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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 10-02-09, 12:35 PM   #1
WebsterBikeMan
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Primary consumables: chain and tires

I'd like to make this a poll, but don't know of a way of doing so.

Anyhow, we regularly get questions about chains and tires. No - this is not the winter riding forum, I'm talking about drive chains. So, here are the questions:

Drive Chains:
Speeds (7, 8, 9, ... )
Brand/model preference
Typical mileage (metric or miles OK)
Road or off-road use

Tires
700c or 26" (yes, I'm leaving out all the other sizes)
Primary function - racing, casual local rides, touring, loaded touring, off-road
Team + bike weight bracket - light (<290 lb, 130kg), med ( 290-360 lb, 165kg ), heavy (>360lb, 165kg) [do not include gear, as that is factored into "Primary function".]
Typical mileage
Brand/model preference/width

Last edited by WebsterBikeMan; 10-02-09 at 12:37 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 10-02-09, 02:31 PM   #2
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Speaking only to tandems, as it's far different once you include the rest of the bikes in our stable....

Drive Chains:
Speeds: 9 & 10
Brand/model preference: Shimano XT / XTR of late, various different SRAM
Typical mileage (metric or miles OK): Varies quite a bit depending on terrain. Let's say 2k for road, a few hundred for off-road noting that I usually change when wear approaches 75% on a Park CC: I much rather chuck off $25 chains vs. $100 cassettes & $20 - $45 chain rings.
Road or off-road use See above.

Tires
700c or 26": 700 = road, 26" = off-road
Primary function: Recreational road & off-road
Team + bike weight bracket: Light
Typical mileage: Tandem-only, 3,500 yr is probably a good guess.
Brand/model preference/width: 700 = Vredestein Fortezza @ 23mm, 26" varies with terrain / soil conditions.

Good luck trying to analyze the data. Frankly, it's analogous to figuring out why men prefer... (and what a list that would be).
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Old 10-02-09, 03:49 PM   #3
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Drive Chains:
Speeds: 10
Brand/model preference: In limbo. After breaking the 9-spd Dura-Ace drive chain on the Santana (which performed well, and lasted a while), we switched to the SRAM one thinking it might be stronger. It made more noise in the granny ring under heavy load, but never broke. Shifting seemed the same. On the Calfee, we are running SRAM 1090-R on both timing and drive chain. We broke the drive chain on the first long ride. Fixed it, and the thing is making a clicking noise under heavy load. We just bought a KMC X10 SL that I am installing before this weekend's ride. Hoping the noise will go away. I will update if I like the KMC.
Typical mileage (metric or miles OK): Around 2500 miles (or 2x per year), but don't really have a regular interval established for the tandem, since I have replaced them either at failure, or building a new bike
Road or off-road use Road.

Tires
700c or 26": 700c
Primary function: Recreational road, long distance riding, lots of climbing and descending. Some racing too (mostly TT's or hill climbs).... EDIT: ADDING THIS HERE... Tandem-only mileage, around 3,500 miles yr... at my current distance/climbing ratio, that would be 335,000 feet of climbing.
Team + bike weight bracket: Medium. (300lb team plus low 30's for the bike)
Typical mileage out of the tires: Not sure yet, but on the Gatorskins (700x28) the rear was completely gone at around 2000 miles, front still had 50% life left. On the GP4000 the rear is already looking worn after less than 1000 miles, but it's getting more abuse with the disc brake (more rear brake bias).
Brand/model preference/width: Continental Grand Prix 4000, 700x25

Last edited by uspspro; 10-02-09 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 10-02-09, 04:18 PM   #4
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Drive Chains:
Speeds: 10
Brand/model preference: Dura-Ace 7800 10sp for both
Typical mileage (metric or miles OK): Around 1500 miles for drive chain
Road or off-road use Road

Tires
700c or 26": 700c
Primary function: Recreational road
Team + bike weight bracket: Medium
Typical mileage: 1500 miles for rear tire (GP 4000s are lasting much longer than Vredestein Fortezza Tri-Comps. The Fortezzas attracted large screws and pieces of glass. They lasted between 72 and 700 miles.)
Brand/model preference/width: Continental Grand Prix 4000, 700x25

Last edited by rmac; 10-02-09 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 10-02-09, 04:28 PM   #5
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Drive Chains:
Speeds (7, 8, 9, ... ) 8 - but will probably go to 9 for next season.
Brand/model preference Nashbar 8 because it's about the cheapest, but KMC is good.
Typical mileage (metric or miles OK) Replace chain after 3000 km.
Road or off-road use Exclusively road.

