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  1. #1
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    New Tandem Build - Tsunami Bikes (AZ)

    Well…..Tsunami project #3 begins!

    Project #1 last spring was a go-fast training & racing machine w/custom geometry. It has met and exceeded all expectations.



    Project #2 this winter has been an all-weather, go-fast machine, again w/similar geometry, but with a few twists here & there as you can see. Check that Honjo hammered fender sweetness!



    Project #3 will be….an aluminum tandem!

    The final product will look very similar to this recent Tsunami build. This frame came in around 7lbs, by the way, which is pretty sweet. We’re working through the specs now for me & my significantly better half, and construction should start hopefully next week.

    Ahh, so much to say…but yes, it’s madness. Sheer madness. I can’t get enough of these bikes! Joe at Tsunami Bikes makes an awesome rig. Handbuilt in good ol’ U.S.A. (Arizona). Think globally, buy locally: support your local framebuilder!

    Will post pics and other build details as I get ‘em. Hope you enjoy watching the journey as much as I enjoy living it.



    Last edited by JSNYC; 03-13-12 at 06:12 PM.

  2. #2
    Hey let's ride. pathdoc's Avatar
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  3. #3
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pathdoc View Post
    I've got a Tsunami tandem too!
    Hmmm. Not exactly. They are the same in name-only.

    More on Tsunami Cycles: http://www.tsunamibikes.com/Tsunami_Bikes/Home.html

    I'm not quite sure why the Wells' didn't do much to protect their brand when Chuck's Bikes adopted the "Tsunami" name for their house-branded, mass-produced frames imported from Asia. Chuck's Bikes has since gone out of business.

  4. #4
    Hey let's ride. pathdoc's Avatar
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    Yes, after I posted I realized they were different animals. Love my bike anyway. Nice looking builds, all 3 of them.

  5. #5
    Ride it like you stole it WheresWaldo's Avatar
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    Jim,

    When you get the specs or a line drawing post it here so we can see how it it laid out. Also if you don't mind describe the decision making process for the specifications chosen. It will make for interesting reading as well as insights into your intended use. You might even get a useful suggestion or two.
    "Never use your face as a brake pad" - Jake Watson

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    Thanks folks. I'll post more details when I have 'em. Thank you to everyone with whom I've exchanged PM's for your helpful insight.

    Yes, that other Tsunami is from the mail order shop that went outta biz. Totally, totally different rigs in every respect.

    I'm fairly active over on the Velocipedesalon message board (screen name is "54ny77"), and on a thread that detailed one of my road bike builds, Joe chimed in on the brand question. This was his reply:

    "Hello everyone,
    I wanted to thank everyone for the interest, and answer a few questions about us. Yes when we first started out in the 1990's Russ Denny built our frames for us. It was the most economical, and locally produced method we could find. Our founder at the time was an engineer for Reynolds Composites, designed the bike because he thought similar compact frames had some flaws at the time and had Russ build them for him. We not only have supplied frames to Cycles Veloce, but well over a dozen other major teams in Southern Cal. A couple national championships have been won as well with us. We build with a variety of aluminums, including Reynolds, Easton and a few others as we customize the shape and wall thickness depending on the design of the bike. Most times wall thicknesses at the butts are around 1.2 to 1.5mm with the center being .8 to 1.1 depending on the tubing manufacturer. Our frames hover around 1300 grams, most 54cm is 1250 or so again depending on the tubing. We build a slight bit stouter, and get very solid use for the frame for a good deal of time. We also find that our frames are fairly repairable, and have done so instead of trashing them. We now build all frames in Phoenix, employ a FAA certified welder for all frames. Unfortunately Chucks bikes tried to import for a few years some frames that were made by Merida. Some of them are fairly good, but the scandium models they had were strife with problems from overheating.
    We arent fanatics, we are just racers that have been in the industry since the early 80's. Our credit cards are in tact, because we dont beleive in spending $5k on a frame because its 58 grams lighter. We just realize that its more fun to get out and ride and enjoy ourselves.
    Thanks,
    Joe Wells - Tsunami Bikes

