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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 06-11-09, 10:20 AM   #1
mburchard
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Calfee Stoker Stems

Some time back I tried to get a stoker barstem made by Calfee, but was told not doable in length we needed (19 cm). Looks like they are selling stoker stems now, starting at 20 cm:

http://www.calfeedesign.com/TandemStokerStem.htm
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Old 06-11-09, 10:48 AM   #2
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I took a photo of the stem on our visit to Calfee last week.



They cut up an aluminum stem, and insert a piece of carbon tubing left over from their frame building.
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Old 06-11-09, 10:58 AM   #3
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I'm actually a bit disappointed in their offering as I'd expected it to be a more polished product more along the lines of the BarStem.

Instead, it almost looks like one of those "might as well" designs that's responding to a gap in the market with a hybrid stem that's easy and inexpensive to make but that can generate enough margin to make it worth their while.
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Old 06-11-09, 11:10 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
I'm actually a bit disappointed in their offering as I'd expected it to be a more polished product more along the lines of the BarStem.

Instead, it almost looks like one of those "might as well" designs that's responding to a gap in the market with a hybrid stem that's easy and inexpensive to make but that can generate enough margin to make it worth their while.
Agree. Bob Davis stoker stem via Precision Tandems more nicely done, and lighter.
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Old 06-11-09, 11:12 AM   #5
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^Well, that's the thing. The tandem market is the Rodney Dangerfield of bicycling. While I was at Calfee I was thumbing through their copy of Bicycle Retailer News, which included an analysis of the bicycle market, with a pie chart of the various categories of bicycles. The chart got down to little wedges for single-speed, cruisers, etc, but there wasn't room enough on the chart the teensy sliver that is tandems.

In devising a component for tandems, I wouldn't expect a lot of time spent by an engineer on CAD, and new molds, etc. No, you get spliced up stems and left over tubing.

Last edited by Ritterview; 06-11-09 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 06-11-09, 11:17 AM   #6
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, but there wasn't room enough on the chart the teensy sliver that is tandems.
And most of that market sliver is comprised of tandem-shaped objects.
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Old 06-11-09, 12:51 PM   #7
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Agree. Bob Davis stoker stem via Precision Tandems more nicely done, and lighter.
Indeed...

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Old 06-11-09, 12:54 PM   #8
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Indeed...

Very nice... However the price is pretty high.

I wonder what the next best option is.
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Old 06-11-09, 12:55 PM   #9
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I can't justify $350 to save 50g over the standard aluminum stems.
Its eye candy.
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Old 06-11-09, 01:18 PM   #10
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I wonder what the next best option is.
The price is obscene if you discount the cost of development and production on custom, one-off stems.

The 'best' option is what folks with shorter (well OK, normal length) stoker compartments have done and that is to use threadless stems.

The next 'best' option is to borrow an adjustable stoker stem long enough to determine what length you really need and then have a rigid stem made for your tandem.

The 'best compromise' is to ignore the weight and go with a Control Tech or Coda adjustable stem.

Given Debbie's 30" stoker compartment, a very long and adjustable stoker stem is a prudent choice for us and, well, once you have over $10k wrapped up in a bicycle what's another $350.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jnbrown
I can't justify $350 to save 50g over the standard aluminum stems. Its eye candy.
Our's saves closer to 90 grams and, thankfully, I no longer try to justify what I spend on bicycles. Once you get above $2,000 for single bikes and $3,500 for tandems and you don't make a living in the bike biz or participate in serious competitive events, it's all justified using one simple statement: Because I want to and can afford to...

Last edited by TandemGeek; 06-11-09 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 06-11-09, 03:46 PM   #11
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Our 185mm aluminum stem weights 250g and saves 103g over a a 353g CoMotion stem. It costs about $75. I guess it doesn't absorb as much of the road bumps though.
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Old 06-11-09, 05:05 PM   #12
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Have had our custom c/f stoker stem on our tandem for over 25,000 miles.
That was actually Bob Davis' prototype built at our request. We even specced a ti-glue on to hang our mini garage door opener from + a custom bottlecage mount dead center on stem (at stoker's request).
We also had Bob make us a pair of round stoker handrests (photo) which she prefers over dummy stoker levers. Hey, gotta keep the stoker happy/enthused!
Our argument on pricey things we get: 'what are we gonna do, wait til we get older?
Hard to get a sparkly diamond for rhinestone money . . .
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Old 06-12-09, 08:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by uspspro View Post
Very nice... However the price is pretty high.

I wonder what the next best option is.
I just bought a pair of the Cane Creek stoker levers shown the picture. Turns out they weigh 260gm which is significant compared the stem weight. The plastic seems real thick in places, maybe I will take a dremel to it and see if I can lighten them up.
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Old 06-12-09, 08:05 PM   #14
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I just bought a pair of the Cane Creek stoker levers shown the picture. Turns out they weigh 260gm which is significant compared the stem weight. The plastic seems real thick in places, maybe I will take a dremel to it and see if I can lighten them up.
If you're shooting for gram reduction the carbon or SL aluminum bull-horn bars are the way to go. Debbie just happens to like her stoker rests / pseudo brake hoods and will occasionally use the drops so no bull horns for us. Oh yeah, and the bull-horn bar configuration is also less expensive.
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Old 06-12-09, 08:26 PM   #15
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Yeah we have the same situation, comfort and function over weight
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