Tires
700c or 26"
700x23C
Primary function - Unloaded sport touring
Team + bike weight bracket - medium: crew weight 320 lbs, bike weight 44 lbs.
Typical mileage 3,000 to 4,000 km per year. Tires typically last about 1,500 km on the rear, variable on the front but usually expect at least 3,000 km.
Brand/model preference/width Vredestein makes the most consistent and durable tires. I've tried Continental (GP and Gatorskin), but their sidewalls are questionable and they do not age well, tending to "dry out." The Gatorskins are more durable than the GP's, and the folding Gatorskins appear to be more durable than the wired-on. / Fortezza SE or Tri-Comp / 23mm

Luis
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Old 10-02-09, 06:27 PM   #6
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Drive Chains:
Speeds: 9
Brand/model preference: SRAM PC971 - so far, but open to suggestions
Typical mileage (metric or miles OK): 2500 km

Tires
700c or 26": 26"
Primary function: Spec'd for loaded touring; 80% of mileage has been local.
Team + bike weight bracket: Medium
Typical mileage: Estimating 6000 km (first set)
Brand/model preference/width: Continental Travel Contact 26x1.75 - good for loaded touring, but overkill for local rides.
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Old 10-02-09, 06:37 PM   #7
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Bike: Calfee Tandem
Drive: FSA SL cranks. The rest is all Campagnolo components
Speeds: 10
Brand/model preference: Record 10
Typical mileage: Around 2500 miles - Yr. Clean chain and cassette every 300 miles. Replace chain about 3500-4000 miles
Road or off-road use: Road only

Wheels: Rolf Vigor
Tires: 700x25 Michelin Krylion
Primary function: Recreational road, long distance
Rider + bike weight bracket: 305
Typical mileage: on average, 1800 miles for rear tire
Brand/model preference/width: Michelin Krylion 700x25 front & rear. Michelin Pro Race 700/25 for centuries/double centuries

Last edited by VaultGuru; 10-04-09 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 10-02-09, 06:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
Speaking only to tandems, as it's far different once you include the rest of the bikes in our stable....
Absolutely, which is why I even posed the question here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
Good luck trying to analyze the data. Frankly, it's analogous to figuring out why men prefer... (and what a list that would be).
I'm hoping to be able to say something of the form "If you're a <light/med/heavy> team who plans to <race/credit card tour...> and has a bike with <700c/26 inch> wheels, the recommendations seem to be coming in in favour of ..."

Good chance there will be holes in the matrix. But when people ask for tire recommendations, informed responses require knowledge of the sort of use, team weight, and wheel size. Some of the listed uses will never be mine, but I figure to make it generally useful, I should try to be reasonably comprehensive. No doubt I've missed something. I think there may be more hope for chains than tires, as the matrix is basically two dimensional - speeds and on road/off. If chain quality is totally unrelated to anything like price, then it might come out looking like "why men prefer...", but with tires, I've found that many of the recommendations that have appeared on the forum come in a small number of specific sizes. If I'm looking for a durable 26x1.25" tire I can go to all the tire manufacturer's sites and find perhaps a dozen choices, probably fewer. And some of these sites tell me about tires not sold in all markets. At that point it gets to be a bit of a needle-in-a-haystack job to find reviews/recommendations on those from tandem owners. So I'm suspecting, that when you control for size and primary use, there will only be a small number of recommendations in any category, with the possible exception of 700x25c or so.
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Old 10-02-09, 07:09 PM   #9
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Bike: Kuwahara Tandem
Drive:Campy Record 10
Drive and timing chain: Campy Record
Mileage: 1500 miles
Wheels:700c
Primary Function: Fast Recreation Road
Weight:400lbs +35 for the tandem
Tires:Continental 4000 25 and at times 4000s 23

