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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 09-27-09, 12:31 AM   #1
Ritterview
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Tandems at Interbike 2009

I didn't go to Interbike, but I've poked around in image hosting sites like Flickr, put Interbike in as a search term, sorted by most recent, and found some tandem action:


There apparently was a tandem at the outdoor demo.



A Bakfiet derivative called Kidztandem, which can go evolve into a tandem:




DaVinci had a nice booth:





A close-up of the ICS:


A display:



Co-Motion had a booth:




Something called a Torker. Looks like it would need plenty of torque to budge it.



Pedego makes electric bikes, and came out with an electric powered tandem:



That's all I can get on the OP:

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1. You have included 11 images in your message. You are limited to using 10 images so please go back and correct the problem and then continue again.

Images include use of smilies, the BB code [img] tag and HTML <img> tags. The use of these is all subject to them being enabled by the administrator.
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Old 09-27-09, 06:46 AM   #2
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The off-road tandem appears to be a Ventana... included in a report from Interbike 2004 day-two based on the linked page.

From the Hobbes list and contributor Rob Templin came news that there wasn't much tandem news at Interbike with one minor exception: a Santana Di2 demonstrator. Prompted by Rob's posting, Bill McCready posted the following:

Quote:
On Sep 26, 2009, at 8:45 PM, SANTANA wrote:

A rejoinder from Bill at Santana,

My friend Rob Templin (of 25+ years) posted an update from the Las
Vegas Interbike trade show with breaking news about the first tandem
with Shimano's revolutionary Di2 electronic shifting. In case you
wonder what all the fuss is about, here are 10 reasons why Shimano's
Di2 is the next big thing for tandem enthusiasts.

1. Cable stretch --- a major impediment for optimal shifting --- is
obviously a bigger problem for tandems.

2. Shimano's new Di2 electronic shifting --- a system that uses
electronic impulses instead of cables --- provides shifts that are
undeniably faster and more accurate. Stokers frustrated by a captain's
missed shifts will vote for un-cabled performance.

3. Because the finger force required for shifting is decreased by up
to 90%, there's less need for captains to twist their wrists or
reposition their hands. While this may seem insignificant, tandem
teams will quickly realize that better bike control (and greater
safety) is the resulting benefit.

4. With the ratcheting and indexing systems removed, the lighter
integrated control levers are smaller, more comfortable, AND ALLOW
BETTER BRAKING.

5. Since Shimano's new system includes computerized "auto-trim,"
stokers will no longer be subjected to the aggravating noise of a
rubbing front derailleur --- or the need to report this problem to
their captains.

6. Because the front derailleur's troublesome downshift spring is
replaced by a powerful servo motor, front downshifts are fast and
faultless, even when you forget to shift at the bottom of a steep hill.

7. Although Di2 cannot control the weather, your rainy day rides won't
be dampened by grit-contaminated cables.

8. Shimano's modular system is S&S-tandem friendly --- a benefit
welcomed by enthusiasts who've suffered shifting woes after a cable or
housing was crimped during packing, handling or TSA inspection.

9. Battery life? The system's battery indicator (a green light that's
visible while riding), will start to flash when the rechargeable
battery is half full. Independent testers have now reported up to
three months and 2,500 miles before receiving this half-drained
warning. (In other words, if you "top up" before a two-week tour,
there's no need to pack your recharger.)

10. Extra weight or maintenance? Shimano's new Di2 electronic shifting
(battery included) is lighter and more reliable than last year's Dura
Ace.

Bill McCready
Santana R&D

PS: Next installment: Di2 for tandems --- pitfalls, cost & availability.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 05-09-11 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 09-27-09, 12:05 PM   #3
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Although I think the big advantage of e-shifting would be on time trial bikes, where you could put push-button controls in two locations (aero extensions where the fingertip shifters currently reside, and at ends of cowhorns where the brake levers are) so you don't have to change hand position just to shift gears, I really think it's a solution lookng for a problem in the rest of the cycling world. Most of the difficulties Mr. McCready points out below are the fault of Shimano's manual shifting system and are not issues with Campagnolo Ergopower:

1. Cable stretch --- a major impediment for optimal shifting --- is
obviously a bigger problem for tandems. (a non-issue. Derailleur cables just don't stretch anymore.)

