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  1. #1
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    New Tandem Build - English Cycles

    Hi All,

    Here's the new tandem that I am having built (see attached pdf). Here's the specs:

    Frame - English Cycles Tandem, titanium midtubes
    Fork - ENVE - Road 2.0 Tapered 1.125” to 1.5”
    Headset - Cane Creek 40 ZS44/EC44
    Captain Seatpost - Thomson Elite 27.2mm, 330mm, silver
    Stoker Seatpost - Eriksen titanium, 27.2mm, 400mm, pewter clamp
    Captain Saddle - Specialized Romin Expert
    Stoker Saddle - Selle San Marco Aspide Glamour
    Captain Stem - Deda Elementi Zero1, 130 mm
    Captain Handlebar - FSA Wing Pro Compact, 44cm
    Stoker Stem - Deda Elementi Zero1, 130 mm
    Stoker Handlebar - FSA Wing Pro Compact, 40cm w/ stoker pegs
    Shifters - Record Ergopower 10 spd
    Front Derailleur - Campagnolo Comp Triple w/ Braze on adaptor
    Rear Derailleur - SRAM X-9 10 Speed, Grey w/ white graphics
    Brakes - FSA SL-K, Black w/ white graphics
    Crankset - Davinci Tandem (54/42/30), 175 mm Captain, 172.5 mm Stoker
    Bottom Brackets - Davinci Ti, Captain-107mm, Stoker-113mm (49.6mm Chainline)
    Crank Bolts - Self Extracting Crank Bolts x 2
    Chains - Wipperman Connex 10S0 x 3
    Cassette - Ultegra 11-28
    Wheels - Rolf Prima Vigor Tandem

    Design is primarily for fast group rides and racing with an occassional century. Components have been selected to be relatively light weight without breaking the bank.

    Anything else I should consider before giving the final go ahead? I'm particularly interested in any suggestions for maximizing shifting performance.

    Thanks!
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by rhino919; 02-26-12 at 01:24 AM.

  2. #2
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    wow i can't wait to see this. what will other tubes be? never saw a photo of an english tandem. his road bikes are wild, check out ww forum--lots of his builds are posted there. that silver internal di2 build he did was pretty sharp.

  3. #3
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    JSNYC - The other tubes will be steel. The only tandems that Rob has built to date are recumbents, so that is why you have never seen a photo. You can see pictures of the recumbents and his other bikes at englishcycles.com. You will have to wait until August to see the final build, but if there is enough interest, I will keep this thread up to date with progress.

  4. #4
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    sounds nice!

  5. #5
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    yes post build pics along the way! yours will be his first road tandem? when does he start doing the actual frame construction? will he send photos to you? definitely post those--that's my favorite thing to look at & admire. the final build is great, yes, but i really like seeing all the steps it takes to get there. have fun and i'll flag this thread--looking forward to seeing the progress.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhino919 View Post
    JSNYC - The other tubes will be steel. The only tandems that Rob has built to date are recumbents, so that is why you have never seen a photo. You can see pictures of the recumbents and his other bikes at englishcycles.com. You will have to wait until August to see the final build, but if there is enough interest, I will keep this thread up to date with progress.

  6. #6
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    Photos indeedy. How are the Ti tubes going to be mated to the steel bits? I would assume epoxy bonded... though I do seem to recall a Ti road frame having been silver brazed way back when...

  7. #7
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    JSNYC - I hope to have pics of the construction process and will post them here. Yes this will be Rob's first road tandem. Construction is supposed to start in May.

    StanleyJ - The Ti tubes will be clamped in place. This will allow them to be removed for travel. The tandem will fit in two S&S hard cases. Also, by having the Ti tubes removeable, we could replace them with SS tubes if we wanted to "tune" the frame characteristics.

  8. #8
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    A couple of comments:

    The stoker bars look to narrow, you may want to check their width.

    When I was researching a new set of wheels the consensus was that the Rolf wheels were problematic, we went with Topolono and we are very pleased with their performance. We have over 1500 smiles on them now.

    We are using a complete Shimano drivetrain and the shifting is outstanding. New Shimano tandem cranks, 6703 shifters, DA triple FD and RD. Ultegra 11-28 cassette.

    Wayne

  9. #9
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    Hi Wayne,

    Thanks for the comments! This kind of feedback is great.

    Stoker bars - We currently have 38cm bars on our Cannondale and my stoker prefers narrow bars. From what I understand, the FSA Wing Compacts are measured at the drops and are narrower at the tops, so we have selected 40cm.