Bike: S-Works Tarmac
Drive: Campy SR 11
Chain: Record 11
Mileage: Too soon to tell
Wheels: 700c
Primary Function: Ego boosting for a mid age crisis
Weight: 175lbs +14.5 for the bike
Tires: Continental 4000s 23
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Old 10-02-09, 09:19 PM   #10
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Chain: 10spd, various brands, getting about 2.5k/chain. DA was first, KMC second and now SRAM.
Haven't noted a whole lot of difference. Cost per mile varies from $0.02 to 0.008

Tires: Michelin Pro 2 25mm 700C, was stock on the bike. Very nice tire but gets about 1300mi each.

After going through 6 of these at $40 or so each (yeah Probikit or Nashbar once) ($0.03/mile)
we switched to Conti Gran Prix 4000 or Ultragator Skins. Mileage to be determined. Price in the
$30 or so range. Team weight upper limits of acceptable at 380 including bike.
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Old 10-03-09, 09:09 AM   #11
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Drive Chains:
Speeds: 9 on two different tandems
Brand/model preference: Shimano XTR 7701 on one and Sram ? on one
Typical mileage (metric or miles OK): change all of them once a year..regardless of miles
Road or off-road use Road for both
Tires
700c or 26": 700 28C...Conti 4 Season GP's on one and Bontrager 28c Hard case(soon to change to Conti's on the other
Primary function: Recreational road
Team + bike weight bracket: Medium
Typical mileage- usually 3000 to 4000 per year but this year closer to 5000 (combined)

Bill J.

Last edited by specbill; 10-03-09 at 09:10 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 10-03-09, 09:12 AM   #12
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Now running Shimano 10 Speed (was SRAM before yesterday) chain.
Continental 4 Season 700 - 25 tires.
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Old 10-04-09, 02:15 PM   #13
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]Drive Chains:
Speeds: 9
Brand/model preference: Shimano XT
Typical mileage (metric or miles OK): 1,000miles
Tires
700c or 26": 26"
Primary function: Full off road on chalk trails with plenty of Flints
Team + bike weight bracket: 400lbs
Typical mileage: 400 miles
Brand/model preference/width: Panaracer Fire XC's in 2.1 sizing. Problem is the flints. Rear tyre will have the tread cut to ribbons and the front is not worth putting on the back due to cuts. Tyre will not be worn- but grip detiorates as the tread rips up.

Have tried other tyres but milage is no better and this is the Tyre that works on our soil conditions for grip. And the Fire XC's are noted as having better protection against "snakebites" due to the sidewall construction. Don't know if it's true but I don't get snakebites- which has occured with other makes..
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Old 10-04-09, 08:31 PM   #14
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DA chain shifts so much better than the original off the Co-Motion, which broke at 800 miles. The shifting was immediately noticeable and it is quiet.
Continental GP 4-Season, 25C
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Old 10-05-09, 05:01 AM   #15
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Road Tandem
Drive Chains:
Speeds: 9 Speed drive / 8 Speed timing
Brand/model preference: SRAM PC 991 / PC 870
Typical mileage (metric or miles OK): About 2500 at present, typically I replace the entire drivetrain when worn. I will check the main drive chain for wear, and visual the cassette, if it needs a chain but nothing else it will get replaced. The timing chain and rings should go a lot longer. This bike has always seen Finishline Wet lube, and has the chains, cranks and cassette removed every couple hundred miles and cleaned in the parts washer, then relubed. Chains get a final rinse in solvent, so prior to lube they are absolutely clean and dry.


