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  1. #1
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Thoughts on IPS/ICS systems?

    Looking at a (used) tandem that has an independent coasting system. Can you folks walk me through the advantages/disadvantages of these?

    This would be the family's first tandem if that makes a difference.

    Thanks!
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  2. #2
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    I'd like the ICS (daVinci?) for a tandem being used by multiple family members who won't accumulate enough seat time to be completely comfortable. Also attractive for touring with a wide gearing range and what I see as much easier starts on steep pitches. My wife has no issue getting in sync, but getting OOP is more difficult, at least for my wife. Standing is a bit trickier and I don't think it's the strong point of an ICS configuration.

    The other extreme would be a (relatively) young, fast couple: Lightest gear, Gates timing belt, compact double, etc.

    The daVinci is a bit heavier. While it has two timing chains, I wouldn't describe it as being significantly more complex than a traditional drivetrain. The daVinci is extremely well built as are any number of other tandems so that's in no way an issue.
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  3. #3
    Rod & Judy gracehowler's Avatar
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    "Also attractive for touring with a wide gearing range and what I see as much easier starts on steep pitches. My wife has no issue getting in sync, but getting OOP is more difficult, at least for my wife. Standing is a bit trickier and I don't think it's the strong point of an ICS configuration."

    I was waiting on Ricks comments, J & I agree, the gearing is outstanding for touring. Judy has a bit more trouble with sync and we are working on better ways to stand. It goes without saying that it IS nice to be able to stop pedaling without messing with your partner, but you really don't need to do it that often, people have been riding linked up for years.
    R&J

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    We test-rode a KHS (around the block) then a Santana entry/mid-level bike (for perhaps 15 miles) then a daVinci aluminum (around the block). We bought a daVinci carbon fiber tandem as our first tandem and love it. We find starting (it's the clipping in action that can be deadly) is much easier. Stopping is also easier for us, but we each put a leg down at every stop (my wife's a little heavier than I am, so I can't support the bike/riders with one leg yet). She never stands even on her single, and the only challenge to me standing is the length of the headset cord.

    Only maintenance issues specific to the daVinci might be the chain tension management on a second eccentric, and the shaft that apparently needs occasional lube (we had a ticking sound that went away after a visit to a good shop).

  5. #5
    Senior Member DCwom's Avatar
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    The DaVinci is good for new riders because it is one less thing to learn on starts/stops, we were enamored with the DiVinchi when we first started, but quickly learned that it wasn't for us. We find that there is a huge amount of "pedal communication" through the sync chain that allows us to react to each others effort.

  6. #6
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
    Looking at a (used) tandem that has an independent coasting system. Can you folks walk me through the advantages/disadvantages of these?

    This would be the family's first tandem if that makes a difference.

    Thanks!
    Since you're asking the question, I'll ask: Recumbent or DF?

    One issue I believe (but am not sure about) is that it is much harder to stand with IPS than without. If you're on a recumbent, then this is a completely non-issue. Not all tandem riders try to stand, so this may not be an issue on a DF either.

    Have you ridden with a tag-a-long bike? That's the truest form of IPS and I find that it is probably harder than an in-sync tandem at first, I do very much like the freedom. (Am I correct that you'll be the captain and one of your kids would be the pilot?)
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  7. #7
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Wow - I thought DaVinci IPS was the way to go when we bought our first tandem but could not find a used one in our price range so we bought a used CoMotion. After about a week of getting used to CoMotion we have not had a second thought about IPS (5 years now) until I read this post. We got used to a conventional tandem very quickly and have not looked back since... I bet what ever you buy first and get used to will be what you love. There may be a few, but I have never read anyone say they liked and switched to IPS after they learned to ride a conventional first. I agree that the connection through the timing chain leads to more if a synchronized nonverbal mode where you start to think and act like a coordinated team. I bet you miss out on that when Captain and Stoker pedal independently...

