getting that Spring fever, and the only cure is more new bike stuff!!!!! I've seen the new calfee tandem frame and it looks interesting. The santana is also a curious design. Anybody ridden these? I have a Cannondale road and Co MO Supremo. The CO MO is a great ride but must be 12 bs frame with teh S&S couplers. May turn that into my touring frame and sell the Cdale. Racing in the future... weight becomes an issue.
Also keep thinking about the Spicer Ti frame. Very affordable and lighter than teh Co Mo/S&S by about 5 lbs.
I would give both Bill McCready at Santana and Craig Calfee a call at Calfee Designs to talk about your expectations for the tandem and how they can meet your needs. Factor in their feedback to your decision if those are the two tandem models that have caught your interest.
Spicer... wouldn't be my first choice for a racing tandem.
The Co-Mo, with couplers, is NOT a 12 lbs. frame!
Not to bash Craig or Bill's bikes . . . and yes, have ridden Calfee and 'tanas.
Own a Zona tandem . . . defiitely look at what Bob Davis is doing!
He currently builds a 23 lbs c/f tandem with weight-saving components (like Zero Gravity), and yes, it could be built even lighter . . . he'll build with or without laterals too.
However, having said that, weight isn't everything . . . the proof's in the riding.
And you get what you pay for!
Was so impressed with our Zona tandem that I now own one his singles too.
ditto zonatandem - weight isn't worth much if the wheels go out of true every week / frame flexes etc...
On bikes, of course it's nice to buy the best, which for me would be a custom carbon frame (calfee, Arizona both look nice, plus I bet Parlee, Serotta or Merlin would make you something unusual if you paid enough), custom Lightweight wheels would be a good investment and Campag Record with zero g brakes, carbon one-piece bars and stoker bars, Nokon cables, carbon cranks, carbon timing rings would make it all go and stop. If you have the money, then go for it and drive a second hand car instead of a new one!
However for road / crit racing you should factor in the pain of crashing. You don't want to have such a nice bike that you can't afford to replace it, or have such and advanced setup that standard components e.g. spokes don't fit. For that reason, unless you're a funny size, an aluminium frame with a high end groupset and maybe Bontrager or handbuilt wheels and high quality components are all you really need to go fast. Probably £3000 will get you a nice one.
If you're just going to use the bike for riding for a long time, a lifetime warranty or crash replacement policy is a good idea as in my experience the majority of frames will crack or get damaged if you use them for long enough.
Before going crazy with the check book why not try this approach: Upgrade and lighten up the Cannondale with racing wheels and carbon this-and-that. You might be able to get it to within 4-5 lbs of a high-end carbon framed bike. Enter a few tandem races (and that’s all there are - a 'few') and see how you and your stoker hold up. After that if you really think a lighter frame would move you up in the standings, then buy one. You could purchase the latest-greatest-lightest frame and switch over the components from the Cannondale, rebuild the Cannondale with the old stuff and sell it.
Galen, I already did all that stuff but thanks for the thoughts. The Cdale would not be my choice for racing: even though the CO MO frame is a bit heavier it handles, rides and fits much better. Will probably take the third option and do a couple of test races. I've been racing for a long time and know what I can do. The stoker is a runner who may not really want to put in the time to get real good at riding. Although runners bring fitness and endurance to riding, they often lack strength and an understanding that cycling takes more time and real technique. We'll see.
FWIW: I'd recommend that you float a question to the attention of the folks who've been racing tandems at both the Atlantic Seaboard Tandem Racers Org (ASTRO) forum at YahooGroups previously mentioned / linked and to the Tandem@Hobbes list to get their feedback on what they'd recommend. Be clear about your team height, weight, racing background, and riding style. There are several current and former USCF / Pro class riders on both of those lists who have competed at the Co-Motion Classic, US Masters Tandem Nationals, etc... Their rides run the full gammut from bone stock to custom Yamagucchi time trial tandems, with everything in-between and they tend to be candid about what holds up and what doesn't.
Frame weight on Seven or Co-Mo steel frames should be very close, and still not hit the 12 lb mark even with couplers. ariZona tandems will build with Ti couplers (lighter), and the no-lateral version on both Zona and Calfee utilize 4 instead of 6 S&S fittings, cutting some weight and cost.
Have also ridden Serotta ti tandem and ti 'tana; am more satisfied/impressed with carbon than with ti.
Also got rid of Merlin ti single and now riding custom carbon single . . . Your observations/experiences/preferences may vary from ours.
The only tandem we've ridden without laterals was a prototype Schwinn DuoSport back in the 80s . . . much to our surprise it rode as well as any other tandem that had laterals at that time.
Having talked with Craig and Bob Davis, both claim that their no-lateral tandems are every bit as good/stiff as the ones with laterals, due to increasing the diameter of their c/f tubing.
Be on the lookout for more innovations by these 2 builders . . .
And check out the spring 2006 issue of R&TR Magazine review on the Calfee Tetra (no lateral) tandem by a very experienced tandem duo, Bill and Evie Wheeler (note what kind of wheels they were using)!
Y'all need to quantify your "frame material" impressions with your physical dimensions. Little folks who ride little frames (like me with my 52cm - 54cm jobs) will be hard pressed to find any material -- steel, aluminum, Ti or carbon -- that doesn't build up into a nice, lightweight frame with minimal flex. Pack on an extra 100lbs, or run those frames up to 60cm, and they become different animals.
For tandems, multiply the variability of riding impressions by a factor of 3: one for the additional rider and another for dynamics associated with having two riders on the same 10' long bike. It ain't apples-to-apples if you're talking grapefruits-to-plums.
Yes, Calfee does have a weight limitation for his framesets without an internal lateral.
And yes, size makes a difference
Tallest tandem we helped design was for a fellow that was 6'7"; ended up having to raise his bottom bracket height to accomodate the custom made 220mmm crankarms for the 27-inch (68 1/2 cm) frame. After 30,000 miles on that steel frame, things are still A-OK and still plenty stiff.