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.
Have a nice day,