for those that need a tandem part or a tandem, i can't say enough good things about tandems east...
we took a road trip up to the bay area (from l.a.) and i pulled a rookie mistake. since we don't have a roof tandem rack yet, i figured i'd follow the advice i'd seen about taking the wheels off and putting the tandem on our yakima hitch mount rack. we do have roof fork mount yakima racks for single bikes and wheel holders, so to save room in the car, i put the wheels up there.
big mistake! those wheel holders are fine for front (100mm) wheels but not a tandem rear (145). about a hour into our drive on I5, the rear wheel flies off! i was sleeping (fiance doing the first leg of the 5-6hour drive) and all of sudden we're pulled off into the median and i'm hearing "the wheel's gone!"
after walking put the side of the freeway for about a mile looking for the wheel (not a safe idea) and then driving back a couple times, we couldn't find it. we'd only ridden our burley tosa like once-- and were looking forward to taking my mom out on it during our visit. my plans were ruined and we were in for an expensive, unplanned part replacement.
the story seemed to give those we told a good laugh, and fortunately there was no free way accident (who knows where the wheel rolled though?). but after making a few calls, i realized we lost an expensive part. if it had been a front, i probably could've gotten away with using one of my 32 holed front wheels...but a tandem rear is a truly specialized piece of equipment. plus one that was nice with a white industries hub.
list price tandem hub $225, disc rotor $50, disc adapter if non-disc hub $40, cassette $50, rim $70, tire $30, skewer $30?, spokes, labor, etc ... none of the local dealers even carried any in stock and one offered to order one through burley but it would take at least 1 week for the part to come in and then they'd built it up. online places were a plenty but most were list price of the parts + build up.
the last place i called was tandems east (since they're hours were in the evening). i spoke with mel, who commiserated and educated me on what happened. and promptly told me he had the exact wheel i lost -- white industries tandem hub, wienman rim. he had the required disc adapter and his price was less than other's i'd been quoted. being in nj, no tax either. he also included a continental tire/tube and 145 rear dt swiss skewer free of charge. he charged a fair $20 shipping for coast-to-coast, even though it cost him $30 to ship (as shown on the stamp on the box). it was sent in a very sturdy wheel box -- much nicer than the flimsy ones i've seen, thicker material than a standard bike box. i spoke with him late tuesday and we had the wheel by friday...in time for a ride on the weekend (we haven't yet because we ended up leaving the tandem up in berkeley since we'll be back up there next weekend).
all i can say, wow. deep knowledge, great stock, quick service, competitive price, and pleasant surprises with free extras and discounted shipping. we got their newsletter in the box and it was nice to hear their story.
we bought our burley used on ebay, but i think if we're ever ready to upgrade, i'll be giving my business to tandems east. their tandem vacations sounds wonderful too.
anyways, thought i'd pass that on....