2. Shimano's new Di2 electronic shifting --- a system that uses
electronic impulses instead of cables --- provides shifts that are
undeniably faster and more accurate. Stokers frustrated by a captain's
missed shifts will vote for un-cabled performance. (I think this relates to the way Shimano handles upshifts. The derailleur moves on the control lever's <return> phase, not on its initial phase, as with Campangnolo.)

3. Because the finger force required for shifting is decreased by up
to 90%, there's less need for captains to twist their wrists or
reposition their hands. While this may seem insignificant, tandem
teams will quickly realize that better bike control (and greater
safety) is the resulting benefit. (I can see this as the greatest benefit, as anyone who has tried to shift with a brifter after an hour of riding at under 5 degrees C (40 degrees F) can attest. Your hands are too cold to force over a shfit lever. But then, as anyone who has tried to operate a video camera at under 5 deg C will attest, batteries don't last long in cold environments.)

4. With the ratcheting and indexing systems removed, the lighter
integrated control levers are smaller, more comfortable, AND ALLOW
BETTER BRAKING. (Again, Shimano's brake levers move sideways, Campag's levers don't. Campag brakes are safer and more comfortable and don't have this problem. The "comfort" part would depend on the ergonomics of the e-controls, with which I have had no experience.)

5. Since Shimano's new system includes computerized "auto-trim,"
stokers will no longer be subjected to the aggravating noise of a
rubbing front derailleur --- or the need to report this problem to
their captains. (Auto trim is required only on the front derailleur, and only for the middle ring of a triple. Campag already handles this nicely. Another Shimano problem.)

6. Because the front derailleur's troublesome downshift spring is
replaced by a powerful servo motor, front downshifts are fast and
faultless, even when you forget to shift at the bottom of a steep hill. (Sounds good, but we'll have to see what happens with a forced shift with servo-motor. Could be more opportunity for parts to rip each other apart.)

7. Although Di2 cannot control the weather, your rainy day rides won't
be dampened by grit-contaminated cables. (Again, what problem? I ride all winter in Vancouver, where it snows and where it's expected that crews dump sand and salt on the roads. I've never had grit-contaminated cables.)

8. Shimano's modular system is S&S-tandem friendly --- a benefit
welcomed by enthusiasts who've suffered shifting woes after a cable or
housing was crimped during packing, handling or TSA inspection. (This could be a big advantage. I'd like to see the quick-connects for the cables. But if the bike is built properly - with split cable stops - and you're willing to remove the front brake and front computer sensor (wired computer) and pack the front handlebar/stem assembly with the rear triangle, you don't need cable splitters at all.)

9. Battery life? The system's battery indicator (a green light that's
visible while riding), will start to flash when the rechargeable
battery is half full. Independent testers have now reported up to
three months and 2,500 miles before receiving this half-drained
warning. (In other words, if you "top up" before a two-week tour,
there's no need to pack your recharger.) (I'm really dubious about the rechargeable battery bit. I've used Light & Motion rechargeable headlight, and although it says you get over an hour before the charge light starts flashing, the charge light usually comes on after about 20 or 30 minutes. So I'm dubious.)

10. Extra weight or maintenance? Shimano's new Di2 electronic shifting
(battery included) is lighter and more reliable than last year's Dura
Ace. (OK.)

- Luis
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Old 09-27-09, 01:43 PM   #4
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I didn't find any Santana pics from Interbike,nor any with Di2. Santana was at Eurobike.



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Old 09-27-09, 02:52 PM   #5
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I heard that Hase was at Eurobike and showed off one of their Pino tandems (upright pilot on the back, recumbent stoker on the front) that is now available with an electric power assist option.
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Old 09-27-09, 05:48 PM   #6
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Remember Mavic's electronic shifting?
Stuff comes and goes and then gets re-incarnated.
Attended over 20-some Interbikes and yes, there's always something 'new' in tandems.
With the re-intro of electronic shifting and all that weight savings, does it mean that Santana wil finally offer a tandemthat's lighter/better than some of it's same-price range competitors?
Agree with comments from Ihbernhardt, plus question of the $$$ outlay for Di2.
Hype is a 4-letter word!
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Old 09-28-09, 12:59 AM   #7
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Wow, a tandem discussed at USA Today. Unfortunately, its that dang Electric bike.

