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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 02-20-12, 07:13 PM   #1
ChrisB5string
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Older Satana tandem conversion to 10 speed Drivetrain

Hello all fellow tandemists,

My wife and I purchased a used Sanatana Soverign aluminum frame likely about a 2002- 2003 vintage. The tandem has been immaculately maintained. It is equiped with a 8 speed drivetrain. The drivetrain facts:

1. Sach 8 speed shifters
2. Shimano FD and Shimano cranks 110mm BCD
3. Shimano RD and Shimano 8 speed cassette

My problems are:

1. I have been a STI guy since 1996 and I can not seem to get the hang of the paddle shifting for the Sachs. Also all other bikes (10) are Shimano STI or rapid fire
2. The front shifting is completly unreliable from the middle ring to the small ring (53-46-36) and back to the middle and big ring
3. 1 rear cogs (18) will not hold.
4 Sach levers require way too much throw to engage shifting( front and rear)

A little about about wife (stoker) and I.

1. Formerly owned a Melton steel tandem for racing and ultradistance until kids came
2. I am still masters racing, wife retired from racing and we ride the tandem fast and hard
3. Our terrain is basically flat with some short steep hills but no real climbs over 1/4 mile.
4. I really don't want to go back to bar ends

5. Really not interseted in Sram ( had old grip shift on our old tandem for awhile)

My questions are:

1. Is it worth the upgrade to 10 speed? Specifically 6703 shifters. I have heard that the 10 speed chain systems are not reliable for high stress riding and have a 500 mile life.

2. Are there any options for 10 speed chainrings wiht a 110 BCD pattern to match the current cranks
3. Could I upgrade to a 9 speed sytem and keep the current 8 speed chainrings and or cranks. The current cranks and BB are fine.
4. Are they any quality NOS 8 speed sti triple shifters available?

The budget for this upgrade is about $400 not including the 6703 shifters. Thanks for any info advise on this upgrade.

Chris
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Old 02-21-12, 08:33 AM   #2
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Given the same situation I would go 9 speed for multiple reasons.

1. The available 8 speed brifters all have thumb paddles
2. *You can run a 9 speed chain on your existing chainrings
3. 9 speed chains last incrementally longer & are less expensive
4. That makes a set of brifters and a chain & cassette your total upgrade.

*You can generally go 1 generation either way on a set of chainrings. Will you get slightly better performance out of the exact proper rings? Perhaps, but is it worth it? Probably not, especially with a $400 budget.

That being said, 10 speed systems are completely reliable or they wouldn't be spec'd on most every high-line tandem currently being sold. But they do wear faster, and are more expensive. Whether we're talking about 8, 9 or 10 speed, the vast majority of "unreliability stories" I've ever heard have come from chain separation issues caused by the end user or even a shop using a repair pin to put the chain together. Don't do it. The current gen of multi-speed masterlinks work great.

P.S. If your problem with shifting from the middle to the small ring is with the chain derailing, (something tandems are noted for), I recommend adding a chain catcher. I'm a fan of the N-gear Jump Stop, but google "chain catchers" and you'll come up with several other styles. The "good ones", (IMHO), all allow you to over-adjust the front derailleur so you can slam the downshift on a climb without dropping the chain. The rest, (like the dog-fang style), simply stop the chain from dropping all the way to the bottom bracket when it does come off, so you can shift it back on more easily.
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Old 02-21-12, 09:44 AM   #3
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I have a '93 Santana Visa that I converted from 7 speed freewheel to 9 speed Shimano cassette. The 9 speed chain is fine on the origional Deore chainrings. I use barcans, and the shifting is fine. I couldn't swear for brifters, because I don't think that they can be trimmed. I had to switch the rear hub and cold set the rear drop outs, but your set-up will work fine as is with 9 speed. I have about 2500 miles on the conversion and there doesn't seem to be any unusual wear.
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Old 02-21-12, 12:55 PM   #4
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I also like 9-speed, mainly because it's easier to mix MTB and road parts at a reasonable price, though 10 speed options are getting much better. NOS Ultegra ST-6503 triples are still fairly easy to get on ebay, Dura Ace ST-7703 of any kind less so. You probably don't need to change your RD, do definitely need to change you cassette, even if you stay with 8 speed. Front set up seems un-usual. First thing to try is a Santana specific FD clamp if you don't have one. This moves the FD further out and helps the chain line. If you already have one, maybe a new FD. My favorite has always been FD-6503, but you'll need new chainrings with bigger steps eg 54-44-30 or 52-42-30. Raceface used to make some nice 110mm tandem rings and TA seem to have most options covered. It should pretty easy to stay <$400 + shifter price and you will be much happier. +1 on the n-gear jump stop - well worth it. You might want to list out the FD and RD models for any compatibility issues with cassette and chainring sizes.
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Old 02-21-12, 09:18 PM   #5
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I would advise caution about upgrading into 9-speed STI.