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    Geometry is all set:
    Frame material: butted, shaped, etc. aluminum
    BB drop: 6.0cm
    TT diameter: 44mm
    Boom diameter: 55mm
    HTL: 150mm
    HTA: 73 deg.
    Captain STL: 45cm
    Captain STA: 73deg.
    Captain TTL: 54.5cm
    Stoker STL: 35cm
    Stoker STA: 74deg.
    Stoker TTL: 70.5cm
    Chainstay: 42cm
    Rear spacing will be 135mm
    Frame will have rear disc mount. Might use it, might not--but I like having the option.

  8. #8
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Why so short in the stoker compartment?

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    Wife is 5' 5", reach ~60, saddle height ~63.5, back is ~50, hand-to-hand ~134.

    Do you think her TT be longer? We'll be using a control tech adj. stem.

  10. #10
    Ride it like you stole it WheresWaldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSNYC View Post
    Wife is 5' 5", reach ~60, saddle height ~63.5, back is ~50, hand-to-hand ~134.

    Do you think her TT be longer? We'll be using a control tech adj. stem.
    My stoker is only 5'4" and our stoker compartment ETTL is 73.5 cm (~30").
    Better to be slightly long than too short, especially if you are using and adjustable stem to take up some of the length. See if your builder will provide a centerline drawing, it will make it much easier to visualize how everything fits together.
    Last edited by WheresWaldo; 04-19-10 at 12:21 PM.
    "Never use your face as a brake pad" - Jake Watson

  11. #11
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSNYC View Post
    Wife is 5' 5", reach ~60, saddle height ~63.5, back is ~50, hand-to-hand ~134.

    Do you think her TT be longer? We'll be using a control tech adj. stem.
    So long as her bars don't fall under your saddle and/or your hips fit inside her bullhorns or dummy brake levers, it may be 'long enough'.

    Our first road tandem was a Santana with a 27.75" top tube and we switched over to the Erickson design philosophy -- longer is better for stokers -- on our first custom within a year. Our Ericksons had 31.5" stoker compartments and the Calfee has a 30" stoker compartment, noting that Debbie is 5'2" (I'm about 5'8") and prefers a reach of around 61cm. As you can see in the photo below, the 30" stoker compartment gives Debbie some extra breathing room such that her bars fall about 1" behind my saddle.



    Santana still subscribes to the 27.75 - 28.00 stoker compartment design spec, whereas Co-Motion, Calfee and a few others use 28.5. Rodriguez uses about 30", noting that there's a lot of Erickson influence in their design pedigree. Again, so long as you're both able to achieve your normal riding position without her nose being in your backside or your hips rubbing on her bars you should be fine.

  12. #12
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    He came up with that based on a variety of body measurements, both wife's and mine.

    I really have no opinion on the matter, will have to rely on his judgment (and input from yours & others' valuable insight here on this forum).

  13. #13
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    For reference purposes, the Cannondale you were riding on vacation had a 28.5" stoker compartment.

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    Are those Da Vinci cranks?

    Awesome looking bike, looks ready to fly. What does it weigh?

    Also, what is that on the bottom (boom) tube? A pump? And I presume those are Cane Creek stoker levers/thingies. Does the "lever" part of that actually move, or is it fixed? Any sharp ends on those, or are they the bees knees in stoker accessories? I'm thinking of putting on road bars for my wife first (only because I already have a pair), and use those Cane Creek things, then try bullhorn bars next. Whichever she likes better we'll keep.

    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post

  15. #15
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Are those Da Vinci cranks? Yes

    What does it weigh? Depends on what you want included in the weight and which wheel configuration: 28.5 lbs to 30.6 lbs is the range, noting the couplers added ~2.5 lbs to the frame's weight.