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Old 10-02-09, 03:06 PM   #8
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Another nice DaVinci. I like that paint job.



Detail on the ICS. Hmmm...no reason the ICS couldn't use a belt drive, is there?

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Old 10-02-09, 10:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
no reason the ICS couldn't use a belt drive, is there?
the two belts side by side would be pretty wide as well as having to make a set of belts and pulleys/chainrings specifically for the ICS.

i was going to say the small pulley with the 2:1 ratio might be a problem but i remembered it's not a problem with motorcycles.
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Old 10-05-09, 07:56 AM   #10
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As soon as Di2 was announced I mentioned on a few other forums that this would be perfect for a tandem. At the time the comment was either ridiculed or dismissed. Now it seems that others think the same thing. If only Shimano had a triple in Di2!
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Old 10-05-09, 08:20 AM   #11
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Luis, why are you so skeptical?
Quote:
Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
1. Cable stretch --- a major impediment for optimal shifting --- is
obviously a bigger problem for tandems. (a non-issue. Derailleur cables just don't stretch anymore.)
Agreed
Quote:
2. Shimano's new Di2 electronic shifting --- a system that uses
electronic impulses instead of cables --- provides shifts that are
undeniably faster and more accurate. Stokers frustrated by a captain's
missed shifts will vote for un-cabled performance. (I think this relates to the way Shimano handles upshifts. The derailleur moves on the control lever's <return> phase, not on its initial phase, as with Campangnolo.)
Not an issue for Shimano users, just an issue for Campy users that are forced to ride a Shimano equipped bike
Quote:
3. Because the finger force required for shifting is decreased by up
to 90%, there's less need for captains to twist their wrists or
reposition their hands. While this may seem insignificant, tandem
teams will quickly realize that better bike control (and greater
safety) is the resulting benefit. (I can see this as the greatest benefit, as anyone who has tried to shift with a brifter after an hour of riding at under 5 degrees C (40 degrees F) can attest. Your hands are too cold to force over a shfit lever. But then, as anyone who has tried to operate a video camera at under 5 deg C will attest, batteries don't last long in cold environments.)
The higher actuating force can be an issue in real cold weather but the LiIon batteries used in Di2 do not suffer as much as other battery chemistry's in the cold, and provide plenty of power to move the servo motors.
Quote:
4. With the ratcheting and indexing systems removed, the lighter
integrated control levers are smaller, more comfortable, AND ALLOW
BETTER BRAKING. (Again, Shimano's brake levers move sideways, Campag's levers don't. Campag brakes are safer and more comfortable and don't have this problem. The "comfort" part would depend on the ergonomics of the e-controls, with which I have had no experience.)
Now you are just making stuff up, just because the brake lever is used in the shift mechanism does not make it inherently less safe or effective. As a matter of record (see various tests on-line) Dura-Ace brakes are one of the best if not the best mechanical brake around.
Quote:
5. Since Shimano's new system includes computerized "auto-trim,"
stokers will no longer be subjected to the aggravating noise of a
rubbing front derailleur --- or the need to report this problem to
their captains. (Auto trim is required only on the front derailleur, and only for the middle ring of a triple. Campag already handles this nicely. Another Shimano problem.)
So how does Campy handle this already? Narrow cages on today's front derailleurs will require some trim in various gear combinations. I can say that on my DA equipped bike I can use all 10 cogs with the small chain ring with only a trim click for the smallest two gears.
