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  1. #1
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    Looking at a Santana Team AL this Thursday

    We'll be looking at an XL Santana Team AL this Thursday. I had despaired of finding a good bike anywhere near enough to my remote-ish location to actually go see and test in person. As luck would have it, I found what seems to be a close approximation of my dream bike within 60 miles of my upcoming high school reunion. The reunion is a 10-hour drive away, but since the Santana is so close we'll take an extra day to go take a look at it. And maybe even buy it! :-)

    The seller seems committed to making it work - he had the bike inspected by his LBS, put on a new chain and rear cassette, and at my request had the sweet-16s fully inspected as well. He's also saving maps from his local rides so we can do an extended test on Friday morning.

    I hope it works out, but it's always good to maintain a professional detachment when seeing and testing a new vehicle of any kind. "Always be ready to walk away", I'm reminding myself. But she had me at "hello".

    I do like the relative uniqueness of the Team AL frame - Santana doesn't offer this model anymore.

    Wish us luck!

    Pic of the bike:
    Last edited by IndyTim; 08-02-10 at 01:33 PM.

  2. #2
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    Sweet-looking tandem! As with any used aluminum bike, I'd check carefully for stress cracks at tube joints, dropouts, etc. Same thing with the carbon fork and Sweet 16 wheelset. You can tell a lot by the way the seller deals with you. Sounds like he's as interested in making sure it works for you as he is in selling the bike, which is great.

    Just make sure it fits correctly! The best deal is no good if the bike doesn't fit.

    BTW, I also saw an S&S-coupled Team AL for sale ($7k) on Craigslist in Spokane, WA if anyone is interested: http://spokane.craigslist.org/spo/1828951073.html

  3. #3
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    That is a fantastic looking bike. If you need to verify that the frame is an XL, you can do so by the serial number. Santana can tell you the year, and size, from that number. Make sure it fits.

    The Sweet-16s are the earlier version. If I remember correctly, they are about 1/3 of a pound heavier. That comes from heavier spokes and rims.

    I look forward to hearing how things go for you.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    . . . but do bring your checkbook!

  5. #5
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    Having owned a Santana Sovereign for 14 years I can tell you its a nice bike.
    I think this frame is very similar if not the same as the Sovereign it just has racier parts on it.
    The components look good including the Reynolds fork.
    If it was me I would try selling the wheels and get something more durable.
    How much are they asking for it?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnbrown View Post
    Having owned a Santana Sovereign for 14 years I can tell you its a nice bike.
    I think this frame is very similar if not the same as the Sovereign it just has racier parts on it.
    The components look good including the Reynolds fork.
    If it was me I would try selling the wheels and get something more durable.
    How much are they asking for it?
    Yes, it's the Sovereign frame w/ carbon cranks and fork, and the sweet-16 wheelset. I'm not sure what gruppo is on it, yet, but I think all the components (stems, posts, etc.) are lighter/racier than the standard Sovereign.

    Seller is asking $3400 list. What do y'all think? Good deal? Bad deal?

  7. #7
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    That looks about the same size as our Sovereign XL. We "upgraded" our rig so it has the carbon fork and the sweet 16 wheels. No carbon cranks in ours but we do have a disc rear brake and a carbon stoker post. If the bike has a 10 speed transmission it must be a relatively recent model. Regardless, if the bike is in excellent shape/has few miles on it, then I think it is a good deal. I would not discard the sweet 16's but I would start looking for an every day set right away.

    Good luck!!

  8. #8
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    If we buy it, I plan to have a set of wheels built. I've been playing with the prowheelbuilder.com site. Well, "playing" isn't quite the word for such a painfully slow website... Those guys need a re-design. But they have some good options - never underestimate the value of a configurator.
    Santana's 160mm rear hub really limits the choices - what's up with that anyway? I guess it does provide a stronger design in case we decide to use the tandem to haul gravel or something.

    I'm aware of these options for Santana-sized hubs - are there others?

