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  1. #1
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    Tale of 2 tandems

    Hello tandem enthusiasts far and near,
    I've lurked on this forum for some time , so it's time to open a dialog.......This is actually an excerpt from a series of emails with <Name redacted by moderators>..... I hope this isn't too long??
    Thanks,
    John of the john'n'stacy'tandemteam

    I'll add a couple of notes here:
    To start we have just joined the 50 something club.... We've been on our Longbikes tandem for 4 years now, bought it second hand, it was built for a taller captain, but, it's perfect for her... My carpenters back is starting to get a little cranky and the long top tube is affecting my riding comfort..... I'm next going to a 90mm stem, for now..... We ride half a dozen centuries each year, along with all the training miles in between, somewhere in the 8,000-10,000 total mile range?? Our team weight tops out at 330# after the winter feasting :-) ....
    Here goes;

    <Redacted>,
    Well, our tandem is a 2001 Longbikes aluminum frame, Campy components, Ultegra cranks, with FSA chain rings, tamer stoker seat post, King hubs, 36s Dyad rims, 28mm Continental tires, (side note; this is a really fast wheel set-up!!) Reynolds carbon fork and it weighs in at 34# with cages & pedals......

    Our goal is to find an S&S tandem without any ride compromise..... Our Longbikes hauls #@*, it goes where I point it and we feel at one on it, have never felt any lag in the handling, or "stoker wag" as I've heard it termed.... Like most tandems we have a love and hate relationship with gravity.... And she really loves the rollers :-)

    That said, here’s the setup….

    We borrowed a Co-Motion Robusta from a friend… We then went to a local shop that had a customers new Dragonfly Tandem…. Just to try and do a back to back comparison..

    Course was about 3 miles, some stops, some curves, a couple stoplights a quick climb, gentle downhill….



    Calfee Dragonfly; definitely outfitted to race….

    Mavic Ksyrium wheels (I have questions about these?), all Shimano components, uncomfortable saddles (for us), Alpha Q fork… Conti tires, 25mm I believe?

    Well, right out the door, the bike felt very nimble, very responsive steering, much like a single bike…. Next out on the road I tried to “wag the stoker” and….

    Nothing, I mean it…. She felt nothing…. The bike is one……. Road vibration was minimal, I steered for potholes and bumps on purpose... shhhh!? I had to find out how it responded??

    First stoplight, I went into my normal trackstand mode, (surprised her?), the bike was very neutral and felt great….. The climb was not bad, got the heart pumping, and the bike climbed well, not enough to really know??

    And we didn’t get any great speed on the downhill to get any stability feedback..

    All in all, I thought the bike, performed as I had hoped…..

    Stoker notes; (remember, she normally uses a suspension seatpost) The Dragonfly absorbed all of the road buzz, the bike always felt “as one” she even compares it to test driving a BMW vs aregular car……

    "It has that luxurious feel”....

    Next, I pulled out the Robusta.....

    Co-Motion Robusta, Wound-up fork, Rolf Vigor Wheels, all Campagnolo, (What I ride), carbon seatposts, it also had her Ariel saddle and Keo pedals….. This bike is stacked in our favor, due to drivetrain and stoker components…. The bike was setup closer to “our” fit dimensions….

    I first rode the Robusta in the parking lot when I picked it up, it felt like it’ll be a nice ride, it definitely felt it had a shorter wheelbase than our bike….

    So, right off, the steering didn’t feel as quick, a had minor “tiller” type feeling, (makes me want to compare the trail dimensions?) Out on the road, well, what surprised us both was, I could “Wag the stoker”… noticeably…… we were a bit disappointed… next she definitely felt road buzz and of course, I picked the same holes and bumps…. The first stoplight and of course, trackstand mode…. It didn’t handle as neutral, I couldn’t hold it as well…. The road even had a nice rollback, it was a good trackstand light J The bike climbed well and I didn’t get any real descent impression… I did feel that the wheels wound up a bit quicker??

    Stoker notes; Road buzz, yes, its aluminum…… noticeable stoker wobble, (note; she has never said this about our Longbikes) She felt this wouldn’t be an upgrade?? This was a surprise to both of us??



