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  1. #1
    JnDBaldwin
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    Santana Ti 700 Chainline/Frt Der issues

    I have a Santana Ti 700 that I'm half embarrased to say has had front derailleur issues for the last 22K miles. My LBS and I’ve worked; fine tuned and tweaked the front derailleur to maintain ridiculously tight and finicky tolerances until today…the last day. I’ve finally reached my breaking point and I’ve had it with the avalanche of expensive, proprietary 160mm chain line issues which I suspect are the root of this issue. So I’m writing to you…the gurus in hopes of resolving this.

    The frt der has, does and will continue to act as though it is out too far using the “triple fix” clamp gadget (proprietary) Santana came up with some time ago. The STI shifter (I’ve tried 3 sets) will baaarely catch the outer ring internal pawl with the high limit adjusted to keep the chain from dropping to the outside. When I release from the big ring to the middle, the thing pops like a bowstring from the tension release…but this is the only way to adjust the frt der and get it to marginally work in all rings. The tight tension release from the big ring often sends the chain straight to the inner ring. I’ve spent countless hours, seemingly infinite settings, cable tensions and numerous iterations of Ultegra 9 componentry as well as the time of various LBS mechanics in both our futile attempts to get my $8000 Santana to work right. Do I have to use Mr. Bill’s proprietary “triple fix” front gadget? How does a Santana Ultegra triple setup run without it? It seems like the thing might work better without it by using an “N-gear” chain keeper to deal with shifting issues on the low end after I switch to a standard triple braze on clamp which sits in 6mm closer. At least the top end should be less problematic. I haven’t looked at my 129mm special proprietary Santana BB yet but I am assuming it is the right width and not defective. I also plan to switch to DA 9 STI with a DA 9 frt. der in hopes this might have some positive effect; although I suspect not. I’m reluctantly considering bar cons on the left as a work around or even a double conversion as my wife and I are fit and can normally climb with the 3’s using the middle ring unless it gets ridiculously steep. I’m even half considering a SRAM dual drive and dumping the frt der altogether! What a fiasco!!

    Interstingly, I have a Longbikes Triplet (160mm), and a Cannondale tandem (145mm) without these issues so I wonder if it is a Santana thing. Does anyone out there have any experience or ideas concerning this issue? If I didn’t have $2500 invested in 160 wheels and even more invested in this Ti Santana I’d just bail out and start over with a Co-Motion, Seven or something…anything; but those options will be really financially painful at this point. The bike rides fine and is solid otherwise. I could really use some advice here if you’re in the mood to consider this.
    Thanks in advance,
    Jeff Baldwin

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Unless I misread you: 1) the cable sounds way too tight; 2) why did you change levers when the derailleur is problematic???? Have you tried another derailleur????

    Frankly, if I'd bought a big money rig like that and had such troubles since new, I'd have gotten a refund. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Senior Member lusterwand's Avatar
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    Hi J, have you tried swapping out a drive side crank from one of your other tandems to see if shifting improves?
    also ... I have personally werapped the the front derailluer cable in the wrong direction under the fixing bolt causing the same type of hi tension inadequate travel reaction you describe. good luck
    Last edited by lusterwand; 01-23-07 at 05:50 AM.

  4. #4
    BudLight
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    Have had difficulties keeping my Ultegra front d. adjusted (on 145mm rear spacing) and will sometimes have to adjust the cable tension slightly while I'm riding. The cable tension must be dead bang on and not too tight, or the detents on the shifter won't work properly. I'm not particularly thrilled with this derailleur. Needless to say, the chainline will never be good on at least two rear cassette sprockets in the big and small front rings and you just have to stay away from them. If your setup is an attempt to use all nine rear sprockets (perfect nine or ten?), then you may be twinking with it long after pigs are flying.

    I'm having a tough time visualizing your front setup (crank / ring spacing, etc.), but it can't be that weird. Call the boys at Santana and make them get it right for you.

  5. #5
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Baldwin
    When I release from the big ring to the middle, the thing pops like a bowstring from the tension release…
    As other's have suggested, what you describe is exactly what you'd expect to see when the front derailleur cable is misrouted to the wrong (short pull, close to the pivot) side of the front derailleur's fixing bolt. While instinctively I can't believe that with all the messing around that's been done it could have been repeatedly mis-routed, it guess it's possible. That's the first thing to check. While you're there, make sure the drive-side of the bottom bracket fixing cap is fully seated to the bottom bracket shell and that no one has put a spacer between the cap and the bottom bracket shell.

    Santana's "Far Out" clamp-on front derailleur mount & super-wide spindles should work correctly with the Ultegra triple cranks out of the box and, again, problems with the front derailleur should be unrelated to the shifter.

