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  1. #1
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    Thoughts on KHS tandem

    The wife and I are advid cyclist. We are looking at purchasing our first tandem. Any thoughts on the KHS Milano. Does it have a rear disc brake mount?

    thanks
    Tim

  2. #2
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    I'll stick my neck out first.

    If you're avid cyclists, as I understand that to mean, you probably have pretty nice singles, and appreciate all the things those bikes do that a WALMART bike doesn't. If that description is accurate, the KHS is most assuredly going to disappoint you. If you're looking to get into the tandem world without going off the deep end (as many people on this form, my wife and I included, did) I'd look for something Santana, Trek or Co-motion that's used (yea, I Like Zona and Calfee, too but I've NEVER seen one used). If you can't find the right one that way, the best new option is very likely a Cannondale tandem, which from all accounts is a fantastic bike.

    http://www.cannondale.com/usa/usaeng...-Road-Tandem-3

    I hope I've been helpful, and PLEASE don't let me discourage you from tandeming, I just don't want KHS to ruin your perception.

  3. #3
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    The KHS Milano is not a Walmart grade tandem. It's actually quite a respectable entry-level bike: a noticeable step up from department-store quality.

    I'm reasonably certain you won't find a disc brake tab on the rear, although with the greater importance of the front brake, on a tandem, I might ask why you want a rear disc brake.

    It comes in two sizes, which in itself is a step up from department-store grade tandems. But down from the mid-range and high end brands, which have at least four, in some cases many, sizes.

    To calibrate tandem pricing, once you've decided you're not just trying it out, but are convinced tandeming is for you, you can figure somewhere between 2 and 3x the single bike price for a bike you'd be happy with. In other words if your road bike would cost you $1500 to replace, you're looking at a $3000 to $4500 bike, unless you want couplers, which your single doesn't have.
    Last edited by WebsterBikeMan; 05-07-10 at 06:40 PM. Reason: changed nuance

  4. #4
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    To our knowlege the KHS Milano does not have a disc brake mount but has double threaded 145mm rear hub (you could install a drum brake).
    It would be a nice entry level tandem, in our opinion (about 1800 bucks). As O&W suggested a C'dale or used major brand twicer could keep the cost down a tad. Your wallet will dictate..
    While the Milano does not have a top-o-the line stuff, it does come decently equipped. As things wear out (eventually they do) you can then upgrade components. A fist time tandem is like your fitst single bike: WOW it's nice . . . but then as you become more experienced your may lust for something better.
    Very rartely there could be used Calfee for sale and even more rarely a Zona . . .
    Yeah, we've got a Zona with only 25,000+ miles on it and is NOT for sale!
    Pedal on!
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  5. #5
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    I have not looked at the KHS Milano but I have looked at other brands in this price range. Their weakest link is often the rear wheel. I have known a couple of teams with a Raleigh tandem in this price range and with a new rear wheel they were good to go.

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    This would be a some times used bike. I'm at heart a mountain biker and my wife loves to do charity rides/century's. I'd love to get a Zona, Santana or Co-Motion. But $$$....... LOL the 2-3x cost holy moly my wife's LiteSpeed is 3 grand and I have that much in my custom road bike. LOL Your so right I'd probably not be happy with a 2G bike but I would live with it it we only used it 4-5 times a year. But then again if I did like it I could sell and fork over the cash for a real real nice ride....IDK we'll see. Any how coming from the MTB world I know how good some of those disc brakes are and I figured a disc drag brake would be nice. Used tandems are kind of rare and the bike shops down here don't have any tandems.

    Thanks
    Tim

  7. #7
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimT504 View Post
    Any how coming from the MTB world I know how good some of those disc brakes are and I figured a disc drag brake would be nice.
    Thanks
    Tim
    If you do a search for disc drag brake, I'm pretty sure you'll find plenty of recommendations against it. There are those (including Sheldon Brown) that will tell you any rim brake will stop a tandem just fine, and there are those who will wax poetic about how wonderful their disk brakes are - the primary distinction being wet riding performance (MTB tandems being their own category). But the point here is that neither disk nor rim brakes do particularly well in a drag brake role. Rim brakes, treated as drag brakes have the obvious disadvantage of overheating rims, and potentially blowing off tires. But disk brakes overheat as well, if used as drag brakes, esp. when applied to tandem weights. This has been known to lead to all sorts of interesting effects, the least of which is warped rotors, and the worst of which is melting of various essential, but plastic, parts. A drum brake, on the other hand, will not necessarily stop the bike, but is built to take the heat.