Quote:
6. Because the front derailleur's troublesome downshift spring is
replaced by a powerful servo motor, front downshifts are fast and
faultless, even when you forget to shift at the bottom of a steep hill. (Sounds good, but we'll have to see what happens with a forced shift with servo-motor. Could be more opportunity for parts to rip each other apart.)
Already been tested and reported on in many on line publications. The force is so high that Shimano specifically prints a warning not to get your fingers in the way as it will break fingers before ripping itself to pieces.
Quote:
7. Although Di2 cannot control the weather, your rainy day rides won't
be dampened by grit-contaminated cables. (Again, what problem? I ride all winter in Vancouver, where it snows and where it's expected that crews dump sand and salt on the roads. I've never had grit-contaminated cables.)
I don't have this issue either with 6 Shinmano equipped and 2 SRAM equipped bicycles, it is not some inherent problem with Shimano, SRAM or Campy, it is purely a maintenance or installation issue.
Quote:
8. Shimano's modular system is S&S-tandem friendly --- a benefit
welcomed by enthusiasts who've suffered shifting woes after a cable or
housing was crimped during packing, handling or TSA inspection. (This could be a big advantage. I'd like to see the quick-connects for the cables. But if the bike is built properly - with split cable stops - and you're willing to remove the front brake and front computer sensor (wired computer) and pack the front handlebar/stem assembly with the rear triangle, you don't need cable splitters at all.)
Seems like a lot of work to pack a bike. Di2 could offer connectors for extended cables, but I don't think they are currently something in Shimano's catalog.
Quote:
9. Battery life? The system's battery indicator (a green light that's
visible while riding), will start to flash when the rechargeable
battery is half full. Independent testers have now reported up to
three months and 2,500 miles before receiving this half-drained
warning. (In other words, if you "top up" before a two-week tour,
there's no need to pack your recharger.) (I'm really dubious about the rechargeable battery bit. I've used Light & Motion rechargeable headlight, and although it says you get over an hour before the charge light starts flashing, the charge light usually comes on after about 20 or 30 minutes. So I'm dubious.)
Been reported over and over with most of those reports coming from the EU. Di2 has been tested all over races in Europe in all weather and conditions including cross races with excellent results. I am not sure how you can compare a headlights inefficient and constant battery usage to a servo motor.
Quote:
10. Extra weight or maintenance? Shimano's new Di2 electronic shifting
(battery included) is lighter and more reliable than last year's Dura
Ace. (OK.)
Agreed.
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Old 10-05-09, 08:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
From the Hobbes list and contributor Rob Templin came news that there wasn't much tandem news at Interbike with one minor exception: a Santana Di2 demonstrator. ...
Did Santana actually show a tandem at Interbike with Di2? You'd think someone would have taken a picture of it, and I've not seen one. Nor does a search reveal any news. (Maybe its being kept hush-hush so the next issue of Tandems and Tandeming can get the scoop).
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Old 10-05-09, 10:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
Did Santana actually show a tandem at Interbike with Di2? You'd think someone would have taken a picture of it, and I've not seen one.
I'm sure the folks from Recumbent & Tandem Rider Magazine took a photo and will comment but, to be frank, unless a manufacturer breaks new technical ground and uses a tandem to highlight the technology you're just not going to get a lot of interest from the 99.5% of people in the cycling business who aren't really focused on tandems.

