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??
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 :-) ....
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
Last edited by Tom Stormcrowe; 03-16-08 at 08:12 PM.