My stoker and I want to upgrade (from an old steel Sovereign on which we have about 7500 miles of riding experience together) to a high performance tandem with S&S couplers so that we can travel (for those that read my earlier post, we have at least decided that much--S&S rather than folding). We also hope to do tours someday, including self-supported tours (panniers or trailer). At the same time, we want a fast, responsive bike for the kind of riding we do 95% of the time--fast club rides or training rides. Can we have our cake and eat it to?
We rode a steel Da Vinci global venture and liked the gearing range and shifting smoothness but not the ICS (though 10 miles may not be enough to get used to it and judge fairly). Santana Niobium was super smooth/compliant but too whippy when I stood and pedaled hard; it freaked out my stoker even worse than with our steel Sovereign does. I assume the problem would only worsen under load. The Aluminum Sovereign was too harsh, I thought. A carbon fiber Da Vinci was too whippy (maybe due to open frame?). The Beyond was our favorite, feeling compliant but also stiff when standing. However, when we went back and rode it again after 10 miles on the steel Da Vinci, we couldn't feel much difference in stiffness/compliance! We're confused.
Are we crazy to even consider a CF or Beyond frame for future loaded touring? Will the Beyond CF/Ti joints hold up? Is it dumb to tour with an exotic frame instead of steel? (at this point, I don't plan to tour the outback of Africa or something, but more likely USA, Canada, Europe, New Zealand).
What do YOU think is the best approach to a bike that would have as little compromise as possible for both fast day rides and long loaded touring? I've read all the posts I could find on Beyond and couldn't find any comments on its use as a touring bike. The Da Vinci seems to have a cult following, but with several experienced teams apparently NOT liking ICS (does it grow on you, or are first impressions accurate, in which case we don't want it)?
Are we nuts to focus on whippiness? My stoker hates it (understandably). But would we be better to learn to live with it (not sprint out of the saddle or climb out of the saddle, for instance) in order to have a softer, more compliant ride (such as the Niobium offered in spades)?
Are my comparison tests meaningless because each bike came with its own different wheelsets (Sweet 16 vs. Rolf vs. Da Vinci regular spoked) and other components?
Our team weight is 330 lb, btw. We keep saying we'll knock that down to 300 but hasn't happened yet.
Appreciate any of your thoughts.