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  1. #1
    Senior Member bradcycles's Avatar
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    Upgrades on my new 2001 Team AL Santana?

    I just bought a used 2001 Team Al Santana a few days ago, and have just gone on a couple short rides. I weighed it in my garage before I put pedals on it, and it was about 35.3 pounds. I'm hoping to reduce the weight a bit. I weighed the rear wheel with the 11-34 XT cassette, disc brake, and tire on it, and it weighed over 5 pounds. The wheels appear to have Hadley hubs, and I believe they are 48 spokes. I've posted photos of the hubs. I'm guessing I could reduce a decent amount of weight by going with a lighter wheelset. In looking through the forum, it sounds like the new Spinergy tx2 wheels may be a good option. Thoughts?

    On my test ride, when descending, the brakes seemed a bit soft. I'm not sure if it was just that the brakes needed adjusted, if I need to re-calibrate my expectations for braking power on a tandem, and/or if I should get better brakes. I've posted some photos of my brakes. Should I upgrade the brakes?

    The bike has a carbon fork, but I couldn't see any markings on it to indicate what brand/model it is. Any ideas on whether this is a good carbon fork?

    I've also posted a photo of my complete bike, and was curious as to whether or not there are obvious upgrades that could be made that would lighten the bike up (e.g., stems, seatposts, etc). One change we are making is to replace the suspension seatpost (I believe it is the "tamer" seatpost) with a normal (non-suspension) seatpost, as my stoker needs the saddle to be lower, and it doesn't appear that any of the suspension seatposts can be low enough to accommodate her riding position.

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    Team Santana AL (1 of 8)-2.jpgTeam Santana AL (2 of 8)-2.jpgTeam Santana AL (3 of 8)-2.jpgTeam Santana AL (4 of 8)-2.jpgTeam Santana AL (5 of 8)-2.jpgTeam Santana AL (6 of 8)-2.jpgTeam Santana AL (7 of 8)-2.jpgTeam Santana AL (8 of 8)-2.jpg

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    In looking through the forum, it sounds like the new Spinergy tx2 wheels may be a good option. Thoughts? They would definitely shave quite a few grams off your stock 40h wheelset, perhaps 1.25 lbs p 1.5 lbs per wheel, and also give the bike a more comfortable, lively feel.

    Should I upgrade the brakes? Some fresh pads would probably help up front, but much of what you're experiencing is just adjusting to a tandem's added weight. The "Travel Agent" V-brake adapter is also part of the front brake feel issue. The best upgrade would be moving to newer Ultegra shifters where the brake pull has been adjusted to be correct for V-brakes & discs without any type of cable pull modification. But, now we're getting into some serious $$.

    Any ideas on whether this is a good carbon fork? It's a Santana-branded / house fork and Santana tends to err on the conservative side so it should be both robust and reliable. Also bear in mind, you've got a 1.25" headset, not a 1.125" so your fork options are limited unless you install a Devolution-type headset that reduces the 1.25" to a 1.125" steerer fit.

    ... and it doesn't appear that any of the suspension seatposts can be low enough to accommodate her riding position. I'd definitely ditch the suspension post. As for trimming weight elsewhere, it's a cost / benefit thing. You can easily get this bike down to the low 30's, but you'll put $1,500 into it quickly to do so.

  3. #3
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Yes, IMHO looking at the Santana version of the Spinergy wheels is a first stop, must have. Previously we had a Team AL with the Shimano Sweet-16 wheels, but these Spinergy have a much plusher ride and much lighter. The cost isn't bad either. Check with Ric at House of Tandems (in TX), Mel at Tandems East, or of course Santana.

    The Santa V-fork is not the lightest they offered. We had the Reynolds Ouzo Pro carbon, which at the time was a fair bit lighter than the Santana. I thought the Ouzo ride performance was great, but note it is only for the caliper brake type so you'd need to grab a road front brake.

    Interesting to see my BASTARD solution (spring over wire) again Your BB7 rear caliper should be fine with your road shifters, but the Santa cable routing under the bottom tube then up and around the chainstay does tend to cause the cable to bind a little. A good set of cables (casing and wire) can help. I like the Jagwire Racer kits with the solid casings (not weaved) and replace the rear brake wire with their super slick (non-teflon coated) stainless 3000mm (cheap on Amazon).