    Wheels - I would love to have a set of Topolinos as everything I have read about them is really positive. Unfortunately, we already own the Rolfs and new wheels aren't in the budget. Maybe in the future I will have the funds to purchase some. I would also be interested in the Spinergy wheels. Ahh, to have unlimited resources.

    Crankset - I looked hard at the Shimano cranks after you posted about how well they shift. There were three things that made me go with the Davinci cranks - 1) Large price difference, 2) Stoker cranks not available in 172.5 and 3) 54/42/30 Gearing not available. How do you find the chainline at 45mm? It seems like it would cause a lot of chainrub when using the lower half of the cassette with the little or middle chainring.

    Shifters - I chose the Record shifters because my builder had a slightly used set for a good price. This saves quite a bit of money and and a few grams of weight. (I have used Campy, Shimano, and SRAM and IMHO Campy is slightly better than Shimano with SRAM being inferior)

    Derailleurs - I selected the Campy Comp Triple, but wonder if a Shimano FD might be better. I selected the SRAM RD based on TandemGeek's reports from his testing on their Calfee. Also, my builder has successfully used Campy Shifters with SRAM derailleurs.

    Thanks again for your comments!

  10. #10
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    Are you both tall? Your diagram suggests a 38" captain inseam and a 36" stoker inseam. Why such a short stoker seat tube (and such a long stoker seat post)? Why such low handlebars for both positions? Your stoker will have his/her head in the captain's spine from the looks of this.

    There's a shop near us that does "positioning", not "fitting"; their approach is to put the rider(s) on a fully-adjustable trainer and tweak for best power/comfort compromise, then build a bike to match that. He has no set routine, but it seems to me that most of his creations end up with noticeably "relaxed" seat post angles, i.e. closer to 65' than 72'. His comment on my wife's discomfort is to move her saddle back 3-4", though he won't take our money and do a positioning on her unless he feels there's a way he can actually implement the changes he expects to discover. If nothing else, don't rely on Knee-Over-Pedal-Spindle as there's no anatomical reason to do so.

  11. #11
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    What with the components you already have, and the not-breaking-the-bank mandate, there isn't much scope to advise any changes.

    With the 172.5 mm stoker crank imperative, the options in external-bearing cranks are limited to FSA and Lightning.

    What is the terrain of your rides? Steep climbs and descents? Likely not, with no disc brakes.

    Build sheets are best put on spreadsheets, so that you can change the weight and costs.

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    Looks like it will be a nice bike.
    We use 42cm FSA compact bars with cane creek dummy brake levers. This has minimal clearance between stokers thumbs and my legs when she is using the brake hoods. But we do use a 100mm stoker stem so your 130 will help a bit.
    Also I would question the use of a triple crankset. I realize everyone seems to use them on tandems but I think if you are a strong enough team to race and keep up with fast group rides you should be alright with a double. If you are with a group of fast singles and you need a triple to get up a hill you will be off the back very quickly.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by p2templin View Post
    Are you both tall? Your diagram suggests a 38" captain inseam and a 36" stoker inseam. Why such a short stoker seat tube (and such a long stoker seat post)? Why such low handlebars for both positions? Your stoker will have his/her head in the captain's spine from the looks of this.
    Thanks for the good questions!

    I am 6'-0 1/2". My wife is 5'-8 1/2". We both have relatively long legs (especially my wife). How did you arrive at 38" and 36"? I don't get anything close to that using either the Lemond formula (88.3% of inseam = dist. from cen. BB to top of seat) or the 109% rule (109% of inseam = distance from pedal spindle to top of seat).

    The short stoker seattube is to maximize the extension of the stoker seatpost to provide some passive suspension rather than utilize a suspension seatpost. It also makes the frame more compact and therefor more tortionally rigid.

    The handlebar positions mimic our single roadbikes. We have arrived at these positions through years of experimenting and one professional fit that made some very minor changes to where we were already at. With these positions we can ride for 4 or 5 hours without issue and feel like we develop good power. However, we haven't ever been "positioned" as you describe. Lately we've been riding with a guy who does fits, and his on the bike assessment has been that we look good on our bikes.

    Good assessment on the stokers head on my spine. We currently ride a Cannondale, and my wife is cramped and uncomfortable. We initially planned to go from a 28.5" to a 30" stoker compartment, but ended up with 31". On our Cannondale, when we really put the power down, her helmet rests on my tailbone as she drops her head when she pedals hard. The added pressure is quite uncomfortable. The extra 2.5" should eliminate that. It is likely that we will adjust her position slightly from what is shown, but we figured we would start from where we are at now on our singles.
    Last edited by rhino919; 02-26-12 at 10:41 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
    What is the terrain of your rides? Steep climbs and descents? Likely not, with no disc brakes.

