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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 11-06-08, 07:20 AM   #1
Xanti Andia
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Parts life time poll

What has been the life time of your tandem parts? (For those of you who measure in miles, convert at 1.6 km/mile)

I meant to publish a poll with multiple questions, but I hit publish before I was done and turns out only one question can be asked, can somebody help me here?

Questions are:

Drive chain

Drive chain wheels

Cassette

Synchronization chain

Synchronization chain wheels

Eccentric / captain bottom bracket

Stoker bottom bracket

Head set

Brake pads - rim brakes

Brake pads - disk brakes

Brake shoes - drum brake

Rear tire

Answers multiple choice in kilometeres

Last edited by Xanti Andia; 11-06-08 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 11-06-08, 07:53 AM   #2
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Our components usually last till they wear out although sometimes I just get tired of them.

Distance? Distance has less to do with component wear than rider weight, surfaces ridden on, weather and riding style.
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Old 11-06-08, 08:43 AM   #3
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Parts wear

300pound team, average speed 17.5 miles per hour, rolling hills, we ride about 1500 miles a year

Drive chain once a year

Drive chain wheels every 3 years

Cassette every 3 years

Synchronization chain 2 years

Synchronization chain wheels never changed them

Eccentric / captain bottom bracket never changed them

Stoker bottom bracket never changed them

Head set never changed them

Brake pads - rim brakes 3 years

Brake pads - disk brakes

Brake shoes - drum brake

Rear tire once a year
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Old 11-06-08, 08:53 AM   #4
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Speaking only to road tandems:

Drive chain: 1,500 - 2,000 mi
Drive chain wheels: 8,000 - 12,000 mi (assuming drive chain is changed out at .75%)
Cassette: 8,000 - 10,000 mi (assuming drive chain is changed out at .75%)
Synchronization chain: 3,500 - 4,000 mi.
Synchronization chain wheels: 20k+ w/rotation
Eccentric / captain bottom bracket: Varies by brand / material. Good square tapers 15,000+ mi.
Stoker bottom bracket: Varies by brand / material. Good square tapers 15,000+ mi.
Head set: With proper maintenance, Chis King will not require replacement.
Brake pads - rim brakes: 2-3 yrs when they get too hard to be efficient.
Brake pads - disk brakes: Varies based on use.
Brake shoes - drum brake: n/a
Rear tire: ~1,000 miles on moderate to hilly terrain.
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Old 11-06-08, 12:29 PM   #5
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Eccentric / captain bottom bracket: Varies by brand / material. Good square tapers 15,000+ mi.
Stoker bottom bracket: Varies by brand / material. Good square tapers 15,000+ mi.
I have a bunch of questions regarding your response: Are you referring to the bearings only? Why do you specify "good square tapers"? I'm assuming that you are referring to Phil Wood bottom brackets - What kind of mileage should one expect from Phil Wood bottom brackets (normal wear, not catastrophic failure)?

I expect eccentrics to be a "forever" part.
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Old 11-06-08, 01:04 PM   #6
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Are you referring to the bearings only? No. You can end up with BB's that have flexy spindles - regular ti spindles come immediately to mind - and that deflection can chew up the cups, seals and bearings. You can have BB's that aren't as sealed as you may think where water & moisture become trapped inside the housing and foster rust and corrosion. Some just have metal parts that aren't as resistant to rest and corrosion and then you have the newer types that do, in fact, seem to have bearings as their weakest link.

Why do you specify "good square tapers"? Shimano's UN72's were excellent square taper bottom brackets... perhaps 'the best'. 20k miles or more wasn't even uncommon. You simply installed them and never thought much about them being there.

I'm assuming that you are referring to Phil Wood bottom brackets Time will tell. I have one that's a few years old on a single bike that's never seen any moisture and very little abuse. It looks to be as good as new. The one's on our Calfee tandem are the Ti-Mag models and will certainly be subject to far more use and abuse.

What kind of mileage should one expect from Phil Wood bottom brackets I would think that based on bearing life alone, the cited 15k miles shouldn't be unrealistic for an average, the front outlasting the rear all things being equal. Moreover, because they're Phil Wood BB's, so long as the spindle, cups and housing remain in good repair a new set of bearings can be popped in if and when the older ones show any signs of wear.

