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  1. #1
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    Carbon fiber forks for tandems.

    My wife and I are looking for a Carbon fiber fork for our tandem. We are riding a Cannondale RT1000 bike. Our combined weight with bicycle included is 340 lbs. I am looking for any recomendations on durability, weight, and price.
    Thanks

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    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    There are only 5 tandem-rated fork models being marketed for sale:

    True-Temper's Alpha Q X2: 440gr with 1 1/8" steerer and your choice of 41mm, 44mm or 48mm rake. You must use a caliper brake arch with this fork and it will only take up to a 700x25mm size tire (although a 28mm Continental tire may fit - but it's tight). $478 MSRP
    http://www.truetemper.com/performance_tubing/x2.html

    Advanced Composite's Wound-Up: 800gr with 1 1/8" steerer and 45mm rake. You must use a caliper brake arch with this fork but it takes up to 700x32mm or perhaps even larger tires and mud guards. $495 MSRP
    http://www.advancedcomposites.com/woundup.htm

    Advanced Composite's Wound-Up Canti: 800gr with 1 1/8" steerer and 45mm rake. This fork has cantilever / linear pull brake bosses and is otherwise the same as the other Wound-Up composite fork. $525 MSRP
    http://www.advancedcomposites.com/woundup.htm

    Reynolds Ouzo-Pro Tandem: 500gr (claimed) and 1 1/4" steerer with 55mm rake. $599 MSRP.
    http://www.reynoldscomposites.com/OuzoProTandem.html

    Tange/Santana Canti Tandem Fork: 1 1/4" steerer with 55mm rake. $399 MRSP


    Your RT1000 probably has a 1 1/8" steerer with 53mm of rake assuming it is one of the more recent models therefore only the Alpha Q or Wound-Up forks would work on your tandem. The Reynolds & Tange forks were designed for use on Santana tandems which use 1 1/4" steerers and 55mm rake.

    So, you're left with four options:

    1. Alpha Q: The 48mm rake model will increase your steering trail from the stock 2" to approximately 2.2". I say approximate since I'm not sure exactly how long your Cannondale's stock fork legs are. The Alpha Q's tend to run a little bit shorter (374mm from drop-out to crown) than most other steel or the other carbon tandem forks so by lowering the front end of the tandem the head tube angle is altered a bit. The bottom line is, the Alpha Q would have the least amount of impact on how your Cannondale handles; however, it will still alter the steering feel a bit. In short, it will feel a little more twitchy at slow speed but will feel more secure through the corners. If you've ever taken a Co-Motion tandem for a test ride it would more closely approximate the handling that you would expect to find on your Cannondale with the Alpha Q. Depending on what size frame you have and how large your feet are you may also find that you have some toe overlap with this fork. The smaller your tandem's frame the more likely this is. We have toe overlap on both of our road tandems -- actually, all of my bikes have it -- and it hasn't been an issue. But, something worth noting.

    2. The Advanced Composites Wound-Up: The 45mm rake will increase your steering trail from the stock 2" to approximately 2.32". Again, I say approximate since I'm not sure exactly how long your Cannondale's stock fork legs are compared to the Wound-Up's which is 387mm from drop-out to crown. My guess is, it's pretty close. The bottom line is, the Wound-Up fork would have a more significant impact on how your Cannondale handles compared to the Alpha Q. In short, at first it will feel very twitchy at slow speed but -- as with the Alpha Q -- much more secure through the corners. Again, back to the benchmark of the Co-Motion, if you were to compare the two your Cannondale would have less slow speed stability but would also respond better to body steering / leaning inputs through the corners.

    3. Advanced Composites Wound-Up Canti-Model: Same as above for the Wound-Up except it will work with cantilever or linear-pull (aka. V-Brakes).

    4. Last option BUT NOT recommended: You could contact single bike carbon fork manufacturers and find out what the max weight rating is for their forks. I've been told that Reynolds basic carbon fork was designed to handle some rather high weights and loads and there are at least one or two tandem teams running around on these. However, I believe both teams are sub-300lbs which is a lot less than 340lbs when it comes to the loading that's put on these forks under heavy braking at the very high speeds tandems routinely experience.

    Bottom Line: You have two real choices. Both will affect how your tandem handles and, in both cases, what you'll find is that your tandem will steer more like a single bike -- being very precise and responsive to leaning inputs at speed but a little more of a handful as slow speeds and when climbing. The longer steering trail will also make the tandem twitch around more in response to your stoker's movements which would also take some getting used to. At first, this will feel really weird and perhaps uncomfortable given what you're used to with your Cannondale. However, after a few rides you should become comfortable with the new handling if you're used to riding racing bikes vs single bikes with touring geometry. Point of reference, our tandems have about 2.5" of steering trail -- both use Alpha Q forks.