    Very likely with the Spinergy wheels your stoker won't miss the suspension post... saving yet another pound. Santana uses bigger diameter posts, so you'll need to shim a standard 27.2 if you go that route. No big deal and the selection of lighter standard posts is obviously better.

  4. #4
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    I agree with the following:

    Changing seatposts including the captain's are cheap and save quite a bit of weight for little money.

    Wheels have been mentioned would improve the ride and would save a lot of weight. Not cheap but worth the money.

    Depending on where and how you ride ,ou may want to keep the disk brake but it does weigh a lot and taking it off is free. Might be a possibility after you get the rim brakes sorted out.

    Fork has been covered - might be able to save half pound but high cost per gram.

    Cranks - Cranks and BBs of that era are pretty heavy. Davinci cranks would save quite a bit of weight or you could spring for Lighting cranks but that is really a lot of money.

    Doing everything I think close to 30 lbs is achievable but that would only save about 5 pounds. Sounds like a lot but keep in mind it is really for with two people and two bikes.

    I suggest:

    1st - Getting the brakes functioning well is the first priority. Keep in mind you can grab the rear brake as hard as the front on a tandem.

    2nd - New wheels will improve ride as well as drop weight. Either TX2s or slightly heavier conventional 36 or 32 spoke wheel set that would weigh about 2,000 grams.

    3rd - Ride lots. Put 5,000 miles on it . Make sure your stoker has bought in and decide what type of riding you want to do on the tandem. You may want to race, day ride or even tour who knows riding together is different.

    4th - With that experience on a tandem you are in a better position to decide if you want to upgrade that aluminum frame to get a really good 30 lb tandem or spring for a $10,000+ carbon bike depending on how your riding and finances are working out. Who knows after that time you might want a time trial bike, or a bike with couplers to fly with, or a bike that can handle panniers.
    Last edited by waynesulak; 02-20-13 at 07:48 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bradcycles's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the input - it's very helpful. I decided to order the Spinergy wheels this morning - I am having them built with the bright green spokes. I also ordered a Thomson Elite seatpost for the captain seatpost, and an Easton EC90 zero carbon seatpost for the stoker. Hopefully between those changes, we can drop a couple/few pounds.

    I like the idea of sticking to basic upgrades where I get lots of bang for my buck in lightening the bike/improving the bike, and then just riding the bike and seeing what we may want to upgrade over time (or just get a new bike down the road). Thanks again for your help.

    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    Should I upgrade the brakes? Some fresh pads would probably help up front, but much of what you're experiencing is just adjusting to a tandem's added weight. The "Travel Agent" V-brake adapter is also part of the front brake feel issue. The best upgrade would be moving to newer Ultegra shifters where the brake pull has been adjusted to be correct for V-brakes & discs without any type of cable pull modification. But, now we're getting into some serious $$.
    Which Ultegra shifters would work (the drivetrain is 9-speed) to improve the brakes?

  6. #6
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Did you note to your wheel builder that they were for a Santana tandem and have 160mm spacing, not the standard 145?

    I believe the new Ultegra brifters referred to only come in 10 speed, so .... more money to change some amount of cassette, chainrings, and chain, depending upon what you're currently running.

    The other options on the brakes are put the front and rear canti-levers back on that it came with, or, see if a long reach Shimano caliper will reach for the front, (our final solution after mucho time/$).

    If a caliper will work, DO NOT buy a high end caliper. Those are racing brakes designed to be as light as possible while still stopping a SINGLE bike. We got a tip about this from a fully-loaded tandem touring cyclist who had the same issues as we had. He recommended the "below the grouppos", unnamed Shimano calipers like these since they were heavier and stronger. We also like the price!

    Whatever rim brake you choose, WITHOUT FAIL, upgrade the pads. MAJOR difference. I like the KoolStop Salmons, others like the SwissStop ... greens, I think, but someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

    We did the front caliper and the Koolstops, and I can bring down the front end of the bike so hard it puts my stoker onto my back even if I announce it. And lets just say that we're currently over a 400 pound team and leave it at that!

    The other thing I'd want to say is that there is no such thing as "buying a tandem bike". What you bought is "your FIRST tandem bike". As you ride you will define what your uses for a tandem will be, and if the Santana doesn't fill the bill, then keep away from hi-dollar upgrades that can't easily be swapped to your SECOND tandem bike!

