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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 03-05-10, 06:44 PM   #1
TeamTi700
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Carbon Cages

This is not really tandem specific, but I'm looking for information from tandem type people. I picked up 4 carbon water bottle cages (Serfas CC-1 Cirque), just because they look so cool. I went to install the lower captain's, and found that it won't fit because it sits too close to the seat tube.

I would like to drill new holes in the cage to mount it a little further up the down tube (about 3/8th of an inch). Any advice? Will the extra holes make the cage too weak to hold a full waterbottle?

Rick
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Old 03-05-10, 10:29 PM   #2
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I had a similar issue when I decided to switch from alloy cages to carbon cages, not realizing the newer carbon cage designs saddled the bottles lower on the frame relative to the mounting bolts. This wasn't a problem if I only used one bottle / cage on the front of our tandem; however, it did create an interference issue when I put both bottles on the bike.

My solution was to do some farm-boy engineering by fabricating a pair of mounting brackets out of some 1/2" wide aluminum stock bought at Home Depot or Lowes, I forget which. The brackets are rather simple, but they've worked just fine for the past two years / 6k miles. Four holes were drilled and tapped to accept M5 water bottle cage bolts into each section of aluminum stock. The brackets are mounted to the frame's water bottle bosses and then the water bottle cages (Profile KK2s) are attached to the brackets' using a pair of shortened water bottle bolts; shortened mostly for aesthetic reasons. I painted the brackets black with some enamel paint and baked it on with a heat gun while they were hanging from a coat hanger.



Unless you look closely, it's hard to tell that they're there even when the water bottles are in the cages, even more so when the bottles are in. If you click on the image below it'll bring up a somewhat larger picture so you can see the mounted cages a little more clearly.



This little change and customization is mentioned near the bottom of Column #1 of Update #8 from my Calfee Journal: http://www.thetandemlink.com/calfee_tandem_9.html

Last edited by TandemGeek; 03-06-10 at 02:11 AM. Reason: Bolt size: I was thinking of the wrench size in my original
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Old 03-06-10, 01:54 AM   #3
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If there is as much material where the new holes will be when compared to the old ones (width and thickness) I can't see why you couldn't add the new holes. BTW waterbottle cages are normally held on with an M5 bolt. Tandem Geeks solution would also work but you would probably have to countersink the screws holding the adapter to the frame so that the heads of the screws don't interfere with the cage.
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Old 03-06-10, 09:21 AM   #4
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Thanks guys! That's just the kind of information/idea I was looking for. I think I'll try the bracket first, and see how well that works. If I don't like the result, I can always try drilling new holes.

Rick
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Old 03-06-10, 03:39 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
fabricating a pair of mounting brackets out of some 1/2" wide aluminum stock
Out of curiosity, does your carbon cage + aluminum bracket weigh more or less than a light weight aluminum cage?
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Old 03-06-10, 04:23 PM   #6
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Out of curiosity, does your carbon cage + aluminum bracket weigh more or less than a light weight aluminum cage?
Who cares what they weight? They look REALLY cool. When you can no longer impress with speed, go for the look!
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Old 03-06-10, 04:37 PM   #7
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Out of curiosity, does your carbon cage + aluminum bracket weigh more or less than a light weight aluminum cage?
With apologies to the OP for my playing along with the hijack...

Grasshopper, you are clearly not ready to snatch the pebble from my hand: our stainless steel cages weighed in at 45.5 grams each whereas the Profile + bracket + 2-5M bolts weighed in at 34 grams.

However, as noted in Update #8 of my Calfee Journal, the change from stainless to carbon cages didn't come about as a way to reduce weight... it was driven by a minor issue with frame resonance & a different aspect of vanity!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TG in CJU#8


3. Water Bottle Cages:
As mentioned in Update #7, we went to the Tandems East '08 Expo in late March and our tandem was borrowed to support some of the seminar discussions.

At the end of the day I found myself chatting with Craig Calfee, Rafe Schlanger (Topolino wheels), and Gary Forman (Co-Motion) about all kinds of things and drifted into vibration dampening characteristics of the various different frame materials and wheels. Craig then stepped over to our tandem sitting about 2 feet away and said "grab your handlebars" as he plucked one of the four stainless steel water bottle cages: yikes!

