005 fewer spokes are more efficient in every situation. That makes we think the Sweet 16's would have an edge over the others. Any thoughts?

    "Summary: A wheelset with lighter rims (as opposed to hubs) is only more efficient while accelerating. A wheelset that is lighter overall is more efficient when accelerating and when climbling. An aero wheelset with fewer spokes is more efficient in every situation." Bill at Santana
    Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed.

  9. #9
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    Greetings all-Just a little more info for the wheel weight thread.
    I have a set of wheels with Phil Wood hubs (145mm rear), Velocity Dyad rims, 40 DT
    butted spoke f/r. Weight without skewers (as weighed on my digital
    postal scale) are 1015 grams front, and 1355 grams rear for a total of 2370 grams (w/o QR squewers). George Handy in Arlington Texas-

  10. #10
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Logged over 9,000 miles on our CK/Aerohead/Revolution wheelset on our tandem. One minor true to the back wheel so far.

  11. #11
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by transam
    That makes we think the Sweet 16's would have an edge over the others. Any thoughts?
    Yes, the aerodynamic advantage is always present and the improvement in reduced drag between something like a 36h Chris King / Deep-V wheelset and either Shimano's Sweet 16 ($799) or Rolf's Vigors ($950, yeah right) wheelsets is perhaps as much as 15-20%... something the marketing guys will always point this out. However, what they fail to point out is that wheels only contribute to something like 10% of a tandems' overall drag; therefore, when looked at in terms of net drag reduction for a couple riding a tandem the performance improvement is reduced to something more on the order of 1%-2%.

    From a practical standpoint, if you're riding on 40h Fir rims w/Hadley or Edco hubs weighing 2700 grams and you drop 495 grams off of your wheels and also get a boost in your aero efficiency, you will clearly feel the difference in overall on bike performance with the Sweet 16s. Conversely, lowering the weight by 700- 900 grams with a conventional lightweight 36h wheelset would also be quite noticeable, particularly if you do a lot of your riding in rolling to hilly terrain or in urban areas with lots of speed adjustments.

    So, at the end of the day, it all comes down to what you're hoping to accomplish with the acquisition of a new wheelset: lowering your personal best for the local time trial, securing a podium at the Co-Motion Classic, looking for a performance edge / reduced effort every time you ride, or just the boost in esteem that comes from riding top flight gear... all are valid reasons, although many are hard to justify relative to economics. I try not to think about what I've spent on bikes when it comes to things like this...
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-27-05 at 07:34 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Mark:
    Look upon your tandem(s), single(s), as in investment in your continued good health.
    Cheaper than a heart bypass!!!
    Pedal on!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  13. #13
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    We currently use 48 spoke phil wood hubs and velocity Dyad rims for touring and a set of Bontrager Racelite Tandem wheels for local riding. I am not thrilled with the performance of the Bontrager wheels and am considering something like Chris King 36 spoke with Velocity Deep V rims. Our team weight is 325lbs and I was wondering if 36 spoke wheels would be adequate. BTW, my complaint with the Bontrager wheels is the fork shudder under hard braking that we don't experience with our other whelset.

  14. #14
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaMTBRider
    ...and am considering something like Chris King 36 spoke with Velocity Deep V rims. Our team weight is 325lbs and I was wondering if 36 spoke wheels would be adequate.
    Having watched y'all ride, I think the proposed wheelset with double butted spokes would be strong enough. The only wildcard would be tire size.... 25mm is ideal for the Deep-V, 28mm is OK but clearly at the upper limit of the rim's compability given it's inside bead width.

    Regarding the Bontragers, have you contacted the folks at Bontrager to discuss the fork shudder?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek
    . . . 25mm is ideal for the Deep-V, 28mm is OK but clearly at the upper limit of the rim's compability given it's inside bead width.
    Would these tire size recommendations be the same for the Aerohead rims?
    JayB

  16. #16
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayB
    Would these tire size recommendations be the same for the Aerohead rims?
    The Deep-V has an outside rim width of 19mm and an inside bead width of 14mm, giving it a nominal tire size range of 20mm - 25mm and perhaps 28mm based on a table developed by Georg Boeger hosted off of Sheldon Brown's website. Peter White suggests a range of 20mm - 25mm. Based on what I have observed with tire fitments on a variety of rims, Georg's table is a good guide that should be tempered by Peter's recommendations, thus my comments regarding the 28mm being at the rim's upper range.

    The Aerohead rim has an outside rim width of 20mm; however, not having one laying around to measure, I must assume the inside bead width is proportional with a 14.5mm - 15mm inside diameter. Based on this assumption, the Aerohead would give you a nominal tire size range of 23mm - 30mm, again tempered by Peter White's recommendation of 20mm - 28mm.

    Bear in mind, tire size is all approximate as some brands of a given size (e.g., 700x28mm) may run small (more like 26mm) while others run large (on the order of 29mm) when installed on the same rim. Thus, the nominal ranges on Goerg's table are as previously noted, a good guideline.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-28-05 at 06:43 AM.

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    TandemGeek,
    That chart on rim width's and tire sizes is interesting. But looking at it in conjunction with what you put in another thread - drawings of a Mavic A719 rim - it looks as if this rim would be TOO WIDE for a 700c x 28 tire like the Conti Gatorskins. Or am I misreading the chart?
    JayB

  18. #18
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayB
    Or am I misreading the chart?
    You're misreading the chart... It's the inside (aka, interior) bead width of the rim, not the outside dimension that drives the tire selection chart.

    For example, the A719 has an outside rim width of 24.5mm but you'll notice that the inside bead width is not provided (not unusual). Let's assume it's on the order of 19mm - 19.5mm, allowing ~5mm for the rim itself... which correlates to roughly a tire capacity of 28mm - 44mm and perhaps 47mm.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek
    Regarding the Bontragers, have you contacted the folks at Bontrager to discuss the fork shudder?
    I haven't contacted Bontrager about the fork shudder but I don't believe it is an isolated case. There doesn't seem to be an issue when using sidepull brakes but on tandems with v-brakes it is more apparent. I have tried using different compound shoes with limited success. Using harder compound shimano pads instead of our usual Koolstop pads helped but with a loss of braking performance. I purchased the wheels second hand so if we decide on changing wheels I will be able to E-bay the Bontragers without losing out on much if any money.

  20. #20
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    Dear Tandem Geek,
    Just now found your reply. Thanks for clarifying this. So this means that this Mavic rim would not work well with tires LESS than 28 wide, right? Thanks again.
    JayB

  21. #21
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayB
    So this means that this Mavic rim would not work well with tires LESS than 28 wide, right?
    Correct... 28mm would nominally be the small-end of prudent fitment.

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