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  1. #1
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    Got a Tandem - thanks for the advice!

    I posted a couple of times asking for advice on the tandem. The problem I had was that local used tandems are pretty rare, and many found on ebay cost a fortune to ship to where I live or require local pick up.

    I had resigned myself to buy a Trek T900 new since it was within my hoped-for price point of $1,000 USD. In fact, I had actually gone to a local shop to buy one and he told me it was no longer available and it would be a while before he got one in.

    Two days later I found a used T900 locally for $500, exactly what I was looking for. This is a typical example of a used bike: pristine, with maybe 100 miles use if the cassette, etc. are any indication. No noticeable wear and tear.

    My plan now is to run it for a while just exactly as it is, (except using my own seat instead of the pillow seat on there now - stoker will probably do the same) but I have my eye on:

    changing out the tires for something in the range of a pure road tire in 26X1.3 or so (something like 1.95 wide are on it now),

    seeing what I can do about the front bars. They are too upright w/ twist shifters. I will at the very minimum go with a straight bar and bar ends, but maybe even look at replacing the bars with shallow drop road bars and Sora brifters. It depends on how much we use it and how long the rides are. Flat bar/bar end combo will be OK for 10-15 mile rides a couple times a week, but if we do it more, the road bars are going to go on there.

    I'm going to have my wife experiment with her position, but she definitely prefers the "hybrid" type of bike position, fairly upright and with riser-type bars. But we'll see.

    My goal is to keep it at maximum security comfort until it's clear we can change something.

    Next year at this time, I might be looking at something more, but the frame on this bike looks pretty good for our purposes (both of us are pretty small, she's VERY small), and frankly, with new tires, saddles, and maybe bars, I think it will be pretty functional.

    Thanks again. I'll report back when we take a couple of rides. Waiting for Mother's day so the kids can get in the act.

  2. #2
    Senior Member JTGraphics's Avatar
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    Congratulations on your new ride you'll have fun I'm sure.We have the same tandem with a few mods for the road. The wife stoker prefers the more upright position, I'd like drops but wasn't worth the cost to convert because I would of wanted 9 or 10 speed setup If I did that so I just replaced the bars and lowered it as much as I could, its like ridding on the hoods, we do 20-60 mile rides on the weekends on it and its not bad.
    Have fun with it!
    It may not be fancy but it gets me were I need to go.
    http://www.jtgraphics.net/cyclist_bicycles.htm

  3. #3
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Wonderful tandem find!
    Yup, with less than a 100 miles on the odo, that's like buying a demo!
    Use as is and gradualy change as needed/wanted is a fine way to go.
    Best to get some tandem miles under the belt on the T900 before plunking down lotsa $$!
    Enjoy the ride TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Wonderful tandem find!
    Yup, with less than a 100 miles on the odo, that's like buying a demo!
    Use as is and gradualy change as needed/wanted is a fine way to go.
    Best to get some tandem miles under the belt on the T900 before plunking down lotsa $$!
    Enjoy the ride TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
    I was sorely tempted by another tandem that turned up at the same time, a very high end racer. The components I recognized were top end, and the ones I didn't, LOOKED top end. Very light and racy frame, and was probably the right size. It also was within my $1K price range, but I really believe it was in the $3K+ price range new. I can't remember the frame maker. But I decided to go with pure comfort and the "secure" feeling I'm sure this frame will have for Mrs. Stoker, as has been strongly advised by many on this forum and the esteemed, late Sheldon Brown on his tandem web page. The "racy" bike would have intimidated my wife simply because of (a) the way it looked and (b) the bullhorn stoker handlebars. The stoker compartment of the T900 pretty much looks like the wife's hybrid, which I believe will be very important.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTGraphics View Post
    Congratulations on your new ride you'll have fun I'm sure.We have the same tandem with a few mods for the road. The wife stoker prefers the more upright position, I'd like drops but wasn't worth the cost to convert because I would of wanted 9 or 10 speed setup If I did that so I just replaced the bars and lowered it as much as I could, its like ridding on the hoods, we do 20-60 mile rides on the weekends on it and its not bad.
    Have fun with it!
    Can you put bar-ends on with those SRAM twist shifters that come with the T900? If so, is it just a matter of pulling off the short grip sections at the ends?

    Thanks for the words of wisdom!