The vibration from the cage was transmitted directly into the handlebars where the buzz wasn't just noticeable, it was profound: similar to what you'd feel if you were riding on a washboard road. Craig went on to note this characteristic was discovered through a client who had a medical condition that made him very sensitive to vibration. He purchased a Calfee single bike in part because of the outstanding vibration dampening characteristics. However, the client found he was experiencing 'buzz' in the handlebars and it turned out the unused, 2nd alloy water bottle cage on his frame was the source.

So, as I stood there somewhat dumbfounded and finding it odd how the carbon frame seems to accentuate instead of attenuate the vibrations of the water bottle cages (it migrated to the others and they all were ringing), a few thoughts came to mind:
  1. If there are water bottles IN the cages they can't vibrate. Keep bottles in all cages or remove the one that's not always used: problem solved.
  2. If you don't strum an empty cage the resonance isn't nearly as dramatic. Note to self, don't strum or pluck the water bottle cages: problem solved.
  3. Isn't it amazing how something seemingly as insignificant as your choice of water bottle cages could have such a profound influence?
  4. Carbon water bottle cages aren't desirable because most of them look so awful and scream "look at my carbon water bottle cages" never mind the cost.

I opted to go with #1 and #2 because of #4 and life was good... until the aforementioned special ordered black timing rings arrived.

With the black rings on the left side of the bike, the stainless steel water bottle cages now looked out of place. It was, in part, because the similar colored original ti grey anodized timing rings that seemed to tie the cages together with the overall colors and tones on the bike (yeah, we're talking big time vanity here). Moreover, when a fresh coat of UV protectant goes on the frame, the frame has a darker hue which also makes the alloy cages stick out instead of being somewhat invisible. The latter, that almost invisible appearance, was what I'd like about the stainless cages as they didn't draw your eyes away from the lines of the frame.

Anyway, and although somewhat foolish, the aesthetics was the straw that broke the camel's back on the water bottle cages. So, it was onto the internet to see what was available in regard to carbon water bottle cages. As I feared, most were gawd-awful looking and grossly over-priced. Well, how about fleabay? Somehow I lucked out and found two different sellers offering up one pair each of used Profile Karbon Lite KK-2 cages -- quite minimalist in their design -- that I was able to win for about 1/3 of their retail cost.

At the end of the day, here's the rationale behind the water bottle cage change: Given I made the kind of investment it takes to create something like a Calfee Tetra tandem for the expressed purpose of enjoying exceptional vibration dampening, comfort, and performance qualities, why would I keep relatively inexpensive accessories installed once I discovered they were undermining those features and benefits? That they no longer looked quite right eliminated even a bad reason for keeping something when cost was certainly not the issue.

Now, it would be great if the saga ended here. Unfortunately, I had the folks at Calfee position my front water bottle bosses based on where the mounts on the stainless steel cages were positioned, which it turns out is different from how many of the carbon cages are designed. I was warned about this but had no inclination to go with carbon cages at the time I spec'd the frame so no big deal...

Anyway, to get two carbon water bottle cages & bottles to fit in the front triangle opening of the frame, I had to make a pair of aluminum brackets that attach to the frame's bottle cage bosses and move the mounting position of the carbon cages further up their respective tubes.

Lesson Learned: If your builder strongly suggests something, hear them out and keep your mind open to their suggestions.

Had I never changed cages, I was spot on with my specs. However, in retrospect and now that I've messed with the carbon cages I was only 1/2 right. I still think the bottle cages in the stoker compartment do better mounted down as low as they can go if anyone plans to use tall / 25oz bottles (carbon cage spec; I got lucky that my spec. was close enough), but if you plan to use regular size bottles and/or carbon cages on a Calfee, just let Calfee's folks place the bosses where they normally would.