    Hope some of that helps.
    Last edited by Onegun; 02-20-13 at 04:14 PM.
    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.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member bradcycles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onegun View Post
    Did you note to your wheel builder that they were for a Santana tandem and have 160mm spacing, not the standard 145?
    Yep. I got it from House of Tandems, and let them know it was for a Santana with a rear disc brake.

    Quote Originally Posted by Onegun View Post
    I believe the new Ultegra brifters referred to only come in 10 speed, so .... more money to change some amount of cassette, chainrings, and chain, depending upon what you're currently running.
    Ah, good to know. I ran into this same issue when i switched my cyclocross bike from 9 speed to 10 speed; i thought it wasn't going to require many new parts, and it required a bunch, and more money than i originally anticipated. i think i'll hold off on switching the drivetrain to 10 speed...

    but i think i may buy an XTR cassette for the new spinergy wheels, to at least save some grams over the current XT cassette on the current (heavy) wheels.

    Quote Originally Posted by Onegun View Post
    If a caliper will work, DO NOT buy a high end caliper. Those are racing brakes designed to be as light as possible while still stopping a SINGLE bike. We got a tip about this from a fully-loaded tandem touring cyclist who had the same issues as we had. He recommended the "below the grouppos", unnamed Shimano calipers like these since they were heavier and stronger. We also like the price!
    We would like to get the bike as light as we can (while still remaining safe). We are a 295 pound team, and I don't anticipate we will be doing any touring on this bike anytime soon. I wouldn't mind doing some racing at some point, though.

    Thansk for the advice on the brake pads; I'll make sure to get those replaced; I'm having the bike tuned up at my local bike mechanic, so I'll be sure to tell him to upgrade the pads.

    Thanks for all your other tips.

  8. #8
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Regarding the rear disc - Both Avid and Shimano now offer rotors that should be superior to what you currently have. We are running a Shimano ICE XT rotor on the back of our daVinci and noticed an immediate improvement in braking. The only mod required was to snip off the small foot on one of the brake pads, the inner as I recall. Avid has an HSX rotor which is supposed to be superior to their stock rotor. Not as sophisticated looking as the Shimano, but I'm anxious to try the ones I bought on my Volagi.
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  9. #9
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    If your stoker still can't get the seat low enough, you could also get her some shorter cranks. They'll be lighter where it matters (rotating weight) and she'll have to raise the seat height to accomodate them. In addition, if she is on the shorter side you both may find that she can spin better (i.e.-keep up with you) with the shorter cranks. DaVinci makes some shorter cranks and you can also get them from this link: http://www.bikesmithdesign.com/Short_Cranks/ I've bought cranks from him and he does a good job. Good luck!!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onegun View Post
    ...:
    If a caliper will work, DO NOT buy a high end caliper. Those are racing brakes designed to be as light as possible while still stopping a SINGLE bike...
    What is your objection to high end calipers? My team is just under or over 400lbs depending on my stoker and I've used DA calipers on my tandem for years. They work great for all all the riding and racing I do. If I was touring maybe they wouldn't be...
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  11. #11
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    What is your objection to high end calipers?
    Homeyba, I believe you just quoted my objection! Seriously, I'm probably over-the-top picky about braking. Back in the early 70's the first tandem I ever rode was a Bob Jackson with sew-ups, Campy Record brakes, Scott-Mathauser blocks and one of the best bike handlers I'd ever met for a pilot. With two 175 pound Cat 1 & 2 capable riders on that bike, it would stop with greater (would that be G or negative G?) force than you would ever dare apply on a single.

    Since then, every tandem I've owned had to stop as well, or I wasn't satisfied. If we're ever riding in the same hemisphere, we'll do a panic braking test!
    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.

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  12. #12
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onegun View Post
    Homeyba, I believe you just quoted my objection! Seriously, I'm probably over-the-top picky about braking. Back in the early 70's the first tandem I ever rode was a Bob Jackson with sew-ups, Campy Record brakes, Scott-Mathauser blocks and one of the best bike handlers I'd ever met for a pilot. With two 175 pound Cat 1 & 2 capable riders on that bike, it would stop with greater (would that be G or negative G?) force than you would ever dare apply on a single.

    Since then, every tandem I've owned had to stop as well, or I wasn't satisfied. If we're ever riding in the same hemisphere, we'll do a panic braking test!
    Interesting, I roadraced motorcycles professionally (back in my younger years) and still race off-road motorcyles as well as my bicycle. I'd say, I'm pretty picky about stopping too and somewhat skilled. Plus I have about 50lbs more of descending muscles than your cat 1/2 friends. I've been over 70mph descending on my tandem in races. Those DA calipers works as good as anything I've tried. btw, pads do make a huge difference in brake performance.

