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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 11-30-06, 05:40 PM   #1
ou98dtbiggs
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ChainRing size

What size chainrings do you use? I have a 55-44-30 with a 11-34 in back. I ride a 34(36) 50 on my single with a 11-25(don't use the 25much) Anyway in the N. Virginia area end up doing alot of hills, So I am thinking of gearing us down to 39, 53 I think we can still go like 37mph in a 53-11.
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Old 11-30-06, 05:43 PM   #2
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54-44-32 w/12x27 for 90% of the terrain we ride and 12x32 for the mountains.
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Old 11-30-06, 09:50 PM   #3
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Our tandem 54/42/30 with 11/34
Rudy's single 52/39/30 with 11/25 . . . got a triple on half-bike to allow for 'age' (better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it).
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Old 12-01-06, 05:30 AM   #4
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Going for a tighter gear ratio has always seemed the best approach to me: I don't like 2 tooth shifts that much, so 3 tooth are really unacceptable. Gearing up for that brief instant in time when you may hit 37mph isn't what I'd call a good idea: gear for the 90%, not the 0.01%. I run a 52/42/30 x 12/23. For those times when I can spin out the 52/12, I spin out. Good technique practice.
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Old 12-01-06, 08:08 AM   #5
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15% grades

I use the 30 x 34 sometimes, with rides like the blue ridger, also in suburban DC lots of really short 15-20% climbs, can not see a tandem climbing that in a 30 x 23. As for spinning out, I have a fast cadence(the fixed gear bike causes that) so not really worried about spinning out. Waiting for a FSA 53 T chainRing for sale. Got a FSA 39T for 10$
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Old 12-01-06, 08:36 AM   #6
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I really like 53-39-28 on tandems and the appropriate cassette on the back, the narrower and higher the better. In Colorado on a single I will use 50-36-24. The nominal capacity of a Shimano FD is usually 22 teeth, but most of us cheat on that a little.
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Old 12-01-06, 08:58 AM   #7
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Our largest gear is a 54/11. I know that this makes for big jumps between gears but to me there is no better feeling that flying down a hill in the 54/12, pulling alongside a couple of singles, dropping into the 54/11 and leave them gasping.
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Old 12-01-06, 09:18 AM   #8
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I like a narrower cassette and we don't attack the downhills. So, we're using small chainrings -- 48, 38, 26 with an 11-27 10sp cassette.
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Old 12-01-06, 10:51 AM   #9
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Tandem 53/39/30 11/34 10sp Road bikes: 53/39/30 12/27 10sp
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Old 12-01-06, 01:27 PM   #10
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53/40/28 with a 12-26 eight speed cassette
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Old 12-01-06, 01:44 PM   #11
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We use a Mountain Tandem on the few road rides we do. 48/11 is our highest gear and that will do us for 30mph on the road. For the road randonnees that we do- very few bikes are faster than us, and we will always catch them on the downslopes so why bother. I know an offroad machine on the road is a compromise- but we have the gearing that is right for 99% of our rides and we are rarely as high as that top gear. The 1% by the way will be on the downhills- when we will be coasting anyway.
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Old 12-06-06, 02:19 PM   #12
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You ask what chainring sizes we have: 22-36-44
I think this is only relevant information when the size ans number of sprockets are also listed, but I see most of the earlier respondents only give their smallest- ans largest sprocketsize. I think however that all the intermediate sizes are important too. But probably nobody agrees with me so I will lso give the highest- and lowest sprocket: 8 speed 34-13
The lowest are for extreme steep hills and the highest (which you all will consider rather low) for flat roads without wind: At 90 rpm we drive then at 24 mph. If we have a backwind and/or if we descent a hill we never cycle at higher speeds so we stick to 90 rpm spinning without with low force/power, so we don't need or want higher gears (because that would mean lager gaps in the range we often use).
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Old 12-06-06, 05:01 PM   #13
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53x11@90 rpm =33.95 mph, @100rpm =37.72, 110rpm=41.50, 120 =45.27mph. I can't imagine needing much more than that if you can spin the 53 plus the shifting will be much cleaner.

I run a 56/44x11/23 and I rarely see long climbs that we can't get over. Of course I never take the tandem into the hills unless forced...
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Old 12-06-06, 07:06 PM   #14
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We have 50/40/30 on ours, with an 11-30 (or is 32) 9 speed cassette. With no intention of racing we don't have need of anything more. I don't think we've ever used the 11 sprocket.

On my TT bike I have a 53/11 top gear, but can't recall using much more than 53/15 (down to 13 with a tail wind perhaps) most of the time - that's 45 kph at 100 rpm.
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Old 12-06-06, 08:09 PM   #15
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our tandem has a 53/42/26 x 11,12,13,15,17,19,21,24,28 this give the same low gear as the stock gearing that it came with which was a 30 inner chainring and a 11,12,13,15,18,21,24,28,32 nine speed and more one and two tooth gaps instead of the two and three tooth gaps in the middle. the 15,18,21 three tooth gaps really sucked especially in a group ride. the 15,17,19,21 is much better.

my main road bike has 53/39 x 12-23 ten speed
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