Santana received some attention last year only because they created a non-rideable 10-seat tandem out of several cabrio mid-sections. However, the new for '08 rear carbon stays, Vyatec [sp] Exogrid down tubes and mono-head shocks didn't even make a blip on the radar outside of the very small tandem community for the same reason Di2 didn't: "Yawn, old technology finally makes it's way onto a tandem. Gee, what a surprise."

Even Co-Motion's Gates Belt drive didn't make that big of a splash and the bump that it did receive was probably more of a residual swell from the other late adopters of Gates drives who showed new hardware at the '08 event.

FWIW....
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Old 10-05-09, 10:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
Did Santana actually show a tandem at Interbike with Di2? You'd think someone would have taken a picture of it, and I've not seen one. Nor does a search reveal any news. (Maybe its being kept hush-hush so the next issue of Tandems and Tandeming can get the scoop).
Ritterview your post of 9/27 12:43 shows the Di2 tandem
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Old 10-05-09, 11:14 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
...to be frank, unless a manufacturer breaks new technical ground and uses a tandem to highlight the technology you're just not going to get a lot of interest from the 99.5% of people in the cycling business who aren't really focused on tandems.

Santana ... didn't even make a blip on the radar outside of the very small tandem community.

Even Co-Motion's Gates Belt drive didn't make that big of a splash...
All true, but Road Bike Action Magazine did mention one tandem.


Quote:
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Ritterview your post of 9/27 12:43 shows the Di2 tandem
You're right! The Beyond pic from Eurobike does have the Di2 on it. So, if Santana showed bikes at Interbike, they too would have Di2.



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Old 10-05-09, 02:09 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by WheresWaldo View Post
Luis, why are you so skeptical?
I do not think he is so skeptical. They are reasons Bill McCready for using the Di2 system. I do agree that most of the reasons that are given do not apply to me. I have little if any issues with shifting except for maybe a full effort uphill front downshift. But that is usually my fault.
I think the system is the tip of the iceburg and we will all go that way someday but not because of the reasons listed by Bill, I just do not have those issues so it would not resolve anything for me.
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Old 10-05-09, 02:17 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
All true, but Road Bike Action Magazine.....
Funny how Calfee almost always scores a photo... which says more about the name Calfee than what it was attached to. Clearly, the photog / writer doesn't know what a set of titanium couplers cost when added to a Calfee, or what a coupled Titanium tandem frame might cost, or even considered what some of the other really exotic tandems are worth, e.g., Dave Bohms' amazing one-off.



The Calfee's certainly at the high end, but there are more expensive tandem frames out there and that's what really counts: wheels are simply accessories that can be changed at will.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
You're right! The Beyond pic from Eurobike does have the Di2 on it. So, if Santana showed bikes at Interbike, they too would have Di2.
I'd bet you a bottle of beer it was the same bike at both shows.

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Old 10-05-09, 02:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butcher View Post
I do not think he is so skeptical. They are reasons Bill McCready for using the Di2 system. I do agree that most of the reasons that are given do not apply to me. I have little if any issues with shifting except for maybe a full effort uphill front downshift. But that is usually my fault.
I think the system is the tip of the iceburg and we will all go that way someday but not because of the reasons listed by Bill, I just do not have those issues so it would not resolve anything for me.
As I mentioned in my response to Luis, I also don't have all those issues, except Luis was specifically pointing out that according to him, his Campagnolo setup suffered from none of them. Usually those types of responses come from people who do not spend any time riding Shimano.

Some of the reasons Bill gave apply to all bikes not just tandems, like items 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. Most of the others are just marketers trying to create problems to solve that no longer exist with modern drive trains.

According to the testimonials I have seen, even full torque shifting with the front derailleur is possible with Di2 and those are just as fast as no-load shifting. In my case I looked into Di2 but I must have a triple and no triple option is available from Shimano. The increased speed of rear shifting is not an issue for me either, so that is not a compelling enough reason to buy Di2.
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Old 10-06-09, 12:45 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WheresWaldo View Post
... If only Shimano had a triple in Di2!
First, Shimano needs to release a triple Dura Ace crankset. The 7900 series includes no such thing, and the triples for the 7800 and 7700 series were sorry excuses for triples (the middle ring was basically a triplizer with an odd inner BCD that only allowed a special 30 tooth ring to be used).

There's not going to be a triple version of Di2 until they make an Ultegra-level version of it. I saw a comment from a journalist that had asked Shimano about the possibility of Di2 trickling down to lower groups at one of this year's bike shows and apparently the response was not very optimistic at all, so it looks like it will be at least a couple of years away for a lower-level setup (and therefore triple-ring compatibility).