    Build sheets are best put on spreadsheets, so that you can change the weight and costs.
    We do ride some steep terrain (up to 15%), but it generally isn't too long. Based on some information on BF's and Tandemgeek's blog discussing the relative advantages of rim, disc, and drum brakes, we have chosen to go with rim brakes. I haven't been convinced that disc brakes are the way to go on a tandem. However, we also have the option to add a drum brake if we are going to be in some really steep terrain. I should also mention that we are a 290 to 300 lb team depending on the time of year and how much we have been riding.

    I agree completely - spreadsheets are ideal for build sheets. In fact, I have all of this information and more on one. For some reason I couldn't get it to play nicely with this forum, so I ended up copying the pertinent information into the body of the post.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
    I would question the use of a triple crankset.
    I've read with fascination as people have debated the double vs triple for tandems and have ended up in the "triple camp" (if there is such a thing). When I started planning this build, I was going to use a double (53/38) and a wide range rear cassette (11/36), but we really don't like the wide jumps that come with that set-up. We live in an area with lots of hills and there are times when I know we will want the granny ring to bail out to. On our Cannondale (52/42/30 - 11/28 9spd) we find that we ride between the 52/42 most of the time, with an occassional need for the 30. When we do drop into the 30, we often are using the middle of the cassette rather than the really big cogs. We do live on a hill with some 12% grade, so at the end of a long ride, it is really nice to have the lower gears to spin up the hill on the way home. On the groups we have ridden with, we are generally not last up the hill, and sometimes can almost keep up with the hillclimbers - probably because we had the opportunity to put the hurt to them on some rollers before hand
    Last edited by rhino919; 02-26-12 at 10:38 PM.

  16. #16
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    Just wanted to say THANK YOU to all of you who had made comments so far. I'm starting to feel like a bit of an a$$, because I've not changed anything so far based on the comments. However, this has been really helpful for me to review my selections and try to express the reasons behind them. If you think I'm offbase somewhere, please feel free to tell me without concern for offending me. I find an intense discussion quite refreshing sometimes (as long as it doesn't stray into name calling).

    Thanks!
    Ryan

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    rhino, many folks here are super knowledgeable on tandem stuff. i mean, RIDICULOUSLY good knowledge. since my wife and i are total beginner tandem riders (although i've been riding or occasionally racing on road for 25+ years), they helped me with so many questions i wouldn't have known to ask when i had my first custom tandem done--which wrapped up just recently.

    luckily, my builder has built many, many tandems, and from what i gleaned here i could have intelligent conversations with him, which was really helpful.

  18. #18
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    How do your hips/quads fit between such a narrow stoker bar? Our stoker bar is a 46mm deda (outside to outside), and I still get the occasional rub passed her hands when she is using the stoker hoods. I am not a big guy, tall nor wide..

    Only caveat would be if the stoker stem is long enough to put her bars entirely behind you. Perhaps that is the case?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by uspspro View Post
    How do your hips/quads fit between such a narrow stoker bar?
    I posed this question to my wife. She immediately responded, "It's because you have a micro butt!" LOL

    Of course, I wanted to quantify this, so we measured the width of my hips. Answer - 33cm out to out. Apparently I have unusually narrow hips.

    The bars also do sit a little behind me, but I do occasionally feel my leg brush against her hands - or maybe it is her hands brushing against my butt

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhino919 View Post
    StanleyJ - The Ti tubes will be clamped in place. This will allow them to be removed for travel. The tandem will fit in two S&S hard cases. Also, by having the Ti tubes removeable, we could replace them with SS tubes if we wanted to "tune" the frame characteristics.
    Hmmm. Intriguing! So the Ti tubes directly "clamp" to the steel "lugs"? Rather than S&S couplings where a Ti one will couple to a steel one (I believe for S&S, the torsion coupling bit is always steel anyway, right?)... or was that what you meant anyway?

    Still, mucho looking forward to the frame-construction/build-up...

    PS: With S&S, guess you could even get some carbon tubes (with couplers fitted) from Calfee?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhino919 View Post
    I am 6'-0 1/2". My wife is 5'-8 1/2". We both have relatively long legs (especially my wife). How did you arrive at 38" and 36"? I don't get anything close to that using either the Lemond formula (88.3% of inseam = dist. from cen. BB to top of seat) or the 109% rule (109% of inseam = distance from pedal spindle to top of seat).
    I just did some napkin math - 100% of inseam = distance from pedal spindle to top of seat. I figure with knee slightly bent, the height of the shoe is washed out, and honestly I just wanted to put some numbers "on paper" to drive the discussion (which thankfully you've confirmed that you thought through).

