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  1. #1
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    Upgrade my Santana Visa or buy new?

    We have owned our "visa" since around 1996. It has been pretty much bulletproof with no repairs required other than tire replacement and normal maintenance. I don't believe that we have ever even broken a spoke even though at some times we have been north of 400 pounds probably around 375 right now.

    Over the past two years we have been cycling more and more with our local group here in Alabama, (look up Etowah roadies on Facebook). Here is the problem:

    I am retired and my wife still works so I have made more progress than she has had time to achieve. We often have group rides that will average 18 to 20 mi./h and this is beyond her capability. I should say that she enjoys riding single so we have not been doing much tandem lately but it seems that it's almost mandatory that we get back into the tandem if we want to be able to do these faster rides and stick together. So the real question is:

    Buy a new tandem or upgrade the one we have? The visa was a quality machine with steelframe and 3 x 9 gears. It's a bit heavy and we have made that a little worse with things like luggage rack, kickstand, plush seats, etc. The frame still looks good and with these obvious potentials for weight savings I believe I could get it down into the low 30s from the mid to high 30s where it sits right now. Other possibilities exist like carbon forks and bars, and most particularly a lighter wheelset. These wheels have been essentially bulletproof I've never broken a spoke but I suspect significant weight savings could be achieved here. I'm going to post an addendum to this question with the exact weights of the wheels and the total bicycle.

    There are a lot of bicycles available on craigslist or eBay but I suspect that this item would be salable and the real question is spend money to upgrade it or sell it and buy new. Complicating this decision is the possibility that my wife who is a bit of a control freak might still prefer to ride solo. This tends to skew me toward the upgrade scenario as it would undoubtedly be less expensive.

    Well, I know that I have spoken a book here, (I use voice recognition software so if there is something that looks stupid blame the Dragon). Still, I wanted to give a full background as it is a rather complicated question that I am asking. Thank you very much in advance for any wise input.

  2. #2
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    We had a Santana Visa and I sold it and bought a Calfee Tetra. There is absolutely no comparison!

    The Visa was the Santana entry level tandem and as such utilized more economical tubes and components. You can spend a lot of money upgrading and still have a Santana Visa.

    i would suggest that you ride some new tandems. Try as many brands and as many different materials as you can and then make your decision.

    we human beings are all very sold on what we spend our money on, so we all tend to try to convince other people to get what we bought because that is just the way we are.

    You might want to keep that in mind as you receive input from other people.

    wayne

  3. #3
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Interestingly, to follow DubT's post... we too started on a 1995 Visa and currently on a Calfee Tetra. My wife absolutely loves it.

    Reviewing your #1 goal, group riding at an average 18 to 20 mi./h.

    1. Are there any other tandems in that group? Reason for asking is to assess if your goal is compatible. If your group only has singles then it is usually not recommended to join in as a tandem. Case in point, I enjoy riding with both single and tandem groups but cannot stand mixing them and I'm sure many on this forum will agree and a few won't, but there you have it. Reason is due to bike flow differences... mixed with singles, a tandem feels like driving a semi-trailer in rush hour... just as you get rolling, some ***hole cuts in front and slams on the brakes. Ugly.

    2. What is your average speed ability on your current tandem? Is the typical terrain very hilly?

    3. Does your wife enjoy riding a tandem and would she appreciate the further investment?

    4. How deep are your pockets for this endeavour and do you secretly crave a shiney new ride?
    Last edited by twocicle; 10-08-12 at 05:44 PM.

  4. #4
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    It wasn't clear to me whether or not you can hang in with the group on the Santana or not. If you can't stay with the group on your current tandem, I doubt if you will be able to on a new one. A wee bit of weight savings rarely makes much of a speed difference, in my experience.

    You mention your wife is a bit of a control freak and that you're not certain she wants to do most of her riding on a tandem. Have you considered looking into a tandem that will allow her to captain? Or is it you who is the real control freak? I know my wife strongly dislikes riding stoker but will ride all day every day as long as she is captain. Yes, I know this likely means a custom build, but a custom steel tandem with adequate bits can be built for less than $5000; you just have to decide if it is worth the risk of spending the money only to find out that she doesn't really want to be captain.

