I will be buying a tandem soon. a local shop has a Cannondale street tandem and a Burley Samba in stock in a size we can live with. Both use MTB style bar and shifters. I am willing to try this style of handlebar to see if it bothers me, but I may want to change the front to road bars and shifters in the future if I cannot get comfortable. Since most road tandems use mountain derailleurs I assume there is some compatibility regarding the shift spacing. If this is true, can anyone explain which parts will need to be replaced? Do tandems shops carry spacing kits for the rear cassettes for this very purpose? Any input is appeciated.
Also, as a first tandem I can purchase the Burley Samba (2006) for $1100 or the Cannondale street tandem (2007) for $1500. My wife is far from a hard core rider and if we like tandeming we will probably upgrade in a few years, so I guess my question would be which one will be easier to sell and recoup in a couple of years?
1997 TREK 6500, 1998 KLEIN Mantra Race, 2004 KONA dew (SOLD),2006 SCOTT SUB (SOLD),2008 GIANT OCR (SOLD), 2006 TREK T900
these are what i've learned so far, as i am also exploring this swap...
1. i believe the cog spacing will be the same, so shifter indexing will be the same.
2. you might have a problem with the brake. if the bike has V-brake, road levers will not be compatible (with an exception of one Dia-Compe aero lever model - 287V, i think). but there are available solutions for this, do a search for Travel Agent.
3. MTB stem is 25.4mm dia, road bars are either 26 or 31.6. so you may need to change the stem. add the bar tape, the brake and shifter cables to the list as well.
so there you go...
Last edited by the desert fox; 10-19-07 at 10:56 AM.
I also have a road bike background and found myself with mountain handlebars on our first tandem. At first I had some wrist problems on longer rides and thought of changing the handlebars, once I added it up I could not justify it in terms of the value of the bike, so that sent us on a loop that ended with a new S&S coupled Co-Mo Mocha. My wrist problems disappeared before we took delivery of the Mocha (adding aero bars helped). If you ride it a lot you will likely upgrade the whole bike, if you don't flat bars will work and you might actually prefer them in order to feel more secure handling the bike.
However once you are looking at a $1500 Cannondale, you might want to spend a little more and get the setup you want. I have always regretted purchases that where squewed by price, a few hundred dollars are forgotten after a few good rides.
For the $400 difference in price: Some of the costs you might incur:
9-speed STI brifters: about $200, maybe less at eBay or Craig's list for someone upgrading for 10-speed
or, bar-end shifters ($90) plus the Dia-Compe brake levers ($80 or so)
Handlebars -- your choice
Stem, if there is no suitable shimming approach
Travel agents or other cable length adjusters (you can read about why they're needed at Sheldon Brown's website)
Tires? does the Burley have bumpy, off-road tires which you want to make smoother? $50 to $100 for two, you choose the range.
Anything else that "comes with" either of the bikes, which you'd want to buy anyway (racks, bells, computers, bottle cages....)
Does your stoker want drop bars, or could you leave a straight bar there, and maybe add some bar ends to get different hand positions? Could you do that for you as captain? (This would probably be the simplest choice, get you a few more ways to hold on to the bars, cost the least, and still look like an off-road bike when you go to sell it and upgrade to the tandem of your future dreams.)
Would the bike shop make the changes for you, at cost?
One of the reasons I am looking at the MTB style tandems is because of my wife. She feels more comfortable and more confident in the upright position. Also Shelden brown makes the point that it is more important for the stoker to be happy and that new tandem teams may be better off with a MTB style tandem with wider tires and a more upright position. Face it, if Momma ain't happy, the tandem will not get used. I might be perfectly happy in the front with the straight bars with some bar ends I don't know. I just want to know what my options are if I am truly uncomfortable. Someone mentioned adding aero bars to it as well. if they work on the straight bar diameter then that would go along way to making me more comfortable especially since I willl be more upright than on my single.
06/07 Co-Mo Speedster, Cannondale Synapse, SR 800, Specialized Hard Rock
Originally Posted by ljonesjo
I might be perfectly happy in the front with the straight bars with some bar ends I don't know. I just want to know what my options are if I am truly uncomfortable.
As a Shimano brifter user on all our bikes including our tandem, I haven't thought much of bar end shifters. Last time I used them was on one of my racing bikes in the 1970s (Cinelli Super Corsa). Never tried the indexed bar end shifters until last week, when I demo'd a Co-Mo Americano. Wow! If you are on a budget and are comfortable using bar ends, they're great IMHO. For a tandem, depends on whether you want to drop your hand down to the bar end, but after a few miles on the half bike I felt very comfortable with them.
Had specced Dura Ace brifters on our new tandem. Fought with front der. problem for 3,000 miles.
Stoker said: "Why don't we go back to barend shifters?" We did; got V287 brake levers which let us get rid of TravelAgents.
No matter what pilot chooses for himself in bars, stoker can use flat/cowhorn/drop bars.
One of the reasons I am looking at the MTB style tandems is because of my wife. She feels more comfortable and more confident in the upright position.
This may or may not be obvious, but the stoker can use any type of bars that suit their preferences, independent of what's up front. In fact, most of the premium road tandems are fitted by default with bull horn bars (see image of C'dale Tandem 3, below) for the stoker's position instead of drop-bars which remain an option.
While it has always been my contention that the bull horns were adopted by manufacturers for cost and weight savings, many stokers seem to be comfortable with them. Moreover, it drives home the point that a tandem will accommodate different rider preferences with regard to riding positions where one doesn't necessarily dictate the other.
Therefore, if you know that you would be more comfortable with drop-bars and drop-bar controls given that you'll be riding on the road and that's what you're already accustomed to, but you want to give your stoker a less aggressive and more upright riding position, consider something like an entry level road tandem and see how your stoker likes the bull horn bars. If she feels too bent over and the stock adjustable boom doesn't extend far enough to get her into the desired upright position simply get a longer boom from one of the on-line tandem specialty dealers. If, at that time, you're convinced a flat, MTB bar would be better for her than the drop bar, just specify a 25.4 bar clamp on the extended boom and get that flat bar. In any case, the cost of switching boom extensions and stoker handlebars is far less than redoing the captain's bars & controls.
As for tires, you can fit some pretty cushy tires onto most stock 700c road tandem with cantilever brakes and steel forks, e.g., 32mm, 35mm, etc... It's only the racing tandems with short-reach calipers or certain models of carbon racing forks that usually have maximum tire sizes of around 28mm.
IF she tries cowhorn bars and feels bent over/overstretched out, here are 2 no-co$t solutions:
Simply loosen stem clamp and roll bar toward stoker; or remove stem clamp and turn cowhorn bar around so horns face downward and set 'em up at her desired postion.