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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 09-14-11, 11:56 AM   #1
DubT
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My stoker likes the new Topolino wheels

We pulled the trigger on a set of Topolino wheels last week, they arrived on Monday and i mounted the tires and installed them on the bike that evening.

The total weight of the new wheels with rim tape installed (that is the way I received them) is 698 grams front and 900 grams rear. Total weight with tires, tubes, cassette, computer magnets and quick release skewers is 2567 grams. The Bontragers weighed 3333 grams similarly equipped. I bought the wheels from Mel at Tandems East. They are the new True Black ATR 3.0 tandem wheels.

The bike now weighs 28.08 pounds with two computers and a heart rate monitor installed.

We took it for a 33 mile ride this morning and at about the 4 mile mark I asked my stoker (wife, Chris) if she noticed any difference in the bike. She said that she was getting ready to say something, she said that if felt lighter. We both agreed that the bike feels, lighter, livelier, SMOOTHER, more comfortable and more responsive. It was very comfortable to begin with. (the bike is a 2010 Calfee Tetra).

It climbs even better, there is a steep little hill just after a river bridge that we went up faster than we have ever gone.

So bottom line we like the wheels a whole lot!

Wayne
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Old 09-14-11, 12:48 PM   #2
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It climbs even better, there is a steep little hill just after a river bridge that we went up faster than we have ever gone.
Please post another report again in a month or so when the "new bike/part effect" has worn off.
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Old 09-14-11, 01:26 PM   #3
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Please post another report again in a month or so when the "new bike/part effect" has worn off.
Absolutely!

The part that is remarkable is that she totally noticed that there was something different. Something that she liked.

An old motorcycle expression is that if momma is happy then everybody is happy. So appropriate in the tandem world!

Wayne
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Old 09-14-11, 02:31 PM   #4
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The bike now weighs 28.08 pounds with two computers and a heart rate monitor installed.
Wow, that's about what a basic road bike weighed back in the 80's... impressive!
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Old 09-14-11, 02:37 PM   #5
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Wow, that's about what a basic road bike weighed back in the 80's... impressive!
I removed the two computers, the HRM and cut the seat posts off (I ordered the 330mm length not knowing how long they would need to be so they are now more the standard length). With those items removed the weight is now 27.65 pounds.
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Old 09-28-11, 03:09 AM   #6
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I was eyeing a set until I realized there's no way they'd work with disc brakes. Bummer.
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Old 09-28-11, 07:40 AM   #7
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I was eyeing a set until I realized there's no way they'd work with disc brakes. Bummer.
... which is why you always want to have two-sets of wheels when you decide to add some go-fast wheels to your stable. One set that are do-everything well and then the "wild card" set that scratch the itch for whatever needs scratching.
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Old 09-28-11, 08:50 AM   #8
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... which is why you always want to have two-sets of wheels when you decide to add some go-fast wheels to your stable. One set that are do-everything well and then the "wild card" set that scratch the itch for whatever needs scratching.
+1 on two sets of wheels.

We were unable to ride our tandem for 3-weeks after we found stress fractures in our Rolf Prima Tandem wheels. We had Mel at Tandem's East build us up a nice set of wheels for our everyday riding. The Rolf's were repaired under warranty and are now our "go-fast" wheels. Hopefully we will not have any more down time due to wheel issues.
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Old 09-28-11, 08:54 AM   #9
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... which is why you always want to have two-sets of wheels when you decide to add some go-fast wheels to your stable. One set that are do-everything well and then the "wild card" set that scratch the itch for whatever needs scratching.
We have two back-up sets of wheels, they just happen to be attached to a pair of singles.

Works for us.
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Old 09-28-11, 01:02 PM   #10
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... which is why you always want to have two-sets of wheels when you decide to add some go-fast wheels to your stable. One set that are do-everything well and then the "wild card" set that scratch the itch for whatever needs scratching.
As soon as I realized my single bike wheels couldn't fill in, I had an itch for a "spare pair". So, we have a set of Spinergy wheels on order that will either be our main wheel or our spares...time will tell.
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Old 09-28-11, 02:46 PM   #11
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A while back we were in the spare wheels camp. We have now moved up to the spare tandem.

Wayne
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Old 09-29-11, 05:43 PM   #12
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Have a pair of Topolinos on my single bike since they first hit the market and now have over 12,000 miles on them.
So far never had to true them.
Amazing set of wheels. Great American technology!
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Old 09-29-11, 06:10 PM   #13
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I just wore out the bearings on my Topolinos. I guess after 35-40k miles of dual duty on the single (mostly) and tandem that's not too bad.
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Old 10-16-11, 03:35 PM   #14
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Please post another report again in a month or so when the "new bike/part effect" has worn off.

Here is the one month report. The new bike part has not worn off. We both still really like the way the wheels ride and roll. Our average speed is up a little and we have had some of our faster rides on the new wheels. The wheels now have 535 miles on them and are straight and true, no issues what so ever.

Wayne
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Old 10-16-11, 04:07 PM   #15
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Keep us updated.

Wayne
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Old 01-07-12, 07:30 PM   #16
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Coming up on 4 months, still liking them? We are considering them due to their light weight primarily for climbing.
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Old 01-08-12, 08:54 AM   #17
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Coming up on 4 months, still liking them? We are considering them due to their light weight primarily for climbing.
We are completely happy with the Topolino wheels, we have right at 1,000 miles on them and they are straight and true. Not only are they light but they are EXTREMELY comfortable. Once you install them I am confident that they will be your first choice for wheels.

We bought ours from Mel at Tandems East and they are the new True Black wheels.