  6. #6
    Senior Member JTGraphics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    Can you put bar-ends on with those SRAM twist shifters that come with the T900? If so, is it just a matter of pulling off the short grip sections at the ends?

    Thanks for the words of wisdom!
    Absolutely your not removing the grips just push the shifters and brake levers in slightly to accommodate bar ends.
    It may not be fancy but it gets me were I need to go.
    http://www.jtgraphics.net/cyclist_bicycles.htm

  7. #7
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Our KHS now has Forte Fast City ST/K 1.25"/90PSI tires which were a very nice improvement over fatter, lower pressure tires. Plenty rugged, too.

  8. #8
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    i'm actually doing the drop bar conversion on our T900, i will try to post pictures when i'm done.
    Last edited by the desert fox; 05-05-08 at 10:57 AM.
    Rommel and Lucille

  9. #9
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    Thanks people.

  10. #10
    Senior Member JTGraphics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the desert fox View Post
    i'm actually doing the drop bar conversion on our T900, i will try to post pictures when i'm done.
    Would be interested in seeing the photos, for us it didn't make sense for me to be down on drops and the wife to be sitting up because the wind drag would still be their and she would not be a happy stoker if I forced her to get down to were she was uncomfortable I felt that was a good way to loose a stoker.
    I get the speed out of me by riding my single with some other friends and will ride the tandem with her at a little slower pace 15 mph+ for her sake so she still wants to ride.
    It may not be fancy but it gets me were I need to go.
    http://www.jtgraphics.net/cyclist_bicycles.htm

  11. #11
    Senior Member brewer45's Avatar
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    I like the drops on our Redster (Red Co-Motion Speedster) because of the wide variety of positions that it affords me. Greatly reduces hand/butt fatigue because I can change riding positions as it suits me. When we're speeding by the A riders on downhills, both stoker and I go into the drops to reduce wind resistance. Other than that, it's only a position convenience.

    Cheers!
    2008 Red Co-Motion Speedster Co-pilot (Redster)
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTGraphics View Post
    Would be interested in seeing the photos, for us it didn't make sense for me to be down on drops and the wife to be sitting up because the wind drag would still be their and she would not be a happy stoker if I forced her to get down to were she was uncomfortable I felt that was a good way to loose a stoker.
    I get the speed out of me by riding my single with some other friends and will ride the tandem with her at a little slower pace 15 mph+ for her sake so she still wants to ride.
    it's more of the hand position for me than speed. but that's not to say that the wife don't like fast rides.
    she rides with the stoker bar on the proper position. if she needs to sit upright she will ride on the flats.
    if we want speed she'll go down to the barends.
    Rommel and Lucille

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by the desert fox View Post
    it's more of the hand position for me than speed. .
    That's what I'm looking for too. I use the bar ends on my MTB on pavement to simulate the "hoods" position on a road bike. I'm going to try that first on the tandem, and if we like it, invest some money in brifters and/or aero brakes and bar-end shifters. (Already have a couple old drop bars and stems).

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    That's what I'm looking for too. I use the bar ends on my MTB on pavement to simulate the "hoods" position on a road bike. I'm going to try that first on the tandem, and if we like it, invest some money in brifters and/or aero brakes and bar-end shifters. (Already have a couple old drop bars and stems).
    one thing i forgot to mention, when i had the flat bar + bar end combo, i spend most of my time on the bar ends. i just find riding the tandem this way more stable. when i need to brake or shift, i then have to change hand position to the flats. this change is a bit of time where i might loose stability or control especially if i accidentally roll over a stone or the stoker make a sudden body movement. i thought the STI dual levers will solve this if i ride on the hoods. btw, i'm still debating if i should install the cross-top brake levers i have.
    Rommel and Lucille

  15. #15
    Senior Member JTGraphics's Avatar
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    So you bought STI shifters what speed? are you sticking with 8 speed? and I guess you'll need to change the front derailleur to work with STI's up front correct, rear should be Ok. IF you move to 9 or 10 are you also changing crank to 9 or 10 speed along with chain and front derailleur also. What combo are you looking to setup with.
    It may not be fancy but it gets me were I need to go.
    http://www.jtgraphics.net/cyclist_bicycles.htm

