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  1. #1
    12345
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    How important are tandem specific wheels?

    I brought an old tandem that looked a real mess. It didn't take long to get the chain and gears running but the back wheel was really out of shape.

    For a test ride we used some wheels from a regular road bike (36 spoke, 23-622 tyres, quick release), is this a bad thing to do? The wheels that came with the tandem have steal rims, not quick release, 40 spokes and normandy hubs with the date stamped '78'. I've put some fresh 28-622 tyres on and straightened the rims up but the axle on the drive side is a little bent.

    I'm not sure if its ok to ride on the bent axle, or if I should try and bend it back? Is it worth trying to replace the axle, or should we keep riding on the non specific tandem wheels? any ideas? thank you

    photo of the bike
    and in a fiat punto

  2. #2
    Tandem Mountain Climber
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    Isn't the axle spacing on your tandem wider than a road bike wheel?

  3. #3
    12345
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    The tandem wheel fits in my old road frame fine, and I think the regular wheel fitted the tandem with out too much of a push

  4. #4
    Senior Member brewer45's Avatar
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    Just remember that the rear wheel supports 75-80% of the weight of the team. So if your team weighs 300 lbs (about 21.5 stone given your spelling of "tyres"), the rear whell needs to reliably support about 225-240 lbs (about 16-17 stone). That would be a Clydesale/Athena rated rear wheel.

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  5. #5
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Tandem specific wheels are relative... The bigger the team and the more demanding the riding conditions, the more robust the wheels need to be. Let me over-generalize...

    At the low-end of the spectrum are 'cruiser tandems' used on bike paths, where just about any reasonable single bike wheelset will likely work just fine.

    In the mid-ground, a couple with a combined weight of 280lbs that hammers on the flats and doesn't have to deal with demanding climbs and huge torque can also get away with using somewhat conventional single bike wheels and hubs.

    However, if this same team needs to tackle 15% grades or have a monsterously strong sprint, then a stronger rear hub (engagement mech & axle) made for a tandem becomes very important.

    A team with a combined weight of 400lbs is headed to the hills, then wheels with 40 or 48 spokes and a tandem-specific hub becomes essential.

  6. #6
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    "At the low-end of the spectrum are 'cruiser tandems' used on bike paths, where just about any reasonable single bike wheelset will likely work just fine."

    I'm not sure about modern low-end models, but I've got an old Huffy tandem, and the wheels on it are definitely some heavy-duty wheels- not your normal old bike wheel.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  7. #7
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    I'm not sure about modern low-end models, but I've got an old Huffy tandem, and the wheels on it are definitely some heavy-duty wheels- not your normal old bike wheel.
    ...and some of the current tandems are fitted with wheels, forks, and frames that can easily handle teams weighing 400lbs. So, even if you and your beloved only tip the scales at a combined 290lbs and will be riding across Florida, you'll end up with the same tandem.

    So, like I said, what constitutes a wheel that's 'strong enough' will depend upon a lot of things. Mind you, there are lots of teams riding wheels that are over-built for their needs, just as there are some teams riding wheels that may not necessarily be as robust as they should. In the case of the former, the team is carrying a bit more weight and drag than they need... in the case of the latter, poor handling, broken spokes, or a bent axle are all possibilities.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 04-28-08 at 08:50 PM.

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