    If you decide to look into the small captain/large stoker tandem, there are a couple of things to consider:
    1. Smaller diameter wheels such as 26 inch have some real virtues. They allow for a more normal front-end geometry without excessive front wheel/toe overlap.
    2. Since the stoker can see over the captain, it is now reasonable to let the stoker do the shifting and control the drag brake (if you have one). This makes the captain's job a bit less stressful.
    3. The high, heavy stoker needs to be a quiet rider (both meanings) and completely give up control to the captain. You can steer from back there, but you may find yourself back on your single bike if you do.

  5. #5
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Our policy in 37+ years of tandeming has always been to buy the best we can afford.
    Upgrading? As things wear out, we replace and sometimes that then includes a better/later component.
    Ride a few other brands/models of tandems that may suit you bettter.
    There's a saying: "A pig with lipstick is still a pig!"

  6. #6
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    In '03 my wife and I retired our '95 steel Ibis frame and bought a steel Co-Motion frame. We used the same wheels, tires and components. I still remember the Co-Motion when we first rode over the interstate overpass with friends as they pushed the pace. The new frame made it easier to stay with our friends and to keep our speed up. It was not a major difference but enough that I noticed. Depending how much of a race oriented tandem you would buy you may find a new tandem would help stay with your cycling group.

    If you go to a new tandem, look for one that is built for your team weight. A team's weight is important in building the frame stiff enough for power transfer but not too stiff to be comfortable. Our team weight is close to yours and our Co-Motion was built for our weight while the Ibis was in stock when we bought it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
    Reviewing your #1 goal, group riding at an average 18 to 20 mi./h.

    1. Are there any other tandems in that group? Reason for asking is to assess if your goal is compatible. If your group only has singles then it is usually not recommended to join in as a tandem. Case in point, I enjoy riding with both single and tandem groups but cannot stand mixing them and I'm sure many on this forum will agree and a few won't, but there you have it. Reason is due to bike flow differences... mixed with singles, a tandem feels like driving a semi-trailer in rush hour... just as you get rolling, some ***hole cuts in front and slams on the brakes. Ugly.

    2. What is your average speed ability on your current tandem? Is the typical terrain very hilly?

    3. Does your wife enjoy riding a tandem and would she appreciate the further investment?

    4. How deep are your pockets for this endeavour and do you secretly crave a shiney new ride?
    Solo riding, my wife is probably a mid 16 mi./h rider I can get better than 18 and upwards of 20 on the group rides and therein lies the problem. There is another tandem in the group captained by a very strong rider and stoked by a younger athletic woman. The group loves them because Larry is very strong and will often lead almost exclusively.


    So my wife is usually dropped on the group rides and either rides in alone, (most of our rides are 20 to 30 miles), or I hang back to lead for her. We are very definitely faster on the tandem, even as it is presently configured at 43.6 pounds, than she is solo. Getting dropped has been bothering her and I have made the observation, "the tandem is the solution to getting dropped and probably the only solution". She is 60, still working, and has insufficient time to train and make significant strength and speed gains.

    Her bike handling skills and strengths are not equivalent to mine so making her the captain is a nonstarter. She is beginning to see the light that the tandem may be the answer so it's worth a try. I'm a little disappointed that "takeoffs" only reduce the tandem to around 40 pounds. I created a spreadsheet with components and wheelset and it leads me to believe that another 3 to 5 pounds could probably be achieved at reasonable expense but more weight loss would probably be exorbitant. (Lighter seats, cut off seatposts, replace heavyweight pedals, etc.). I guess spreadsheets can't be uploaded.