    I wasn't calling you out, just wanted to know what your thinking was. We all base our opinions on our experience and I respect your expreience (as well as others with many years of experience).

    btw, I know where you can find a Bob Jackson if you're interested in reliving that experience.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  13. #13
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    Interesting, I roadraced motorcycles professionally (back in my younger years) and still race off-road motorcyles as well as my bicycle. I'd say, I'm pretty picky about stopping too and somewhat skilled. Plus I have about 50lbs more of descending muscles than your cat 1/2 friends. I've been over 70mph descending on my tandem in races. Those DA calipers works as good as anything I've tried. btw, pads do make a huge difference in brake performance.
    Hmmm. I tried an Ultegra, a DA, and a Campy, all with KoolStops, and they all "worked as good as anything I've tried". But I wasn't happy.

    The difference here may also be in the forks themselves. The pads on all the above brakes were bottomed out in the slot to make them reach on our Trek, as they would be on the OP's Santana fork, (if they even reach). In other words, at the limit of their design parameters. With the Shimano 451's they are about middle of the arm, and the arms themselves are considerably beefier with (naturally) less flex.

    I was forced to do all these brake changes pretty much back-to-back since the DA and the Campy Record brakes were borrowed. Honestly, when I went to the 451's the difference was of the "Oh, wow!" variety.

    Another thing worth mentioning that probably contributes to that experience is that I had previously gone to Nokon housing on the brakes. So between the zero compression housing, the KoolStop blocks and the beefier brake, when the blocks touch the rim on my front brake, that's it. I get a total of a 1/4 inch additional travel with the lever, (the combined deflection of all the components), and then nothing. Rock solid. I swear I could squeeze hard enough to break my Campy levers, and nothing moves. It's all power to the rim.

    Naturally, if your setup is different, your experience will be different. On a different fork the DA or Record brakes may have been all I felt I needed too. But not on a fork built with clearances like the Trek, (or the OP's Santana).

    Moving along smartly now, you're the second one I know now that's been over 70 on a tandem! Wyatt W. up in NoCal sent me pictures a couple of times of his cyclometer's Mx Spd reading at over 70mph! Wow! I really envy you guys out west with your long descents that allow you to run it up. I was running a bike shop in "the valley" for 2+ years in the late 70's, but didn't have a tandem partner then.

    As for the Jackson, love to have it, but just can't afford it right now!
    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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  14. #14
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    One thing for the OP to consider is that some tandem forks built for V-Brakes are not drilled for a caliper brake. I have had Santana that were and a Santana that was not.

  15. #15
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waynesulak View Post
    One thing for the OP to consider is that some tandem forks built for V-Brakes are not drilled for a caliper brake. I have had Santana that were and a Santana that was not.
    I just went back and looked at the pics of his closely, and it may not be! The rubber boot is in the way somewhat, but I think I would see at least some of the hole if it was there.

    if he wants to go that way he'll have to check with a competent tandem shop or carbon fiber builder to see if it can be drilled! (Santana themselves would naturally err on the side of caution and say no.)
    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.

    TampaBayCycling.com - A LOCAL Cycling Forum
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  16. #16
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Also fork performance varies. The Reynolds Ouzo Pro carbon fork was great on our old Team AL. Santana still shows this fork spec'd on some Team builds and a V-MAX on others. The Reynolds is not listed under their "Tandem-Specific Components" page. Call them.
    Last edited by twocicle; 02-21-13 at 09:57 AM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    While calipers are fine, V-Brakes can work well too. If properly set up they can put out enough G-Force to slam an unwary stoker into the captain's back. I know.

  18. #18
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Relatively cheap weight savings is to get rid of the adjustable stoker stem, if you can find a fixed length that fits. You can save close to 200 grams, for less than $50.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member bradcycles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    Relatively cheap weight savings is to get rid of the adjustable stoker stem, if you can find a fixed length that fits. You can save close to 200 grams, for less than $50.
    oh, nice. i like that idea! lots of weight savings for little money. thanks!

  20. #20
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradcycles View Post
    oh, nice. i like that idea! lots of weight savings for little money. thanks!