    If the cable routing isn't the root cause, before any further component changes (e.g., a 118mm spindle vs 129mm) I would definitely send your comments via Email to Steve Lesse (santanainc@santanatandem.com) and immediately thereafter follow-up your Email with a phone call to Steve to talk through the symptoms of your problems: (800) 334-6136 Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 01-23-07 at 06:39 AM.

  6. #6
    It Takes Two BloomingCyclist's Avatar
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    We have a Santana Niobium with Ultegra Triple in front and a 10 speed cogset in back with 4300 miles since last January. Our shifting was great at the beginning and continued to be good up until about mile 3000. The front was not shifting well; it didn't want to go up to big ring easily and when I adjusted it limit screw it was still reluctant but would suddenly go all the way over and off - frustrating. Well...I read Sheldon Brown's words about adjusting front triples and found that I was able to solve my problem by rotating the cage of the front derailleur so that the rear of the cage was out a little to the outside instead of being parallel the way I have my front triple derailleur cage on my single (Campy Chorus). It was an easy fix - but frustrating that before I found the fix, I even bought a new chain ring having decided (incorrectly) that the pickup pins on the ring had worn down to the point of causing problems. The front derailleur probably was moved sometime when my foot hit it or when we loaded the tandem into the van where the front derailleur area is between two seats and pressed against it - who knows.

    About mile 3800 my rear derailleur started not shifting well and I was adjusting away with no consistent improvement. I did find eventually I had a crimp in the rear housing where it comes into the rear derailleur - replaced that. (I even got a new cogset - you'd think I would have learned my lesson with the unnecessary new front chainring). So...finally, I buy new derailleur cable and when I take the old one out I see that it is frayed badly inside the brifter for the rear and kept the cable from sliding back when shifting from a larger rear cog to a smaller one, especially down in the 15-13-11 range. I had read multiple times earlier that fraying cables on a shimano brifter are common - I was embarrased that I was so slow to check that. Part of my "blindness" was that I haven't seen a frayed cable on my single with campy in over 12000 miles but I was still aggravated at myself about it.

    With the new cables - shifting is great again.

    Your shifting should work well - I agree with the others who have advised checking your cable attachment and also talking to Santana - they'll get you working.

    Greg in Bloomington, IN

  7. #7
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    I have a 2000 TeamTi700 with 2001 Ultegra 9 speed. I've never had a problem until this spring. After I had the bike overhauled I was attempting to fine tune the front derailleur. I ended up starting over with the adjustment and misrouted the cable. I ended up with the same tight cable that you discribe. I finally figured out my mistake and corrected the routing. Problem solved. I'd suggest having someone with a fresh perpective take a look at your problem. When the parts are set up correctly they work great. Let us know how things go.
    I'm old enough
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  8. #8
    JnDBaldwin
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    The cable is actually not tight when it is at rest on the 30. It is tight and pops off the big ring because of the pressure held between the STI lever pawl and the high limit of the frt der. I.E. The STI shift "window" only barely overlaps the ring footprint. It acts like the Santana "Far Out" triple fix device is too "far out". The cable tension is actually quite loose when the frt der is at rest.
    Thanks,
    Jeff

  9. #9
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    We own a Santana Soverign and a Cabrio. The only problem that I recall having with the front der was caused by lack of lubrication where the cable bends around the captain's BB.... I am sure you already checked that.

  10. #10
    JnDBaldwin
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    Thanks for the kind words and constructive comments. In my aging humility I've learned that I am capable of anything...even misrouting the der cable. However, it is routed correctly in this case. I have a 53 and sometimes a 54 on this crankset which I'm sure doesn't help but the same issues arise with any of the rings. The crankset, BB, Far Out clamp, or frame are just not clicking here but I will get to the bottom of this even if I have to ditch the whole mess. Tandeming is too important to us and I'll just ditch the Santana if I have to.
    Regards,
    Jeff

  11. #11
    JnDBaldwin
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    Thanks,
    Changing cranks is a good idea and this issue will accelerate my plans to go with an FSA carbon 55/44/32 setup I've wanted for a while anyway. Does anybody have any experience with these on a Santana Ti 700? I'll need to switch to ISIS BB's for Santana I suppose...
    Jeff

  12. #12
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Baldwin
    The cable is actually not tight when it is at rest on the 30. It is tight and pops off the big ring because of the pressure held between the STI lever pawl and the high limit of the frt der. I.E. The STI shift "window" only barely overlaps the ring footprint. It acts like the Santana "Far Out" triple fix device is too "far out". The cable tension is actually quite loose when the frt der is at rest.
    This is also what you'd find if the cable was misrouted; it's a geometry and leverage thing.

