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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 09-29-12, 08:41 AM   #1
wobblyoldgeezer
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A question for the experts please - CDale rt2, Cmtion Primera

Hello all

Spouse and I have used and enjoyed a 1992 Santana Visa since we bought it in 1996. (It was a new but overlooked, never used but scratched piece of over-inventory!)

We tried a cannondale rt2. It seemed so much livelier. Maybe that was just the 'new' effect, combined with this decade's brakes and shifters.

Anyway - we still like the Santana, and also wonder if newer would be more joyful. I asked a well known East Coast USA tandem specialist about the CDale. Response - fine if you like. CMotion Primera would be better. Prices similar.

My questions, if you'd be so kind

Is the Cdale lighter and sprightlier than our present Santana Visa? It certainly seemed so
Is the C.Motion Primera comparable?
Would the C.Motion Primera give any advantage over the Visa or the RT2?

Thanks in advance, all views will be read with interest
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Old 09-29-12, 10:39 AM   #2
waynesulak
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I have never ridden a Cannondale but posters that I have read either love them or dislike them. There does not seem to be many in the middle.

My experience has been on both Santanas and Comotion steel tandems. I am not sure when Santana’s switch to eight speed and 160mm rear spacing made its way to the Visa model but if you have an eight speed or better then you have a pretty good frame that is not much different than a modern steel frame.

I would suggest that the most bang for the buck in performance would be new modern wheels and good tires. I have a 1993 Santana that is a great bike but the 40 spoke wheels could be improved by about a pound and a half and change the feel of the bike. I did this with a 2000 Santana Arriva and loved it. New conventional 32 or 36 spoke wheels from Santana or your trusted local wheel builder and good light weight tires will make a big difference in how the bike feels. If you want to go all out you can get very light weight carbon spoke wheels for a 160mm spaced Santana for less than $1,000.

If you want modern shifting then an upgrade to modern Shimano or Campy 10 speed shifting would be nice. You would practically have a new bike for much less than the Cannondale and have your old wheels to be used as spares.

All that said if you want a new bike Cannondales seem to be a good value.
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Old 09-30-12, 05:17 PM   #3
zonatandem
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Have ridden 30+ makes/models of tandems in the past 37 years.
Have owned 5 different brands of tandems since 1975, the last four were custom built.
Personal preference between C'dale and Co-Mo is the Co-Motion.
Yes have ridden miles on C'dales and Co-Mos and 'tanas.
Co-Mo is quicker, lighter, a bit livelier handling than the other 2 brands.
Just our preference/experience.
Pedal on! Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 09-30-12, 05:46 PM   #4
Tom Spohn
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Had a pre 2009 Cannondale and currently have a 2010 Cannondale. They are very different bikes with the newer one being much more comfortable without losing the stiffness and performance of the older model. Maybe the difference between them accounts for some liking 'Dales and other not likeing them.

To me the RT2 and the Primera are apples and oranges although it is true that the price is about the same. The RT2 is aluminum and the Primera is steel. Geometry-wise I would expect both bikes to steer and handle well. I would expect the Primera to be a bit more compliant due to lack of lateral tube and steel construction. If you are on the heavy side this might be a consideration. Advantages of the Rt2 include disk brakes are standard; Ultegra vs 105 for the Primera, FSA cranks vs Truvative. The Primera may weigh a bit more, but with the lateral tubes gone maybe they are about the same. If weight is important, ask the prospective dealer to put it on a scale. If your stoker is on the short side the Cannondale would be easier for the stoker to mount due to the sloped top tube. If you buy a Cannondale in a large size, be prepared to swap out the handlebars and maybe the stoker stem which seem to be sized for smaller people. Our dealer did the swap at no charge. YMMV

Workmanship and weld quality on both bikes is very good.


As always the best advise is to ride both if you can. Also it is a bonus if you have a knowledgeable LBS in your neighborhood as non-tandem shops frequently don't know how to work on tandems.
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Old 10-05-12, 09:10 AM   #5
wobblyoldgeezer
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Many thanks to you all

Your responses chime with my feeling - if it ain't broke..

We're not the fastest team, but we enjoy riding together at our pace, which is the mean between the two of us on singles

Your advice about faster wheels - well, I bought a pair of excellent hand built wheels from Rocky Mountain Cyclery in Loveland Colerado - credit where it's due - and whereas maybe they're not the lightest, they are lighter, less friction, absolutely true, and added a lot to the bike

They came with 9 rear cogs, my bar end shifters are set up for the original 7, so I'm using friction - which works pretty well. So, I think my upgrade will be a set of 9 speed Ultegra shifters/levers, a 50th of a new bike, and enjoy what has given me pleasure so far!!

Cheers, all

Last edited by wobblyoldgeezer; 10-05-12 at 09:13 AM. Reason: tidying spelling
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