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  1. #1
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    145 spacing vs. 160

    In ordering my Calfee Tetra Tetra, I have to decide between 145 and 160 spacing. My good friend Greg and I have been debating the merits and drawbacks of 145 vs. 160 spacing. I do like the Shimano Sweet 16 wheels, and could use them if I go for the 160. However, Greg and I disagree on whether my difficulties in shifting to the 53 chain ring on my Santana can be traced back to 160 spacing on the Santana as one of the principal culprits, along with operator error.

    I know that this has been debated in the past but my search did not bring up the posts on this subject. Anyone have a link on this discussion from the past?
    Thanks
    John

  2. #2
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    No link. However recall 'tana came up with different type f/d mount to take care of that issue,
    The huge majority of tandems are built with 145 spacing . . . there are other wheelsets besides Sweet 16 that have just as great reliability and are just as light and fast. Rolf, Topolino, Bontrager, custom wheelsets . . .
    As we stated before, Santana marches to a different drummer . . . you're buying a tandem not just wheels.
    Suggest you talk with Craig Calfee personally and see what he suggests.
    Your custom tandem, you pick 'n choose and live with your decisions.
    We've had 4 custom tandems so far and loved everyone of 'em.

    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  3. #3
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by counselguy
    In ordering my Calfee Tetra Tetra, I have to decide between 145 and 160 spacing. My good friend Greg and I have been debating the merits and drawbacks of 145 vs. 160 spacing. I do like the Shimano Sweet 16 wheels, and could use them if I go for the 160. However, Greg and I disagree
    You've got a bad case of what I'd call analysis paralysis....

    At present, the ONLY advantage of 160mm vs. 145mm for teams of average size and weight is the ability to use the Shimano Sweet 16 wheelset (Period). For clydesdale teams of 450lbs and up, there is some inherent added wheel strength to the wider rear spacing; however, to take advantage of it you need to make sure the hubs you use are designed for 160mm rear spacing so that they truly have wider flanges that take advantage of the added width AND the wheels must be built by someone who knows how to build wheels. A poorly built 160mm wheel will start braking spokes just as fast as a poorly built 145mm rear wheel. Well built 160mm and 145mm wheels won't usually break spokes unless the things get dinged or, in the case of the Sweet 16's, are re-tensioned and retrued during the first several hundred miles of use (which, incidentally, I find really odd).

    So, at the end of the day, 160mm rear spacing gets you:

    - An odd-size rear hub... not that too many bike shops stock 145mm either.
    - A special front derailleur clamp sold by Santana called the “Far-Out” clamp that offsets the front derailleur an additional 6mm that helps to correct the chain line.
    - A very wide rear bottom bracket spindle that works in concert with the "Far-Out" clamp to move the drive rings out further from the bike to address the chain line which gives Santana's tandems a very wide rear tread. If you don't know what tread is don't worry about it unless your stoker starts to complain about hip or knee discomfort after riding a Santana. If you already have owned or ridden a post '99 Santana with the "Far-Out" clamp, then all of this is a moot point as your stoker is thankfully not sensitive to tread width (aka, Q factor).

    What does 145mm get you?
    - A wider selection of rear hubs.
    - Your choice of two aerodynamic integrated wheelsets (Bontrager & Rolf)
    - A less screwed up chainline than you have on a 160mm tandem if you're using symetric rear wheels.. make no mistake... tandems have sub-optimal rear chainlines: you just learn to deal with it.
    - The ability to use very narrow rear bottom bracket spindles if you so choose (we use 105mm) at the expense of some additional suboptimization of the chain line.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem
    The huge majority of tandems are built with 145 spacing . . . Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
    Can you share some figures to back the above statement?

    Thanks

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornucopia72
    Can you share some figures to back the above statement?

    Thanks
    co-motion, burley, trek, cannondale, davinci, khs(?) all use 145. as well as most others.

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    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornucopia72
    Can you share some figures to back the above statement?
    Rudy can certainly chime in but, off the top of my head...

