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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 01-01-10, 06:10 PM   #1
jnbrown
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Tires again

I have used Conti Gatorskins wire bead tires for many years and they work well in terms of durability and flats. One reason I started using them was many years ago I tried a folding tire (Conti I think) and it blew off the rim several times. Not wanting to take any chances I went with the wire bead. In retrospect I think the tire blow off was due to due to the tire / rim combo.
Recently I have been wanting something that is more of a racing tire.
I put a Rubino Pro 25c on the rear. It is holding up pretty well but I don't care for the rough textured tread. So I ordered some Rubino Pro Slicks and waiting for them to come. In the mean time I had tried a Conti 4000s on my single earlier this year. The 4000s had a lot of things going for it. Low rolling resistance, resistance to cuts, durability, its tough as hell. But on my single the ride was harsh and I like Michelin Pro3 tires much better. Today I decided to try the 4000s on the front of the tandem even though I would normally not use a 23c tire on the tandem. Well I was surprised. On the tandem this tire felt smooth and much nicer than the Gatorskin. Steering felt more nimble . The 23c was not a problem at all I did not feel the tire was overloaded or compressing too much. So now I am thinking 23 on the front, 25 on the rear. I may try a 4000s on the rear but will give the Rubino slicks a try first. I know Pro3 has been mentioned by a few here, but I wouldn't feel comfortable with that on tandem because of fast wear and the pressure rating is not very high.
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Old 01-01-10, 08:58 PM   #2
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Keep in mind that with the longer wheelbase of a tandem, compared to your single, the tandem ride would less harsh.
Used 23 mm tires on tandems for decades. Now utilizing 25mm Maxxis Re-Fuse with excellent results for us.
Just our input . . .
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Old 01-03-10, 01:44 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
Keep in mind that with the longer wheelbase of a tandem, compared to your single, the tandem ride would less harsh.

This helps. I'm going to pick up our first tandem (DaVinci JV) next weekend. I thought the 28mm Contis were comically narrow: I run the 28mm conti 4seasons on my fancy custom go-fast road bike most of the time and run 37s on my commuter. I was riding through the silly sub 23 (I even ran 20mm for a bit that might as well have been solid rubber) period in the 90s and thought that whole deal was over.

Anyway, I've been reading the posts on tires here and was struck by the number of folks riding on sub 30mm tires with two people on top. I was going to just pick up a pair of 32mm conti tours or similar right away and save the 4seasons for my road bike. Maybe I'll try the skinny tires for a bit first... any thoughts?

Thanks.
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Old 01-03-10, 10:49 AM   #4
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Scott,
We've had our daVinci for about 7 months (our first tandem). Full-up (including DV) we're 390 lbs and I shared your concerns when I bought the bike. I asked Todd at DV about tire sizes and he indicated we could fit up to 38mm tires on our DV (a JV withWound-up fork), but also said the 28mm would be fine with 115psi front/120psi rear. We've been running 28mm Conti GP 4 Seasons (Kevlar bead) for the 2000 miles we have on the bike and except for goatheads and a rogue piece of glass they have been fine. I have read reports of problems with Kevlar beads, but we're neither touring inthe alps nor racing.

On some roads, mostly chip seal, I do get a buzz in my hands that can cause numbness. Might be that larger , lower pressure tires would eliminate this. Might try this some time.

Being able to run larger tires moved me away from considering 26" wheels since we don't intend to do loaded touring. The wheels, themselves, have proven to be very stout at least in our limited miles.
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Old 01-03-10, 11:25 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback Rick. My DaVinci is the 700c model with a wound-up fork.

I'm in central Illinois, an area notable for it's great hills (aka the highway overpasses) and an abundance of chip seal and good gravel rural roads. These roads are actually quite nice with the 700x28 tires on the single road bike. I weigh in around 90kg and run the 700x28 contis at 95 psi on the single. The bike is all custom steel including the fork with carbon h-bars and a brooks swallow saddle. Makes for comfy longish (100-150km) rides while being "fast enough" for me.

I was wondering how your choice of single bike tires compares to your tandem. Bigger? Same? Narrower?? zonatandem's post about the longer bike being more compliant makes sense to me, but would seem to primarily affect transmission of vibration to the seats but would not have so much effect on the h-bars as you suggest.

Ok, one last thought/question. You indicated you run the conti 28s at 115/120psi. How fat would you go to run at lower pressure, say 90 to 95 psi?

Again, thanks all, this has been a very helpful resource.
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Old 01-03-10, 08:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ScottCarney View Post
Maybe I'll try the skinny tires for a bit first... any thoughts?

Thanks.
Measure your rim's inside width (or get it from a web site or contact the manufacturer). Then check one of several charts on the web giving the range of tire widths for a given rim width. You might be able to go beyond the limits of the chart, but don't get too carried away.
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Old 01-03-10, 09:06 PM   #7
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The Maxxis Re-Fuse 700x25mm tires we run on our tandem have a Kevlar bead (folding tire)
We do not use a rimstrip, but Veloplugs (plastic piece that fits into each individual recessed spoke hole in our Velocity rims). This gives us an easy time mounting/dismounting tires; have actually done this without tire levers. We inflate up to 120 psi.
Back in the 'old days' (before 700c tires were popular) we utilized 27 x 1 1/8" or 27 x 1 1/4" tires.
Our road surfaces in AZ are not better than other places. From potholes to chipseal to freshly paved (that they then promptly chipseal).
Buzz in the hands can be alleviated with thicker padded gloves and/or cushioned bartape or even a c/f bar.
Just our experience.
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 01-04-10, 09:16 PM   #8
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Just great luck with 28c Armadillo All-Condition. We are a big team (400#) and a heavy bike (50# unloaded) with lots of miles and no flats. Had trouble with 3 Specialized Armadillo Nimbus delaminating badly after 100-200 miles (the shop was willing to take em back, but did not seem interested in passing on our info to Specialized, to bad)... but the All-Condition has been great. Kinda curious about Conti Gatorskins because so many tandem teams swear by them - smoother, stickier ride than the Armadillo I guess... if I can get the Gatorskins via my REI rebate in March might try them.
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Old 01-04-10, 09:20 PM   #9
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One more thing... FYI: I rode solo for many years and sorta got used to when to change out my tires; BUT, the tandem wears them out faster, and while this is obvious, when I was new with tandem I did not intuitively eye-ball the tires as often as I should have. Almost learned the hard way. In any case, while I don't routinely LOOK at every inch of my tires on my commuter bike, I do before every ride on the tandem and I am willing to change them out much sooner than I would my solo tires.
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