Tires
700c or 26": 700 = road
Primary function: Recreational road, some runs to supermarket, training, and charity ride events
Team + bike weight bracket: Heavy
Typical mileage: Tandem-only, 1000 rear, 1750 (?) front. I've been using Tandemgeeks concept of new front and installing the used front on the rear. Regardless the rear gets worn pretty quick.
Brand/model preference/width: Continental Ultra Gatorskins 700/28


MTB Tandem
Drive Chains:
Speeds: 8 Speed drive / 8 Speed timing
Brand/model preference: SRAM PC 870 drive / OEM Shimano timing
Typical mileage (metric or miles OK): About 500 at present, these things take a beating, not only dirt and stress, but the timing chain has served as a glide plate on a free logovers and bumps / climb peaks.
Tires
700c or 26": 26"
Primary function: Serious tight singletrack locally, no jumps, more open type trails on trips.
Team + bike weight bracket: Heavy
Typical mileage: Not many
Brand/model preference/width: Prefer a Panaracer Smoke kevlar 2.1 on front and a Ritchey Zmax WCS 2.1 running opposite the arrow direction on rear. Honsetly there are a few tires we haven't got comfy with, but most work ok and few last any distance, especially the rears. These tires get hammered and start shedding knobs and quickly will round over losing their edge.


MTB Tandem #2
Drive Chains:
Speeds: 9 Speed drive / 8 Speed timing
Brand/model preference: OEM Shimano
Typical mileage (metric or miles OK): Unknown at this time
Tires
700c or 26": 26"
Primary function: Serious tight singletrack locally, no jumps, more open type trails on trips.
Team + bike weight bracket: Heavy
Typical mileage: None yet, still building
Brand/model preference/width: Panaracer Smoke kevlar 2.1 on front, Continental something on rear, it was a closeout tire. 2.3"
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Old 10-05-09, 07:34 AM   #16
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Drive Chains:
Speeds: 10 drive chain, 9 or 10 speed timing chain
Brand/model preference: KMC
Typical mileage (metric or miles OK): Around 1500 miles for drive chain, 2500 on timing chain
Road or off-road use Road

Tires
700c or 26": 700c Tubular
Primary function: Recreational road
Team + bike weight bracket: Medium
Typical mileage: 1500 miles for rear tire.
Brand/model preference/width: Continental or Vitorria 25mm width

So far it seems I am the only one using tubular tires (without issues), this may make my entry invalid for your purposes.
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Old 10-05-09, 07:47 AM   #17
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DA 10 spd (7801?)
Conti gatorskins 700x28.
Always carry a chain tool, spare links and pins. (Just like spare tubes tire boot and inflata)
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Old 10-05-09, 03:22 PM   #18
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Chains
Drive Chain: Dura Ace/XTR 9 speed
Timing chain: SRAM single speed (cheap & strong)
Typical mileage: 1500-2000 miles for drive chain; 3500-4000 miles for timing chain
Road or off-road use: primarily road + occasional short dirt road sections during multi-day tours

Tires
700c or 26": 700C
Primary function: local rides on front range and multi-day supported tours in mountains
Team + bike weight bracket: medium (320 lbs, including bike)
Typical mileage: usually replace rear with front ~2000 miles; put new tire on front. Primarily ride on mountain roads and use rear disc with ~80% bias.
Brand/model preference/width: 28C Conti Gatorskin
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Old 10-05-09, 04:02 PM   #19
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A number of responses appear to be giving annual mileage (which only makes sense if you change components annually whether they need it or not). I was looking for the number of miles you typically get on a chain or tires. Several have specifically indicated Rear tire, which is good - it invariably wears out first, although if you are one who rotates in a new tire on the front when the rear wears out that does complicate it...
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Old 10-05-09, 11:02 PM   #20
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In a few weeks I can check and see total miles for the tires. Best I recall, we got about 1200 miles on a new rear tire in cooler months and 900(?) in hotter months, both installed as new tires. Currently, our front has seen about 1000 since new including summer riding. The current rear tire is at around 1400miles, and was the previous cool weather front, guessing at 1700 miles combined it will be done

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