    160mm as standard spec.
    Santana

    145mm as standard spec.
    Arizona Tandems
    Bilenky Cycle Works
    Bob Brown Cycles
    Bob Jackson Cycles
    Bohemian Cycles Custom
    Burley up and until Sept '06
    Bushnell
    Calfee Designs
    Cannondale
    Co-Motion Cycles .
    Davidson Handbuilt
    da Vinci Designs
    Dawes (UK)
    Erickson Cycles,
    Griffen
    KHS
    Landshark
    Litespeed
    Longbike
    Paketa Cycles
    Ravello
    Rex Cycles
    Rodriquez
    Seven Cycles
    Trek

    135mm as standard spec.
    Ventana El Conquistador
    Ellsworth witness
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 10-29-06 at 10:49 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    'Some' custom builders will build 160 spacing upon request; no other builder(s), to our knowledge, use 160 as "standard".
    Mark's list could be expanded a bit more, but you can see the trend . . . Santana has different opinions/logic. Perhaps they have a solution to a problem that does not 'yet' exist? Is everone else wrong?
    Again, talk with Craig, express your concerns . . . he's the builder and you are putting up the buck$!

    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  8. #8
    Bill G Bill G's Avatar
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    160MM spacing is the main reason I stay away from Santana tandems plus a lot of the other hype old dollar Bill over at Santana preaches and gets people to buy into. Also 160MM spacing screws with the chain line on a tandem, this is another thing that I dont care for. Other than that the quality of Santana is more than fine over all.

    Most all if not all the tandem manufactures use 145MM spacing for a reason, the reasons are listed in other post here. Like TandemGeek said the only advantage in 160MM spacing is the Sweet 16 wheelset (period) and I belive there are 145MM spaced wheelsets that compare to the Sweet 16 that are just as good over all with more choices.

    Take Care,
    Bill G
    Last edited by Bill G; 10-29-06 at 01:11 PM.
    Co-Motion Custom Primera Tandem (AKA The Marrage Counselor)
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    The huge majority of tandems are built...??? Are we talking number of bikes or number of builders? 14 out of 25 of the brands that Mark mentioned I have never seen on the road. Seriously, is there any hard numbers to back Rudy's statement? I would have thought that Santana sold close to half of all the mid to high end tandems sold in the US.

    Thanks

  10. #10
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornucopia72
    Seriously, is there any hard numbers to back Rudy's statement?
    No... Santana and most other builders don't generally release their production numbers. Santana has gone so far to note it has built something over 20,000 tandems back in the late 90's but even those numbers are frequently called into question as you can see from this posting at Hobbes back in 2003:
    http://search.bikelist.org/getmsg.as...10302.0109.eml

    The closest I've ever seen to any hard numbers came in the form of this snippet from an article on Co-Motion that ran in 2001:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunday Oregonian

    Co-Motion said it makes about 800 tandems and 200 single bikes a year. Burley, which also makes recumbent bikes, rainwear, and trailers for hauling kids or gear, said it produces 1,300 to 1,400 tandems a year. Green Gear said it makes about 260 tandems a year. Santana, which exclusively makes tandems, would not release its figures.
    Since that time Co-Motion's annual tandem output has continued to grow by leaps and bounds as their brand name and reputation for building excellent performance oriented tandems continues to be more widely recognized. I've always assumed Santana's output to be fairly close to Burley's so at this point I've got to believe that Co-Motion and Santana are "close".


    Quote Originally Posted by cornucopia72
    I would have thought that Santana sold close to half of all the mid to high end tandems sold in the US.
    Again, as noted above, they have a significant share of the market, but Co-Motion, Burley, Cannondale, and Trek have enjoyed strong sales over the years. Moreover, while many of the brands I mentioned may be unfamiliar to you, I've only listed the brands that I've actually put my hands on or seen at tandem rallies and events and that are still being built. While many of these lesser known brands come from smaller volume or custom builders, in aggregate they do tend to chip away at the market. However, what's most notable about these off-brands is that these tend to be the tandems that people purchase after they've learned what they like and don't like about their first tandem.

    Yes, Santana sells a lot of tandems and, yes, since the early 90's they've all had 160mm rear spacing. However, most of Santana's customers bought into the one-side arguments put forward in Santana's marketing literature and only learn "the rest of the story" as they interact with other teams who ride tandems produced by other builders that embrace different design specs and discover that there are a variety of different ways to design reliable tandems that perform well.

    Bottom Line: Santana makes an excellent product... but so do many other builders. Ride what you like and like what you ride.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 10-29-06 at 08:03 PM.

  11. #11
    Bill G Bill G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornucopia72
    The huge majority of tandems are built...??? Are we talking number of bikes or number of builders? 14 out of 25 of the brands that Mark mentioned I have never seen on the road. Seriously, is there any hard numbers to back Rudy's statement? I would have thought that Santana sold close to half of all the mid to high end tandems sold in the US.