    If a standard stem is not long enough to keep the stoker comfortable - and we must keep the stoker comfortable - See the discussion of Trials stems above. Not as much bang for the buck but you can still save 100 grams on a non-wear item with no loss of function.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onegun View Post
    Hmmm. I tried an Ultegra, a DA, and a Campy, all with KoolStops, and they all "worked as good as anything I've tried". But I wasn't happy.

    The difference here may also be in the forks themselves. The pads on all the above brakes were bottomed out in the slot to make them reach on our Trek, as they would be on the OP's Santana fork, (if they even reach). In other words, at the limit of their design parameters. With the Shimano 451's they are about middle of the arm, and the arms themselves are considerably beefier with (naturally) less flex...
    You may have a point there. My fork is made for caliper brakes.




    Quote Originally Posted by Onegun View Post
    ...Moving along smartly now, you're the second one I know now that's been over 70 on a tandem! Wyatt W. up in NoCal sent me pictures a couple of times of his cyclometer's Mx Spd reading at over 70mph! Wow! I really envy you guys out west with your long descents that allow you to run it up...
    Interestingly, I didn't go that fast in Ca. I did it in Utah on the descent into Mexican Hat during RAAM. Lots of fun.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  22. #22
    Senior Member bradcycles's Avatar
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    we just finished replacing the seatposts (including the stoker suspension seatpost) and saddles on the tandem bike with a thomson elite seatpost (for captain) and an easton ec90 (carbon) seatpost (for stoker). then, we put on our saddles - wtb rocket v slt saddle with titanium rails (captain) and specialized oura rbx expert gel saddle (stoker).

    by just changing out the seatposts and saddles, we were able to reduce the weight to 34.08 pounds (without pedals). next up is replacing the 62 gram bottle cages with 24 gram bottle cages, giving us another savings of 152 grams, or .34 pounds, bringing us down to 33.74 pounds (without pedals).

    the spinergy wheels should be here within a couple weeks, and will hopefully save us at least 2-3 pounds over our current heavy wheels. we're excited to see how much weight savings we will get with that wheelset.

  23. #23
    Senior Member bradcycles's Avatar
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    we finished most of the upgrades for now. we got our bike back today from the shop, with new spinergy tx2 wheels put on today, along with an 11-32 xtr cassette (to replace the 11-34 xt cassette), a shimano ice-tech rotor, a dura-ace 54 tooth chainring (to replace the ultegra 52 tooth chainring), a 30 tooth chainring (to replace the 26 tooth chainring that was on there previously), a ritchey stim (to work with my oversized handlebars), easton ec70 carbon handlebars (to replace the previous aluminum handlebars), and green and pink handlebar tape. i think the only other upgrade we'd like to make in the short term is to replace the very heavy looking adjustable stoker stem with a fixed stoker stem, although it looks like this will be difficult to find (my stoker is very happy with the current position of the adjustable stem and doesn't anticipate needing to change its position). our new bike weight (with pedals and four bottle cages) is 32.19 pounds. i was very pleased to see the weight reductions. here are a couple photos of the upgraded bike.

    thanks to everyone for their help.


    upgraded tandem (2 of 2).jpgupgraded tandem (1 of 2).jpg

  24. #24
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    The Conti Gatorskins in 25 mm weigh 250 gm per, whereas the GP4000S weighs 230 gm. 40 mg right there. The GP4000's have decent enough flat protection, are grippier and more comfortable.

    It looks like your ControlTech adjustable stem is full retracted. It weighs 350 grams. The 180 mm 35 degree stems on this thread weigh as little as 220 grams (with ti bolts). That is $50-70 for >130 grams. Easy pickens. The adjustable stem needs to be gone!

    The skewer handle on the rear wheel not only looks heavy, it almost raises aero considerations. 46 gram KCNC skewers have worked fine for us.

    Your saddle weighs 210 grams. The S-Works Toupe weighs 113 grams, and is tolerably comfortable for the captain. With LGBRC we had a team day with Mike's Bikes, and so a significant discount. AV must have schwag access?



    I figure these changes add up to 300 grams, depending on the weight of your skewers. That is .66 pound, or nearly to 31.5 lbs.
    Last edited by Ritterview; 03-13-13 at 09:57 PM. Reason: Added more weight savings!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
    The skewer handle on the rear wheel not only looks heavy, it almost raises aero considerations. 46 gram KCNC skewers have worked fine for us.
    Are you saying that those actually fit on a 160 (or even 145mm) rear? I didn't think that road/mountain skewers were quite that long.

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