    Also, what is that on the bottom (boom) tube? A pump? Yes, an XS Blackburn carbon frame pump. Ours is probably only one of a handfull of Calfee frames with pump pegs as they were something of a science project.

    And I presume those are Cane Creek stoker levers/thingies. Yes, stoker levers and the 'dummy brake lever' is black plastic part with a rounded-end that merely provides your stoker with the ergonomic feel and grip as a Campy Ergo shifter/brake. The dropbars and stoker levers add cost (~$60) and weight (~225 gr) to the build, but defintely afford your stoker a lot of different hand positions, never mind the ability to use the drops (assuming they have enough head room).

    Full details regarding our build, with MSRP and weights can be found here: http://www.thetandemlink.com/calfee_tandem_build.html

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    I am 5'8" and my stoker is 5'2". Because I have short legs and she likes her bars set higher, I have the stoker stem raised as high as it will go on the front seat post.
    This results in a clearance problem from her hands to my butt when she has her hands on the tops of the bars.
    I thought this was not going to be a problem with our new Calfee since the rear top tube is longer than it was on our Santana, but it turned out it was not long enough.
    If I was going to do it over again I would have had the rear made a bit longer. If your saddle is high enough and her bars are low enough it may not be a problem.

    I would go with 145mm rear spacing because that is standard for tandems and tandem hubs which will build a stronger wheel because the bearings are stronger and the spokes will have more even tensions on both sides of the wheel.

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    Ahh, so many variables...I was hesitant to post these specs because design-by-message board can become frustrating!

    But seriously, I do appreciate the insight, as various comments have prompted questions to the framebuilder, all of which he's explained to me in detail--from effect on hip placement to handling dynamics.

    Long story short, the builder has a bunch of measurements from my wife and I, and this is what he's putting together based upon those measurements. I trust him.

    I don't want to become "that customer" mentioned in a prior Competitive Cyclist blog (where he explained why he had to stop carrying Pegoretti's)--you know, the one who asks a thousand questions of their builder (actually, in CC's case, the question went from customer to CC to importer to Pegoretti, and who knows what got lost in translation).

    Standard issue tandems are probably spec'd the way they are to meet the middle of the bell curve, and the expert shop works on fitting riders around that standard spec. In this case, I submitted measurements, communicated my intent, and now I just need to sit back and relaaaaax....

    I can better spend my time learning about tandem parts & accessories and how they work.

    Cheers.

  18. #18
    Ride it like you stole it WheresWaldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnbrown View Post
    I would go with 145mm rear spacing because that is standard for tandems and tandem hubs which will build a stronger wheel because the bearings are stronger and the spokes will have more even tensions on both sides of the wheel.
    OK, so if we are going to give advice let's be accurate, most hubs use the exact same cartridge bearings 6802, 6902, 6903 etc. with rubber seals. Other than a few minor variables they are all pretty much the exact same bearings. They carry the same loads, they work in the same temperature ranges, they are rated about the same maximum revs. One is not any stronger than any other.

    Some hubs are designed specifically for the wider spacing provided by tandems but most are not. If you look at hub dimensions the primary difference in the majority of hubs is a longer axle. the hub shells are identical which means the bearings are in the same place as most mountain hubs on which they are based.

    Where does that extra 10mm go? It is usually canted out beyond the non-drive side bearings.

    Will it build a stronger wheel? Yes, maybe, but not because of any difference in the bearings or the hub shell. Since we moved the NDS side 10mm the entire rim must move 5mm toward the NDS, this does make the bracing angle of the DS greater and provides for a more symmetric wheel build and as a result potentially a stronger wheel.
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  19. #19
    Ride it like you stole it WheresWaldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSNYC View Post
    Ahh, so many variables...I was hesitant to post these specs because design-by-message board can become frustrating!

    But seriously, I do appreciate the insight, as various comments have prompted questions to the framebuilder, all of which he's explained to me in detail--from effect on hip placement to handling dynamics.