Of course, this is subject to a variety of different factors. If they're installed on a bike that's only used in fair weather they'll most likely outlast life on a tandem that's ridden hard in the rain or in cruddy conditions as the latter are more likely to draw moisture into the shell where, as previously mentioned, trapped moisture does what it does inside bicycles: it encourages rust and corrosion. As to how aggressive that may be depends again on local conditions, the use of road salt in winter, etc...

Also, similar to sealed bearing headsets, sealed doesn't imply maintenance free. Therefore, if someone is predisposed to pull their bottom brackets every winter for an overhaul and is diligent about prying off the dust caps and forcing fresh water proof grease into the cartridges, they'll likely outlast a set of bottom brackets that were never removed... noting even the latter should last a very long time so long as moisture doesn't create any issues.

The double-edge sword with long-lasting bottom brackets is that, the longer they're in there, the more likely they'll be hard to get back out. The best prevention is an ounce of high quality grease or anti-seize when the BB's are first installed. Again, I tend to pull our bikes and tandems apart once a year to check on the parts that don't usually see daylight and their enclosures.
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Old 11-06-08, 01:36 PM   #7
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Thanks. It never occured to me that there would be enough spindle flex to be of any effect. Since I have Phil Wood bottom brackets I assumed that at maybe 50k miles or so I would have to replace the bearings (if I live that long), but otherwise they are a no-maintenance item. As far as being sealed against water intrusion is concerned, I would think that the BB would be far better sealed than the the eccentric. Which leads me to another question: As part of your yearly overhaul, do you dissamble, clean, and and re-lube your eccentric (Bushnell, of course)?
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Old 11-06-08, 01:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanti Andia View Post
Questions are:

Drive chain: About 5000 km

Drive chain wheels: About 8000 km

Cassette: About 5000 km

Synchronization chain: Never changed (16000 km)

Synchronization chain wheels: Never changed

Eccentric / captain bottom bracket: Never changed

Stoker bottom bracket: Never changed

Head set: Never changed

Brake pads - rim brakes: About 5000 km

Brake pads - disk brakes: N/A

Brake shoes - drum brake: N/A

Rear tire: About 3000 - 4000 km

Answers multiple choice in kilometeres
I haven't kept records - these are my guesses.
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Old 11-06-08, 01:45 PM   #9
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This will not apply to most as this is an Offroad Tandem. Mud and dirt takes its toll on components- but with 350 lbs pushing it along- the bike is checked after every 100 miles or so. It also gets a complete strip and rebuild every year.

Tandems take their toll on parts fitted and There isa certain level of quality that below- and you will have problems.


Drive chain Change once a year if it has not broken before

Drive chain wheels Only ever changed the 36t Middle ring in 6 years riding but looks like this summer will finish all 3

Cassette Change once a year if it has not broken before

Synchronization chain Still waiting for it to cause a problem

Synchronization chain wheels Still waiting for it to cause a problem

Eccentric / captain bottom bracket Depends on quality of original fitment

Stoker bottom bracket Depends on quality of original fitment

Head set Never changed it but stripped and checked yearly

Brake pads - rim brakes Used to change them about every 500 miles- along with the rims.

Brake pads - disk brakes Once a year

Brake shoes - drum brake Don't use one

Rear tire About every 300 miles if it lasts that long

Answers multiple choice in kilometeres[/QUOTE]
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Old 11-06-08, 03:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
As far as being sealed against water intrusion is concerned, I would think that the BB would be far better sealed than the the eccentric.
Considering eccentrics aren't sealed at all, that's a fair assessment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
As part of your yearly overhaul, do you dissamble, clean, and and re-lube your eccentric (Bushnell, of course)?
Actually, that probably gets done a several times a year for the very reason you cite: water gets in there quite easily and then has no where to go. Then again, it takes all of about 5 minutes to pull off a crank arm... remove, clean and reinstall the eccentric.... and then reinstall the crankarm: self-extracting crank bolts a must have for any tandem.
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Old 11-06-08, 04:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
it takes all of about 5 minutes to pull off a crank arm... remove, clean and reinstall the eccentric.... and then reinstall the crankarm
Do you clean it with the BB still installed? I was thinking of removing the BB and disassembling, cleaning, lubing and reassembling the eccentric in order to do a thorough job. That would take me a lot longer than 5 minutes.
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Old 11-06-08, 04:11 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
Do you clean it with the BB still installed?
Yes... This is basically a wipe down of the eccentric shell, the eccentric and a fresh coat of PW waterproof grease.