    - Phil Wood
    - White Industries
    - Hadley Racing

    BTW, ProWheelbuilder can do Phil Wood hubs / Velocity Deep-V rims / DT Swiss spokes + nipples, all in black for $632. Weight is 2017 grams. Their configurator didn't offer the Fusion rims, which would be my preference and would save 90 gm. That setup seems to be a nice compromise - strong but reasonably light for everyday use. (team weight is 315)
    Last edited by IndyTim; 08-03-10 at 08:52 AM.

  9. #9
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    Shimano also makes 160mm tandem hubs, which Santana specs on their lower-end tandems. They are perfectly good hubs, just not as fancy as Phil, Hadley, etc.

    Santana sells their wheelsets separately: you can get a Hadley OEM wheelset for $549 or a Shimano wheelset for $299 according to their website at http://santanatandem.com/Bikes/Components.html

    The Hadley hubs are very nice, IMO. See the other threads on the forum about them. To my eyes, their quality and design rivals Phil Wood, although they don't have that Phil "cachet." Sealed bearings, nicely designed shells (although not shiny like Phils), same 5mm-key-disassembly, etc.

    If the Sweet-16s aren't that important to you, you could always sell them to finance the new wheelset or see if someone wanted to trade their OEM Hadley wheelset for the Sweet-16 wheelset. You might get a taker. I've also occasionally seen them used on Ebay, the tandem list, and online classifieds.

  10. #10
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    I sold my Sovereign for $2000 but it was 14 years old, didn't have a carbon fork and had 9 speed barcon shifting. I think I could have gotten a bit more for it if I had been more patient.
    $3400 doesn't sound unreasonable if it isn't too old and the parts do not have a lot of wear.
    I would try offering something lower to start perhaps $3000.

    That seems like a good price for the wheelset. I don't think WI makes a 160mm rear hub which is too bad because they are really nice hubs and lighter than the others. You could call them to see if they can do a 160mm. I think Chris King makes a 160 but their freehub has a unique (and loud) sound when coasting, people either hate it or love it. Whatever hub you get make sure it can accept a disc brake.
    The 160 will build a stronger wheel with no dish. I did have Hadley hubs with Fusion rims and they worked well. My current wheelset also has Fusion rims but we weigh 250 lbs. You might want to still use a Deep V on the back. Another good wheel builder is Ron Ruff at White Mountain Wheels, he has a web site you could check out.

    Good luck

  11. #11
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Just a couple of thoughts on some previous posts:

    • Prowheelbuilder.com - Just call instead of using the website; talking to real people is way underrated.
    • Shimano's 160mm HF08 hubs are 'the' best value in a tandem hub. Not sexy or light, but as durable as they come... and dirt cheap. BTW, Santana is the exclusive US distributor and warranty service center for the 160mm Shimano hubs.
    • If you buy the Santana and opt for a more conventional wheelset for every day riding, keep the Sweet 16's. A 'first tandem' is just that, the first tandem you'll own. If you buy the Santana and later decide to get a different tandem, or just find you don't ride the tandem as often as you like, the Sweet 16's (with our without the 2nd set of wheels) will enhance the general market value of the tandem and make it easier to sell to the average buyer.

  12. #12
    Senior Member wheelspeed's Avatar
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    Check the stoker chainrings. Seems weird he replaced the chain and cassette but didn't replace the (I assume) aluminum chainrings under the stoker. If they're shark-finned, then you can try to get $100 or so knocked off.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndyTim View Post
    . Well, "playing" isn't quite the word for such a painfully slow website...


    I'm aware of these options for Santana-sized hubs - are there others?