Last edited by Chris_W; 10-07-09 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 10-06-09, 11:19 PM   #20
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Bohemian (David Bohm's) one-of tandem from a couple years back had a price tag of 'About $25,000' according to him.
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Old 10-07-09, 01:45 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_W View Post
There's not going to be a triple version of Di2 until they make an Ultegra-level version of it. I saw a comment from a journalist that had asked Shimano about the possibility of Di2 trickling down to lower groups at one of this year's bike shows and apparently the response was not very optimistic at all, so it looks like it will be at least a couple of years away for a lower-level setup (and therefore triple-ring compatibility).
Shimano has a bit of a conundrum in trickling down the Di2 technology. They can't offer an Ultegra level electric shifting group at a price point below mechanical DA7900, without killing the 7900 group in the marketplace, and they likely can't sell an Ultegra level electric group at a price much above mechanical 7900.

So it will take awhile for it come out in Ultegra, if for no better reason than market stratification.
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Old 10-07-09, 01:48 PM   #22
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Hopefully someone will crack the firmware, and then one could program it to work for a triple

or...

11-speed Campy rear with a Triple in the front

e-shifting could result in endless possibilities... Maybe someone can even make their own open-source brain to control the derailleurs...
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Old 10-07-09, 04:39 PM   #23
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Hopefully someone will crack the firmware, and then one could program it to work for a triple

or...

11-speed Campy rear with a Triple in the front

e-shifting could result in endless possibilities... Maybe someone can even make their own open-source brain to control the derailleurs...
Its a hardware issue also. Long cage RD and FD for a triple is usually different.
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Old 10-07-09, 05:09 PM   #24
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Its a hardware issue also. Long cage RD and FD for a triple is usually different.
Eh, you can probably bolt on a long cage... but not sure as I have not played with a Di2 RD. Also, depends on what rings you run, it could work with 32t rings or something like that. It would require experimenting.

The FD would probably work fine, but that is speculation.

Too bad this stuff costs so much, it would be fun to play with.
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Old 10-07-09, 06:16 PM   #25
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Follow-up to the first posting by Bill McCready regarding Di2


Quote:
Originally Posted by Santana


Bill McCready
Santana R&D

PS: Next installment: Di2 for tandems --- pitfalls, cost & availability.

=============================

INSTALLMENT #2

A quick response from Bill at Santana
Gary Gromet posted a good question about Shimano's Di2 electronic
shifting. Although Santana's tandem-specific adaptation of Di2 has
increased the gear range, the number of chainrings is unchanged. The
lowest gear of Santana's Di2 adaptation is 30.6 inches (instead of
Shimano's standard low gear of 39 inches). High gear for both 20-speed
systems is approximately 120 inches.
If your team can't get by with a low gear of 30.6 inches, Santana's
tandem-specific adaptation of Shimano Di2 won't work for you until
Shimano develops the predicted electronic triple front changer.
Fortunately, because we've anticipated this event from day one,
Santana's tandem-specific upgrade path from Di2 double to Di2 triple
should be relatively cheap and easy.
-Bill MCready
Still coming: pricing, compatibility and availability.
PS: When my wife read Rob Templin's Interbike show report, she
immediately phoned me in Las Vegas to see what I'd done to throw our
friends at Shimano "into a bit of a tizzy." She needn't have worried.
In spite of Rob's alarming report, Santana's ongoing project to adapt
Di2 to tandems was initiated at a meeting we had with Shimano 20
months ago. Later, they supplied the pieces and helpful comments that
allowed us to engineer tandem-specific adaptations. Shimano's Japan-
based Di2 specialists carefully inspected and gave our adaptation
their informal blessing before it appeared in Las Vegas. Although our
tandem-specific Di2 relies on a longer wiring harness and third-party
items, all of the electronics remain 100% Shimano. Because Santana
doesn't modify any of the Shimano-supplied components, or use them in
a prohibited fashion, Shimano's 3-year warranty on these items is
unaffected.

----------------------------------------
INSTALLMENT #3

Further answers on Shimano's Di2 (pronounced Dee-Eye-Two) electronic
shifting for tandems.

A warning notice from Bill at Santana: After receiving considerable
help from Shimano's Japan-based engineers, our comany is proud to
offer Shimano's electronic shifting as a factory-fitted option on any
of our new road tandems (with or without couplers). After reviewing
your various concerns, questions and thoughts, this follow up post is
in FAQ format.