  8. #8
    Member cowtandemstoker's Avatar
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    Our first tandem was a KHS. It was fine for about a year until we realized that we loved tandem and then it just didn't suffice. Upgraded to an aluminum Trek T-1000. Fabulous for about 4 years and then we just HAD to upgrade again to the Zona.

  9. #9
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    I would look for a used Santana, CoMo or similar tandem. I recently sold our Santana Sovereign for $2000. That's a pretty a good way to get into tandeming considering it was in excellent condition and new one costs over $5K.
    Tandem magazine classifieds is a good place to start. I feel a rear disk brake is not needed unless you are a heavy team, will be doing loaded touring or riding a lot of long steep grades or some combination of those.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnbrown View Post
    riding a lot of long steep grades or some combination of those.
    How do you define long, how do you define steep?

    Depending on where your home base is, your expierience and level of skill your definition of long and steep will vary dramaticaly. If you are going to error on the brakes error on the side of over doing it, once you learn you have underdone it you may not have an opportunity for a do over.

    My idea of long is about 3 miles, steep 8% or more. USPSPro who rides in this area would probably take those kind of hills without touching the brakes.

    I rode in the rain yesterday and was reminded why non rim brakes are a good thing.

  11. #11
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    Not feeling a lot of love for the KHS, and I'm not quite sure why.

    We bought a Tandemania Comp in 1999 and having ridden it now for 11 years can speak with a little insight about it.

    A little about me: 7 years as a mechanic in several bike shops from Colorado to California, avid cyclist (mountain, mostly) for 22 years. In 2003 took the plunge and had a custom frame built for me - results were beyond what I expected.

    Anyway, lets start with the bad about the KHS (mind you, this is the cromo, flat barred, 26" wheel version, so this may not be super relevant):

    My biggest beef with the frame is the eccentric BB adjustment system. KHS used the twin grub/setscrew variant, which makes initial timing chain adjustment easy, but subsequent adjustments not so easy. The set screws dig into the alum BB eccentric, causing little indents. These then will "grab" the setscrew on subsequent adjustments, making it difficult to move the eccentric to a different spot. Once you do, the problem repeats itself. I would much rather have a split shell/pinch bolt style, much like your seatpost clamp.

    2nd is that even though we got the 20"/18" (I think, anyway), the stoker compartment seems a bit short. Somewhere in the neighborhood or 27-1/2" IIRC. The front fits me, the captain, pretty well, but my stoker/wife, who is the same height and general dimensions as I am, is a bit cramped. This has not been enough of an issue to warrant replacing it with a big dollar boutique tandem. But the bigger problem is that the KHS sizes are limited. If you fit the sizes they offer then its a non-issue. It has become virtually a non-issue for us.

    3rd beef and this is easily remedied: There are a total of 4 water bottle mounts. Thats right, 2 each for captain and stoker. I would think that there would be (and there is) ample opportunity for more.

    The saddles that came stock sucked; I usually replace those anyway.

    Now for the positives:

    1st: I paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $1100 for mine. With that in mind I think it came reasonably well-equipped. Full Cromo frame, and as I am a steel guy, this was right up my alley. It is not butted (or at least it doesn't proclaim itself to be) but I'm okay with that. It is a sturdy, solid frameset that is light enough for me.
    It comes with dual eyelets on the rear dropouts, a drum brake stay brazed onto the chainstay, rack mounts on the seatstays, and cable guides for a drum brake. The fork is a heavy duty unicrown, with single eyelet dropouts and lowrider rack mounts. Not too shabby a package.

    Wheels were no name front hub, 40 holes laced to Sun Rhyno Lite rims, the rear was XT cassette threaded for a drum brake, 40 holes with the same rims. These have proven to be absoluely bomb-proof and have not given any trouble whatsoever.

    Shifters were low end Shimano 8 speed RF plus, brakes were PowerTools (KHS house brand) levers and V-brakes. All adequate stuff but I have upgraded over the years to Shimano XTR (M952) because I ordered it for my custom Curtlo but then changed my mind to disc. However, I still have those shifters and they are still soldiering along on a single bike.

    Cranks are marked Cyclone on the backs, 175 front 170 rear with 30/42/52 rings, pinned and ramped. They shift well for what they are. Pedals were junk but then again I usually swap those out anyway. I eventually swapped the stoker drive side for an old Shimano XT (M735, I believe) to get lower gearing (24/34/44) for those steep climbs.

    FD was (and still is) Shimano Sora. RD Was Shimano Deore 9spd, but has been changed to LX Rapid Rise.

