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  1. #1
    Hooha!! All American 6's Avatar
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    My Quest for a Triplet!

    This thread is going to show my learning curve and progress on my quest for a special triplet. At the end of the posts there'll be a picture of a triplet with 3 happy riders.

    Already discussed:

    I'm in the market for a triplet.

    Where are some good tandem dealers in Georgia for side by side comparisons and test rides of higher-end tandems? (my hometown is close to Atlanta – I have no problem making the drive)

    Will a test ride of a builder’s tandem be an indicator of the right triplet for my family?


    TandemGeek
    hors category
    Join Date: Jan 2002
    Location: Near Atlanta, GA

    Your closest professional tandem dealers are:

    Tandems Limited in Birmingham, AL (Jack & Susan Goertz)
    Co-Motion, Bushnell, Bike Friday & Santana Triplets
    http://www.tandemsltd.com/

    Tandems, Touring & Recumbents in Greenville, SC (Scott McCrary)
    Co-Motion & Santana Triplets + others as required.
    http://www.ttrbikes.com/index.html

    Chain Reaction Cycles in Marysville, TN (Tim Patterson)
    Co-Motion Triplets and tandems by Trek & Co-Motion
    Ph. 865-681-4183
    2408 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy
    Maryville, TN 37804

    The only dealers that probably "stock" new or used triplets are Precision Tandem (Mark Johnson) in Kansas, Mt.Airy Cyclery (Larry Black) in Maryland and Tandems East (Mel Kornbluh) in New Jersey. However, I sounds as if you already understand that a triplet is pretty much a near-custom bike.

    Santana and Co-Motion probably have easily produced and sold more conventional triplets than anyone else, followed by Bike Friday's compact Family tandem triplets. We have friends here in Atlanta that have been riding one of Co-Motion's chromoly triplets for close to 8 years now. They've been very pleased with the bike. There was also a really nice Bushnell triplet in the area but I haven't seen that one in ages. I haven't seen any Santana multiseaters around here, but have seen several "Cabrio" models (very high-end take-a-part bikes that can be reconfigured as tandems, triplets, quads, etc...) at the regional rallies. As for comparing the quality and handling of a tandem to a triplet, you're really just left to compare the companies (or builder, in the case of Bushnell) based on reputation and cost to establish your best value as they are all comparable and all build bikes in both steel and aluminum. If cost is no object, Calfee and AriZona Tandems offer all-carbon triplets.

    Co-Motion is a bit unique in that they now offer the very affordable 'Periscope' line of compact tandems that also includes a triplet. These frames are ideally suited for growing families or folks who like to hook up with other rides of varying size. At the Tennessee Tandem Rally Tim & Sharon Patterson teamed up with Traci Trumbull on a Periscope (probably pushing over 600lbs) and rode the Tail of the Dragon on the thing. This same bike has been used by several other combinations of some really strong riders to tackle Klingsman Dome and some other challenging rides here in the mid-South. These bikes warrant a close look-see.

    Anyway, I'd recommend that you order up a catalog from Santana & Co-Motion just to bone up on their bikes. I don't think Dennis Bushnell has a catalog, but you might call or Email to see. Tandems East is their biggest dealer, but Tandems Limited is now offering his bikes as well.

    I would then call and talk to all three of the folks listed above. Any of these folks can sell you the same tandems: what you're looking for is good chemistry. These folks are all really nice and knowledgeable so find the right fit in terms of personality and willingness to meet your needs as a consumer. You might also want to give Mark Johnson @ Precision Tandems a call as well as Mel Kornbluh at Tandems East just to see what, if any, bikes they have in stock or what types of deals they may be able to offer. Buying long-distance ain't all that bad and, frankly, given Alabama's 9% sales tax, you'd probably want Tandems Limited to deliver your bike to you in Georgia anyway... South Carolina & Tennessee sales tax may be a bitter pill, but nothing comes close to the Alabama tandem tarriff.

    Finally, there are a few second hand triplets that show up in the market place now and again. http://www.tandemmagazine.com/classified is a good place to look and to post a "wanted to buy" for one of these beasts. There have been at least two triplets that I've wanted to buy, but since I really don't have any reason to own one I've reluctantly had to pass. Both were excellent values.



    cornucopia72
    Senior Member
    Join Date: Jan 2005

    We own a Cabrio triplet. We have done leisure rides, hilly centuries (10,000 ft of climbing) and fast club rides with it. The Cabrio is also our traveling tandem. Our only compliant is that we do not use it often enough....


    All American 6
    Hooha!!
    Join Date: Jul 2007
    Location: FT Stewart, GA

    Thanks for the replies.

    I'm looking for a more conventional frame then the Periscope or Friday line.

    TandemGeek,
    If you had $6,000 to $9,000 to purchase a triplet, which shop would you use? Which manufacturer? (I know these are tough questions)

    I'm sure we'll both do a PEACHES ride sometime in the future.

    AA6




    TandemGeek
    hors category
    Join Date: Jan 2002
    Location: Near Atlanta, GA


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  2. #2
    Hooha!! All American 6's Avatar
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    Road Frame:

    Why do some builders (Cannondale/some Santana/others) have the top tube connected to the lateral tube instead of the head tube?