Wayne
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Old 01-08-12, 10:29 AM   #18
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Here is the one month report. The new bike part has not worn off. We both still really like the way the wheels ride and roll. Our average speed is up a little and we have had some of our faster rides on the new wheels. The wheels now have 535 miles on them and are straight and true, no issues what so ever.

Wayne
Shortly after we received our new titanium travel tandem we did a head-to-head comparison with our old 43-lb steel 1980s tandem, just to satisfy curiosity...and to be honest, to see if we had purchased any greater vertical speed as a happy by-product. With S&S couplers the new bike is about 7 lb lighter, conventional spoked wheels on both. On our local hill-climb that we know well because we have to climb it to get home, the old steel bike was 15 seconds faster (by stopwatch) over 20 min or so of normal effort than the new one. (But harsher and more cramped for the stoker.)

So those must be some wheels!

"In God we trust." Everyone else show us your data.
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Old 01-08-12, 11:26 AM   #19
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... the old steel bike was 15 seconds faster (by stopwatch) over 20 min or so of normal effort than the new one...
I would say that there are some other variables you are not taking into consideration. Maybe you are both just used to the old bike or you were feeling a little worse on the day you rode the new bike. Realistically, all things being equal except the 7lbs, the heavier bike will not climb as fast as the lighter bike at the same wattage. That's simple physics. Where people get all messed up with weight is that they think it will make a huge difference. lighter weight will make the bike feel lighter and more lively but in reality we're talking a handful of seconds over a 5km climb. As an example: a 5 kilometer, 7.5% climb. Assume the rider can kick out 250 watts. A 160 pound rider will take 19 minutes and 21 seconds to get up the hill. Every 5 pounds added make the trip up the hill take around 30 seconds longer.

Here is a link if you want to do some playing around on your own. Lots of great stuff on there.
http://www.analyticcycling.com/Force...ight_Page.html

The question you have to ask yourself is does that matter to you? If you race it certainly does. Maybe you just race to the hilltop with your buddies? Maybe you just like the feel of the livelier wheels. If you can afford it does it really matter what anyone else thinks?
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Old 01-08-12, 12:32 PM   #20
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I believe that one of the reasons that we are a little bit faster on the new wheels is that on the roads we ride we are more comfortable, the new wheels really absorb the shocks much better. We ride county and township roads in central Illinois that are a little bit rough in places. The smoother ride lets us ride a little faster. If you have ever ridden off-road either bicycle or motorcycle on a poorly suspended bike and then one with good suspension you know what I mean. You can usually go faster on the better suspended bike.

Wayne
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Old 01-08-12, 01:29 PM   #21
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... which is why you always want to have two-sets of wheels when you decide to add some go-fast wheels to your stable. One set that are do-everything well and then the "wild card" set that scratch the itch for whatever needs scratching.
We have a Cannondale with disc brakes that we use for touruing and general road riding. I was wondering how much hassle it would be take to switch the disc brakes out and back. In other words, two sets of wheels and changing out the corresponding brakes too?
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Old 01-08-12, 04:05 PM   #22
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I would say that there are some other variables you are not taking into consideration. ... Where people get all messed up with weight is that they think it will make a huge difference. lighter weight will make the bike feel lighter and more lively but in reality we're talking a handful of seconds over a 5km climb. ...
Of course you are right. The heavier bike (or heavier wheels) cannot possibly climb faster for the same power applied to the rubber contact patch. It is precisely those "other variables" you mention that undoubtedly swamped the impact of the reduced weight in our "N of 1" trial, (and happened by chance to favour the old bike on that one run.) That was really my point. (I didn't want to elaborate the first time so as not to hijack the thread.) If we did an infinite number of trials now that we've had both bikes long enough to get used to both of them, with proper control of all those other variables, the average difference in climbing time I'm sure would approach the theoretical value predicted by t = mgh/P, plus or minus some mysterious "transmission efficiency fudge factor" that we always invoke to explain why tandems climb slower.

We were pleased to verify that Newton was right: taking 7 pounds off a combined crew-and-vehicle weight of 300 lb or so did not make us lighter than air: as always, it's the engines, not the bike.

OP, good point about the "sprungness" you feel in your Topolinos. Anything that reduces road-whack to the stoker especially has got to make you faster over the long haul. The poor souls can really suffer for the team back there.
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Old 01-08-12, 04:30 PM   #23
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We are completely happy with the Topolino wheels, we have right at 1,000 miles on them and they are straight and true. Not only are they light but they are EXTREMELY comfortable. Once you install them I am confident that they will be your first choice for wheels.

We bought ours from Mel at Tandems East and they are the new True Black wheels.

Wayne

I thought the True Blacks were not tandem rated and only a 130mm spacing wheel, are they available in 145mm tandem spacing? Do you have a pic you can post of them?
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Old 01-08-12, 05:04 PM   #24
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I thought the True Blacks were not tandem rated and only a 130mm spacing wheel, are they available in 145mm tandem spacing? Do you have a pic you can post of them?

They are tandem specific, 145mm rear spacing and they are the True Black ATR 3.0, http://www.topolinotech.com/products/TopolinoSpecs.pdf

You can see them here: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...Ultegra-Cranks.

Wayne
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Old 01-08-12, 06:41 PM   #25
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Excellent! We're in the final stages of specing and ordering either a Calfee or Peketa tandem and was trying to decide on wheels. Neither bike would have any gold or yellow on them (it most likely will be a black frame) so I preferred black only for spokes and wheel. Aside from color are there any other diferences in the two wheels? I didn't see anything in on specifications page.
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