Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Philadelphia area, Pa., USA
Bikes: Santana Cabrio triplet, Santana Fusion S&S tandem, Co-Motion Mocha S&S tandem, Co-Motion Pangea S&S, Co-Motion Nor'wester S&S, C'dale F2000
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Be aware that there are downsides to a freewheel hub on a tandem in that they are more prone to breaking axles than a cassette hub. Freewheel hubs don't support the drive-side part of the axle as well as cassette hubs, resulting in greater stress being put on the axle. Basically the freewheel hub has the axle hanging out a ways past the bearings (the length of the freewheel) in an unsupported manner, giving it more leverage to break. A cassette hub supports the axle on bearings basically to the outside of the cassette body. It may be just fine, but with a heavier team you have a chance of having problems at some point. See Sheldon Brown's page on the difference, and especially look at the picture at the top that shows the way axles are supported in the two types of hubs: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/freewheels.html
Just something to be aware of. If it does end up breaking, it's probably a good time to upgrade to a cassette freehub and run a 7-speed cassette (or better). Also, the torque from two riders often makes freewheels nearly impossible to remove on a tandem.
Here's what respected wheelbuilder Peter White says about freewheels:
"I no longer stock freewheel type rear hubs for tandems. There are several reasons for this. Freewheels are difficult to remove from tandem hubs because of the added torque of two riders. With only a few exceptions, freewheels don't offer Hyperglide shifting ramps which are particularly effective on tandems. Those exceptions are either not ruggedly built for use on tandems or don't offer a suitable range of gears. No eight speed freewheels exist in the correct spacing for Shimano's eight speed shifters.
The only freewheel type rear tandem hub that I recommend is the Phil Wood. [...] But I would strongly recommend getting a cassette hub if at all possible."