    Just for s--ts and giggles, and because I'm really puzzled by what you're describing, I went out to the garage and shot photos of a front derailleur cable routed correctly and incorrectly on a Campy FD. They are appended below.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    JnDBaldwin
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElRey
    Unless I misread you: 1) the cable sounds way too tight; 2) why did you change levers when the derailleur is problematic???? Have you tried another derailleur????

    Frankly, if I'd bought a big money rig like that and had such troubles since new, I'd have gotten a refund. Good luck.
    Well,
    I've tried 3 exactly frt derailleurs and 3 STI sets over the course of 22K miles. There were surprising differences in the feel and functionality of them all. Some actually worked significantly better than others and that's how I've managed 22K with this rig. It is just too problemental now though. I'll bet I'm missing 10% of frt der shifts due to this problem now and I'm just tired of tweaking with it. A rig like this should work better. I'm going to go with DA 9 STI, DA frt der and FSA Carbon Cranks. If it still won't work after this, I'm getting rid of the Santana altogether. I have another tandem and a triplet that work great in the replacement shopping interim. I'm sure I can auction everything and at least reduce the pain.

    I would have "gotten a refund" but the bike started out as an AL Sovereign which we corroded out severely in 2 years of heavy sweat and gatorade here in the TX Hill Country. I sent pictures to Bill and he finally agreed that this should not have happened in two years. I pled my case and would not go away so he eventually gave us a warranty upgrade to the Ti bike...with an extra $3000 check from us of course! I reluctantly did it and find myself farther down the Santana road than I had originally planned.
    Jeff

  14. #14
    JnDBaldwin
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    Man...you are awesome for going to that effort. The quality of the people here amazes me...Thanks. I'm a pilot on a trip right now out in CA but I've been talking with my wife about all this and she assures me the cable is routed correctly and identical to all our other tandems and triple laden bikes which work perfectly after being assembled by yours truly. I'm pretty confident something wacky is going on with the BB, clamp, frt der, STI spacing...or the frame. If it is something stupid...which I am certainly capable of from time to time I promise I will expose my buffonery here for all to digest if this is he case. However, this thing is put together as it should be and I just can't take the thing like this anymore. The fact that I've tolerated it this long is a testament to our love of tandeming. I will seriously part out and auction this sucker if this doesn't get resolved pronto. We must have a super reliable and for the money we have into this Santana it is gonna be spot on...not 90%.
    Jeff

  15. #15
    JnDBaldwin
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    Great pictures! I really appreciate your effort to do that.
    Jeff

  16. #16
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Assuming everything is set up correctly, let me suggest that you give Mark Johnson a call at Precision Tandems near Kansas City. He's no stranger to troubleshooting unusual problems and upgrades and, given that you're already looking at the FSA MegaEXO cranks & bottom brackets, he'd be able to make a sound recommendation on what the latest available configurations would work with your desired gearing.

    Phone: 913-962-8866 between 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. CT
    Email: info2007@precisiontandems.com

  17. #17
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Baldwin:
    You've got the ultimate in patience!!! 22,000 miles of lousy shifting on ti-'tana + a corroded Sovereign??!
    Brand loyalty only goes so far . . . there's a multitude of choices out there!

  18. #18
    JnDBaldwin
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    Yea,
    Thanks...I know that now and wish I'd talked to you folks before ever going down Santana lane. It has worked just barely good enough to not justify the down time til now. I'm at my breaking point. At least I have other tandem/triplet rides now till this gets fixed or replaced.
    Regards,
    Jeff

  19. #19
    JnDBaldwin
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek
    Assuming everything is set up correctly, let me suggest that you give Mark Johnson a call at Precision Tandems near Kansas City. He's no stranger to troubleshooting unusual problems and upgrades and, given that you're already looking at the FSA MegaEXO cranks & bottom brackets, he'd be able to make a sound recommendation on what the latest available configurations would work with your desired gearing.

    Phone: 913-962-8866 between 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. CT
    Email: info2007@precisiontandems.com

    Funny you mention Marks name as I've been working with him all afternoon on replacement stuff for this issue. Seems like a super guy. You can bet I'm making darn sure most of the componentry I purchase from him will be able to go on something other than a Santana if our fixes don't stick though! You know, everyone likes to be proud of their bikes but now that I have a few tandems my pride is gravitating toward the other than 160mm options. I'm just plain getting tired of work arounds, band aid fixes and proprietary parts for the sake of lining a certain guys pocket. It's been a hard lesson that at least my kids won't make.
    Jeff

  20. #20
    Captain - 2nd in Command djsincla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Baldwin
    Funny you mention Marks name as I've been working with him all afternoon on replacement stuff for this issue. Seems like a super guy. You can bet I'm making darn sure most of the componentry I purchase from him will be able to go on something other than a Santana if our fixes don't stick though! You know, everyone likes to be proud of their bikes but now that I have a few tandems my pride is gravitating toward the other than 160mm options. I'm just plain getting tired of work arounds, band aid fixes and proprietary parts for the sake of lining a certain guys pocket. It's been a hard lesson that at least my kids won't make.
    Jeff
    I have had no issues with shifting on any of my Santanas and your issue has nothing to do with 160mm given the chain line is fine.