    Long story short, the builder has a bunch of measurements from my wife and I, and this is what he's putting together based upon those measurements. I trust him.

    I don't want to become "that customer" mentioned in a prior Competitive Cyclist blog (where he explained why he had to stop carrying Pegoretti's)--you know, the one who asks a thousand questions of their builder (actually, in CC's case, the question went from customer to CC to importer to Pegoretti, and who knows what got lost in translation).

    Standard issue tandems are probably spec'd the way they are to meet the middle of the bell curve, and the expert shop works on fitting riders around that standard spec. In this case, I submitted measurements, communicated my intent, and now I just need to sit back and relaaaaax....

    I can better spend my time learning about tandem parts & accessories and how they work.

    Cheers.
    Jim, you are making an incredible investment that will be "unique to your team." It is very important that you open a dialog with your builder and not just rely on his experience to make these decisions for you. There should be no reason for Joe to think of you as "one of those customers" if you question any decision you or he have made. Do not put yourself in a position where you will regret not paying more attention to this specific measurement or placement of that particular boss. It YOUR tandem not Joe's!

    Now unless Joe is an avid tandem rider, which is not evident from his website, all his information will most certainly be anecdotal. No amount of single bike riding can prepare you for the differences you will encounter riding two up. Some things that are true of singles just don't translate to real life tandem riding. As I mentioned to you in a PM this morning I would certainly listen to the advice you receive here and on RBR from people with much more experience than I such as TG, ZT, RV, PD and others.
    "Never use your face as a brake pad" - Jake Watson

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    Point taken.

    I'm listening to everything, believe me!

    This is a huge leap to make--especially since it's a surprise for my wife!--and I'm not discounting anything said here or elsewhere. It's a learning experience for me.

    That said, yes, he does have (and ride) a tandem.

  21. #21
    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    It's funny, but I had almost this same experience—the other way around. I went to a noted tandem builder for a single. I explained that I wanted a bike that I could tour fully loaded, but that 99% of the time would be ridden as a daily rider. I wanted light, relaxed, comfortable and good handling. We spoke about it several times on the phone and swapped a few emails. I had reservations when I got the final specs and started to become "one of those" customers and then just decided to knock it off. The finished bike was better than I had imagined. He knew what I wanted better than I did—or that's the way it came off. Either that or we were way lucky. Should I ever decide that I want or need a custom tandem; I'll certainly go back to Bilenky, give him my specs, tell him what I'm looking for, and let' im have at it.
    Last edited by foamy; 04-20-10 at 07:36 AM. Reason: grammar
    None.

  22. #22
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    On a different topic....does anyone have a stoker who's NOT experienced at all with respect to cycling, and have you used a suspension stoker seatpost for her/him?

    I'm thinking of going with a suspension post to ease the bumps, as well as provide me with a little bit of insurance until I get more familiar with the effect of hitting even little bumps....i.e., minimizing the amount, and ferocity, of swearing coming from that wonderful person sitting on the back of the bike!

  23. #23
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foamy View Post
    It's funny, but I had almost this same experience—the other way around. I went to a noted tandem builder for a single.
    Like most of the really good boutique tandem builders, I'm pretty sure Stephen Bilenky cut his teeth building single bikes. From what I can recall, he started frame building in the early 80's and then embraced tandems all under the name 'Sterling' , up and until he and his partner learned another builder had the rights to that name. He branched off under his own Bilenky Cycle Works (BCW) brand in the early 90's.

    So, while Bilenky has been a prolific and exceptional tandem designer and builder, BCW has built more single bikes than tandems at this point given the tremendous popularity and growth BCW has seen in recent years. In fact, just doing some quick checks of previous interviews, back in 2008 Stephen noted while he'd personally built about 800 frames -- "a large percentage of which were tandems" -- since shifting his focus on running the business back in 1995 BCW has produced about 1,000 frames and was presently turning-out 100 frames a year, of which only a small percentage are now tandems.