So, what's the net effect of all this? I'm about $80 further into the hole on our uber-tandem, my water bottle cages are no longer a source of any unintentional road buzz, and the bike now weighs 123 grams less than it did before changing the cages. So, was this really a value-added change? Probably not... but that's not always why some folks who aren't as pragmatic as others do things with their tandems. On the up side, Debbie is quite happy with the new cages as she finds them easier to use: that's got to be worth $80, in and of itself.
Update: We've actually grown quite fond of the Profile KK2 cages. They really do make it much easier to extract and reinsert the water bottles vs. the stainless cages they replaced. Moreover, no hint of water bottle ejection on big bumps. We've now secured a few more sets for our other Calfee road bikes.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 03-06-10 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 03-06-10, 05:08 PM   #8
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Grasshopper, you are clearly not ready to snatch the pebble from my hand
I am proven wrong and I bow to you. To the OP a mea culpa for the hijack...but no apology to TG for the tweak on the carbon bling
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Old 03-06-10, 07:20 PM   #9
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A thin rubber grommet on M5 bolt (between frame/cage) would have elminated the vibration.
Pedal on!
R & K/zonatandem
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Old 03-06-10, 09:42 PM   #10
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A thin rubber grommet on M5 bolt (between frame/cage) would have elminated the vibration.
Eliminate, no... Reduce.. yes but only temporarily since rubber grommets, bushing and washers tend to deform or split when they're compressed between the bottle cage and mounting bosses at the torque values needed for the M5 bolts. Once that happens, your water bottles cages mounting holes become elongated as the cage starts to flop around. We saw this almost instantly with rubber grommets, whereas the thicker and less pliable faucet washers drilled out to accommodate the M5 bolts would go for about 100 miles before they became problematic. Nylon bushings while more durable did nearly nothing to isolate the vibration once they were torqued.

I was considering the use of some leather bushings when, as noted in my extract of our Calfee Journal, Todd Shusterman sent out our black anodized daVinci timing rings and aesthetics drove the final decision to go carbon. Again, the Profile KK2's have since proven to be superior cages without regard to their material or weight in that bottle extraction and re-insertion is as slick and easy as can be. So, the decision to make the change was as win-win in the long run.

Now, if you've actually used some type of rubber grommet or washer on your Zona that has yielded long-term success, I'd be interested in knowing what type of grommet that was.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 03-06-10 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 03-07-10, 06:42 AM   #11
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Unfortunately, carbon water bottle cages stopped earning style points when world-renowned bicycle components supplier Wal-Mart began carrying them.
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Old 03-07-10, 01:12 PM   #12
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We have no vibration issue with water bottle cages on our Zona tandem; we use American Classic cages, and the top of the cage has a rubber-type joiner that connects the alu parts of the cages; makes 'em easily adjustable and rattle free.
As you may have noticed when we need to drink on our tandem, we each have a bottle mounted on our handlebar with a built in 'sipping device' (courtesy from Home Depot) so there is no need to remove bottle while riding/drinking.
Mark, sounds like you've pretty well run the gamut of options. Have you considered packing pipe graphite wrap or even teflon pipe wrap as an alternative to cut vibration noise?
In the long run, farm-boy engineering can solve some of our vexing issues!
Pedal on!
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Old 03-07-10, 01:56 PM   #13
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Have you considered packing pipe graphite wrap or even teflon pipe wrap as an alternative to cut vibration...
No... I bought 4 used Profile KK2 carbon cages off Ebay for $20/ea: vibration.... gone; 123 grams... gone; composite frame fashion faux pas... gone.

Anyone need stainless steel water bottle cages? I think I have 6 or 8 of the things laying around.
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Old 03-07-10, 02:42 PM   #14
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I drilled an extra set of holes in an Arundel carbon fibe cage to improve the fit on my TT bike, with no adverse cconsequences, but there was a a lot of material around where I drilled.


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Old 03-07-10, 04:59 PM   #15
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My Arundel cage came with two sets of holes drilled in it. Since mine sits on the lateral tube for the captain - the Arundel with the right side exit CF cage was a godsend. I've got Arundels on all our bikes.
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Old 03-11-10, 09:58 PM   #16
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Quick update here. I decided to try drilling new holes instead of creating a bracket. It seems to have worked well. I will put it to good use this summer and see what happens.
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