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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, 08:15 PM   #1
jnbrown
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Calfee assembly issues

Ok, I have just tried to put a few parts on the Calfee and already having issues.
The seatposts (27.2) will not go in. I removed the clamps and that did not help.
One seat post is a thomson and has machining marks on it that could be a factor.
The other seatpost is completely smooth. I can barely just get a few mm in and it takes a lot of force just to do that. I don't think grease will solve the problem, it just seems the tubes in the frame are too small and I am not going to nor should I have to use excessive force to put them in, they should simply and easily slide in like on any other bike I have. I hope the frame isn't going back for rework because of this.

I started measuring the rear in hopes my stoker could be in the same position as her single. I was hoping the extra length of the rear top tube would allow the stem to be adjusted further back resulting in a higher handlebar position. Well it's not working out because my saddle height is not high enough to get the stoker stem to be at the height it needs to be. So I could use a riser contraption that I already have which we used before her shoulder surgery. I found a Thomson 50mm stem I could use with it that should get the bars to the right height. Another option which might not look as clunky is the CoMotion Max Adjust stem. I am not sure if would get the bars up high enough, will have talk to CoMotion about it.

Thanks for any tips / experience with this.
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Old 01-01-10, 08:52 PM   #2
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Rather than shipping Calfee back, you could get the setapost milled down a tad so it will fit. Or, use smaller diameter seatpost with a shim.
Before you use the riser for stoker, try out her fit after you have bike fully assembled. Then, if needed, put on the riser.
When you self-assemble a bike, there can be some unexptected issues.
Been there, done that!
Good luck!
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Old 01-01-10, 09:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jnbrown View Post
Thanks for any tips / experience with this.
Tip #1: Address your questions to Calfee directly; Netizens, no matter how well-meaning, won't honor your warranty.

That said, Calfee uses fiberglass inserts in the seat tubes. Basic rule of thumb is, if it sticks use grease. If it slips, remove any grease (amended to 'use Tacx or FSA assembly paste). Our Thomson seat posts do, in fact, have a nice and tight fit in our Calfee.

If you're certain that the seat posts won't install properly because the seat tube's aren't the correct diameter (i.e., you've checked them with your Vernier caliper), call Calfee and get their recommendation on how to proceed.
Now, here's where that part about being careful taking advice off the internet comes into play... If it was me and I had checked both the seat posts and seat tubes and determined that the seat tube IML was out of spec, I'd simply ream them out to the correct spec. However, you're not me and I'm not going to pay to fix your frame if you do something that Calfee didn't instruct you to do.
As for your other issue again, if it was me, I'd work up a drawing of the frame with my saddle installed (Ok, I'd mark up a photo using Photoshop & PowerPoint) to figure out what my options were. If there was enough of my seat post exposed, it could be that a custom-made stoker boom with a very steep angle might work. If not, then it could well be that an unconventional boom would be needed. Again, the key is getting everything on paper in terms of where the bars need to be in relation to your saddle to figure out the best way to get from point A to point B: it may be a right angle, then again... maybe not.
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Old 01-02-10, 10:00 AM   #4
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Just for grins, do you have another brand of 27.2 post to try? I have a Thompson in a MTB and they are a quality post. With that quality came a very accurate diameter that fit better (read snugger) than other posts.

Going along with the TG, do what they say, but careful use of a brake hone turned at Makita speed with a dish soap and water cutting fluid might get you dialed in.

PK
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Old 01-02-10, 01:36 PM   #5
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Today's update. By mounting a saddle to the Thomson seatpost and putting some gease on it I was able to get it in the frame.
It's a tight fit, tighter than I am used to but I think it will be ok.

I made some more careful measurements on my wife's single bike and our current tandem and it looks like the stoker bars will need go up by 0.5 inch.
I think the riser with the 50mm stem will put them a bit too high and I don't have quite enough room to drop it low enough.
There are some 40mm stems, but it's going to add 1/2 lb and look kind of clunky.
I think the CoMotion Max Adjust stem should give just about the right amount of rise, assuming it has the same 35 degree angle as most stoker stems so that is my current preference. It mentions that it is made from steel and I can't a weight on it, but fit is going to have to trump weight.
I could probably get a custom from Calfee but that is probably in the $400 range.
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Old 01-02-10, 01:39 PM   #6
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I could probably get a custom from Calfee but that is probably in the $400 range.
With a good illustration and proper dimensions, you could also get a custom made out of steel by someone like R&E Cycles (www.rodcycle.com) master frame builder Dennis Bushnell for around $100 - $150 that would be as light or lighter than a carbon boom.
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Old 01-02-10, 03:21 PM   #7
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Finally found a photo that I was looking for...

This is a stem design that can be fabricated from carbon -- like the one here made by Bill Davis -- or out of steel by a frame builder.

Regardless, it's a good design for a stoker who's either substantially taller than their captain... as was the case with this very strong team from Ohio... or who just needs to get their bars up above the captain's saddle without resorting to an erector-set like collection of posts.
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Old 01-02-10, 04:36 PM   #8
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Finally found a photo that I was looking for...

This is a stem design that can be fabricated from carbon -- like the one here made by Bill Davis -- or out of steel by a frame builder.

Regardless, it's a good design for a stoker who's either substantially taller than their captain... as was the case with this very strong team from Ohio... or who just needs to get their bars up above the captain's saddle without resorting to an erector-set like collection of posts.
Wow, that's really high. I only need about 1/2 inch. I am pretty sure the CoMotion will do nicely but I am going to call them Monday to get the dimensions.
I checked R&E Cycles web site and they have something for $200 but looks similar to what I already have. I figure if I sell all the extra stems I have it will pay for at least part of the Co Motion.

Thanks.
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Old 01-02-10, 05:01 PM   #9
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Bob Davis has made several custom c/f stems.
Ours now has 25,000+ miles on it and includes a built-in bottle mount for stoker + a ti 'glue-on' for our mini garage door opener.
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