    What are the advantages/disadvantages?

    Is this desirable?

    Is there a name for this frame design?

    AA6





    Thanks Craiglist for selling my Burley/Piccolo in less then a week!


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    In the market for a high-end triplet
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    All American 6
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    07-19-07, 05:04 PM #2
    TandemGeek
    hors category
    Join Date: Jan 2002
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    Originally Posted by All American 6 Why do some builders (Cannondale/some Santana/others) have the top tube connected to the lateral tube instead of the head tube?

    One of two primary reasons:

    1. To provide the captain with more standover height than would otherwise be possible with a conventional, un-stepped top tube on their smaller road and off-road tandems while still providing some additional, internal bracing in the front triangle and a relatively tall head tube to support somewhat higher handlebar positioning often times favored by tandem captains. The alternative is to use a highly compact frame design similar to what's now showing up on the lateral-less (or as I prefer to call them, top (tube) less) tandems from Paketa, Calfee, Co-Motion, etc... You'll find a similar, steeply sloping top tube on most Erickson tandems.

    2. To simplify the lines of a tandem's horizontal top tube to support convertible (aka. cabrio) multi-seat tandems that can be converted from two seat to three seat, four seat and/or five seat configurations. This also affords the captain additional standover height which, again, may be desireable on a multiseat tandem, as well as additional front triangle bracing. The alternative (or at least one of the alternatives) is to use an even more radical design.


    Originally Posted by All American 6 What are the advantages/disadvantages?

    Advantages: As mentioned above. Moreso when used on off-road tandems where 3" or more of standover height is desireable.

    Disadvantages: Functionally, none. Aesthetically... that's somewhat subjective.


    Originally Posted by All American 6 Is this desirable?

    Only if you need or want more distance between the top tube and your "boys" and/or are considering a convertible multi-seat tandem. If you need a smaller size Santana or Cannondale it is what it is, unless you opt to go with a custom-framed Santana. Cannondale does not do one-offs.


    Originally Posted by All American 6 Is there a name for this frame design?

    I've always referred to it as a "stepped" top tube.

    If you're interested in seeing just how many different ways there are to design a frame to accommodate riders of varying heights, or what a multi-seater would look like if it was designed without a continuous, horizontal top tube, take a look at a few Ventana El Conquistadors...
    Attached Thumbnails




    07-19-07, 10:16 PM #3
    zonatandem
    Senior Member
    Join Date: Dec 2003
    Location: Tucson, AZ

    Standover room is the primary reason.
    Here's a different aproach on our Zona tandem.
    Drastically sloping top tube. Lateral blends into the downtube.
    Aestethics are a personal issue . . .
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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  3. #3
    Hooha!! All American 6's Avatar
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    Brakes

    Thank you both for the replies.

    My limited bike knowledge is road centric.

    I'm surprised the number of high end tandems with Linear pull brakes. In my mind higher end cycles have dual pivot (105/Ultegra/DA). When I see Linear pull, I think of Wal Mart brand bikes.

    The Santana catalog doesn't show any Dual pivot on their road tandems. Only a few in the Co-Motion catalog have DP.

    Which brake is more desirable?




    (Santana's catalog does show pictures of people riding Co-Motion tandems!)
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  4. #4
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by All American 6 View Post
    When I see Linear pull, I think of Wal Mart brand bikes.
    Incredibly, WallyWorld does sell bikes with caliper brakes... who knew?
    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=5751048

    Quote Originally Posted by All American 6 View Post
    Which brake is more desirable?
    I believe the question you're looking for here is, "Which brake is more appropriate for a triplet".

    A. Cantilevers are the default and more appropriate brake choice for a triplet with or without a supplemental drag brake... the latter depending on your total loaded triplet's weight and where you'll be riding, i.e., hilly terrain vs. flat-lands. Cantilever brakes and linear-pull more specifically get the nod over calipers for their greater stopping force as well as their ability to handle larger diameter tires. The two negatives with linear pulls are: 1. the need for 'Travel Agent' cable-pull modifiers when using them with STI or Ergo levers and, 2. the tendency for linear pull brakes to squeal if they don't have the right compound for a given rim or if the arms or forks prove to be a bit flexy.

    The alternative set-up for teams that are looking for a "sportier" brakes would be a front caliper mated to a rear disc; however, the use of the disc precludes the installation of a drum brake. There are obviously several other configuration options to include fitting calipers front & rear with or without a supplemental hub brake; however, they all require some degree of predicting the future and how the triplet will be used with regard to rider weights and riding destinations. Clearly, you don't want to back yourself into a corner by outfitting a triplet with brakes that could prove to be marginal down the road or limit tire size.

    Now, if this was a discussion about high-performance and custom tandems for lightweight teams instead of triplets, dual pivot and differential calipers are an outstanding choice... which is why both of our road tandems came fitted with them, albeit one is now sporting a front caliper & rear disc.

