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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 06-10-03, 10:25 AM   #1
JustsayMo
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Building our new tandem ...

We have the good problem of building a new tandem, our third. We are going back to 26" wheels and I'm weighing (not literally) my options for component spec.

I'm thinking about going with a Shimano Hub and Bontrager Clyde rims. They come in 48 & 36 hole. We had 36 on our first 26" wheeled tandem and we didn't have any problems, but we didn't do any loaded touring either. We are planning to on our new tandem. 48 seems excessive for a 26" rim but it is the direction I'm leaning. Any feedback on that? I'm also interested in other hub/rim combo's

My next tough choice is cranksets. I'd like to go 8 speed if possible as I have most of the parts I need already. I haven't check on the availability of 8 speed chainrings lately though. We both like 170's on our single bikes. Any recommendations?

Lastly, we'd like a good suspension seatpost (stoker only). Any recommendations would be most appreciated! TIA!
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Old 06-10-03, 03:38 PM   #2
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Could you expand on your motivations some? For some tandem manufacturers there is not much difference between the price of a frameset and a whole tandem, so parts on hand do not strongly drive specification choices.

If you don't absolutely, positively have to have a custom dimension frame, replacing a few undesirable parts on an off-the-rack tandem might be cheaper.

I know there are people who claim to like 26" wheels, but I could never give up the 10% difference in circumference between them and 700C wheels for road riding. Sounds like you have already done that, though.
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Old 06-10-03, 04:09 PM   #3
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I am building a custom tandem primarily because I've had excellent experiences with my custom single bikes (two road, one track). You just can't compare the difference in fit (for me). No more extremes of saddle adjustment or stem length. I get a comfortable mid rail seatpost postion on my saddle and a nice neutral handling stem. My wife gets a position that mirrors her single bike.

As for 26" wheels, I've owned both on tandems and I prefer the 26". We did the One Day Seattle to Portland in just over 10 hours (19.9 avg.) on our 26" wheeled tandem. That is plenty fast enough for us.

We've owned two stock tandems. We liked things about both but neither fit both of us really well. This time we know more of what we like and don't like. This time we're going custom.
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Old 06-10-03, 06:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by JustsayMo
This time we're going custom.
If it's not too forward of me, could I ask who you're using as your builder?

On wheels, what's your combined team weight?

What rear spacing will you be using: 135, 140, 145 or 160?

Drop or flat bars?

Shimano w/ barcons, Shimano w/STI, Campy w/barcons or Campy Ergo?


Finally, why 8 speed as opposed to 9 speed?

Last edited by livngood; 06-10-03 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 06-11-03, 12:00 AM   #5
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We are taking with a few builders now. It will likely come down to who can build it first. I was VERY happy with Tom Teasdale (T.E.T.) on one of my single bikes and I'm leaning that way. My wife wants to stay with a local builder. Luckily we have several great builders in this area.

Team = 146 kilograms (~330 lbs), rear spacing of 145, drop bars, shimano w/ barcons and because I already have a bunch of 8 speed stuff.

If I go nine, I have to buy a lot more and while I don't have scientific proof, it seems the nine speed stuff I do have doesn't last as long. Especially chainrings.

I'm open to suggestions but know the general direction I'd like to go with this project. We've been lucky enough to have owned two very different tandems (steel & aluminum, 8 & 9 speed, road and mountain) and I've owned dozens of single bikes as an adult. From track to single speed mountain bikes and everything in between, I've probably owned one. Right now I'm only a tandem and a unicycle away from a complete set ;^)
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Old 06-11-03, 08:04 AM   #6
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Wheel options to consider:

If you plan to have the ability to use an Arai drum drag brake I'd go with 36h White Industry Racer-X or Phil Wood hubset with Velocity Aeroheat AT rims (440g). http://www.velocityusa.com/ The Velocity Deep-V rims build even stiffer, slightly more aero wheelsets but weigh in at 550g/ea; a little bit more than the Bontrager Clydes but 15mm deeper.

We have put several thousand miles on 700c wheelsets built with White Ind./Velocity Deep-V and Phil Wood FSC/Velocity Deep-V; just outstanding for durability and performance. We have the Aeroheat AT rims on our off-road tandem with Chris King hubs. Again, great rim. All are priced about the same or a little less than the Clydes.

Cranks... budget is the key.
- Every once and a while 8 speed Shimano XT/Deore tandem cranksets pop up for sale on Ebay.
- Specialized TA (http://www.PeterWhiteCycles.com) are exceptional but a bit pricey ($495 w/chain rings) and only available with square tapers. However, lots of chain ring options and the chain rings are some of the nicest around with regard to durability and finish. You'd have to ask Peter about 8 speed vs 9 speed. 8 speed stuff seems to be getting harder to find.
- Sugino's Fuse 500 is a good crank for not a lot of money and lots of folks stock them.
- For ISIS** drive: RaceFace, FSA and Shimano's Ultegra**.
(Ooops... See next two postings Re: ISIS vs Octalink)

Tandems East has very nice, easy to read tables that outline pretty much what's available for tandems on their Web site - Click on Cranks or Chain rings. http://www.tandemseast.com/parts_frame.html

You could also put up a "wanted to buy" ad at: www.tandemmag.com/classified

Suspension Seatposts:
All I can pass along is what I've heard: Tamer's & Thudbuster's parallelogram models seems to be the hot ticket right now. They're not aesthetically pleasing to my eye, but lots of folks seem to recommend them.