    Thanks

    I do not know the numbers but over the years I have seen 15 of those brands mentioned at one time or another, they're out there. I do belive Co-Motion has caught up and passed Santana in mid & high end tandem sales.

    The 15 brands that I have seen listed below are 145MM spaced standard. I think Longbike & Calfee can be special ordered in 160MM spacing.

    Arizona
    Bilenky
    Burley
    Bushnell
    Calfee
    Cannondale
    Co-Motion
    Davidson
    Da Vinci
    Seven Cycles
    Trek
    KHS
    Litespeed
    Longbike
    Erickson

    Take Care,
    Bill G
    Co-Motion Custom Primera Tandem (AKA The Marrage Counselor)
    da Vinci Custom Joint Venture 700 Tandem (AKA The Marrage Therapist)

  12. #12
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Cornucopia: Both!
    The number of tandems built and the number of builders. Santana would love to have you believe they sell 50% of all medium/high end tandems . . .
    99% of builders do not build with 160mm spacing. And neither 'tana or other builders/manufacturers of tandems will usually divulge their annual production.
    However, we've attended loads of tandem rallies since 1975: east coast, west coast, midwest, southwest, northwest. We go by what we have observed at these rallies of up to 600+ tandems.
    The first couple years did we see Santanas? No. A few years later: Yes. Did Santanas outnumber all other brands? Hardly.
    The only tandem event we've ever attended where Santanas outnumbered other brands (combined!) was at one of Santana's commercial tandem events.
    Only 2 of the brands that Mark mentions (Ravello and Rex) we've never seen.
    But here is a list of 'other'-than-popular brand name tandems that we've ridden, and you may not have seen or heard of:
    Assenmacher, Berry, Bike Friday, Borthwick, Bruni, Colin Laing, Counterpoint, Dawes, Follis, Fuji, Gilmour, Gitane, Gottfried, GT, Ibis, Kuwahara, Lippy, Motobecane, Micargi, Osell, Peugeot, Roland, Specialized, Schwinn, Serotta and Velo Schauff, among others. None of these had 160mm spacing and some had less than 145mm spacing.
    Yes, we've ridden a couple thousand miles total on Santana models, including the Arriva, Sovereign, the Team and Ti. Does Santana build a nice/good tandem: Yes. Do others build nice/good tandems? Yes.
    Counselguy apparently already owns a Santana. He'd love to get a pair of Sweet 16s, but not on a 'tana, but on a Calfee.
    Yup, there are choices out there!

    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  13. #13
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    trhere's a reason only one Mfg uses 160 spacing. If it were appreciably better, everyone would do it. Why saddle yourself with a design that limits your wheel choices in the future.

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    There were several makers that used 160mm. I thought that KHS was one of them.

  15. #15
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LWaB
    There were several makers that used 160mm. I thought that KHS was one of them.
    "Was" is the operative word for KHS. Meridian also used 160mm as a standard for a while then switched to 145mm before going out of business. Longbike may have flirted with it initially but they too settled on 145mm as their "standard".

    In addition to these "production" builders (or those who tried to make as production builders), several custom builders have acquiesced when a customer insisted on 160mm so you'll find a few custom spec'd 160mm tandems built by Litespeed, Borthwick, KHS, Bilenky, Seven, Bushnell, Calfee and Erickson.

    160mm hubs are -- or have been at one time -- produced by Shimano, Phil Wood, Hadley, Aerospoke, Hope, Edco, White Ind., and Chris King.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek
    Rudy can certainly chime in but, off the top of my head...

    160mm as standard spec.
    Santana

    145mm as standard spec.
    Arizona Tandems
    Bilenky Cycle Works
    Bob Brown Cycles
    Bob Jackson Cycles
    Bohemian Cycles Custom
    Burley up and until Sept '06
    Bushnell
    Calfee Designs
    Cannondale
    Co-Motion Cycles .
    Davidson Handbuilt
    da Vinci Designs
    Dawes (UK)
    Erickson Cycles,
    Griffen
    KHS
    Landshark
    Litespeed
    Longbike
    Paketa Cycles
    Ravello
    Rex Cycles
    Rodriquez
    Seven Cycles
    Trek

    135mm as standard spec.
    Ventana El Conquistador
    Ellsworth witness
    My KHS has 160 mm spacing so let me chime in!