    Quote Originally Posted by All American 6 View Post
    Santana's catalog does show pictures of people riding Co-Motion tandems!)
    Yes, it does. Santana does an outstanding job of selling the tandem lifestyle and, in additional to tandems they also are in the tandem touring business... which is where all those great looking photos of teams out riding were taken. So, given that they are just as interested in demonstrating how their tandems are the best choice for any potential tandem buyer, they also want to show that a Santana Tandem Tour is a place where anyone with any brand of tandem is welcome.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 07-22-07 at 06:02 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Bill McC has always stated: all brands of tandems are welcome at a Santana rally.
    There's $$ to be made in the hi-end touring busine$$ . . . Americans love to be catered to!

  6. #6
    Hooha!! All American 6's Avatar
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    Santana?

    Just when Santana was topping my list, I learn:

    Santana tinker-toys in their lateral tube by welding in small diameter individual sections. The top tube is also smaller with a pregnant snake swelling at the seat tubes.

    A problem that has surfaced this year with Santana has been the ever increasing use of proprietary parts that have become unavailable for months. Bottom brackets for any tandems made after 2000 have been out of stock. Same goes Sweet 16 wheels, Winzip brakes... unavailable too... unless one buys a new bike. Other proprietary parts include rear hubs and the 1 1/4 headset is likely to got that way before long as there is only one source that comes to mind aside from Santana. Handlebar stems and front derailleur clamps are theirs too... and the 160 spaced rear hub that hardly anyone else uses and most that tried to use it ended up abandoning it.


    160 mm rear spacing. A bit too wide. You need special axle width which puts your front derailleur out further which compromises shifting. I just prefer 145 which only has 1 mm of dish and uses standard parts. Triples have enough issues with shifting to make them shift right requires a standard system.




    Concur/Non-concur. Additional comments?


    AA6
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  7. #7
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by All American 6 View Post
    Just when Santana was topping my list, I learn:

    Santana tinker-toys in their lateral tube by welding in small diameter individual sections. The top tube is also smaller with a pregnant snake swelling at the seat tubes.
    Two points:

    1. Pierced vs. spliced welds at seat tubes is merely two different ways to achieve the same end result: a strong joint. Both methods require precise miters or machining, although it could be argued that the pieced tubes are far more aesthetically appealing.

    2. Santana's pregnant snake is only found on certain 7000 series Santana / Easton aluminum framesets. I don't believe they use them on their 7000 series triplets.

    Quote Originally Posted by All American 6 View Post
    A problem that has surfaced this year with Santana has been the ever increasing use of proprietary parts
    Santana's penchant for using somewhat non-standard components is a bit perplexing at times and they do indeed get nailed with parts shortages since they often times single-source these same non-standard components. For years Santana used fully-sealed Kajita square taper bottom brackets (pre-Octalink) which lasted forever. I'm not sure what kind of trouble they've created for themselves with the Octalink and other more integrated cranksets that have been in use of late and which don't seem to have nearly the long-term reliabilty that the good-old Kajita did. I'll defer to others with the newer Santana tandems using Ultegra, FSA, and other cranks to weigh in here.

    However, as for rear hubs, while Santana was the instigator of the 160mm 'standard' and is about the only builder who has stuck with 160mm, it is not proprietary and there are several sources for 160mm wide hubs out there: Phil Wood, White Ind, Chris King, Shimano, Hadley, etc... That said, if shopping for a triple you'd be better off with conventional wheels instead of Sweet 16s in which case the very inexpensive Shimano HF08s (noting that Santana is the US distributor) are more than up to the task, although the more expensive hubs can be used for that "bling" thing as needed.

    As for the 1.25" headsets, I'm guessing that you're referring to AheadSet as Santana's OEM supplier and Chris King as the alternative. Stronglight and others at one time were also making 1.25" headsets, but I'm not sure if they still are. However, if you buy a Chris King model you'll never need another headset with only occasional maintenance... a lot more frequent for those who sweat a lot.

    Winzip brakes being in short supply may be a blessing in disguise: I'm still not able to grasp the claimed improvements over the 203mm Avid BB Road models.

    Anyway, I guess my point here is, Santana "is what it is": the oldest and still largest volume tandem speciality manufacturer in the US domestic marketplace. So long as you are willing to establish a good relationship with Steve or perhaps even Bill (Bill's phone calls are just a lot longer than Steve's), you can usually get what you need to keep your Santana on the road and they have several dealers who will often times have the parts that Santana may be lacking.

    All that said, I have no business interest in Santana or any other commercial enterprises and I'll be the first one to suggest that all of the things you've noted to warrant some attention given the $$ that's involved with the acquisition of a multi-seater. If Santana was on my short list it would only be there because I had no intention of ever trying to upgrade the beast beyond Santana's OEM specs.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 08-05-07 at 07:25 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Santana, in trying to be the leader of the pack loves to differentiate itself from other manufacturers . . . hence the 160mm spacing, 1 1/4 headsets, Winzips, Sweet 16s, etc.
    Sometimes these innovations have caused issues for some folks and not for others.
    As long as the buyer is aware, not a problem!

  9. #9
    Hooha!! All American 6's Avatar
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    Could someone compare Avid Single Digit 7 and the XTR V-Break?





    (Bushnell is looking good!)
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