Builders: Be sure to talk with Dennis Bushnell...

Last edited by livngood; 06-11-03 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 06-11-03, 10:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by livngood
- For ISIS drive: RaceFace, FSA and Shimano's Ultegra.
Mark,

I thought Shimano's splined cranks were not compatible with ISIS drive bottom brackets....

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Old 06-11-03, 11:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by ZackJones
I thought Shimano's splined cranks were not compatible with ISIS drive bottom brackets....
They're not, but you mean what I know.... "ISIS" in the generic sense of a splined BB.

Justsaymo strikes me as someone who knows the difference based on his comments and the content of his Web site. However, my bad for sticking the Ultegra cranks on at the last minute and not revising ISIS to "splined".

For the record....

ISIS = ISIS compatibile cranks from TruVativ, FSA, RaceFace, etc...

Octalink, et al = Shimano, FSA and a few others who have produced cranks that are compatibile with Shimano's proprietary spline design(s).

By the way, contrary to popular bike folklore, Shimano has not extracted a fee from crank manufacturers for the use of its Octalink and other proprietary spline designs since 1999 -- although, initially they did. However, last time I checked they still extract a licensing fee for use of their proprietary splined spindle design.
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Old 06-11-03, 07:57 PM   #9
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I'll throw in my 2 cents regarding seatposts. When we replaced the ridgid stoker post with a Rock Shock, it was a huge improvement for both of us. We recently replaced the Rock Shock (it's under the captain now) with a Tamer Tricky Dick, and it is a HUGE improvement over the Rock Shock. If we had the clearance we would have used a Thudbuster.
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Old 12-02-04, 02:20 PM   #10
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I'm looking to build my own crankset too but having a hard time finding a good 28/38/48 setup using a square spline bottom bracket. Have looked in my LBS junk piles but nothing. I remember that Shimano made some pretty decent cranks in the 80's. Any suggestions? I have been able to find 2 good 40t timing cranks. Since I'm 6' and my wife is 5' I plan on sticking with 170mm on both the frone and back. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 12-02-04, 06:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mhendricks
I'm looking to build my own crankset too but having a hard time finding a good 28/38/48 setup using a square spline bottom bracket. Have looked in my LBS junk piles but nothing. I remember that Shimano made some pretty decent cranks in the 80's. Any suggestions? I have been able to find 2 good 40t timing cranks. Since I'm 6' and my wife is 5' I plan on sticking with 170mm on both the frone and back. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
Send an Email to Rich Shapiro at Gear-to-Go Tandems in New York (Rich@GTGTandems.com), or Mark Johnson at Precision Tandems in Kansas (MarkP@PrecisionTandems.com), or to Mel Kornbluh at Tandems East in New Jersey (TandemWiz@aol.com), or to Larry Black at Mt. Airy Cyclery in Maryland (Abikie@aol.com) and see what they have laying around or what they have access to. If you just need the two right hand cranks and don't care if they match the left, I think Rich has what you're looking for on hand and they're cheap. Moreover, any 110 1/2 bike triple crankset can be used to cover your right-hand crank needs. Just use the triple "as is" and then drill-out and tap the left hand crank for 9/16" x 20 TPI heli-coil so it can be used on the right front.
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Old 12-02-04, 10:04 PM   #12
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Hard to beat an Allsop Softride beam as compared to any shockpost for stoker in our estimation. Something to consider?
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Old 12-03-04, 01:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mhendricks
I'm looking to build my own crankset too but having a hard time finding a good 28/38/48 setup using a square spline bottom bracket. Have looked in my LBS junk piles but nothing. I remember that Shimano made some pretty decent cranks in the 80's. Any suggestions? I have been able to find 2 good 40t timing cranks. Since I'm 6' and my wife is 5' I plan on sticking with 170mm on both the frone and back. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

If you can find them, why not go 48/36/24 to give you a wider spread, or if lower gears are not necessary, go up, keeping the 12 spacing between the gears. I know it is only recommended to have a maximum spread of 22 on the crankset, but we have successfully stretched this to 24 with no problems.

On the wheel front, I have been using 36 spokes on my aggresively ridden off road tandem for several years now. My spec is Hope Bigun Hubs, straight gauge spokes onto Mavic Downhill rims. No problem on these whatsoever, and we weigh 330lbs.
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