    99% of what the others have posted is true. The fact is that some tandem wheels when spec'ed at 160 spacing are not 'dish-less' - I have seen some with a reverse dish - less spoke angle on the non-drive side.

    Also, I have never had whatever shifting issue Santana's have had and don't have the offset front derailleur, but I am running 8 speed so that may have something to do with it, maybe not.

    One plus to the 160 mm spacing is the fact that you can cross-chain on the big ring without much in the way of chain-line penalty. In fact, on a flat-to-rolling ride, I can stay in the big ring all day and my biggest cog on the cassette is a 28. Those Santana owners running a wide range rear cassette can probably climb a pretty good grade and still stay on the big ring.

    Just due to the overwhelming manufacturer's preference for 145, If I went custom, that's the way I would go.

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    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    My KHS has 160 mm spacing
    '06 Specs are here: http://www.khsbicycles.com/11_milano_06.htm

    Rear Hub: Shimano XT 145MM, Double Threaded QR

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek
    '06 Specs are here: http://www.khsbicycles.com/11_milano_06.htm

    Rear Hub: Shimano XT 145MM, Double Threaded QR
    I think KHS has vacillated over the years between the two spacings. My bike is older.

  19. #19
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    I think KHS has vacillated over the years between the two spacings. My bike is older.
    They have.

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    Although I agree with most of what has been said in this tread, I do not think the terms like a "huge majority... and 99%" come close to be accurate. We own a tandem and a triple Santana and until recently were the proud owners of a Burley. A couple of our tandem riding pals in the area own a titanium Seven spaced at 160. I believe, although I am not certain, that another couple rides an Ericson also spaced at 160.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElRey
    trhere's a reason only one Mfg uses 160 spacing. If it were appreciably better, everyone would do it. Why saddle yourself with a design that limits your wheel choices in the future.
    Wouldn't go so far as to say Saddle yourself but I have no gripes against 145 spacing- Wheels Can be had off the shelf and Specialist wheel builders are used to them. Then on top of that- I stay with what I know and that is 145.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  22. #22
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    See Mark's statement about Seven and Erickson building some 'custom' 160mm spacing bikes. As for Meridian (now out of business) that company was run/owned by an ex-Satana employee and did use 160s.
    As Mark stated, other companies have used 160 but have come back to 145.
    When you get a tandem 'custom' built you can select whatever spacing you need/desire that's feasible.
    We've specced things on our tandems that many folks would not want/need; however we're not trying to please the other folks.
    Heck, we get 'admonished' for using toeclips and bar ends! We also get asked "Is that a real carbon fiber rack?" Or "Are those really carbon fiber lugs on that frame?"
    We have choices, and we make 'em!

    Pedal on TWOgether!
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  23. #23
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    To add another couple of angles to the debate:

    You don's say why you like the Sweet 16 wheels. I guess you are interested in them because they look nice and are supposed to go faster as well as being reliable. Experience I've seen here here is that Bontrager, Rolfs and other custom wheels (notably velocity rim+ chris king hub) all are reliable and go fast. If you really want to roll very fast, consider using something like a Zipp cyclocross rim and a rear disc.

    Secondly, if you have a male stoker who doesn't normally ride a tripe, q-factor can be important since men generally have narrower hips than women. My wife for instance has no problem with triple crankset widths. I on the other pedal with my knees close to the top tube and used to get overtaken by weaker riders on my wide-cranked mountain bike. Non-scientifically I used to have a horrible cowboy pedalling feeling whereas Campag 145mm q-factor feels good. Ask your stoker and have a look at how he pedals.

    You could also think about whether the reduction in losses when running big ring plus big cogs on a wide b/b is offset by losses when you run big ring plus small cogs. I guess this depends on the type of riding you do. In my view if you want to go fast, run gears which allow you to use the smaller 2/3 of the block when in the big ring.

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    If you break a spoke on those wheels its ride over. Could be very expensive and take a long time to get repaired. I use Hadley hubs laced to 36H Velocity Aero rims. Relatively lightweight and I have never broken a spoke or even had to retrue them. Chris King hubs are nice but really noisy, I had a pair and could not stand the noise.

    160 spacing is proprietary to Santana, hubs and bottom brackets are going to be limited and more expensive. I am experiencing that right now. My rear wheel is dishless which is nice but I would go with 145 if I had it to do over.

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