Q: Is electronic shifting a gimmick?
A: The number of cycling journalists who think electronic shifting is
a gimmick is nearly the same as the number who haven't yet tried it.
If you can remember the '80s introduction of "indexed shifting" or the
'90s introduction of integrated brake/shift controls, the coming
months will confer a feeling of Deja Vu. As we learned back then, many
of the same enthusiasts who initially pooh-poohed these technological
breakthroughs soon installed them on the their own bikes. What do
these three advances have in common? Click-shifting, integrated
"brifters" and Di2 electronics all provide increased rider control
while curing a previously unsuspected level of frustration. Of these
three advances, electronic shifting is easily the most impressive. It
is safe to predict that most buyers of top tier road bikes will soon
limit their search to models with electronic shifting.

Q: How expensive is it?
A: If you compare new bikes equipped with Dura-Ace groups, the premium
for electronic shifting is over $1,500. If you recently bought an '09
bike with a Dura Ace group and want to convert is to Di2, Shimano's
special changeover kit costs $2700. If your current single has older
Dura Ace parts or a completely different component group, the least
expensive way to get a fully-conforming Di2 shift system is to buy an
entire Dura Ace / Di2 component group for approximately $4,000. After
selling the left-over pieces on eBay your net upgrade cost might be as
little as $3,000.

Q: Would a "bootleg" electronic shift system cost less?
A: It is easy to predict that numerous companies will come up with 3rd
party workarounds for owners who are either looking for a bargain or
want to retain certain non-compatible components (i.e. FSA carbon
cranks). After a dozen years of testing and installing various shift
compatibility workarounds (especially ways of combining Campagnolo
levers and Shimano derailleurs), it's easy to predict that discerning
enthusiasts will encounter unacceptable performance problems. While
Di2 may work without the special Dura Ace chainrings and cogsets, the
result will be too sloppy to merit Shimano's endorsement. The best
advice for those on a budget is to save your money --- additional
electronic component groups are on their way.

Q: When will additional electronic shift systems appear?
A: As of today, electronic shifting is only available from one
supplier; Shimano. Although Campagnolo announced their development of
electronic shifting first (was it 2003?) the road to production has
taken longer than anyone imagined. It may be another year or two
before Campagnolo and/or SRAM offer electronic versions of their top-
end component groups. More important for those on a budget is that
Shimano has already announced plans to expand electronic shifting to
less expensive groups. My best guess is that an electronic version of
Ultegra will appear within 2-3 years. Another year might pass before
we see an Ultegra-level electronic triple. As production volumes ramp
up, prices are certain to fall.

Tomorrow's post (already written) provides tandem-specific details.

Bill McCready

PS: This has been a long process. In the first weeks of 2005 three of
us from Santana became the first "outsiders" to inspect and ride
Shimano's top-secret Di2 prototype. Executives at Shimano have
understood since day one that electronic shifting will be a huge
benefit for tandem enthusiasts.

----------------------------------------
INSTALLMENT #4

Di2-equipped tandems are available now.

This fourth-and-final follow-up to Rob Templin's report from Interbike
provides details on a tandem-specific adaptation of Shimano's Di2
electronic shifting. Links to the preceeding posts can be found below.

Q: What is Santana's version of Di2?
A: The major components of Santana's tandem-specific system are
unaltered parts supplied by Shimano. This list includes genuine Dura
Ace Di2 components (controls, derailleurs, battery and charger) with a
combined mail-order retail of over $3200. The only special Di2 item we
source from Shimano is a longer plug-and-play wiring harness.
Adaptation parts include a custom-ratio Giang cassette that is
produced for Santana with Shimano-specified tolerances, a very special
chain from KMC (who also produces chain for Shimano), a blueprinted-by-
Shimano front derailleur clamp forged exclusively for Santana, and a
licensed by Shimano Octalink spline carbon tandem crankset from
Martec. Additionally, Shimano produces the custom-length Octalink
bottom bracket axles that mate these proprietary cranks to our frames.
Our introductory price for the Di2 upgrade on any Team or Beyond model
is just $1500. Since these tandems normally come with Ultegra / XTR
controls and derailleurs, this double upgrade (to both Dura-Ace levers
and shifters PLUS electronic Di2 shifting) is a great deal for tandem
buyers who don't require a "granny gear."