    - Phil Wood
    - White Industries
    - Hadley Racing

    BTW, ProWheelbuilder can do Phil Wood hubs / Velocity Deep-V rims / DT Swiss spokes + nipples, all in black for $632. Weight is 2017 grams. Their configurator didn't offer the Fusion rims, which would be my preference and would save 90 gm. That setup seems to be a nice compromise - strong but reasonably light for everyday use. (team weight is 315)
    That site is at the very limits of my patience
    I went there last week and sat thru the configuring of Chris King 160mm hubset with Mavic CXP-33 rims for about the same weight and price as your set-up.
    I kind of like the buzz of CK hubs.
    Lets people know you are coming.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelspeed View Post
    Check the stoker chainrings. Seems weird he replaced the chain and cassette but didn't replace the (I assume) aluminum chainrings under the stoker. If they're shark-finned, then you can try to get $100 or so knocked off.
    Yeah, I wondered about that too. Thanks for reminding me - I'll add it to my checklist.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dvs cycles View Post
    That site is at the very limits of my patience
    I went there last week and sat thru the configuring of Chris King 160mm hubset with Mavic CXP-33 rims for about the same weight and price as your set-up.
    I kind of like the buzz of CK hubs.
    Lets people know you are coming.
    I tried to find CK 160mm hubs there, but didn't have the patience to make it through the very slow page loads. Good to know that's an option.

  16. #16
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    Thanks everyone for the pointers on the wheel options. I've got several things to look for when we do our inspection -- anything I'm missing?

    - check frame joints and dropouts for cracks
    - check condition of chainwheels
    - look at condition of rims and spokes. Look for any signs of cracks around nipples in rims (not sure I'll be in a position to take the tire and rim strips off -- is this something that can be detected from the inside (spoke-side) of the rim?
    - check fork/headset for noise or signs of binding
    - check cranksets for noise/smoothness
    - check condition of eccentric - is this something I can adjust with regular tools?
    - check condition of brake and shifter cables, operation of shifters and brakes
    - adjust all aspects of captain and stoker cockpits

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnbrown View Post
    I sold my Sovereign for $2000 but it was 14 years old, didn't have a carbon fork and had 9 speed barcon shifting. I think I could have gotten a bit more for it if I had been more patient.
    $3400 doesn't sound unreasonable if it isn't too old and the parts do not have a lot of wear.
    I would try offering something lower to start perhaps $3000.

    Good luck
    Thanks jn -
    Regarding the price, it's not sitting well with me so I would expect to get it down, largely because I think the sweet-16s should be at least 2/3 thru their useful life. (owner reports 5k miles on the bike)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    Just a couple of thoughts on some previous posts:

    • If you buy the Santana and opt for a more conventional wheelset for every day riding, keep the Sweet 16's. A 'first tandem' is just that, the first tandem you'll own. If you buy the Santana and later decide to get a different tandem, or just find you don't ride the tandem as often as you like, the Sweet 16's (with our without the 2nd set of wheels) will enhance the general market value of the tandem and make it easier to sell to the average buyer.
    Yes, I agree that's a good plan. Less spokes = sexier bike = faster sale. I'll squirrel them away.

    I thought I saw someone mention that Santana offers rebuilds on these wheels? For $200??? Can't remember where I saw that.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndyTim View Post
    Thanks everyone for the pointers on the wheel options. I've got several things to look for when we do our inspection -- anything I'm missing?

    - check frame joints and dropouts for cracks
    - check condition of chainwheels
    - look at condition of rims and spokes. Look for any signs of cracks around nipples in rims (not sure I'll be in a position to take the tire and rim strips off -- is this something that can be detected from the inside (spoke-side) of the rim?
    - check fork/headset for noise or signs of binding
    - check cranksets for noise/smoothness
    - check condition of eccentric - is this something I can adjust with regular tools?
    - check condition of brake and shifter cables, operation of shifters and brakes
    - adjust all aspects of captain and stoker cockpits
    The rim cracks, although very small and thin, can be readily seen from the outside. They are hair cracks but you will be able to see them if you get close and feel them if you run your nails across them.

    To adjust the Eccentric you need an allen range and a green park spanner tool. In a bind you can adjust the eccentric without the spanner tool by "rolling" the timing chain off, moving the eccentric, guessing how much to move it, and rollin the timing chain back on. Just remember to keep the cranks synchronized.

    5K miles on a 6-7 year old tandem is very little use. Most dedicated teams do twice as much in one year.