  16. #16
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    i have (or had) a 9 speed donor city bike for the experiment. the brifter came from craigslist for a cheap price. i just like the smoother shifting of a 9 speeder because of the close gear increments. the rear Deore derailer should work and so is the front Truvativ crank. changing the chain to 9 speed is a must. the front derailer 'might' work with some 'tweeking', but i would like to eventually change that. i'm still wondering if i can fit a 700c on the T900 frame. brake shouldn't be a problem as i can use disc. my LBS said it will fit but that will have to wait.

    we are trying to experiment a few set up on this bike so we would know what we want for the next tandem. maybe a custom frame from a local builder ---> http://www.truenorthcycles.com/.
    Last edited by the desert fox; 05-07-08 at 07:01 AM.
    Rommel and Lucille

  17. #17
    Senior Member JTGraphics's Avatar
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    Someone correct me if I'm wrong but the Shimano Nexave front derailleur pull ratio won't work with STI shifters.
    I think you may also have a problem with using a 9 speed chain with the Truvativ Tandem 48/38/28 the chain may not shift well on crank with 8 speed spacing or even fall between chain rings at worst.
    I have an extra set of 700c wheels I'll see if they fit on the T900 frame but I think they are to big with tires mounted, I'll let you know.
    Last edited by JTGraphics; 05-07-08 at 08:40 AM.
    It may not be fancy but it gets me were I need to go.
    http://www.jtgraphics.net/cyclist_bicycles.htm

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    Our KHS now has Forte Fast City ST/K 1.25"/90PSI tires which were a very nice improvement over fatter, lower pressure tires. Plenty rugged, too.
    This is a question on tires and strategy for initial riding on the tandem.

    Our "new" T900 has 26X1.95 tires (which are factory fresh, indicating low use). Quite large and some tread. I've ordered two different sets of smaller tires - the Forte Fast City ST/K 1.25 mentioned above as well as a set of Ritchey Tom Slick in 1.4". The reason I bought two pair is that I wasn't sure which would be the best compromise between comfort and rolling speed. I need a set of road tires for one of the family's MTB's anyway, so whichever set I don't use wont go to waste.

    Anyway - we'll be taking the bike out for initial rides this coming weekend. Do you think it would be the best strategy for captain and stoker to leave original (1.95) tires on there for a couple of rides? I'm thinking mostly in terms of stokers initial impression of comfort. Or should I just start using the road tires, since that's what I really intend to do.

    My wife/stoker currently rides a hybrid type bike with, I believe, 700X33 or 35 tires, which obviously are within the 1.25-1.4 in terms of air volume. She's happy with the comfort of the hybird. With the suspension seat post on the tandem, I figured that either tire would also offer comparable comfort. I know I can set up her tandem cockpit to be the same dimensions as her hybrid (have taken measurements and can easily adjust seat and bars accordingly, and will do so before we ride), and I'm wondering if the tandem will be inherently more prone to discomfort than her hybrid that we should ease into it by leaving the big balloon tires on there.

    As a related question: I was thinking that maybe the 1,4 on the back, 1.25 on the front might also be a way to go... I know I'm probably over thinking this, but I'm wondering if anyone uses that strategy in tires.

    In case it matters, we're fairly small: 165lbs + 105 lbs.

    Any words of wisdom, or does it really matter?

  19. #19
    Senior Member JTGraphics's Avatar
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    I run a set of Schwalbe Stelvio 26x1.1" Folding Bead (28-559, 115 max. psi) on ours very durable tire no cuts as of yet roll very nicely also.
    Were slightly heaver total weight team than you, the smaller tire will fill much lighter steering so it depends on how you are as captain.
    I had a set of the Forte Fast City ST/K 1.25 they were ok but wear faster the Schwalbe Stelvio's are a little better rolling and don't wear as fast and more puncture resistant.
    It may not be fancy but it gets me were I need to go.
    http://www.jtgraphics.net/cyclist_bicycles.htm

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTGraphics View Post
    I run a set of Schwalbe Stelvio 26x1.1" Folding Bead (28-559, 115 max. psi) on ours very durable tire no cuts as of yet roll very nicely also.
    Were slightly heaver total weight team than you, the smaller tire will fill much lighter steering so it depends on how you are as captain.
    I had a set of the Forte Fast City ST/K 1.25 they were ok but wear faster the Schwalbe Stelvio's are a little better rolling and don't wear as fast and more puncture resistant.
    I run Schwalbe Stelvio on my road bike and have been very happy with them. I'll look for them next time we need tandem or MTB tires.