Q: What is the lowest gear ratio with Di2?
A: Shimano's lowest Di2 ratio for single bikes is 39 inches. On
Santana's tandem-specific adaptation of Di2, the low gear is 30.6
inches --- over 20% lower. (Sorry, Santana's tandem-specific Di2
adaptation components will not work on a single bike, and are not
available separately).

Q: Why won't you sell the adaptation parts individually?
A: Because Shimano helped Santana to create this adaptation for our
tandem customers, we will not betray them by selling parts which might
be used instead of genuine Dura Ace Di2 components. Additionally,
while Shimano has worked with us to provide a unified tandem-specific
approach, our proprietary parts will only work correctly on a Santana-
dimensioned frame. Installing our adaptation parts on a different
frame will lead to reports of inferior performance --- which is
something that Santana and Shimano have taken great pains to avoid.
While many builders, retailers and customers will find ways to cobble
various incompatible pieces together, from the knowledge gained while
working with Shimano's engineers I can report that Di2 cannot possibly
function as designed when items such as SRAM chains, IRD cassettes,
and/or FSA cranks are substituted. Shimano's original Di2 and
Santana's tandem-specific adaptation are integrated systems that will
not work well if pieced together in unintended ways.

Q: When will I be able to convert Di2 to a triple?
A: Although Shimano has announced their intentions to produce a triple
front changer, this may take 2-3 years. As with previous triple
conversions, you'll also need new derailleurs and a triple crankset.
Unlike previous triple conversions, you probably won't need to buy a
new set of controls (the brain of the Di2 system is strategically
located at the front derailleur, where it is out of harm's way).
Because Santana's tandem-specific adaptation of Di2 was designed to
facilitate a future triple conversion, instead of a new crankset
you'll simply bolt a third chainring (as small as 24 teeth) onto our
exclusive "double becomes a triple" carbon crankset (which reduces the
cost of a future triple upgrade by over $500).

Q Will Shimano eventually produce an entire Di2 system for tandems?
A: Yes. For the past two decades Santana and Shimano have cooperated
on Shimano's development of number of tandem related products
(including rim brakes, rear derailleurs, cranksets, hubsets and
wheels). Except for the built wheels, all of these tandem-specific
products were later purchased by other tandem builders (including
Trek, Cannondale, Burley, Co-Motion and KHS). Santana is currently
working with engineers in Japan to develop a new range of tandem-
specific drivetrains that will be 100% Shimano—and available to all
builders. Santana's adaptation of Di2 is a cooperative pilot project
that will help Shimano to accelerate this process.

Q: I've heard that Shimano might void the warranty if a part is used
in an "unintended fashion." Is Santana's tandem-specific version of
Di2 guaranteed?
A: Yes. Because Shimano's engineers inspected and approved Santana's
tandem-specific installation of their Di2 components, these items will
retain their full 3-year Shimano warrantee. The one year guarantee on
remaining parts (including cassette, chain and cranks) is serviced by
Santana.

Q: What if I'm not 100% sure that Di2 is the best answer for our
tandem team?
A: Try it "risk free" for 90 days! If you purchase a new Di2 equipped
Santana tandem and decide (for any reason) that Di2 is not what you
want, we'll buy it back. Simply remove and send us the slightly-used
special pieces. In return, we'll issue you a check for $1500 and ship
new original-spec non-electonic components to your dealer. We even
cover your dealer's installation costs.

-Bill McCready

PS: If you are not ready to buy a new tandem and would still like to
test Di2, a few of Santana's test-ride centers are planning to buy and/
or share some new demo units. Drop me an e-mail to obtain details of
where you'll be able to schedule a FREE test ride of a Di2 tandem.

Links to the preceding posts:
http://hobbes.ucsd.edu/tandem/hyperm...ep09/0275.html
http://hobbes.ucsd.edu/tandem/hyperm...ep09/0289.html
http://hobbes.ucsd.edu/tandem/hyperm...ct09/0091.html


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