    One caveat though - If your stoker is a younger child you cannot expect them to stay synched with you on a long ride and if you do you wind up dragging their dead legs when you are powering the whole thing yourself. I ride mostly with my kids so I am speaking with experience. Had that issue when youngest was 6 - 8 or 9, but by 10 or so he was able to mostly contribute continuously. With a younger kid stoker where you do not hope to reach the coordination of two older people, IPS may make a lot of sense. With my oldest at 12 now though, I can tell you we are a tight team and he can do a 70 mile ride with me and pull his own weight continuously (almost the entire time!); we start and stop pedaling together without a word spoken about it all day and tandem riding together is a blast. We pass single riders all day long! The psychological connection through the chain really makes us closer without words. My son can sense when I want more power to pass, when to ease off for a turn, how to adjust effort as grade eases and we crest a hill, etc, all without a word spoken. Really nice! I think you may miss out on that when you are connected through IPS, but I must admit I have never ridden IPS so maybe I am all wet... I'd love to hear some comments from IPS riders out there on this...
    Last edited by dwmckee; 03-19-13 at 09:28 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    Since you're asking the question, I'll ask: Recumbent or DF?

    One issue I believe (but am not sure about) is that it is much harder to stand with IPS than without. If you're on a recumbent, then this is a completely non-issue. Not all tandem riders try to stand, so this may not be an issue on a DF either.

    Have you ridden with a tag-a-long bike? That's the truest form of IPS and I find that it is probably harder than an in-sync tandem at first, I do very much like the freedom. (Am I correct that you'll be the captain and one of your kids would be the pilot?)
    LWB 'bent tandem- one of those 10' limos.Actually the 14 y.o. would be the captain and I'll be the stoker- I was razzing him about making him pull all the hills as I sit back with a beer on one hand and a stogie in the other. I'd think if the main issue is not being able to stand, as you say it's not an issue here. I'd think synching would be simple with appropriate communication (?)

    The issue is that the bike already has one, so I'm wondering if it's a good thing/bad thing.
    Last edited by delcrossv; 03-20-13 at 08:52 AM.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  9. #9
    Bill G Bill G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCwom View Post
    The DaVinci is good for new riders because it is one less thing to learn on starts/stops, we were enamored with the DiVinchi when we first started, but quickly learned that it wasn't for us. We find that there is a huge amount of "pedal communication" through the sync chain that allows us to react to each others effort.
    Totally disagree here. We ride a daVinci and a Co Motion one with the ICS and one without we have no problems with either tandem. We rode for years with the standard tandem configuration with no issues. When we got the daVinci the wife and I took to it with no problems she found her self just getting right into sync without any commands and she did it very quickly. We still start and stop the same way no changes here. The big advantage with the daVinci is going slow around or through obstickles she just keeps here feet still and I peddle us around and through things sorta like being on a single when peddling here. I do not have to fight the dead weight of trying to spin the weight of her legs or the communication needed when peddling in these types of situations. Also the wide range of gearing on the daVinci over a regular tandem set up in general is awesome (great low gears and very good high gears) We have the Campi set up with the four rings up front.

    Everyone is different but we love both our tandems and find the daVinci to be a tandem with some benafits that can be quite nice in some reguards and the build quality is top notch.

    Ride Safe All,
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  10. #10
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
    LWB 'bent tandem- one of those 10' limos.Actually the 14 y.o. would be the captain and I'll be the stoker- I was razzing him about making him pull all the hills as I sit back with a beer on one hand and a stogie in the other. I'd think if the main issue is not being able to stand, as you say it's not an issue here. I'd think synching would be simple with appropriate communication (?)

    The issue is that the bike already has one, so I'm wondering if it's a good thing/bad thing.
    Given the riding experience of this 14 year old and that the stoker isn't completely incompetent in this case, I think you'll do just fine. The biggest issue is going to be for the captain to get that lazy stoker to actually pedal....
    http://Charles.Plager.net
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  11. #11
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCwom View Post
    We find that there is a huge amount of "pedal communication" through the sync chain that allows us to react to each others effort.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill G View Post
    Totally disagree here. We ride a daVinci and a Co Motion one with the ICS and one without we have no problems with either tandem.
    Have you ridden the Davinci in a fast paceline, or pack situation?

    In a paceline it can be difficult with a tandem to make those fine adjustments in power output to stay smooth, and not allow gaps. (and without putting a lot of extra work on the captain).
    The feedback coming through the timing belt (even moreso than a timing chain) helps my stoker to anticipate when to feather the pedals, and when to apply a bit more torque. This is important given the stoker's limited ability to see up the road.

    Admittedly, I've never ridden an ICS tandem, but I have to think the lack of connection between captain and stoker would be an impediment in this particular situation.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  12. #12
    Bill G Bill G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    Have you ridden the Davinci in a fast paceline, or pack situation?