    Headset was junk so it got swapped for a Chris King.

    I also replaced the bars to a 1.5" rise just for personal preference. The originals were alloy house brand flat bars. Nothing to get excited about but then again, I paid 1100 bux.

    So, 11 years later I can't justify getting rid of it because the problems it has are small enough to be overlooked. The frame is stiff, solid, yet rides nice and tracks well. In the past two years its been sporting a child stoker kit and my 4 year old will do 20 milers on it with me. My wife and I have ridden it off road in Moab, where it performed admirably. We've done several local trails and it has always survived to come back another day.

    My advice? If you can't fit the KHS then don't buy it.
    If you can't fit a boutique builder then it is as good as junk as well.

    I have reasonably discering tastes in bikes (My Curtlo came in at just under 3k) and have tasted the sweet nectar that is XTR and Dura-Ace.

    The KHS line of tandems are reasonably well equipped to help you decide if tandeming is for you. They are well built enough to last the long haul (witness ours). Where you go from there is up to you, but don't discount them because of the price. There is a lot of value for the dollar to be had there.

    I'm not a brand specific, Chevy vs. Ford kind of guy, I just think these bikes don't get the respect they deserve.

  12. #12
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    Smokinapancake,
    What a great bit of feedback for the OP. I have not ridden a KHS but that's about what I expected overall and may be just what they need for thier intended use. To the OP - if you are unlikely to want to upgrade later to a Santana, Comotion, etc, then this may be a great choice. If you think there may be a decent chance that you will want to upgrade to a better bike later, then a niced used model would be a better choice. The re-sale value of a used hig end tandem would be fairly stable while the KHS will drop in value just as the high end ones do. Therefore, if and when you switch, you will recover more of or all of your investment.

    My wife and I started with a used Santana for which we paid $900. We sold it two years later when we upgraded and recovered every cent effectively providing us with a free two year test ride. Just my .02

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimT504 View Post
    The wife and I are advid cyclist. We are looking at purchasing our first tandem. Any thoughts on the KHS Milano. Does it have a rear disc brake mount?

    thanks
    Tim
    My 2007 Milano has a mount for a front disc, but not a rear disc. Rear is set up to accomodate a drum brake, although I haven't had a need for one.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Gyro_T's Avatar
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    I just found and will pick up the day after tomorrow a 1996 KHS Tandemamia Comp. It will be our first tandem and it is double butted CrMo. XT/LX group with Sugino cranks. I am thrilled to have found it. At $400 I think it will be perfect for the limited used it will likely get. I am hoping my wife and I get the tandem bug and maybe we will upgrade someday to a lighter steel bike, like the Santana, but for now, I think we can't go wrong. I think it is a 42 pound bike. I see with the new thinner tubes and components we can expect to get to around 33 pounds and stick with steel (Santana Niobium CrMo). That is about the weight of a '74 Schwinn Continental. I am already looking at upgrading the headset. Chris King? Others? I was surprised to find that it came with a threadless headset in '96.
    Lover of art and function in lugged steel

  15. #15
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    I love my KHS single MTB. Very tempted by a Tandemania on consignment downtown. They're asking $600, though, perhaps I should wait for a $400 one to show up
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  16. #16
    certified vegetarian veggie's Avatar
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    So far I am loving my recently purchased '04 Milano. I paid 750 and believe I got a very good deal. From pictures it didn't look like much, but upon pickup I noticed a true temper decal on the seattube. Has the stock deore rd ,105 fd and sora shifters. The real killer part of the deal was the king wheelset.
    Last edited by veggie; 08-16-12 at 12:01 AM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Gyro_T's Avatar
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    With the upgraded stuff, that is a sweet deal. According to Bikepedia, http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...lano&Type=bike that came with Sugino cranks. Either way, a very nice bike. Do you know if the True Temper is double butted?
    Last edited by Gyro_T; 08-15-12 at 08:05 PM. Reason: spelling
    Lover of art and function in lugged steel

  18. #18
    Senior Member CaptainHaddock's Avatar
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    I'd say look for used (of any nature) on the CL market. Also, don't forget to check the tandem classifieds, lots of good deals there too.

  19. #19
    certified vegetarian veggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gyro_T View Post
    With the upgraded stuff, that is a sweet deal. According to Bikepedia, http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...lano&Type=bike that came with Sugino cranks. Either way, a very nice bike. Do you know if the True Temper is double butted?
    You're right, at first I thought it was an '05 or '06, which came with truvativ cranks. Never mad the connection in my brain I guess.


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