    Santana has the rims for $241 and they charge $100 for taking apart your crack wheel and building it up. But that assumes that all your spokes and nipples are usable which may not be the case. By the time you add shipping both ways and taxes you are looking at $400 to $450 per wheel.

  20. #20
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndyTim View Post
    Regarding the price, it's not sitting well with me so I would expect to get it down, largely because I think the sweet-16s should be at least 2/3 thru their useful life. (owner reports 5k miles on the bike)
    What year model is it? Just looking at the Team Scandium as the replacement model (the pricing would be pretty darn close, i.e, within about 5% - 7%), here's what my used tandem pricing tool would suggest and given the new drive train components, condition, etc.. I don't think he's that far off the mark and/or may even have it priced to sell.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  21. #21
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    Mark - nice tool. Somehow I missed that earlier. It does provide some comfort.

    The bike is an '04, and I believe the componentry is all original - according to the seller, Santana was able to source early versions of FSA's carbon crankset.

    I'm hoping that all the problems we're seeing with the sweet-16s are limited to the new generation of wheels. At least, I haven't seen any reports of premature failure on the 1st gen wheelsets. I'd be interested to learn how many miles people are actually racking up on those older wheels.

    Regarding the pricing, after weeks of poring over market data from every source I can get my mitts on, as well as trying to sell some of my own 2-wheeled machinery (cycles both with and without motors), it's clear that the market is very soft. No surprise there. I'm seeing discounts of around 10% or more to normal pricing, in order to get anything to move.

    By that logic, the price is still in the range predicted by your estimator, but at the low end of it. I'm thinking that $3100-3200 is a reasonable price for the bike we've been discussing, in current market conditions. Let's hope the seller agrees!

    Btw, there is a beautiful Team Scandium available here ( http://sacramento.craigslist.org/bik/1874852763.html ), but I'll wait to see if the tandem concept "takes" with my stoker before putting that much money into a bike.

  22. #22
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    I wouldn't be concerned about the timing chainrings at all. They last a long time, usually. And when they are worn, just switch front with back and you'll get another many miles out of them (due to wear patterns).

    My main areas of concern would be the carbon components and Sweet 16 wheels (and, of course, the frame for cracks or dents). Everything else is pretty easy to fix (cables, etc.).

    If it were me, I'd offer $3,000 and be willing to meet in the middle at $3200. It looks in really nice shape and has great components. Also, from what I've seen, XL frame sizes are not all that common in the used market, so that might raise the value some.

  23. #23
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    Looks like a very nice bike in good condition. Nice to see the "anaconda" top tube that you don't get any more on Sovereigns.

    For the 1st generation sweet 16s I personally haven't heard of any rim cracking. Plenty of stories of rim cracks with the gen 2 wheels. For our 1st gen wheels which were "new to us" we a had a good period followed by a couple of broken spokes on the rear. Non-broken spokes aren't usually changed on these wheels in a rebuild, due to expense and availability. The 2nd set that I tried again rode well for a while, then a rear nipple failed. Although fixed, the rear didn't get much use after that - I went back to Hadleys and Phil Woods for the rear. But I kept riding the front with no obvious problems. YMMV of course, but I would at least have a conventional rear wheel on hand if you can.

    Tandems tend to get a awful lot of miles or very few and this doesn't seem to relate too much to the price paid. I'll bet we never put less than 3000 miles/year on our Sovereign XL from 97 to 2010. Still a great bike.

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    We had a rear rim crack on the "1st gen" sweet 16's that Santana replaced with a "2nd gen" rim which also crack. I am not sure on the miles but the first rim must have had at least 10k and the second at least 5k. We used to do a lot of steep climbing and our team wt. is 315... most of the time

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndyTim View Post
    By that logic, the price is still in the range predicted by your estimator, but at the low end of it. I'm thinking that $3100-3200 is a reasonable price for the bike we've been discussing, in current market conditions. Let's hope the seller agrees!
    I would offer $3,000 and hope to settle for 3,200. But if my stoker fit and she liked it I would not pass to save $200

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