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  1. #1
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    Santana Sovereign Ride Improvements

    Just went for a ride this morning and came across a rough section of road. Compared to my aluminum Bianchi (with a carbon fork, seat stays and seat post) the Santana was brutal. Any recommendations for improvements? I was thinking a carbon fork and seat posts. Right now the bike has a shock-absorbing rear seat post that's quite worn out so it doesn't really absorb much at all. Any recommendations concerning

    I was eyeing the Santana V-max carbon fork at $349. Are there any better options out there?

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    Who found it worse? You or your stoker? The fix (if any is possible) will be different.
    Les

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    Our Team Scandium has the Reynolds Carbon. The captains chair is the sweetest ride in the house it is the stoker who gets the jolt.
    Don't know how the Scandium compares to the Aluminum Santana as this is the only tandem I've ever ridden.
    No need for us to have a shockpost for the stoker as I am very respectful of her cute arse and call the bumps 99.9% of the time.

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    We have a Thudbuster ST post on the rear.
    Carbon fork would help some, I still have the steel fork.

  5. #5
    sch
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    Carbon seat post is certainly not going to be a shock absorber, and the concerns over torquing of
    the stoker handlebar clamp to the post mitigate further against that being helpful. Stoker I ride
    with is enthusiastic over her thud buster as a shock absorber. The stoker gets 100% of the jolt,
    captain maybe 50%. Forks absorb regardless of material. Carbon forks likely to help some but
    whether the difference is worth 350 is another matter. Double foam wrap on the bars might help as
    well. IE thick foam bartape doubly wrapped.

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    Cheapest fix to improve comfort for both of you will be larger tires inflated a little less than you might think. Advantage of this is that you can go back and forth between inflation pressures depending on the road surfaces encountered during the ride without having to so much as touch a wrench. ;-)
    But I'd like to hear more about the OP's bike, team weight, and who's getting battered around the most. (Of course we know it's the stoker, but if it's the captain doing the typing, is he complaining on his own behalf, or is he channeling the stoker's concerns too?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by conspiratemus View Post
    Who found it worse? You or your stoker? The fix (if any is possible) will be different.
    Les
    Quote Originally Posted by conspiratemus View Post
    But I'd like to hear more about the OP's bike, team weight, and who's getting battered around the most. (Of course we know it's the stoker, but if it's the captain doing the typing, is he complaining on his own behalf, or is he channeling the stoker's concerns too?)
    I found it worse than my Bianchi, my stroker said it was so rough it was painful to her knees and rear. We're riding a medium aluminum Santana Sovereign (not sure of the year, but I'd guess early 2000s) with the stock aluminum fork and wheels. I'm 5'8", 145 lbs, my stroker is 5'4", 140 lbs. As so who's getting battered the most, I'm not sure, because she's brand new to cycling and has nothing to compare it to.

    Thanks for the input on the thudbuster; there has been numerous positive reviews on this forum and I'm seriously considering a Thudbuster ST. Right now I don't have enough room between the seat post tube and the seat rails (6mm short), but I haven't had the bike professionally fit, so I'm going to ask our fitter if there's enough room when we do the fitting next week.
    Last edited by jerky1280; 07-05-09 at 09:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jerky1280 View Post
    We're riding a medium aluminum Santana Sovereign (not sure of the year, but I'd guess early 2000s) with the stock aluminum fork and wheels.
    The fork is steel not aluminum most likely.
    What tires and pressure are you using?
    Ours came with wire bead Conti Gatorskins in 28C and when we switched to Conti 4000's in 25C the ride was much better.

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    You could go larger tires (if you've got clearance on that frame) and at your weight you won't get pinch flats with them inflated toward the lower end of the range, e.g., 95-100 psi with 28Cs. Could try a 32 or bigger on the back to make life easier for her.

    This bike is a recent acquisition I gather? Did you have a chance to ride it on rough pavement before you bought it? Or is rough pavement such a rarity in your location that you never thought of that during your test rides?

    Don't give up on a shock-absorbing seat post for your stoker. Remember that when she sits on it, she'll compress it a little and you might find your 6 mm that way. Also if she's new to cycling, she may think she wants her saddle lower than it should be. See what your fitter says. (Not all stokers find any benefit from shock posts, be warned.)

    But before you sink any more money into that bike, install bigger, lower-pressure tires and practise learning how to warn her of bumps and float the big bike over the rough stuff. This could take you the rest of the summer to get good at it. Then you (or in reality your stoker) will have to decide if "as good as it gets" is good enough to keep the bike.

  10. #10
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Aluminum is harsher riding than steel, ti, carbon or magnesium. Your fork is not alu, but likely steel (stick a magnet on it).
    If suspension seatpost does not work out, buy a good saddle with (gasp!) springs
    (Brooks makes several).
    By all means COMMUNICATE bumps to stoker, she can then put more weight on her hands/pedals and off the butt.
    Wider/lower pressure tires will also help and cheaper than a c/f fork.
    As for pilot, keep your elbows flexed (not locked) to reduce shock. Double bar wrap and good gloves can also help.
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

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    hey!!! Were you the couple riding with us on the Blackwater trail (Florida) this weekend? If so you were doing a good job of warning your stoker about the bumps.

    We'll probably be on our Comotion this coming weekend. If it was y'all we certainly look forward to seeing another tandem on the road with us. It's been 2 years since we've had a pair of tandems regularly appear on the ride.
    Last edited by Murf524; 07-06-09 at 07:05 AM.

