We bought our first tandem, a size small steel Santana Arriva w/ carbon fork (700c wheels, S&S couplers), in 2008. Right away the handling felt a little twitchy to me especially at slow speeds but being new to tandeming I figured that was just how tandems handled. We've taken the bike on two trips where we pulled a BOB trailer and the trailer made the handling even worse. Last year we bought a 2011 Cannondale tandem and I have been amazed at how much better it handles; it is truly a night and day difference. One of the reasons we bought the Santana in the first place was due to all their hype about how much better their bikes handle but it doesn't seem to live up to that.
Has anyone else w/ a Santana noticed twitchy handling or is it just me?
I haven't done an in-depth comparison of the geometry of our Santana and the Double 'dale so I'm not sure if something like fork rake could be the difference. I suspect that the fork stiffness (stout aluminum tubing on the 'dale and carbon fiber on Santana) and frame stiffness (stout aluminum tubing on the 'dale and Niobium steel on the Santana) both must play a part.
Does anyone have any experience w/ changing the fork on a Santana from carbon fiber to steel or vice versa? I suspect the steel fork would be stiffer and may take out some of the twitchy-ness at slow speed but I'd like to have some anectdotal evidence that it would help before I drop $300 on a new fork.
Thanks for any feedback you might have!