Hi from Montreal,
Last year, we put our hand on a Roland tandem. We were not sure if we would like riding a tandem, so for $500 Cnd. it was a good deal. Since I am playing with all kind of bikes for a while, I had a lot of different parts to upgrade the Roland.
I recuperate what was good from the bike (not much)and replace parts that was not of quality by what I had around. I also bought some parts that are specific to tandem. I ended up with a bill of around $1200 Cnd.
Here is the final setup after few iteration for the rear brake and for wheels/tires.
-Drop bar 46 cm with Ultegra 8 speeds Bar-end shifter installed on Kelly Take-off.
-Diacomp 287V brake lever controlling a LX Vbrake on the front (Lot of braking power) and a Mini V Tektro at the rear (enough rim clearance and enough braking power to jam the wheel). Both brake are using teflon coated cable and no-compression jacket. Originally, I installed a LX at the rear also. But because of cable strech, I had to set up the brake close to the rim. The Mini V solved that problem.
-Both front and rear brake are double by brake booster, this solve all problems that I had with seatstay flexing and sound coming from the pad while braking.
-Shimano 105 front derailler and Deore at the rear all riding with teflon coated cable.
-I replaced the 2 cup Bottom Bracket bearings by UN72 Ultegra seal cartridges.
-First wheel set was build around Mavic 520 rims to ride on a 28mm tire. We rode specialized Armadillo last year and we were really disappointed with the performance of the tandem. Low top speed and fast deccelaration when stopping pedalling. After reading comments on this forum, I build another set of wheel with Ambrosio Balance rim. We now ride the new wheelset on Vredestein 25mm Fortezza. What a difference!!!!! Just incredible. The rear wheel was built using Shimano LX hub modified with a longer axle to get to the 145mm standard. The Roland's frame was spread to the same standard. Shimano LX hub are not expensive and can take quite a beating. I can't tell you how long they are going to last and how they will compare to the better tandem hubs but I know I can get parts for them at any LBS anytime. Time will see and I will let you know about the results. Front wheel use a Campagnolo Chorus hub and this one is going to run for a long time.
-For the rest. CatEyes Astral computer, Trans Am front and Lady Trans Am back saddle from Selle Italia. Esdge fenders. Airzound horn. Blackburn rear rack, Arkel Handlebar Bag (Small model), Shimano spd pedal.
Now, if we can finnish all garden and house work that we have to do, we will have more time to ride that bike.
I include a picture of the Roland. If you have any question about it, feel free to ask.
Laisez les bon temps rouler, Michel!
Quite the upgrade on the Roland. Test rode a Roland several years ago when they were first introduced in the States. We tested the mt. tandem version. Was struck with the similarity to the Burley (almost exact copy) but using much less expensive frame and much lower grade components.
For what you put into the bike, it sounds quite reasonable and should be a faster/better/lighter ride for the 2-of-U.
Pedal on TWOgether
Rudy & Kay
Hi Rudy and Kay,
Yes, It has been a bit of work to setup the Roland. We are quite satisfied with the result. I understand this bike will never be a top end tandem for us at this moment it is a very good compromise. We basically bought the bike to train together but are discovering the pleasure to ride on the same bike. It is for us a new kind of cycling. I can't tell for now if we prefer it or not but it is different from half bike riding.
We did a 100km ride last week-end. The road was far from perfection (After winter Quebec's roads). I was expecting a harsh ride with the 25 mm tire but it was not much worst than with the 28 mm. Probably the steel frame help a lot.
As for the riders, we still need to practice synchronizing our effort. I can feel sometime that I am dragging my wife's legs. During the last ride we tried start from having both a feet on the ground. I feel we have a better start like that. Also at rest, I am less worry about keeping the bike straight.
Riding 'in tandem' is primarily about proper communication; the rest sort of follows.
The pilot MUST tell the stoker what he is doing by voicing key words out loud like: shifting, braking, coasting, bump, pedal. Stoker is not a mind reader so proper voice commands are of the essence.
Pilot also tells stoker: left turn, right turn, slowing/stopping. Captain does not do these hand signals, but stoker does, as she is more visible to following/passing traffic.
Tandeming is a cooperative team effort; do not try to overpower each other in the pedaling strokes; yes, this may involve a bit of compromise in cadence, but remember, this is a tandem 'team!'
As for starting up on a tandem, we suggest the following:
Captain mounts bike, holds both brakes, keep both feet spread quite apart on the ground. Butt against (but not on) saddle or resting on top tube.
Stoker mounts tandem, clips in with both feet. Stoker rorates pedals backwards to put captain's left or right pedal at the desired placement for him to clip in.
On the count of 1-2-3, the team pushes off.
At a traffic light/stop sign: suggest stoker remains seated and clipped in while captain holds tandem with either one foot, or if desired, both feet on the ground.
If interested pedals can be set up 90 degrees 'out of phase', therefore always providing a power stroke going 'over the top.' Makes for easier climbing and less 'tandem snake' (a sort of tailwagging when both riders push hard on the pedals and thus creating some frame flex).
Back home in Tucson, AZ we teach tandeming. However we are now in Duluth, MN for a few months to escape the desert's 100+ temps
Ya, sure, we are retired and loving it! Au revoir!