  21. #21
    Senior Member brewer45's Avatar
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    Be careful to not make the stoker compartment too bouncy by multiplying springs (seat, seat post, tires, etc.). If it were our team, I'd probably start right out with the road tires. We switched from a sprung seat post to a Cane Creek Thudbuster (dampener, not sprung). Stoker reports a much smoother ride with less bounce. But even more important, make sure you develop a keen eye and habit for calling bumps.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by brewer45; 05-07-08 at 11:58 AM. Reason: addition
    2008 Red Co-Motion Speedster Co-pilot (Redster)
    2009 Surly LHT (captain's commuter)
    2009 Surly Crosscheck (stoker's road bike)
    2007 Giant FCR2W (stoker's commuter)
    1980's NOS Legnano (stoker's toy)
    1970's Stella rebuilt as fixed-gear (captain's toy)

  22. #22
    Senior Member JTGraphics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the desert fox View Post
    i'm still wondering if i can fit a 700c on the T900 frame. brake shouldn't be a problem as i can use disc. my LBS said it will fit but that will have to wait.]
    I had a chance to try the 700c's on the T900 they fit easily into the frame both ends, the 700c rims had 23's on them so clearance was very good. You have disc's so it should be ok as long as calipers are in correct location. If someone is going to use the rim brakes they will need to be changed with something that has pads 1.25" higher and it would work.
    It may not be fancy but it gets me were I need to go.
    http://www.jtgraphics.net/cyclist_bicycles.htm

  23. #23
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    How about a Titec H-Bar? http://www.titec.com/

    They look very comfortable, lots of positions, cost $70 but you could retain your current shifters/ drivetrain.

    Any thoughts on using an H-Bar on a tandem?

  24. #24
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    Finally got out for our first ride on a beautiful late morning today. It went very well. We started out practicing for about 5 minutes in an empty parking lot - starting stopping, coasting, pedaling, figuring out what we had to communicate about, etc.

    Then we went for about a 10 mile ride on combination "bike" path (MUP), streets and sidewalks. Absolutely no problems. The starting, stopping and standing still went without hitch. We found that the coasting comes pretty quickly to the stoker. Stoker had no complaints about speed, and after just a couple of times, quit being anxious about sitting on the seat with feet on pedals when we were stopped. I was pleasantly surprised that our cadence preferences are close enough to be workable without any significant adjustments.

    I'm a clipless pedal rider (MTB and road) and my wife has never used them. It seems pretty clear to me, and I think she's also seeing the logic, that clipless pedals might be the way to go for her. There were a couple of times when I shifted that her feet were bounced off the pedals and then it was a little trouble getting them back on. I think I'll get her a basic pair of walkable biking shoes and the double sided (platform/spd) pedals to start with. For myself, I'll probably just go with an extra pair of SPD pedals I have in the box of spare parts.

    Aside from lubing the drive train, adjusting the crank sync (they were about 1/3 between parallel and 90 degrees) and trying to adjust the shifting, I made a couple of changes before the first ride: replaced huge original tires (1.95") with some Ritchey Tom Slicks in 1.4. I also bought a pair of Forte Fast City ST/K 1.25" based on a recommendation in this thread. After I'm sure that stoker is comfortable, I'll try them and then decide on which I like best. Rejects will go on my MTB commuter conversion.

    I also replaced the front tractor saddle with an old MTB saddle I had, and replaced the high rise front bars with flat bars and bar ends for my comfort. Left the tractor saddle in the rear, and adjusted the stoker cockpit to mimic her hybrid bike.

    We went over some pretty significant bumps and pavement cracks and she said it was fine. We will have to tweak her cockpit a little, but no big deal.

    Aside from needing to work on the shifting and brakes some more (new bike cable stretch it looks like to me), we had a great ride and both enjoyed it. I definitely feel this will work out for one of my major goals: for us to go on a ride together at an exertion level that will allow me to get a workout without freaking her out.

    Thanks again for your advice. So far so good!

  25. #25
    Senior Member JTGraphics's Avatar
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    Sounds like you had a great time! enjoy your rides together the good part of a tandem no mater how fast or slow you go she will always be behind you.
    It may not be fancy but it gets me were I need to go.
    http://www.jtgraphics.net/cyclist_bicycles.htm

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