    I guess my feelings are a little bit hurt because I bought this bicycle from a tandem specialist in Birmingham and paid over $3000 in 1996 I believe. It's a bit disappointing that it's "entry-level/pig with lipstick" quality. Everything runs and it looks good perhaps the most useful equation to be answered is, "what could I reasonably sell it for and how much would I need to spend in order to get a dramatic improvement in performance". Used would be okay. I see there are quite a few tandem recumbents around but I had a recumbent for a while and decided that I preferred a regular bicycle.

    Another question that was asked "hilly terrain"? Yes we do quite a few hills in our area Gadsden Alabama and sometimes go out looking for hills to conquer. It's definitely true that tandems in the scorching fast on downhill or flats but not so great on hills but considering that we are fairly heavy, we're not so great on hills anyway able to get up them but not particularly quick.

  8. #8
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexcomp View Post
    .... She is beginning to see the light that the tandem may be the answer so it's worth a try.
    Although overall we are slower we were basically in the same situation as you plus my wife is somewhat of a control freak and didn't really think she would like stoking. Finally we took the plunge and well once she got a taste of being in the group at faster speeds she was hooked. Her competitive side has completely shut down her control freak side and she never wants to ride her single. Why ride alone and slower when you can ride faster and actually drop people once in a while?

    I'm a little disappointed that "takeoffs" only reduce the tandem to around 40 pounds. I created a spreadsheet with components and wheelset and it leads me to believe that another 3 to 5 pounds could probably be achieved at reasonable expense but more weight loss would probably be exorbitant. (Lighter seats, cut off seatposts, replace heavyweight pedals, etc.). I guess spreadsheets can't be uploaded.

    I guess my feelings are a little bit hurt because I bought this bicycle from a tandem specialist in Birmingham and paid over $3000 in 1996 I believe. It's a bit disappointing that it's "entry-level/pig with lipstick" quality. Everything runs and it looks good – perhaps the most useful equation to be answered is, "what could I reasonably sell it for and how much would I need to spend in order to get a dramatic improvement in performance". Used would be okay. I see there are quite a few tandem recumbents around but I had a recumbent for a while and decided that I preferred a regular bicycle.
    Also I know this will hurt but .......1996 was a long time ago. My thinking is that tandems are like singles in that if you ride a lot then your first bike is rarely your last. I know its heavy but if it is a sound bike and you can ride it long enough to know you can commit to a better bike then it has served its purpose. Great used tandems can be had at very reasonable prices or if your budget allows buy a new steel/aluminum/carbon/Ti tandem.

    I once read a post written by a older single frame builder that recounted how much fun he and his wife had on their first tandem. It was very very heavy and due to bad design also very flexible with not very many gears. He wrote that he has owned much better tandems and enjoyed them all but none more than the first. When I thought about that I concluded the same about my single bikes. We all love great bikes but it is the ride and not the bike that matters.

    I hope you enjoy tandeming as much as we do.
    Last edited by waynesulak; 10-09-12 at 11:23 AM.

  9. #9
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    [Quote] We have owned our "visa" since around 1996. It has been pretty much bulletproof with no repairs required other than tire replacement and normal maintenance. I don't believe that we have ever even broken a spoke even though at some times we have been north of 400 pounds – probably around 375 right now. [Quote]

    Hard pressed to see how you have not already answered your own question... Now if you want a new bike or just want to burn though a big chuck of money for pride of ownership reasons, then go for it. Yes there will be an incremental difference. But expecting that there will be really huge real world difference between the factually 'pretty good' tandem you have now and a 'really great' tandem you could replace it with today is probably being overly optimistic...IMHO!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by twocicle View Post