    In a paceline it can be difficult with a tandem to make those fine adjustments in power output to stay smooth, and not allow gaps. (and without putting a lot of extra work on the captain).
    The feedback coming through the timing belt (even moreso than a timing chain) helps my stoker to anticipate when to feather the pedals, and when to apply a bit more torque. This is important given the stoker's limited ability to see up the road.

    Admittedly, I've never ridden an ICS tandem, but I have to think the lack of connection between captain and stoker would be an impediment in this particular situation.
    Yes we have, no problems none of the issues you guys are having. We just sync in and move right along..

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  13. #13
    Rod & Judy gracehowler's Avatar
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    I will add our 2 cents, we think there is still plenty of communication between riders with ICS, it's just a little differeent but still very much there.
    R&J

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    Quote Originally Posted by gracehowler View Post
    I will add our 2 cents, we think there is still plenty of communication between riders with ICS, it's just a little differeent but still very much there.
    R&J
    +1

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    Quote Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
    LWB 'bent tandem- one of those 10' limos.Actually the 14 y.o. would be the captain and I'll be the stoker- I was razzing him about making him pull all the hills as I sit back with a beer on one hand and a stogie in the other. I'd think if the main issue is not being able to stand, as you say it's not an issue here. I'd think synching would be simple with appropriate communication (?) The issue is that the bike already has one, so I'm wondering if it's a good thing/bad thing.
    Don't forget that there are tandem tag-a-longs also if one wants to make a tandem into a quad, etc., Never had one, but kinda would like to find one already. Right now new ones on ebay or amazon are in the $450 range which is outside my "playing with non-necessary toys" budget. Would like to read impressions of others with experience on one...
    /K

  16. #16
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    Have you ridden the Davinci in a fast paceline, or pack situation?

    In a paceline it can be difficult with a tandem to make those fine adjustments in power output to stay smooth, and not allow gaps. (and without putting a lot of extra work on the captain).
    The feedback coming through the timing belt (even moreso than a timing chain) helps my stoker to anticipate when to feather the pedals, and when to apply a bit more torque. This is important given the stoker's limited ability to see up the road.

    Admittedly, I've never ridden an ICS tandem, but I have to think the lack of connection between captain and stoker would be an impediment in this particular situation.
    Just a theory...

    I also have never ridden a daVinci but trying to think like a stoker it seems to me that it would most likely not be a problem. The stoker should still sense the captain's every so slightly lowering power output by feeling the increased in resistance to her stroke. The ICS would not come into play unless she soft pedaled more than the captain did. My stoker claims NEVER to do when we are going fast. Only when there are large changes in pace would it come into play but small adjustments to power should be manageable.

  17. #17
    Bill G Bill G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waynesulak View Post
    Just a theory...

    I also have never ridden a daVinci but trying to think like a stoker it seems to me that it would most likely not be a problem. The stoker should still sense the captain's every so slightly lowering power output by feeling the increased in resistance to her stroke. The ICS would not come into play unless she soft pedaled more than the captain did. My stoker claims NEVER to do when we are going fast. Only when there are large changes in pace would it come into play but small adjustments to power should be manageable.

    merlinextraligh in his post tends to be a little down or has a underlying sorta poor opinion of the daVinci ICS system in every post about daVinci tandems even though he claims he has never ridden one. Just an observation over time and after reading many post about daVinci tandems on this forum.

    Waynesulak you are pretty much right in your theory above concerning the ICS system.

    Ride Safe All,
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill G View Post
    merlinextraligh in his post tends to be a little down or has a underlying sorta poor opinion of the daVinci ICS system in every post about daVinci tandems even though he claims he has never ridden one. Just an observation over time and after reading many post about daVinci tandems on this forum.

    Waynesulak you are pretty much right in your theory above concerning the ICS system.

    Ride Safe All,
    Bill G
    Help me understand how ice works. Can the stoker in theory soft pedal constantly and never apply any power?
    Thatnismthe way I perceive it but I may be wrong. I know when my stoker is applying power, is it that way with ics?

    I would not even consider ics, but if it offers an advantage to the ones who buy them and gets them out on the bike with their stoker then I think it is awesome. Just not something I would even look at.

    wayne

  19. #19
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    I've never ridden ICS either, but we just returned from our first multi-day (supported) tour and there was one day where I think ICS would have been helpful.