    Perhaps one of the best sources for your fork is Calfee Designs in Santa Cruz, CA. Calfee is the premier builder of composite tandems. They sell all of these fork models and Craig (as in Calfee) or Stella can also discuss the pros and cons of these forks relative to tandem use. http://www.calfeedesign.com/price_list.shtml
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 01-30-05 at 08:32 PM.

  3. #3
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    Looking for a similar answer for our 2005 Trek T2000.

    I can't tell from Trek's website anymore what the pre-carbon Geometry was for the Crom-alloy fork. Thier new 2008 Carbon fork looks very "straight" compared to mine.

    Anyone know if Trek have changed the Headtube angle? Or have they just changed the rake.

    I notice the Alpha Q now only goes up to a 44 Rake.

    Any suggestions for a tandem team approx 400lbs?

    Biggest reason for looking at this is not for the weight loss - I have been told some good caliper brakes at the front will be better than the Shorti 6's as well as a little more comfort for the captain

    Also just checking is the Fork length measurment you mention from the middle of the dropout to the top of the crown? (i.e where it touches the head tube?) if so the Trek T2000 Crom-alloy one is about 400mm. How much of an impact would the shorter forks have?
    Last edited by thebearnz; 08-31-07 at 10:40 PM.

  4. #4
    Bill G Bill G's Avatar
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    We ran the Wound Up Carbon Fiber Fork on our 2002 model Cannondale Tandem that we had several years back with no problems, it worked great. The Tandem handeled fine and the ride was a lot better, I recommend it as we had no problems what so ever with the Wound up Carbon Fiber Fork and it looked great. The same fork works great on our Co-Motion Robusta as well, its a very solid Tandem specific fork.

    Good Luck,
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  5. #5
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    16,000+ miles on our Alpha Q X-2 fork utilizing a D/A caliper brake on our Zona tandem; we are a tad below a combined team weight of 250 lbs. No issues, so far.
    Asides from less weight, a c/f fork'll dampen some of the road vibes on your C'dale's front end.
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  6. #6
    sch
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    Our new Co-Motion has the Alpha Q and a DA caliper brake. Brake works fine
    but the nominal 25mm Michelin tire rated at 110psi pumped to 115 measures
    27.6mm wide. It requires a moderate thump to get it out of the fork between
    the fully released brakes and a forceful down shove to get it back in place.
    Curious I measured several DF tires and found most to be within 1mm + to
    0.5mm (-) in nominal width. So a 28mm might work but best be measured, as a tire much
    wider than 28mm actual versus nominal is going to be a hassle to get in and out. As to the fork,
    it is very positive in its handling, steering beautifully through high speed turns,
    handling like a high end DF ought to handle. OTOH the combo of fork and
    Rolf Vigor Tandem wheels with 240gm tire is squirrelly in no hands riding unlike
    the beefier steel fork and heavier tire on the Burley.

  7. #7
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebearnz View Post
    Anyone know if Trek have changed the Headtube angle? Or have they just changed the rake.
    The changed the fork rake: steel = 55mm (Santana-like) and carbon = 50mm (Co-Motion-like)

    For a 400lb team looking for calipers and comfort, consider the 1.125" Reynolds Ouzo Pro tandem fork with 55mm of rake. It won't change your handling but will provide everything else you're looking for in a very beefy package.

  8. #8
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    Regarding carbon forks with 1" steerers: We've got 2600 km to date on the Reynolds Ouzo Pro single-bike fork (all carbon including steerer tube) so far, no problems. Crew weight is 320 lbs (175-lb driver, 135-lb stoker, with a slight upward margin of tolerance for clothing and shoes.

    Might sound scary, but just a few comments:
    - People thought it was scary that we were using a 16-spoke Shamal on the front (this was before 16-spoke tandem wheels came out). After 10,000 km+, it's holding up just fine.
    - The tandem never carries touring loads. We never even carry more than two bottles (it's got bosses for two cages, and living in the Pac Northwest, who needs more than one bottle each? Even on long supported rides, we have never gone thru one entire bottle between food stops).
    - In order to easily remove the 23mm front wheel, it's necessary to use the Ultegra QR plus the Campag brake lever QR. Otherwise the tire will rub on the way out.
    - I must admit that I think the Reynolds fork is a bit too "soft." On hard braking, it flexes a bit more than the carbon forks on my singles. But not to the point where I might feel concerned.
    - I must also admit that I keep my fingers crossed on fast descents, so from a psychological standpoint, the security of knowing that you are on a "tandem-rated" fork may be worth the extra $300. Unfortunately, they don't make "tandem-rated" forks with 1" steerers, but I went with the Reynolds because I had it on very good authority that they could take the loads.
    - I tend to be very easy on the equipment.
    - The 4.5cm rake does affect the handling like TG said. It's a bit tricky standing on climbs, but I think it develops better tandem technique.
    - I am now fastidious about checking for cracks before most rides.