    1. Are there any other tandems in that group? Reason for asking is to assess if your goal is compatible. If your group only has singles then it is usually not recommended to join in as a tandem. Case in point, I enjoy riding with both single and tandem groups but cannot stand mixing them and I'm sure many on this forum will agree and a few won't, but there you have it. Reason is due to bike flow differences... mixed with singles, a tandem feels like driving a semi-trailer in rush hour... just as you get rolling, some ***hole cuts in front and slams on the brakes. Ugly.
    I'm sorry to hear of your trouble riding in a mixed group. We have ridden in many such groups with few problems. It is challenging at times, but I find it motivating.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Paul J's Avatar
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    Alexcomp, I think it is more that you can't significantly change your current bike. It is still a great bike and one you could enjoy for years but it will never be high 20's to low 30's. I disagree with some who say it is better left unchanged as you could tune it in a bit with some new components. But, it's like my 1982 Merckx super record, it's an awesome bike but it will never be less then 20 pounds. Our old Cannondale is low 40's so similar to your bike but we have changed it up to current shifting etc and tweaked seat etc.
    Last edited by Paul J; 10-09-12 at 01:45 PM. Reason: puntuation

  12. #12
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    No offense meant with the 'lipstick on a pig' comment. The Visa was good starter tandem and served it's purpose well.
    You now have some tandem experience and know more of what you want/like.
    Would suggest looking at the used tandem market; don't be disdappointed how little you'll get for the Visa (we estimate $500 at the max); it is almost 20 years old, and much has changed/improved since then, including tandem weight.
    'Bent tandems tend to be slower on uphills but faster on downs (aerodynamics). Can't picture someone drafting a bent tandem in a mixed group ride.
    Perhaps a used Co-Mo or similar bike would be a good place to start.
    Shop around, test ride a few different tandems, dont' be in a hurry . . . the right bike will show up!
    Part of the fun is finding the right twicer!
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

    Keep that a couple years and save some $$ to buy your ultimate tandem.
    Just our input.
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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  13. #13
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    Hey, you are just a few miles away from a great tandem specialist, Tandems Ltd. Why not load up your Visa; grab your visa card and hop on down to Birmingham to visit them. You can try out some newer tandems in many price ranges, look over their used collection and get some advice on how to make your current tandem more efficient if you decide to keep it.
    http://www.tandemsltd.com/

  14. #14
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    Tandems Ltd is where this bike was purchased as a "demo". It was originally ridden by Jack and Susan, the proprietors.

  15. #15
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    My perspective on weight and upgrading:

    - everyone likes a light bike!
    - If you have the money there are a lot of threads in this forum about $10,000+ 25-35lb tandems, have fun buying one.
    - Keep in mind the law of diminishing returns. Saving a little is a lot of bang for the buck. Saving a lot - is more buck for less bang.
    - Ours tandem weights 35.5 lbs (ready to ride but no tool bag or bottles) and I look at it as two 17.5 lb singles. for us it is the perfect bike.
    - There are other qualities that are as important as weight. For example some people with really light carbon tandems add a pound for disk brakes or two pounds for S&S couplers. The list of possible heavy add-ons includes drum brakes and racks too. Use your current tandem to learn what you want then design your ultimate machine.
    - I'll throw in my personal favorite variables: handling and tire size. Do you like 23mm or 25mm tires or do you want 28-33mm or even wider tires? Do you want Comotion handling or Santana's lower trail? Tire, wheels and forks make a big difference in how any tandem feels and handles.
    Last edited by waynesulak; 10-09-12 at 04:03 PM.

  16. #16
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    By now the OP is probably beginning to get the message that no matter how nice, expensive and light a tandem he buys, it's not going to get his team up the hills very much faster. It will likely be a nicer experience and feel a lot better, but getting up the hills is mostly about team weight, team strength, team coordination and frame stiffness. At our age, we're not likely to change strength and coordination by very much. You'll likely end up with a frame that loses less energy by inappropriate flexing on climbs with a new tandem. Now, about that first item...

    My wife and I replaced our much-loved, much-ridden twenty-four year old tandem this year. We weren't overly concerned with frame weight, but we could see the new bike was going to be a good ten pounds lighter than our old one. Well, our competitive nature got the better of us and we decided to lose more weight than our bike. We crushed it as we lost twenty-five pounds between us. It was a fun game to do weigh-ins together and we have noticed a significant pay-off on climbs, particularly those ones at the end of a 200 km day, which is a normal weekend ride for us. It doesn't hurt that we know we took advantage of the cheapest weight loss one can have on a bike: the excess carbon on the engine.

