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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 02-04-10, 01:39 PM   #1
arrowman
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260 pound stoker

I am a 260 pound stoker. (spinning three times a week to try and lose the weight) My wife and I are about to order our first tandem, (Joint Venture). I am confident that the front wheel is strong enough to handle our weight. I have concerns over the rear wheel. (700c wheel) Looking at wheel prices it looks like a new rear wheel would add another $500 to the bike cost. My questions are these: Are there any 400+ tandem teams out there. What type of wheel do you use. Our initial rides will be mostly on flat, some what smooth asphalt. Do you think the wheels can handle this until I can upgrade the rear wheel? What type of wheel would you recomend.
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Old 02-04-10, 02:36 PM   #2
Ritterview
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I am a 260 pound stoker. .. My wife and I are about to order our first tandem...
So, you are the stoker and your wife is the captain?
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Old 02-04-10, 02:47 PM   #3
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What do mean when you say "a new rear wheel would add another $500 to the bike cost"? Won't it already come with a new wheel? Are you talking about an extra wheel? An upgraded wheel? Have you considered 26" wheels?
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Old 02-04-10, 03:31 PM   #4
HandsomeRyan
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My wife and I + our tandem weighs in somewhere around 550lbs. Right now we run the stock 48 spoke wheel with a thread on freewheel. The axle was bent (due to something the previous owner did to the bike) so I'm having a new 36 spoked 3 cross wheel built using a Shimano XT hub and a Rhyno Lite rim. The lower spoke count worried me a little but I think having the axle stress further outboard [thanks to the freehub cassette body] will help keep the axle from bending again. I have seen people do some pretty brutal things to a rim like this while mountain biking so tandeming shouldn't be too hard on it.

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Old 02-04-10, 08:59 PM   #5
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Yes I am the stoker, visually impaired. Fortunately my wife can handle my weight even on her MC 800 pounds not including me.

The wheel which comes with the bike is a 40 spoke using white industries hub. If this wheel is going to fail under my load then I would want to purchase a beefier wheel. A beefier wheel is not listed in the options for the builder, so I can't just upgrade the wheel. Looked at wheel builders prices online. The hub would be $270, rim $75, $80 builders fee, spike fee, and shipping make it close to $500. I am guessing the disc brake can be removed from one wheel to another. If not that would be an additional cost. It is always possible I could get some of the cost back by selling the wheel which comes with the bike online. However, if the sentiment is that the stock wheel is suitable for the type of riding we will be doing for at least the first couple months them I would rather hold off on ordering a new wheel. My plan is to order the bike at the end of the month. If we can get another warn day for sizing. Hoping to have the bike by April.
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Old 02-04-10, 09:29 PM   #6
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That wheel should be able to handle your weight if it is built by someone who knows how to build a wheel properly. When you get the new bike ride it for 100 miles or so then take it in and have the wheels retensioned. They should be fine.
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Old 02-05-10, 12:15 AM   #7
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I'm a 230-240 pound captain. The wife not actually a lightweight rider either so our total is over just over four hundred pounds. My opinion is that tandems are a bit different than singles when it comes to the rear wheel. The stoker sits right over the wheel, it takes a beating. My wife isn't near your weight but I bet you'd be pretty tough on the rear wheel of a tandem. Other rider may have different experiences or opinions but even myh wife has destroyed two handbuilt wheels from local wheelbuilders. One was a Mavic T20 tandem rim, the other was a Sun Rhyno tandem rim. The Deep V has by far been the best.

We have a fourty eight hole Shimano tandem hub built with a Velocity Deep V rim. 30 mm high so it's pretty tough. I also use them on all my singles as I have a reputaion of thrashing wheels. Tandem hubs are beefy. Nice big thick flanges of large diameter.

Rim $70
tandem hub $250
48 spokes about $40 so your estimate should be close

I would say try the wheel supplied on your tandem. 8 more spokes might not be that big a difference on a tandem wheel, but since you are the stoker I myself would be a bit worried. I would go for the forty eight and sell the original to pay for it. But that is my opinion figuring the rear will take quite a beating "directly" under your weight.

I realize you are visually impaired but I like posting pictures so here is a picture of the tandem with the Deep V rims.

