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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 11-20-06, 09:24 AM   #1
frameteam2003
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recomendations on gearing

I'm up-dating to a newer tandem--by about 70 years--and need some advise on modern gears.The used frame comes with 700s and hubs set for shimano 9 speed cassette,and specialized cranks triples(54-39-26).Will need to buy derailers and cassette and shifters.(this is a high quility steel frame--bilenky)
What would you advise?---sam
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Old 11-20-06, 10:16 AM   #2
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If you are riding on the road with drop bars, which I'm assuming you are given the 700c wheels, a long-cage derailleur, integrated shifters and brake levers plus a standard shimano cassette are probably the way to go. Any 9 speed Shimano items will work. IMO Ultegra is a reasonable compromise between cost and quality, although 105 is not far behind. Just have a look at some of the bikes in your LBS and go for a spin round the block to see whether shifter x is worth the extra money to you.

You could have a small problem getting 9 speed shifters as they are no longer made. However I'm sure you can find some at a discount if you scour the net for a few minutes. This is probably a better bet than going for the newer ten speed stuff as you would need to get a 10 speed cassette onto your hub and then use narrower chain which may not work on your chainrings.

I have 9spd Ultegra plus an XT rear derailleur and this works very nicely despite me being a Campag fan.
If you really prefer Campagnolo shifters, these can be made to work with Shimano cassettes, but it requires respaced cassettes. Mr Livingood will tell you how. If you want to be different, SRAM stuff could possibly be made to work but only comes in 10 speed.

Another option is bar-end shifters and ordinary brakes. These are cheaper and some, e.g. Rudy and Kay will tell you they prefer them to integrated shifters and brakes.

Final option is flat bars, which will then take MTB style shifters and brakes.

There are lots of options, but in summary it sounds like 9spd Ultegra or 105 will be least hassle and should work fine.
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Old 11-20-06, 11:07 AM   #3
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Shifters

Another thought if you don't want to do the intergrated brakes and shifter is to use Shiamano 9 speed bar ends.
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Old 11-20-06, 11:11 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by frameteam2003
What would you advise?
That depends....

- What type of riding will you be doing: Fast recreational, touring, bike trails, all of the above?

- What type of terrain will you be riding: Mostly flat, some hills, very hilly, a combination of all the above?

- What vintage/brand/model shifters, derailleurs and cassette range (e.g., 12x27) do have on your other bicycles? What do you like or not like about them?

- What type of brakes does this frame use?

- Do you plan on using a drum brake?

Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-20-06 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 11-20-06, 12:35 PM   #5
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To add to Tandem geek- but is part of the terrain question- Remember that a tandem is heavy uphills. Low gearing will at some time be required and I would look at the Mountain bike rear cassettes.

On the 10 speed for Tandems. I am starting to hear of strong solo riders breaking chains prematurely on 10 speed set ups.Don't know the quality of the chain or how well it has been set up but I would still look at a 9 speed set up with a long cage R. derailler- LX or XT and if you are doing the hills- an 11/32 LX cassette. I bend 12/34 cassettes at the first hill and Although XT should be better- The LX cassettes are stronger.
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Old 11-20-06, 05:58 PM   #6
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I concur with T’Geek. My wife and I ride hilly terrain. For example, on Saturday, we road 39 miles with 4000 feet of climbing. We used all the gears from the 30/34 to cross a very steep freeway bicycle overpass to 53/11 to spin down a long grade plus our disc brake to control speed on a steep descent.
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Old 11-20-06, 09:36 PM   #7
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Your intended use of tandem and terrain will dictate what your team will need.
A Bilenky is an excellent frame, buy the best stuff you can afford.
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Old 11-21-06, 05:53 AM   #8
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I run STi levers, DuraAce rear der., and a 12-23 with a triple. For Alpe d'Huez, maybe a 12-27. Depends on a lot of factors you have not supplied.
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Old 11-21-06, 08:57 AM   #9
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Most of our riding is flat--with the tandem we now own flat is the only op,but the really great senery is in the hills.(right!)And we are NOT a strong team,recreational would be the best description.
At this point it will not have a drum/drag brake.only the standard canti brakes.
I like the idea of having a 32 or 34 cog.
I can order a XT 9speed cassette/XTR m952 sgs 9speed long cage derailer---will they work with the shimino bar cons(SL-b577--9speed)?---sam
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Old 11-21-06, 09:21 AM   #10
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Those barcons should be SL-BS77.--sam
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Old 11-21-06, 09:28 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by frameteam2003
I can order a XT 9speed cassette/XTR m952 sgs 9speed long cage derailer---will they work with the shimino bar cons(SL-b577--9speed)?---sam
If you like the bar-end shifting and won't be using a drag brake, your proposed equipment would be an excellent set-up for your Bilenky and, yes, the Shimano DuraAce SL-BS77 bar-ends are compatible with all 9 speed shimano systems.

As you venture into the hills to enjoy the great scenery you may find that a drum brake may be in order if you're not inclined to brisk descent speeds. In the interim, be mindful of rim heating from excessive, prolonged braking on descents and try to alternate the use of your front & rear brakes to manage your descent speed vs. riding both front & rear brakes or simply over-using / overheating the rear.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-21-06 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 11-22-06, 08:01 AM   #12
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I've seen Sam's tandem and it really is 70 years old! 1936 Ernie Russ?
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Old 11-23-06, 01:39 AM   #13
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Sam,

Did you buy that Sterling on Ebay? I have a Bilenky today and was bidding on it as well. What I had in mind because I already have these in my part box was 9 speed barend shifters, XT der's. Sun Tour XC pro canti's, I could not tell the condition of the rims but the Hugi's should be okay, but I couldn't tell if they were German or Swiss one's but that might make a difference, 11-34 in the back. The Specialized cranks are great, but they orginally came with rings for 7-8 speed so you may to swap a chain ring in the triple, I was was going to run the drag brake back to the stoker position via a thoumb shifter. Lastly, depending on the rims I was going to run 32 Swchalbe Marathon Pluses
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Old 11-23-06, 12:43 PM   #14
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Yes that's the one.Outstanding blue/black paint.I'd never heard of Bilenky till I saw that one,but instantly know that's what I wanted.I like small high quality builders(steel),but who wouldn't for that matter.The 70year old russ we now ride is also such a bike.If up-graded with modern parts the russ would still be equal to most entry level tandems built today.That's out of the question and besides my wife is really too short for the russ--she doesn't complain about the ride,and really enjoys it.So I was looking for something lower in the back.
I've ordered a 11/34 cassette and xtr derailer(rear)/ultegra triple front(the specks said would work up to 54 tooth) and bar-con shifters.
the rims were in very good shape/hugi german hubs (built by DT swiss) in also great shape.Will use 28 Swchalbe marathons.
The drag brake was set up for the strocker as the frame has guides running up the captin seat tube.
This tandem is a real learning experance for me--thinks guys for the help---sam
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