    Final notes; we were not able to go so far as using the same wheels, tires, and saddle, like you, to determine where the wobble was coming from…. We were not able to get a good descent for a, stability at speed comparison……
    All in alll, we were sold on the Dragonfly and I wonder if the Tetra tandem rides the same??

    Cheers from Anaheim, SoCal

    John
    Last edited by Tom Stormcrowe; 03-16-08 at 09:12 PM.

  2. #2
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    Ya gotta love people doing trackstands on a tandem. My stoker would kill me when I got home.

  3. #3
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Have test ridden the TetraTetra for a hundred miles. Would say a very favorable comparioson to the Dragonfly.
    We ride a full carbon Zona tandem . . . yes, a distinct ride comfort difference between metal and c/f!
    A different wheelset can make a noticeable difference.
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the input on the Tetra tandem.... I am still surprizsd by the "wag" of the Robusta, has anyone else experienced that?? If I could put our wheels on and try it again, I would, but, it would take some modifications and we don't get the bike for that long??
    I still want to test ride a Supremo tandem..... Before we commit to any S&s bike, I'd like to try a steel bike....Are there any Supremo owners in the SoCal area that would be willing to let us do a quick test ride??
    Cheers, John

  5. #5
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrsummit View Post
    We borrowed a Co-Motion Robusta from a friend… We then went to a local shop that had a customers new Dragonfly Tandem…. Just to try and do a back to back comparison.....
    So, right off, the (Robusta's) steering didn’t feel as quick, a had minor “tiller” type feeling, (makes me want to compare the trail dimensions?)
    The Co-Motion and Calfee both use similar geometry: nominal 73* head tube angle with ~44/45mm of fork rake depending on which fork is used. Calfee prefers / recommends the True Temper Alpha Q X2 carbon fork (44mm rake @ 374mm length & 445 grams ) given it's very low weight and, although Co-Motion helped to develop the beefier Wound-Up fork (45mm rake @ 387mm length & 800 grams) they too now offer the Alpha Q X2 as a fork option.

    if you haven't done so, and because you've been happy with your Longbike tandem, I would include a Santana tandem in your test rides if at all possible: a Team Niobium or a coupled (aka, Stowaway) steel model. Even a Sovereign / Team AL model would be worth trying as I believe their geometry might be closer to what you have on your Longbike noting the use of what I'd assume is a Reynolds Ouzo Pro Tandem fork (55mm of rake).


    Quote Originally Posted by mrsummit View Post
    I still want to test ride a Supremo tandem..... Before we commit to any S&s bike, I'd like to try a steel bike....Are there any Supremo owners in the SoCal area that would be willing to let us do a quick test ride??
    Cheers, John
    If you're interested in a coupled tandem and looking at Co-Motion, a test ride on a Primera, Speedster or Supremo Co-Pilot should give you a sense of how the frame feels as all Co-Pilot frames use the same Reynolds 631 tubeset.

    The non-coupled Supremo and Speedster use the same air hardened steel frame* (Reynolds 725) and the Primera uses the same heat treated steel frame (Reynolds 631) as all of Co-Motion's Co-Pilots, just without the couplers. Riding any one of these will approximate a Co-Pilot so long as you have the same fork and wheels that you would be using on your own coupled travel tandem. The coupled frame is just a little bit stiffer than the Primera and 2.5 lbs heavier. The coupled Speedster and Supremo frames are about 3 lbs heavier than the non-coupled Reynolds 725 framesets.

    As you've picked up on from other posts and my own writings on racing wheels, be mindful of how wheels, tires, and forks will influence how a given tandem handles. The Co-Motions with steel forks use 50mm of rake, whereas the Wound-Up uses 45mm of rake, and the Alpha Q uses 44mm with a slighly shorter stance that off-sets some of that rake vis-a-vis lowering the head tube / increasing the head tube & seat tube angles. Of the three, the steel fork is obviously the most stiff, whereas the True Temper Alpha Q X2 carbon fork is the most prone to side-to-side deflection. Santana uses 55mm of fork rake and 73* head tubes with either their very robust steel or carbon forks.

    *Non-coupled newer models of the Mocha (26") and Cappuccino (Softride) also use Reynolds 725 for non-coupled frames, but they would not give you a representative ride.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 03-18-08 at 07:31 AM.

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