suspension seatpost opinions
The wife and I have ordered a Comotion Speedster with the touring option. Speed is not an issue, carrying plenty of picnic supplies is. What's the best suspension seatpost for the stoker?
A nice 36h (or 40h) Mavic T520 or Velocity Dyad wheelset laced 3x with 700c x 32 or 35 tires will work wonders at smoothing out rough roads and ruts. Or, did you really want to put one of those pogo-sticks under your wife ;^)
Sorry, just couldn't resist; we're just not big fans of seats that move up and down (but that's just us). However, it is important to note that careful wheel selection, construction and a generous tire (noting your comments regarding picnic supplies) will give your stoker a very comfortable ride that doesn't require the attention a shock post does, e.g., minimum seat height constraints, adjusting ride height for sag, adjusting progression to remove unnecessary pedal bob, cleaning and lubrication to prevent stiction, and the like.
That said, a lot of stokers absolutely love their shockposts. The Rock Shox model that Co-Motion offers as an option is a solid design that features a micro-adjustable seat clamp: http://www.rockshox.com/seat/mtb.asp
Another model that many folks really like is the very different, Cane Creek Thudbuster suspension post.
Last edited by TandemGeek; 01-30-05 at 09:14 PM.
My speedster was ordered with the Rockshock post that they offer as an option. I can't say that it is the "best" but it is all my wife has tried and I can say that she prefers it to no shock post at all. I, as the captain, have not felt any effects of bobbing or movement resulting from her seat post. We have some friends that have some expensive seatpost that has an adjustable air spring, which needs the air pressure topped off on a regular basis (~3 months) and she says it is far superior to others that she has tried. Unless my wife complains about her current post, I don't plan on upgrading it anytime soon.
Originally Posted by Baysidebob
[QUOTE=livngood]A nice 36h (or 40h) Mavic T520 or Velocity Dyad wheelset laced 3x with 700c x 32 or 35 tires will work wonders at smoothing out rough roads and ruts. Or, did you really want to put one of those pogo-sticks under your wife ;^)
What is the current thinking behind the number of spokes. I see that CoMotion offers 36, 40 and 42 spoked wheel sets when you order a tandem. Is 36 fine but for the most difficult terrain or should a tandem pair weighing roughly 320 lbs and planning to ride on weekend group rides as well as tour be thinking about a more stout wheelset?
Thanks for your thoughts,
Just Say No to 26" Wheels
In terms of suspension seat posts - I can recommend the Cane Creek Thudbuster as a viable option to be considering. I use it for both single mountain bikes as well as on a Cannondale mountain bike tandem where my wife and or my son rides as the stoker. They also use the Thudbuster on their single mountain bikes. I have never ridden as the stoker on our tandems, so I cannot relay the experience with or without a suspension post on a tandem for the stoker and what it does or does not feel like. And my wife and son have both ridden as stoker with and without the suspension post, but their opinions lean toward the Thudbuster as being a very welcome addition. I prefer it as well from the captain's standpoint because I get awfully tired and bored of yelling out when every bump or uneven surface is coming up to alert the stoker. The post just sucks it all up and saves my voice. One of our tandems came with a suspension pogo-stick style stoker post (much like the RockShox, but a no-name brand) and everyone in the family prefers the Thudbuster action to the up and down pogo stick style of post.
Go to Thudbuster.com to see how and why that type of post is different than the pogo stick feel.
And keep in mind we do off road riding with our tandems in addition to pavement riding on 26" wheeled tandems. Off road riding in the woods on singletrack and bumps are entirely different issues than what one faces on pavement or normal gravel surfaces. As Livingood has pointed out - the larger 700c wheel laced properly (along with some suspension friendly tires) certainly would go a long way at absorbing most of the hit.
This is OBE, but I think it was covered in a separate post. Sorry for missing it.
Originally Posted by S. Marley
For the archives, 36h is more than adequate for a 320lb team. The key to durable wheels is the quality of the parts, the use of double butted spokes, and a skilled wheelbuilder who knows how to properly tension and stress-relieve the wheel.
The 40h and 48h wheelsets can certainly be used and, if properly built, will endure a lot. Of course, that robust nature drives up their weight and the number of spokes begins to limit your rim choices to trekking and touring rim models.
The newer, paired spoke aero rims for tandems (Santana/Shimano, Rolf Vigor, Bontrager RaceLite) are still something of an unknown commodity given that the Bontragers were only introduced about 2 years ago, followed shortly thereafter by the Santana/Shimano wheelset. Most of these wheels now incorporate self-locking nipples or factory applied thread lockers to mitigate the loss of tension from their factory pre-set tension which should go a long way towards keeping them true and reducing fatigue related spoke failures -- which is all goodness.
So, while spoke breakage will not be a problem due to the traditional causes (fatigue failure at the elbow/hub junction), invariably some failures will occur due to improper adjustments (by well-meaning owners and bike shop employees) and of course we'll see spokes break due to "incidents" such as crashes and/or impacts against road debris and road defects. In the past, the challenge was finding replacement spokes which often times necessitated sending a wheel back to the factory for service, e.g., there was a problem with the Rolf wheels sold on Treks as not all the Trek dealers were willing/able to pony up the $$ to become an authorized Rolf dealer; only Rolf's authorized dealers were permitted to provide warranty service and factory parts. I'm not sure what the various wheel manufacturers now require of their dealers and/or dealers who sell bikes with their wheels as OEM equipment.
Thus, if you become the proud owner of such a wheelset (which I believe you will) you'll want to have a discussion with your dealer regarding how and where you can obtain parts and support in the event you have a problem with your wheel, defect related or from an incident. My hope would be, your dealer can provide you with the necessary spare spokes that you'd want to keep on your tandem**. You may not be able to self-repair the wheel, but if you have the spoke and find a shop that has a qualified wheel builder you could be back on the road with your own wheel instead of a temporary replacement.
** No integrated wheelsets, but I store spare spokes inside of Debbie's seatpost. Spare spokes can also be taped to the underside of your chain stays or stuffed into the ends of your handlebars if they can be bent without ill effect. NOTE: I've never needed one of my spare spokes which may be Murphy's Law at work, i.e., if I didn't have the spares I'd probably have needed them.
Last edited by livngood; 11-12-03 at 10:31 AM.
Time for a change.
I only ride off road on a Dale MT2000, which is a very stiff aluminium frame. There is no way that you can ride this bike as a stoker without a bit of Comfort in the seatpost. I cannot tell you the manufacturer of the suspension post currently fitted, as it came with the bike, and has no name on it. Critical point is that it is a cheapie, but works. I set it up stiff, but it can still get 1" travel, just enough to take the bite out of the lumps that the pilot cannot miss.
On the wheel front, this has 26" wheels fitted, Hope "Bigun" hubs, 36 DT straight gauge spokes To Mavic D521 rims. These wheels are almost the best you can buy for "Off road" tandems in the UK. but personally I do not think they are any better, or worse, than the "Standard" quality used in the UK of XT hubs to 40 spoke Sun Rhino rims. The only point is that these were custom built, so funnily enough were cheaper than the XT's, and have lasted longer before going out of true with the aggressive style of riding that we throw at them. I also enjoy the lack of maintenance on the Bearing front, as no adjustment necessary, possible or required till they wear out. Then it is a simple matter to fit new bearings.
One point about any wheel, for any bike, is get a quality wheelset from a quality builder, and they will last.