Riding Heaven's Highwayson the grand tour
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Tehachapi Mtns, Calif.
Bikes: '10 C'Dale Tandem RT2. '07 Trek Tandem T2000, '10 Epic Marathon MTB, '12 Rocky Mountain Element 950 MTB, '95 C'dale R900, "04 Giant DS 2 '07 Kona Jake the Snake, '95 Nishiki Backroads
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Jason, here are a few thoughts for your consideration. As a background, we've owned two first generation (1990 and 1991) C'dale road tandems and we currently own and mostly ride a 2010 C'dale RT2. I have no personal riding experience with the C'dale tandems of the late 90's or early 00's. We mostly ride a lot of hills and a lot of rough country roads. We are a 290 pound team that have been riding Tandems since 1990. Now to your specific questions. The Fatty fork is significantly better than the first generation 1 inch C'dale forks particularly on steep twisty down hills and under aggressive braking. However, under normal flatland/rolling hill riding and normal braking, the Fatty fork is far less critical. As for the brakes, while I love the discs and do prefer them for our serious braking on long steep down hills, they simply are not critical for most riding.
Bottom line: if you are an aggressive and or a heavy down hill riding team then I would recommend that you get the latest generation C'dale with the Fatty fork and discs. However if you are anything less than that, and are budget constrained, them I would not hesitate to buy any C'dale Road Tandem that is fairly priced and that fits you and your stoker. Good luck with your decision.