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  1. #1
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    Another: Thoughts on a first tandem

    After lurking on the forums for quite a time I have decided to start searching for a tandem.
    The Burley Rumba seemed like a great option with a nice component mix ( i liked the steel frame) for a very tasty price. Sadly Burley is no longer and I can't find any people with the Rumbas still instock. My continued searching has brought in all kinds of other brands with the KHS popping back up again and again (as the milano). Just recently I found the Fandango line of mountain tandems and have been drawn to them by their reasonable price and some of their components are top notch: ie white industry hubs.

    The rub: What I plan to do with this tandem is traverse the US and then head down to south america towards tierra del feugo. I plan to ride the tandem alone and pick people up on the way to help. Before anyone jumps on me, this is not a new idea, someone (who's wonderful site gave me the idea) just did a panamerica on a sweet custom thorn. I was originally going to take a lemond poprad and a burley trailer but I like the idea of the tandem. (Plus afterwards as a 23 year old guy I can pick up dates, which will quickly weed out any people who might be turned off by my personality).

    To make the situation even more fun; I am in France teaching english until the end of April (sadly currently bikeless but not down hearted). Test rides are the best thing for a new bike but getting my butt over to Georgia for a test ride on a Fandango is not so easy.

    Tandem plus old converted burley 2 seat child carrier (with a trombone on it). Fully loaded touring with panniers isnt needed so my options are open. My budget is max of $1800 (since college loans are still biting my butt and a long bike tour doesnt pay very much:-)- recent grad

    The Khs milano is still on the list, but some of the specs are not as nice as I would like (even if the price is cheap).
    The Fandango has recently gone to the top of the list ,because of Frame ,components and Price. I know their frames were made by kinesis..any comments. The R-9 seems like a good choice due to the linear pull brakes and the chromo fork. I know it is expensive to upgrade a tandem fork to a suspension but with as fast as a tandem eats tires I don't want to be 10,000 miles into a tour and have a fork blowout. As for the linear breaks, I would ask to upgrade those to the avid d7s and stay away from the disks (one more thing to brake and I don't trust their heat dispersment on a heavy rig).

    Comments, suggestions all are welcome as this is a new world with an extra seat on it.
    Brad

    P.S I know the milano is a road oriented bike with drops and the r-9 is the opposite. My friends have been asking me to get a mountain bike so i can ride with them (after the managed to crack the rear triangle one mine)!

  2. #2
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    If you are planning on South America, stick to 26" wheels, you are going to have a very hard time replacing tires on a 700 c. All that I find in Argentina are some very bad cruiser baloon tires, or race road tires no wider than 25 c. You can carry a spare, but once your spare goes you will have to have a new tire shipped, and good luck with customs.

    Check out this trip for long distance tandem experience.

    http://www.karennben.com/

    On your budget I'd be looking at a Cannondale on ebay or

    http://www.tandemmag.com/classified/

    Which is the only active used tandem site I have found.

    To tour the US any bike will do, because as parts break you can almost always replace them at a local bike shop (LBS) but South America it is a whole different deal. Only the major cities will have good enough shops and even then they will often not have the right parts in stock even for a single bike, good luck finding more tandem specific things like 48 spoke rims, DT spokes of the right length, tandem hubs and 700 x 30 c tires. Whatever you do focus on the wheels, that is were you will have most of your problems. Next big failure point is racks, I think I would go with a trailer, which also takes weight off your wheels.

    I love your idea of touring single with a Tandem! I would like to copy you some day, but my stoker will certainly object.

  3. #3
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    One more thing, I'd go with the strongest rim I can find but stick to the standard spoke count, again in South America you will be able to replace a rim if your hubs have a standard number of spokes, if not you are back to shipping, you wont want to carry a spare rim around your trombone.

  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xanti Andia
    One more thing, I'd go with the strongest rim I can find but stick to the standard spoke count, again in South America you will be able to replace a rim if your hubs have a standard number of spokes, if not you are back to shipping, you wont want to carry a spare rim around your trombone.
    The 26" wheel with 36 spokes is a standard rim that should be obtainable everywhere. Good wheels- or even custom built wheels, are not that expensive but for the trip you are contemplating- I would suggest that you go over the top and get a Freeride or even full downhill spec wheel set built. 8,000 miles ago I went for a set of custom built Full downhill spec wheels and other than the occasional spoke tweaking to retrue- they have lasted well. In fact I have just had them rebuilt from the hub up and 2 new bearings and a retrue is all they required. The bearings were not too bad but as they have lasted 8,000 miles and the next rebuild will be the same milage-I had all 4 bearings changed.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  5. #5
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    It looks like the Fandangos come with handbuilt Mammouth rims laced to White Industries Hubs.
    They are 26" and I do like the idea of having tires obtainable! As for the thought about the Trailer I do plan to tour with a burley two wheel trailer. It makes things easier and hopefully the toungue weight will be enough to let me ride the tandem solo without too much trouble. Thanks for the help. Karen and Ben's site is amazingly helpful.

    The one thing I don't like about the frame is that it is made of aluminum and not re-weldable in the field. Though after lots of research the breaks i have seen have all been at points that are not reparable. And the frame trashed. Hopefully the Fandango frame can live up to the abuse. I'm going to call mtbtandems today and talk to them about their bikes.

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