    By the way, in my experience, the person who needs to have superior bike handling skills on a tandem is the person with the largest mass, regardless of whether that person is captain or stoker. A skilled stoker improves the captain's skills; a poor-riding stoker gives even the best captain a bad day, but mass rules the day.

  17. #17
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Hey alexcomp. I don't know if you're talking average speeds on hilly rides or speed on the flat. Sounds like your stoker is pretty fast already. If she hasn't had much time to train, even more impressive. My opinion is always "watts first." Get the team wattage up. Percentage-wise, that's where the quick speed gains are.

    However. A good way to to that might very well be to buy a faster tandem. As we have seen, complete tandems are getting down to 25 lbs. You'd notice that, no question. We're riding a 36 lb. Co-Motion Speedster, a steel bike. It suits us. For whatever reason, riding it is stimulating. We push on the pedals, it goes faster. It handles like a dream, especially over 30 mph. Stoker loves to ride it, clamors for more. What I'm talking about, and sounds like Wayne has had the same experience.

    Our first goal has been to get our watts up. Modern training theory posits that large gains can be attained in little time by increasing intensity. This seems to be true. All you need is one long ride/week and an evening schedule that splits up the chores so she can work out. Rollers or a trainer are great because they take almost no time to prepare for or to put away. Once we got our watts up, weight has been easier to lose since we burn more calories.

    I've made the observation here before that the low-hanging fruit for tandem team speed increases is usually the stoker. Cook for her and do the dishes. Let her work out. Since she's further down the curve, she'll increase her watts more quickly than you could in the same amount of time.

    We ride in mixed groups almost exclusively. It takes practice to see how to take advantage of those aerodynamically burdened singles riders and to position oneself so one will not be cut off at the critical moment. If you can usually ride with most of the same folks, they'll learn. If you can ride with other tandems, all the better. The fastest way to get faster is to ride with people who are faster than you. The trick is to hang with them until the bloods starts from your eye sockets and only then drop off. If you come in still walking and not cramping, you could have gone harder. It took a while for my stoker to appreciate that hard-a$$ assessment, but she gets it now. I can really feel her power up if we're challenged.

    Another thing that's helped is that we both wear HR monitors and know our zones. She has our Garmin, which shows my HR. I have a much cheaper Bontrager Node for my HR display. Her HRM is a Polar, so it's on a different freq or coding. If I start to either move out or recover, she sees it and alters her effort to match mine. That's made a huge difference. I still give her cue words: accelerating, recovering, GO!, because HR response isn't immediate.

  18. #18
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Alex, thanks for the reply to my questions delving into your background and aims. Most of us at some point have bit the bullet to sell a bike at a big loss for various reasons and then go spend double or more on the next. Obviously careful shopping can limit the sting.

    We went from a Visa to a suped up, nicely equiped Sovereign (Team AL actually). The performance difference was very noticable, but looking back, I think if the Visa had better wheels, cranks, shifters, gearing, fork... it would have felt a lot better too. So your question about upgrading the Visa is probably not completely unreasonable.

    As far as I recall, the Visa had less than 145mm spacing, so if you go find new wheels for it, try to find some that can be widened to 145mm later if you end up opting for a more modern ride. Changing out the fork is tricky to reuse later when moving it to another bike because the factors are usually different (crown height, steer tube diameter, fork trail).

    On the other hand, you may be able to find a later model, reasonable weight, good performance tandem like a CoMo Speedster for $3000+. Then go adorn that with lighter wheels like Spinergy for $900 (rotation weight is #1 for acceleration), upgrade to a carbon fork for for $400-500 if the bike is without (improves ride and drop 1.5-2lbs). That's about it for the drastic stuff. Aiming for a 35lb tandem should not be too hard to achieve.