    - L.

  9. #9
    RACINGMIX illnacord's Avatar
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    Reynolds Ouzo Pro Full Carbon Fiber Fork

    lhbernhardt, how's that Reynolds Ouzo Pro doing? I got my eyes on a full carbon version (did they release a non carbon steerer tube version?) right now. You said the crew weight is 320lbs and my crew is going to be around 350 lbs. Moreover, I'm glad to hear your results of the 16-spoke Shamal wheels after 10,000KM!!!! There's another 16 spoke wheelset called the Shimano Sweet-16 (supposedly Dura-Ace level) that I got my eyes on as well. Any input would be helpful =)

    Single Speed 925 N.Californicus

  10. #10
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    You know that Reynolds no longer makes forks?

    Quote Originally Posted by email from Reynolds
    Hi Ritterview,

    Sorry, but we are no longer producing forks, instead choosing to focus on the wheel market. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

    Thanks,

    Ryan Barrett

    Reynolds Cycling

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
    You know that Reynolds no longer makes forks?
    And Alpha Q is done now too, correct? So that leaves just the ugly Wound Up as the only Carbon Tandem fork?
    I read somewhere that CoMotion is working on a new source? maybe they 'll sell those after they get a source tooled up.
    2013 Specialized Roubaix SL4 Expert, 2009 Ritchey Breakaway Cross, 2008 Trek T1000 Tandem, 2010 Specialized Tricross Sport, 2006 Trek Madone 5.2, 1995 Specialized Rockhopper A1 FS

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    I know where you are eyeing these parts. I do not believe you were given the correct answer about the Sweet Sixteens. You can call Bill at Santana, but I'm very sure they were never made with 145mm spacing. If the pair you are looking at are indeed 145mm, they are not new, and have been modified.
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    for whatever it's worth, i'm going to be using an edge 2.0 on a new rig that's being built up, after endless & fruitless searches for alpha q tandem fork.

    edge gave it the green light for my tandem weight (rider plus bike) of ~350 lbs.

    this might not work for you though, so inquire of edge directly depending on your situation.
    Last edited by JSNYC; 05-20-10 at 11:12 PM.

  14. #14
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSNYC View Post
    for whatever it's worth, i'm going to be using an edge 2.0 on a new rig that's being built up, after endless & fruitless searches for alpha q tandem fork.

    edge gave it the green light for my tandem weight (rider plus bike) of ~350 lbs.
    Hey, I just noticed that the 'World Champion' racing Cyfac doesn't have the Columbus Carve fork that comes with the Cyfac. Its not an Alpha Q either. That looks a lot like an Edge 2.0. If so, that is a pretty good endorsement, since they could have used anything, and it isn't labeled.




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    My Cannondales had an axle to crown height of 395mm, so I think most carbon road forks would steepen things a bit.
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    Ride it like you stole it WheresWaldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
    Hey, I just noticed that the 'World Champion' racing Cyfac doesn't have the Columbus Carve fork that comes with the Cyfac. Its not an Alpha Q either. That looks a lot like an Edge 2.0. If so, that is a pretty good endorsement, since they could have used anything, and it isn't labeled.
    Except look at the picture in the other thread showing the Bejing race, definitely not an Edge fork.
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    FWIW, I think that Winwood still sell a tandem-rated carbon fork: http://www.winwoodbike.com/muddydisc.html

    Disc and/or Canti, 398mm A/C, 45mm rake, 682g, 1-1/8" steerer, $315 MSRP

  18. #18
    Ride it like you stole it WheresWaldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfcas View Post
    My Cannondales had an axle to crown height of 395mm, so I think most carbon road forks would steepen things a bit.
    If you do the math, based on the long wheelbase of a tandem the difference even 20mm shorter makes is less than .25
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    When Trek recently stopped producting tandems, some bontrager tandem forks went out onto the closeout market. I got one instead of an alpha-q because I could never get comfortabler with a really light fork on a tandem. The bontrager fork has been great. The rake is shorter than the original t2000 steel fork and longer than the alpha-q rake. Maybe there are a few still floating around.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by illnacord View Post
    lhbernhardt, how's that Reynolds Ouzo Pro doing? [/IMG]
    I read in a past post he is no longer using the Reynolds fork.
    I am and last year our team was >400lbs. I did not have a problem then and now my team is about 320lbs. Not that I recommend to use a Reynolds Ouzo Pro [1"], I just can say I have not had any problems what so ever.