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    We have the 2006 Santana Sovereign. We like the ride but as DVS Cycles stated, we do not have a data base from which to compare rides. When we were shopping for a new tandem, we liked Santana's Team models. We wanted to save some money, so we went with the Aluminum Sovereign and added the carbon fork, Sweet Sixteen wheels and Tamer parallelogram shock absorbing stoker seat post.

    My ride on the tandem is very nice, and compared to my Cervelo R3, maybe smoother. That is a very subjective statement. I definitely feel more bumps with the Cervelo but maybe slightly less vibration if that makes any sense and it definitely is dependent on the road and road surface.

    My stoker likes the Tamer set on a higher stiffness so that it functions on only the bad bumps.

    There is another variable. I suspect the frame design changes each year and each manufacturer improves the design, lowers weight and improves "ride". Even if you add a carbon fork, wheels and stoker shock absorbing post, the ride may not improve that much.

    I would call Santana. There is a guy who works in engineering but I cannot remember his name. He knows this stuff really well and may be able to tell you if a new fork or wheels will make a difference depending on the year of your frame.

    As another data point, before the R3, I had a Trek Madone 5.2. It had the Bontrager Race wheelset. These wheels are not stiff and coupled with the carbon frame gave a very nice ride. When I put a set of deep dish carbon wheels on the Madone, it changed the ride dramatically (harsher) but improved performance.

    We have found that the frame and all the components and wheels working together make up the ride. It is not just alumimum versus steel or carbon that provides a less harsh ride. And the ride is a very subjective personal thing based upon experience, saddle time, bias and many other factors. Good luck.
    Last edited by Hermes; 07-06-09 at 04:57 PM.

  13. #13
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by conspiratemus View Post
    Cheapest fix to improve comfort for both of you will be larger tires inflated a little less than you might think. Advantage of this is that you can go back and forth between inflation pressures depending on the road surfaces encountered during the ride without having to so much as touch a wrench. ;-)
    But I'd like to hear more about the OP's bike, team weight, and who's getting battered around the most. (Of course we know it's the stoker, but if it's the captain doing the typing, is he complaining on his own behalf, or is he channeling the stoker's concerns too?)

    +1 on this. Tire pressure is one of the biggest determinents of ride comfort, and the cheapest to adjust. People often run tire pressures much higher than they need to.

    So the answer may be as simple as 10 lbs less pressure in your current tires, or one size up with 10-20 lbs less pressure. Of course as pointed out, what tires you're currently using, what pressure your running, and your team weight, plays into this.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dvs cycles View Post
    The fork is steel not aluminum most likely.
    What tires and pressure are you using?
    Ours came with wire bead Conti Gatorskins in 28C and when we switched to Conti 4000's in 25C the ride was much better.
    You are correct, it is in fact steel. We currently are using the same Conti Gatorskins.

    Quote Originally Posted by Murf524 View Post
    hey!!! Were you the couple riding with us on the Blackwater trail (Florida) this weekend? If so you were doing a good job of warning your stoker about the bumps.

    We'll probably be on our Comotion this coming weekend. If it was y'all we certainly look forward to seeing another tandem on the road with us. It's been 2 years since we've had a pair of tandems regularly appear on the ride.
    Yes, that was us the last weekend. I hope we'll make it out next weekend. Right now we're limited to around 20 miles; one due to discomfort (I need to do something about the saddle) and two, because we don't have an easy way to transport the tandem we have to ride to the trailhead from our house.

    I just wanted to also add that there's only so far that I'm willing to go for comfort when it compromises performance. And while I'd like to say that I'm practical, I'm a bit vain when it comes to carbon, low-spoke wheels and the like. I'm already eyeing the stock ugly 40-spoke wheels... Things like a carbon fork for are appealing to me because they're more comfortable while being (slightly) lighter and just sharp-looking.

    Thank you for all the input thus far! I'm going to try a Thudbuster if our fitter thinks it will work, but am going to wait on the rest of the upgrades until we get some more time in the saddle.
    Last edited by jerky1280; 07-06-09 at 04:32 PM.

  15. #15
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    Your ride will become more harsh with the low spoke count wheels. Those wheels have high spoke tension and stiff rims which gives a harsher ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jerky1280 View Post
    I just wanted to also add that there's only so far that I'm willing to go for comfort when it compromises performance. And while I'd like to say that I'm practical, I'm a bit vain when it comes to carbon, low-spoke wheels and the like. I'm already eyeing the stock ugly 40-spoke wheels...
    OK, good for you, but what does your stoker think? Don't forget that you hold your job as captain only at the pleasure of your rear-admiral. You're in command of the bike but she outranks you off it. Would you be willing to show her what you just typed above in that very revealing post? Especially since she's new to cycling and not as invested in making this thing work as someone who's been a committed cyclist for many years? (In which latter case, if I was her, I'd just say, "OK, have it your way. I'll just ride my own single bike.")

    Remember, things that make the rear crew member more comfortable vastly enhance team performance, 'coz a tandem is a lot less fun to ride if the stoker won't get on it. Remember also that you mostly can't see your bike, ugly or not, when you're riding it, but you sure can feel it.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerky1280 View Post
    and two, because we don't have an easy way to transport the tandem we have to ride to the trailhead from our house.

    We solved the transporting issue when we bought out Honda Element Prior to that we had a Ford Ranger and I was seriously considering a tandem mount for the roof rack we used to have on our Accord. One of the couples that used to ride with us went "Ghetto" and used his jon boat trailer for transporting his Santana from Navarre to Milton.

    One other guy used a trunk rack and would remove both the front and rear wheels since he was only driving in town.

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