    Quote Originally Posted by rhino919 View Post
    The short stoker seattube is to maximize the extension of the stoker seatpost to provide some passive suspension rather than utilize a suspension seatpost. It also makes the frame more compact and therefor more tortionally rigid.
    What haven't you thought of? With this design, I'd suggest you CONFIRM that your desired seatpost can be that high, maybe even check to see if there's an alternate product on the market that also can be that high. If you're doing a custom tandem that could last 20 years, you don't want to end up with a design that snaps seatposts (and just in case it does, you want to have a different product to use instead).

    Quote Originally Posted by rhino919 View Post
    The handlebar positions mimic our single roadbikes. We have arrived at these positions through years of experimenting and one professional fit that made some very minor changes to where we were already at. With these positions we can ride for 4 or 5 hours without issue and feel like we develop good power. However, we haven't ever been "positioned" as you describe. Lately we've been riding with a guy who does fits, and his on the bike assessment has been that we look good on our bikes.

    Good assessment on the stokers head on my spine. We currently ride a Cannondale, and my wife is cramped and uncomfortable. We initially planned to go from a 28.5" to a 30" stoker compartment, but ended up with 31". On our Cannondale, when we really put the power down, her helmet rests on my tailbone as she drops her head when she pedals hard. The added pressure is quite uncomfortable. The extra 2.5" should eliminate that. It is likely that we will adjust her position slightly from what is shown, but we figured we would start from where we are at now on our singles.
    My only thought then would be to rotate your stoker "up" - pull the stoker saddle back perhaps 3", then bring the stoker bars up the proportionate amount, and you may then be able to shorten the stoker box AND give her more ability to see over/around you.

  22. #22
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    P2: English tends to build road bikes with ginormous ISP's and/or a lot of slope. It'll be interesting to see how this translates to tandem design. Check this out:

    http://www.englishcycles.com/cat/cus...es/roadbikes/#

    Rhino919: did I read your post correctly in that the ti tubes will be coupled to the steel tubes? Sounds interesting, can't wait to see how that is going to be fabricated. Sounds like a great deal of work.

    Quote Originally Posted by p2templin View Post
    What haven't you thought of? With this design, I'd suggest you CONFIRM that your desired seatpost can be that high, maybe even check to see if there's an alternate product on the market that also can be that high. If you're doing a custom tandem that could last 20 years, you don't want to end up with a design that snaps seatposts (and just in case it does, you want to have a different product to use instead).

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhino919 View Post
    I agree completely - spreadsheets are ideal for build sheets. In fact, I have all of this information and more on one. For some reason I couldn't get it to play nicely with this forum, so I ended up copying the pertinent information into the body of the post.
    Just so you know... you can upload the spreadsheet to Google Docs: https://docs.google.com/

    Obviously, for the public, read-only version... you'd want to remove/censor any personal data/information by the way of names, address and the like.

  24. #24
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    I would prefer a longer seat tube for the stoker. Mainly because I think it would look better. Looong seat posts look a bit like they should be on a mountain bike rather than a road bike to me.
    Also unsure about having your top tube length so that you need a 130mm stem. I guess it is ok if you are absolutely sure on the positioning, but if you decided to move your saddle back a bit or just wanted a bit more reach it doesn't give you much room to move as far as getting a longer stem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StanleyJ View Post
    So the Ti tubes directly "clamp" to the steel "lugs"? Rather than S&S couplings where a Ti one will couple to a steel one (I believe for S&S, the torsion coupling bit is always steel anyway, right?)... or was that what you meant anyway?
    The Ti tubes fit into a steel socket that clamps around them. This is way less expensive than S&S couplers. It also allows the bike to "stretch" slightly to set tension in the timing chain and eliminate the need for an eccentric BB. However, I would imagine that assembly will be more difficult than with S&S couplings and the connection isn't as positive as with S&S. You can see pictures of the tube in socket method applied to a recumbent tandem here. Bike Friday also uses this design on their tandems.

    Quote Originally Posted by StanleyJ View Post
    PS: With S&S, guess you could even get some carbon tubes (with couplers fitted) from Calfee?
    The design allows for multiple tube materials (steel, ti, aluminum, carbon, bamboo, ...) All you have to do is get the right diameter, cut it to length, and clamp it in place. A carbon tube might need an insert at the ends to strengthen the clamping area?

    Quote Originally Posted by StanleyJ View Post
    Still, mucho looking forward to the frame-construction/build-up...
    Me too!!!

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