    Throwing parts at it is very unproductive so I would suggest you let someone look at it who has the skills to fix it - Richardson Bike Mart in Richardson, TX would be my first recommendation.

    If you want to continue with parts - check the cable routing and make sure the heat shrink tubing through the frame cable guides are sound. I have had 9 speed and currently have 10 speed so cannot think of anything else.

    With regards to proprietary components - The rear hub, bottom bracket, fork and the front derailer mount I believe are proprietary to Santana so you should be fine continuting with your parts attack.

    You should know John and Brenda in Dallas - Give John a call at Bikemart.

    Good luck and keep us up to date with your progress.
    Last edited by djsincla; 01-23-07 at 10:57 PM.

  21. #21
    JnDBaldwin
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    Ti 'tana...now that's funny. Alarmingly close to "Titanic". At least I can make fun of my own peril. You guys need to come to the Texas Hill Country for Hell Week in the spring. You're a great bunch that we'd love to ride with. Thanks again for all the positive comments!
    Regards,
    Jeff Baldwin

  22. #22
    All or nothing
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    I have a 1997 Santana Arriva that has seen moderate, but perhaps low-level use compared to many folks on this list. A couple years ago I had the chance to ride 1000 miles over a couple months with a strong stoker friend. Part way thru our training the front deraileur started acting up, including locking up the bike by jamming the chain between the small chainring and chain stay when shifting from middle to small ring. A couple bike shops failed with their adjustments so I gave up and put on one bar-end shifter so now I have rear STI and front friction -- the best of both worlds (?). From another perspective -- yuk. However, it works. Right now I'm shopping for a lighter bike...

    Maybe not much to learn here, but just another person's experience.

    Don

  23. #23
    JnDBaldwin
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    Quote Originally Posted by djsincla
    I have had no issues with shifting on any of my Santanas and your issue has nothing to do with 160mm given the chain line is fine.

    Throwing parts at it is very unproductive so I would suggest you let someone look at it who has the skills to fix it - Richardson Bike Mart in Richardson, TX would be my first recommendation.

    If you want to continue with parts - check the cable routing and make sure the heat shrink tubing through the frame cable guides are sound. I have had 9 speed and currently have 10 speed so cannot think of anything else.

    With regards to proprietary components - The rear hub, bottom bracket, fork and the front derailer mount I believe are proprietary to Santana so you should be fine continuting with your parts attack.

    You should know John and Brenda in Dallas - Give John a call at Bikemart.

    Good luck and keep us up to date with your progress.
    Thanks,
    I'll kindly consider your remarks... although to this point I have somehow mustered the required skill to build up and quite easily maintain my other tandems, a triplet and currently 19 other family road and mountain bikes upon which my son...in spite of my mechanical ineptitude was able to win the state on. In fact, I've never had to throw parts at any bike until this Santana/Ti-tana debacle. Your mileage and experience may vary from mine but I respectfully submit that you have not worked on this bike. I'm sure there are Santanas that work correctly out there but this particular one, the one that I own has been a low grade headache. I could be wrong and I could be doing something stupid because I am just as human as the nearest LBS mechanic. However, this really shouldn't be this difficult...and it is!
    Jeff Baldwin

  24. #24
    Captain - 2nd in Command djsincla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Baldwin
    although to this point I have somehow mustered the required skill to build up and quite easily maintain my other tandems
    Good to hear although I am surprised by all the parts. Love to see some pictures when you get back to Texas and I would still recommend Bikemart take a look at it. Issues with shifting on my triple road bike turned out to be flex in the BB caused by a hairline crack in the carbon fiber frame.

    I guess I dont understand the discussion on cable tightness and the behavior of the derailer - none of this has anything to do with chain line so the pictures may help.

    The heatshrink frame cable guides wear out after 2K-3K so I am assuming you have replaced these 15-20 times already? I now have 10 speed and I will post some pictures later this evening.

    I will also take some measurements to compare with your own bike.

  25. #25
    Captain - 2nd in Command djsincla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djsincla
    I will post some pictures later this evening.

    I will also take some measurements to compare with your own bike.
    http://djsincla.photosite.com/Album1/

    Measuring against the inside of the largest chain ring to the center of the frame it was 2 3/16" - 2 1/4"

    Notice the black teflon cable guide.

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