    Then, in many cases tandem teams can stand to lose at least the equivalent of their tandem's street weight. Point here... body weight is typically a huge store of excess baggage, it feels good to get rid of it and usually doesn't cost anything but dedication. Plus, physical performance improves by a large amount without all that extra insulation holding in the heat.

    Keeping up with the hammerheads will never happen overnight regardless of bike weight or fancy equipment. It takes work, meaning riding a lot more would be a great start.
    Last edited by twocicle; 10-10-12 at 12:51 AM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    There are lots of good posts here. In addition to what is stated by others above, I have had to learn to accept our limitations. Just like no amount of training would allow me to dunk a basketball there is a genetic limit involved in cycling and training can only do so much. We try to train hard and enjoy competing with any bike on the road but we will never be much faster than we are now. That being the case are engine is more of a VW Jetta than a Porshe Boxter. Buying a cutting edge race tandem would be like putting that Jetta engine in a Boxter body. It would look real nice but in the end it would go about the same speed.

    We may not be as fast as some but we try to keep the engine tuned and nobody has more fun.

    Wayne

  20. #20
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    Answers to some questions from the thread originator

    There is a wealth of really good information in the kind replies that I have received on this topic.

    My sequentially ordered responses to some of the questions and input:

    Tandems Limited is only an hour away and I do have a call in with a response from Jack Goetz to discuss any "opportunities" he may have.

    After taking off the kickstand, gel foam seat covers, luggage rack and a few other miscellanea it's right at 40 pounds.

    Lighter seatposts, or cutting down the very long shafts on existing, lightweight saddles, carbon fork, lighter bars, possibly lighter wheels, (the wheels are 40 Hole Mavic T217/Michelin Dynamic tires/700-28c), and both wheels taken together with cassette skewers tires and tubes weigh in at just a little less than 8.5 pounds

    I'd say that it ought to be possible to get to 35 or so with some upgrades. Both of us have been on a two-year quest to reduce the saddle mass and have gone from around 445 to about 375. There is more that could be done but a certain amount of complacency is now in effect.

    Waynesulak asked how I feel about handling and I must say that the Santana has been a bit of a bear to keep balanced and upright. I'm talking about coming in from rides with tired shoulders. This has been improved recently as my LBS mechanic made modifications to the headset which was too loose but I'm still not thrilled with the handling. I don't know enough to know whether I like 23 or 25 mm tires because the only thing that I have ever had is the 28 mm that are on there right now. Could I put narrower tires on the Mavic T2 17 wheels?

    Body mass wise, we are a traditional couple in that I am about 215 and Cindy is about 155.

    carbonfiberboy - our local topography is not flat lots of rollers with a few interspersed bills. Our quoted speeds are for loop rides from 20 to 50 miles and are averages from our Garmin 305s. Cindy will be pleased to hear that she's "pretty fast already". I'd like to brag a little on our group, "Etowah roadies we're a group page on FB". I helped to found this club about 2 1/2 years ago and we have grown from just a few members to 165 recently probably 40 to 50 active. We have regularly scheduled rides and the front runners are skilled and disciplined riders with tight pace line work the rule rather than the exception. Tandems are highly appreciated because of the larger draft signature. As we live in a fairly small area, and there are just a very few tandems and even less at our level, riding in anything other than mixed groups is not an option.

    twocicle - How do I determine what the spacing is on the Visa? I spoke with Jack of Tandems Ltd and he said the Visa was 160mm. We talked about a number of options he has on the floor and I may be getting together with him to evaluate. He seems to specialize in Co-Motion and Santana.

  21. #21
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I use MWSnap to take a JPG shot of a spreadsheet (Windows only). Sounds like you're doing everything right. I don't know that you can cut the weight down that much. You have good wheels now. Our Deep V rims are 50g heavier than your T217. 28c tires are probably optimal for those rims and your weight. Conti makes the 4 Season in 28c, 260g, pretty good rolling resistance. We run Vittoria Rubino Pro Tech in 28c, 280g, for our touring tires. We're a 305 lb. team.