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Old 02-05-10, 12:22 AM   #8
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If you're at all concerned why not go with 26" wheels which should be stouter. I've had my son as stoker and myself, each at 200 lbs, on our daVinci without any problem with the 40 spoke wheels. I'm no expert but I believe daVinci wheels are generally well regarded.
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Old 02-05-10, 06:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arrowman View Post
Are there any 400+ tandem teams out there. What type of wheel do you use.
Consider if you will....






There are a lot of tandems out there carrying teams or two or more riders that weigh well over 400#, so take some comfort that is is not uncharted territory. 700c 40h wheels that are well-built should be adequate, and 700c 48h wheels would provide the 'belt & suspenders' solution that many larger or multi-seat tandem teams use for long-term durability. A 40h wheel is not going to collapse if it's overloaded, it will just begin to show signs of fatigue much earlier in its service life and require rebuilding well before a 48h wheel might, e.g., spoke fatigue / breakage or perhaps stress cracks in the rim around the spoke holes. Of course, just hitting a pot hole hard on any tandem of any weight will usually damage a wheel to the point that it needs to be rebuilt: bicycle rims are consumables, as are spokes.

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A beefier wheel is not listed in the options for the builder, so I can't just upgrade the wheel.
Are you working with a tandem speciality dealer, just surfing daVinci's website, or...???? The reason I ask is, when you're buying a tandem you have all kinds of options. With very few exceptions (e.g., daVinci's Grand Junction, Cannondale, KHS tandems and similar mass-produced imports), tandems bought from a tandem speciality dealer or ordered new from Co-Motion, Santana's and all of the small volume tandem builders like daVinci are made to order and can be configured to meet all kinds of needs. However, even a really good shop or builder like daVinci will usually work with a client to change out stock spec. components on "package spec'd" production models like the aforementioned Grand Junction, Cannondale or KHS bikes. And please bear in mind that catalogs from tandem builders, on the web or otherwise, are a necessary evil and rarely all-inclusive or cast in concrete.

So, given your concerns and the significant expense you're considering, you owe it to yourself to work with either a tandem speciality dealer (that means someone who really knows something about tandems and who has been selling tandems for several years) or directly with Todd Shusterman or Brian Davis at daVinci (give them a call) to find out what they might recommend. As someone else already noted, the easiest and perhaps best solution would be to eschew fashion and stick with daVinci's preferred design spec, a 26" wheeled tandem built up with 40h wheels. Pound for pound, the 26" wheels will be as strong and durable as a set of 48h 700c wheels. However, if you really want a 700c wheeled tandem, for whatever reason, I'm confident you could spec a 48h wheel if Todd or Brian (or perhaps your knowledgeable tandem dealer) felt it would be the right choice for your total team weight. Again, just because it's not listed in the catalog doesn't mean it's not available.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 02-05-10 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 02-05-10, 09:03 AM   #10
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The wheel which comes with the bike is a 40 spoke using white industries hub.
White industries makes a very good tandem hub. The DaVinci Joint Venture comes in EITHER 700c or 26". If you're concerned about the strength you could (as has been suggested) go with the 26", which, all other things being equal, should be stronger.

Give Todd at DaVinci Designs a call. He'll be able to tell you what it can or cannot handle. And given it's a small shop, when the time comes there's a good chance your wheels may see a little more than the average care in assembly, if they know your weights.
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Old 02-05-10, 09:29 AM   #11
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On our triplet, with 700 - 48 spoke - wheels, we are from 500 to 600 lbs teams depending on the stoker cobination. No problem. I would be more concerned about your wife's ability to manuver the tandem at low speed situations. Make sure you get plenty of pratice in relatively flat and traffic free roads before you venture into the hills or istuations that require slow speed manuvering.
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Old 02-05-10, 11:05 AM   #12
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400+ tandem team here. We currently have over 1,500 miles on a 36 hole Deep V rim laced to a Chris King hub without any incident to date. We have the 36 because I got a FANTASTIC price for the King hub. Prior to that we were using the "stock" wheels from our Comotion Speedster (40h Velocity and Hugi hubs)

The point made by Tandemgeek about a little more care being taken in the wheel build is spot on.
We snapped 2 spokes of the stock wheel before building up the new wheel. Gear mashing can do that to a wheel especially a used wheel with an uncertain history.
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Old 02-05-10, 11:21 AM   #13
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beefier axle?
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