The bottom brackets only come out after a really, really long ride in heavy rain where there's a 100% probability that water will have collected under the bottom bracket(s).
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Old 11-07-08, 06:39 AM   #13
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I wanted to publish it in a poll form, but don't have the fiddling patiance to figure out how.

Here are my answers on our Mocha Co-Pilot, ridden mostly on pavement and some dirt road trips. This is our second tandem, first was sold with 3000 km, so not long enough to know the lifetime of most parts.


Drive chain: 3000 km

Drive chain wheels: not yet

Cassette: replaced but not on account of wear

Synchronization chain: not yet, looks like it might go about 5000 km

Synchronization chain wheels: not yet

Eccentric / captain bottom bracket: not yet

Stoker bottom bracket: not yet

Head set: not yet

Brake pads - rim brakes 3000 km

Brake pads - disk brakes: n/a

Brake shoes - drum brake - Not yet

Rear tire: Shwalbe Marathon XR: 5000 km?
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Old 11-09-08, 10:12 PM   #14
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Back in 2002 we had an article published on parts use/wear on our custom Co-Motion tandem that was puchased in Dec. 1993, after we logged 50,000 miles on that tandem.
Here's some of the numbers after 50,000 miles of riding:

Cross over chains: 6, broke crossover twice.
Drive chains: 7, never broke one.
Freewheels (not cassete) 7-speed Sachs: 8
Rear der. 2
Rear der. pulleys: 3
front der: 2
Chainrings:
54T and 42T replaced at 17,000 miles; 42T replaced again 13,000 miles later. 54T ready for replacement.
Inner chainring 26T replaced at 33,532 miles. Indicating as we got 'older' we used the 42T more.
Cross over chainrings: 1
Broke 1 chainring bolt.
Headset: 2
Tires: wore out 17 front and 22 rear tires (various brands)
Highest mielage front tire: an astounding 6,166 miles. Lowest: 525. Both the high and low mileage tires were Conti SuperSports.
Highest mileage rear tire: 3,591 (Conti GrandSport). Lowest rear 821 miles on inappropriately named 'Invulnerable' by Wolber.
Other brands used were: Specialized, Performance, Ritchey, Panaracer and Michelin.
Experienced 138 flat tires. Front 65, rear 73.We had an especially bad week in Oct. '98 with 14 flats in 10 days due to road construction in our area.
Living in the desert most punctures were from thorns, glass shards and tiny pieces of wire from from steel belted radial car tires. One busted valve stem, one industrial size staple and some of the then new fangled glueless patches.
Cables: never replaced front/rear brake cables. Broke 4 front der, cables and 10 rear shifter cables.
Original Mavic Module 3CD rear rim lasted 25,544 miles, replaced rear rim twice more.

Original equipment still performing after 50,000 miles:
Syncross Ti BBs
Crankset: Topline
Front wheel: Mavic Module 3CD with DT spokes and Phil hub.
Rear Phil hub.
Scott/Pederson self energizing brakes with Scott/Matthauser pads (rear pads only were replaced once).
Shimano bar-end 7 speed shifters

While this may be a bit dated information, it shows that proper regular care and good equipment will last a long time.
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 11-10-08, 10:26 AM   #15
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Re Phil BB, I was an early adopter in the mid '70s and one bike, rarely ridden even then
was left hung from the joists in the basement from '78 to '99 when I decided the Teledyne
Titan deserved a ride. The Phil bb was almost frozen (axle would barely turn). Turned
out that popping the seals on the bearings, washing out the paraffin the grease had
turned into and relubing revived the BB. It was quite smooth and served for another
4000mi til I switched to hollowtech setup.
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Old 11-10-08, 10:04 PM   #16
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On previous tandems we used Phil stuff extensively.
In 1977 we had an Asssenmacher custom tandem built and Phil was just coming on the market.
Used Phil BBs, hubs, and pedals. Rode that tandem for 64,000 miles.
All Phil parts lasted for the full 64,000 miles except for stoker's BB that had a bit of play in it after 30,000-some miles. Phil replaced that BB for free.
Our next custom tandem was by Colin Laing and used Phil BBs and hubs (pedals no longer available). Pedaled that tandem for 56,000 miles. Phil stuff worked flawlessly.
Next, our custom Co-Mo tandem used Phil hubs and they lasted 'til we sold that bike with 57,000 miles on the odo.
While Phil may be a bit pricey, it certainly paid off in the long run.
Quality lasts.
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and kay/zonatandem
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