I had a 9-speed Ultegra STI lever die on the Speedster last year and my research determined sources for replacements were virtually non-existent. Ultimately I was able to get the last lever my LBS had on the shelf (he opted to let me have it because I was a nicer guy than the fellow who had been bugging him about it - LOL).

Maybe others have had better luck in sourcing these parts.
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Old 02-22-12, 05:55 AM   #6
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Actually, the last iteration of Ultegra, the ST-6510, is being billed most places as being for a double OR triple. I found beaucoup 6510's on eBay with this search.

When/if they do run out, you can always get the appropriate J-Tek Shiftmate and run whatever rear lever you like, (and that's the one that dies most often anyway). By then, however, the OP will have probably decided whether or not they are going to stay on the tandem, and if so, be ready to upgrade to either a whole new ride, or take the whole system to 10 speed.
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BICYCLE - [bahy-si-kuhl] - Noun :> A medical device used to correct the common geriatric condition of OFS, (Old, Fat & Slow), in a manner that does not induce brain-decaying boredom like walking or running.

2005 Trek T2000 Tandem, 2003 Burley Tosa Tandem, Pacific Dualie beater tandem, and 6 singles including 2 fixies.

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Old 02-22-12, 10:10 PM   #7
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Wow, thanks for all the good advice. I was unaware of the JTEK products, I'm tempted to stay with my 10 speed Ultegra shfters and dial back to use 9 speed cassete and the existing chainrings. Then If I want to ugrade, I can go to a straight 10 speed system.
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Old 02-23-12, 07:54 AM   #8
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Yep, they work fine as long as you don't try to use a coated cable and you follow the directions. We're running one with Campy Record 10 speed brifters with an all Shimano 9 speed drivetrain. Some say it "ain't perty", but it works!
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BICYCLE - [bahy-si-kuhl] - Noun :> A medical device used to correct the common geriatric condition of OFS, (Old, Fat & Slow), in a manner that does not induce brain-decaying boredom like walking or running.

2005 Trek T2000 Tandem, 2003 Burley Tosa Tandem, Pacific Dualie beater tandem, and 6 singles including 2 fixies.

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Old 02-23-12, 10:02 AM   #9
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My road bike has 6600 shifters and the new tandem has the 6703 shifters. The 6703's shifter much better than the 6600, the throw is shorter and they shift really well.

I would bite the bullet and go full Shimano 10 speed, we are very happy with our set up and our 10 speed chain lasted 2500 miles. I am an ex masters racer so I do like to hit it hard and stoker complies. We are senior citizens but still like to hammer on a regular basis.
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Old 04-02-12, 08:24 PM   #10
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Here is an update for those whom might be interested. We made the conversion to 6703 shifters and used the orginal Deore RD. used a Sram 10 sp 12-23 cassette I had in stock. Based on a poster, I contacted Peter White and ordered 3 new 10 sp chainrings for our orginal crankset (110/74 BCD). Put on new cables and wow it rides and shifts grreat. No problem with the 10 sp chain so far. I invested in a new ultegra FD to improve the front shifting especially from the big ring to the middle ring. MY LBS worked on the mtn bike FD to bend it to shirt and it works good about 80 percent but I expect the new FD will give the reliable shifting that I was hoping to get.
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Old 04-03-12, 10:15 AM   #11
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Thanks for posting the update! Which rings, exactly, did you select from Peter White?
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Old 09-11-12, 03:02 PM   #12
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I would realistically suggest you give it another season of riding and focus on riding the current configuration well vice fusing with why it isn't quite what you want it to be. If it still just drives you nuts, then go on with the conversion and the related cost and time to do it.
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Old 09-11-12, 05:49 PM   #13
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Too bad he already did.
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