    Averaging 20 on a hilly course is fast. I did that once in my 50s on my carbon single. Heck, 18 is fast. We do very well to average 15-16 over 50-60 miles. Just depends on talent. If we dropped 10 lbs. off our bike weight, I'm guessing we'd get maybe .2 mph average out of it. OTOH, if you could both add 20w, you'd probably pick up 1 mph.

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    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    As we've aged (we are now 80/77) we still enjoy tandeming.
    We no longer keep our nose to the wheel like we used to even ten years ago.
    From the late-1970s into 2000 we averaged 10,000 miles of tandeming per year.
    Yup, we live in AZ that allows year 'round pedaling and loads of great riding days.
    Now we're down to near-100 miles per week on our tandem; we're not near as fast, don't go as far, no longer do centuries.
    We are happy with 4 to 5 days a week of 20+ milers on tandem. While Rudy still rides 6 days a week, as he claims he has to justify owning a single bike!
    We used to be quite competitive; our fastest time is covering 43 miles in 2 hours and that's with up/downhills.
    Ridden well over a hundred centuries, double metrics, back-to-back centuries, tandem rallies and regional/national/intertnational events.
    Have owned 5 tandems; the first was a French Follis (back in 1975), then custom tandems as follows: Assenmacher, Colin Laing, Co-Motion and now our Zona which we consider 'broken in' at 34,000 miles.
    Yes a light and fast handling tandem is what we prefer, even at our age.
    As for trimming weight off our engine? Not really: Rudy is 135 lbs, Kay is 104 lbs.
    Moral of this ramble;
    Buy the best you can afford and enjoy the ride TWOgether! What you gonna do, wait 'til you get older?
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

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    Senior tandem riding

    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    As we've aged (we are now 80/77) we still enjoy tandeming.
    We no longer keep our nose to the wheel like we used to even ten years ago.
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
    We are 68/60 and it's great to hear that we can look forward to many more years of bicycling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Averaging 20 on a hilly course is fast. I did that once in my 50s on my carbon single. Heck, 18 is fast. We do very well to average 15-16 over 50-60 miles. Just depends on talent.
    Probably a slight exaggeration, (20mph). One of our standard rides is 21.5 miles with on fairly severe hill and quite a few rollers. My best on this is about 19.2 on my single with a crew and solid paceline all the way around. No way I could do that solo unless I lose the last 20 pounds and get the watts up.

  25. #25
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexcomp View Post
    twocicle - How do I determine what the spacing is on the Visa? I spoke with Jack of Tandems Ltd and he said the Visa was 160mm. We talked about a number of options he has on the floor and I may be getting together with him to evaluate. He seems to specialize in Co-Motion and Santana.
    Our 1995 Visa had a lousy drivetrain compared to modern setups (only 8 gears and bar-end shifters which I hated. some ppl like them) and definitely a narrower rear spacing than the Sovereign that replaced it. To find out for sure, simply take a metric ruler and measure the gap between the inside of the rear dropouts on your tandem.

    Your body mass progress is looking good. Congrads! Once you both get setup with your target tandem configuration, riding more and more should take care of leaning out the rest. If you are serious about keeping up with the fast group, then lean down by limiting the bread, pasta, etc and increase protein (egg white omelettes for breakfast instead of cereal or toast is a good start for the day). At our age (50+) we do not process carbs well - they tend to stick around regardless of BMI, daily calorie burn, etc. Processed grains seem to be the worst. I've taken to only "rewarding" myself with a Mex meal & Taco chips if I ride > 50 miles, and even then my weight can go up 2lbs for a couple days.

    On your the stationary tandem handling comments, that is surprising.
    - how tall and flexible are you?
    - your shoulder width (measure outside of boney parts)?
    - what is the handlebar height vs seat height difference (just measure each from a level floor up to the tops)?
    - your handlebar width (assuming you have road style drop bars, measure center of bars just under brake shifters - mid bend)?
    Last edited by twocicle; 10-11-12 at 09:10 AM.

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