    Near the end of the third day we were both getting a bit tired and saddle sore. We were riding into a headwind up a gentle incline with about 15 miles to do. Trying to coordinate coasting or pedaling out of the saddle or stopping (for butt breaks) just added more stuff to deal with when we both just wanted to git'er done! We both would have been happier if I could have put my head down and driven it home, while she was able to coast/stand for mini breaks from time to time.

    Having said that, the remainder of the week was awesome, and we did just fine. But I can see that for long rides the ability to easily get out of the saddle independently and coast if needed could be a huge benefit especially when fatigue creeps in.

  20. #20
    Rod & Judy gracehowler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cajoe View Post

    We both would have been happier if I could have put my head down and driven it home, while she was able to coast/stand for mini breaks from time to time.

    Having said that, the remainder of the week was awesome, and we did just fine. But I can see that for long rides the ability to easily get out of the saddle independently and coast if needed could be a huge benefit especially when fatigue creeps in.
    We find this the best part of ICS!
    R&J

  21. #21
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gracehowler View Post
    We find this the best part of ICS!
    R&J
    When we first started to ride a tandem we would stay seated and when we needed a butt break would stand an coast. Now we stand and pedal from time to time before needing a butt break and never stand to coast. We find standing to pedal great fun, really "dancing on the pedals." Now we just wish we had the aerobic capacity to stand longer and more often.


    just another exame of diiferent strokes for different folks. I think it is a creative system but we decided against it for .

  22. #22
    Rod & Judy gracehowler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waynesulak View Post
    When we first started to ride a tandem we would stay seated and when we needed a butt break would stand an coast. Now we stand and pedal from time to time before needing a butt break and never stand to coast. We find standing to pedal great fun, really "dancing on the pedals." Now we just wish we had the aerobic capacity to stand longer and more often.


    .
    We stand and pedal a lot more than we used to, but standing with ICS is not easy and needs to be another thread!
    R&J

  23. #23
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gracehowler View Post
    We stand and pedal a lot more than we used to, but standing with ICS is not easy and needs to be another thread!
    R&J
    If standing is harder then i would not want ICS. That is one reason we stay in phase.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cajoe View Post
    I've never ridden ICS either, but we just returned from our first multi-day (supported) tour and there was one day where I think ICS would have been helpful.

    Near the end of the third day we were both getting a bit tired and saddle sore. We were riding into a headwind up a gentle incline with about 15 miles to do. Trying to coordinate coasting or pedaling out of the saddle or stopping (for butt breaks) just added more stuff to deal with when we both just wanted to git'er done! We both would have been happier if I could have put my head down and driven it home, while she was able to coast/stand for mini breaks from time to time.

    Having said that, the remainder of the week was awesome, and we did just fine. But I can see that for long rides the ability to easily get out of the saddle independently and coast if needed could be a huge benefit especially when fatigue creeps in.
    cajoe has it exactly right. We do ride a daVinci with ICS. We started out with a used Cannondale which was just fine. I did find however, that at the end of a long ride, I was pushing my wife/stoker's legs around as she became tired. When it became time to upgrade, we tried the daVinci and really liked it. Now she has a lot more flexibility back there. We miss out on the nuances of being tied together, but, you know what, we have a blast together and that is what counts.

  25. #25
    Bill G Bill G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DubT View Post
    Help me understand how ice works. Can the stoker in theory soft pedal constantly and never apply any power?
    Thatnismthe way I perceive it but I may be wrong. I know when my stoker is applying power, is it that way with ics?

    I would not even consider ics, but if it offers an advantage to the ones who buy them and gets them out on the bike with their stoker then I think it is awesome. Just not something I would even look at.

    wayne
    Yes you are correct. The point was that with a weaker rider or kids it has an advantage in a lot of cases. But the mane point here was certain partyies said in a pace line they assumed it would be a problem with the ICS never having ridden the ICS daVinci system. My point was it is not a problem in this situation for exactly what you stated. MY stoker my wife is a stong rider and we are pretty even in power over all so we have none of these issues thrown out by folks on a daVinci as stated in many post that I have made. We stay pretty much in sync all the time with no floating issues in or out of a pace line or any other situation. My wife just locks in sync on her own without any communication. I find I communicate less with her on our daVinci than I do on our Co Motion..

    Ride Safe All,
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    da Vinci Custom Joint Venture 700 Tandem (AKA The Marrage Therapist)

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