  21. #21
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WheresWaldo View Post
    Except look at the picture in the other thread showing the Bejing race, definitely not an Edge fork.
    That was in 2008, the team has a new tandem this year. Pics from a very recent race here.



    • I wonder if the small logo on the fork is a clue as to what brand it is?
    • My goodness, there are only 24 spokes on the deep dish carbon rims. Thankfully, the are on an officially sanctioned race, so it's okay.
    • No disc brake and carbon braking surface. I guess they don't brake as much on descents.
    • The chainring is Dura Ace, not so the crank. It looks like a square taper. Its a double, too.
    • What with the double crank, 11-23 cassette, and the carbon rims, either this team is terrific at ascending/descending, or these tandem races don't appear to include Alpe d'Huez.



  22. #22
    Ride it like you stole it WheresWaldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
    • I wonder if the small logo on the fork is a clue as to what brand it is?
    • My goodness, there are only 24 spokes on the deep dish carbon rims. Thankfully, the are on an officially sanctioned race, so it's okay.
    • No disc brake and carbon braking surface. I guess they don't brake as much on descents.
    • The chainring is Dura Ace, not so the crank. It looks like a square taper. Its a double, too.
    • What with the double crank, 11-23 cassette, and the carbon rims, either this team is terrific at ascending/descending, or these tandem races don't appear to include Alpe d'Huez.
    • Might still be an Edge fork, logo is too small to see clearly.
    • Most of the tandems, if not all of them in the link you gave had rim brakes. Makes my decision to forgo disks seem OK.
    • Look like 85mm 24 spoke front and rear probably used two Gigantex rims that would normally be used in the rear of their wheelsets.
    • Doesn't look like a DA 7400 crank since DA did not have that relief on the backside of the crank arms on the 7400 series (I am looking at my 7401 crank right now).
    • I am sure they have much better bike handling skills than we have and I would bet they can produce hundreds of watts more power than we can. Climbing might not be much of a problem for them.
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    Personally I wouldn't ride a fork that wasn't approved for the purpose from the manufacturer. I have put a Reynolds carbon tandem fork on my C'dale, and like it, but wouldn't use a solo bike fork. Sure they ride a bit softer but tandems are soft anyway compared to a solo bike. I have used low spoke count wheels (Mavic cosmic elite and cosmic sl) but as a spoked wheel will generally only fail slowly I don't mind using them. A fork however can fail instantly and the result is catastrophic and you can multiply the consequence by two for a tandem.

  24. #24
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by illnacord View Post
    lhbernhardt, how's that Reynolds Ouzo Pro doing?
    Here's an equipment update: in June 2008, I replaced the Reynolds Ouzo Pro carbon fork (after 4,505 km on the tandem) with a Woundup X2 carbon fork; much beefier and very minimal flex/vibration under heavy downhill braking. Note that these are forks with 1" steerers. The Reynolds fork even has a carbon steerer, and it is very, very light. The Woundup was the only carbon fork available at the time with a 1" steerer. The Reynolds fork went on my fixed gear Benotto and was used for another year and 6,128 km when the frame broke in October 2009 (not the fork!). The Reynolds fork is currently not in use, as I replaced the Benotto with the Rodriguez fixie, which came with a 1 1/8" Profile carbon fork. The Reynolds fork was just as flexy on the fixed gear bike as it was on the tandem, maybe even more so; it really shuddered under heavy braking.

    The Shamal 16 was pulled out of service after the rim started to crack (vertically). The tandem is currenlty using Bontrager 24-spoke tandem wheels, which have had over 3,000 km on them with no problems.

    Luis

  25. #25
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    Fallacies

    Ritterview: The only common trait between that generic fork and the Edge is that they're both using carbon composite. Edge fork is top of class, full monocoque steerer to drops. Those race pix are sweet!

    JSNYC: Edge weight weenie road fork okay'd for a tandem 350lb rider crew, WOW!!! I'm impressed. Very impressed!

    ct-vt-trekker: Alpha Q / True Temper went bankrupt last year, also interesting to note how many builders still spec their rides with Alpha Q's remaining inventory like the GS-10 and GS-30 forks. These were at one time rated #1 before the full monocoque forks came out. Still highly regarded, in fact, I believe the 2009-2010 line of Moots bikes like the Vamoots RSL are spec'd with the Alpha Q fork from the get go (custom painted and logo'd to make the titanium framesets by Moots).

    The Wound Up tandem specific (with disc mount) is a full carbon fork as well, it looks beautiful with that matte finish and upgraded black anodized crown and disc tabs. Not as nice as Edge 1.0, 2.0 but the Wound Up X is another fork that comes up right behind it.

    Below is a picture of the Moots Vamoots RSL with Alpha Q GS-40 carbon fork.

    temp vamoots..jpg
    Single Speed 925 N.Californicus

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