    I found the same thing to be true with Glenn Erickson's frame building palmares, noting Glenn has built two of our tandems and one of my single bikes. While he is best known in tandem cycling circles for his tandems, he was also an accomplished single bike frame designer and fabricator. The single "Signature model" was a wonderful frame, on par with our "Signature model" '98 tandem in terms of build, finish and ride qualities. Turns out, so are our Calfee's... albeit from a completely different aesthetic standpoint. Glenn never 'ramped-up' his business beyond the boutique business model and has, instead, pursued a second passion that allows him to spend just about every day from June through October cycling in Europe, i.e., leading cycling tours with his Erickson Cycle Tours company. Craig Calfee, on the other hand, has more than ramped up his business. He's sold it, bought it back, and had it on a very steep trajectory ever since and now spends a large amount of his time working in Ghana with his Bamboosero enterprise, which is where my last Email found him.

    In closing, tandem builders are a special breed who have typically mastered frame building, but found a special passion for serving the very small, hand-built tandem niche market. There are also a lot of single bike builders out there who have and can build a tandem when asked. As to how their designs fare when compared to the more prolific tandem builders, there is only one real measure that counts.... and that's the satisfied client. Beyond that, it really doesn't matter what anyone else "thinks", that is unless a fundamental flaw becomes apparent that forces rework or a redesign and replacement. Then again, even some of the best builders will have a disconnect with a client every once in a while where the client's expectations, requirements or relationship with the builder missed the mark. Sometimes you hear about those, sometimes you don't.

    Bottom Line: Bet on the jockey, not the horse. If you find a builder you like and trust who has experience designing and building tandems (and the tooling needed to do so), that's more than half of the battle. Frankly, the differences between very good, great and exceptional tandems are actually quite small and will often go un-noticed or appreciated by all but the most discerning enthusiast. Moreover, even a bad wheelset or poor tire choices can muck-up the ride qualities of the very best frames.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 04-20-10 at 03:30 PM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSNYC View Post
    On a different topic....does anyone have a stoker who's NOT experienced at all with respect to cycling, and have you used a suspension stoker seatpost for her/him?

    I'm thinking of going with a suspension post to ease the bumps, as well as provide me with a little bit of insurance until I get more familiar with the effect of hitting even little bumps....i.e., minimizing the amount, and ferocity, of swearing coming from that wonderful person sitting on the back of the bike!
    It is rare to have one on the front, but common to have one on the back.
    On our Santana which was an aluminum frame we used a suspension post. We actually went through three different ones and ended up the popular Thudbuster ST which we think is the best out there.
    I would recommend it on any aluminum frame as Santana is probably one of the smoothest riding one out there.
    On our Calfee which is CF we don't have or need one.
    Some stokers find they can get by without one regardless of the frame, so you might want to try going without one to start.
    It also helps if the captain calls out the bumps, at least the big ones.
    Just imagine riding your single blindfolded on a road filled with potholes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSNYC View Post
    On a different topic....does anyone have a stoker who's NOT experienced at all with respect to cycling, and have you used a suspension stoker seatpost for her/him?

    I'm thinking of going with a suspension post to ease the bumps, as well as provide me with a little bit of insurance until I get more familiar with the effect of hitting even little bumps....i.e., minimizing the amount, and ferocity, of swearing coming from that wonderful person sitting on the back of the bike!
    It is rare to have one on the front, but common to have one on the back.
    On our Santana which was an aluminum frame we used a suspension post. We actually went through three different ones and ended up the popular Thudbuster ST which we think is the best out there.
    I would recommend it on any aluminum frame as Santana is probably one of the smoothest riding one out there.
    On our Calfee which is CF we don't have or need one.
    Some stokers find they can get by without one regardless of the frame, so you might want to try going without one to start.
    It also helps if the captain calls out the bumps, at least the big ones.
    Just imagine riding your single blindfolded on a road filled with potholes.

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