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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 05-13-13, 02:05 PM   #26
waynesulak
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We run Gran Bois 28 or 29 tires on our tandem. They have absolutely amazing road feel, and help provide a very comfortable ride. We have run a lot of different tires over the years on our tandems, and never found anything that rides like Gran Bois. The only caveat is that they don't do so well with fully loaded touring, or with scuffs from stones etc., as the sidewalls are pretty soft. I'm not sure how well they would do on a triple.

Our single bikes have had 26 mm Gran Bois tires since new, and they have a great ride. These bikes were built with fit and comfort at the top of the list, and I am pretty sure the tires are a bike part of their feel.
The Gran Bois 30mm wide 700C tires started me down the road of nice light flexible wide tires. They do ride great but seem to flat very easily in the wet and once flatted by a small sliver of glass the tire soon developed a bulge where the casing cord(s) had been cut. This was true even with a very small cut. I concluded the thin casing was barely able to run at 100 psi that I want to use and any cut caused the casing to slowly fail. I now run them on my single but not the tandem.
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Old 05-13-13, 06:45 PM   #27
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I've been riding a single for only 5 years and a tandem for 4 years so I consider myself new to cycling. But, I've seen an Easton wheel spoke break on a ride, I've seen a Mavic wheel spoke break on a ride, I saw a Bontreger spoke break on a tandem, I saw a front fork break on a tandem, a friend had their crank arm break on ride so I have come to the conclusion that no matter what components you buy they can break. I know it can vary with mileage and weight of riders, etc. But, I have Topolino's on my tandem and know they can break but also know any wheel spoke can break, so I always keep an extra set of wheels for my tandem and single bikes. I think it is just one of the risks of riding a bike.
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Old 05-14-13, 06:35 AM   #28
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I've been riding a single for only 5 years and a tandem for 4 years so I consider myself new to cycling. But, I've seen an Easton wheel spoke break on a ride, I've seen a Mavic wheel spoke break on a ride, I saw a Bontreger spoke break on a tandem, I saw a front fork break on a tandem, a friend had their crank arm break on ride so I have come to the conclusion that no matter what components you buy they can break. I know it can vary with mileage and weight of riders, etc. But, I have Topolino's on my tandem and know they can break but also know any wheel spoke can break, so I always keep an extra set of wheels for my tandem and single bikes. I think it is just one of the risks of riding a bike.
You make a good point but there usually is a tradeoff in weight, price and durability. If a product is superior in most areas then then over time that product drives others out of the market. This happen with aluminum cranks driving out steel cranks.

Usually the owner has to choose between products to find the ones that fit his personal priorities of durability, price, weight, type of function and sometimes style. Touring cyclist prize durability over all things while a racer just needs it to be durable enough to make it to the finish line. We ride wheels with a higher spoke count so a broken spoke doesn't end the ride. We carry a spare tire for the same reason. Lower spoke count wheels are proven to work but are more likely to be unrideable if a spoke breaks. So extra weight and less aero in exchange for some additional ability to recover from a failure. Others make decisions that are best for them. Maybe they want super light weight or just to avoid looking like a "Fred" . There is however differences between products and it good idea to know those differences so that you can pick one that you will serve you well.
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Old 05-14-13, 09:47 AM   #29
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I have come to the conclusion that no matter what components you buy they can break. I think it is just one of the risks of riding a bike.
Yes and no. Tandem enthusiasts can make purchasing decisions that are clearly biased for long-term durability under very demanding conditions or they can make choices for other reasons that come with a higher degree of risk for shorter service life and other trade-offs. To me, the trick is making those decisions with your eyes wide-open and calling a spade a spade in discussions about bicycle equipment and technology.

Again, we're at a crossroads with our beloved Topolino wheelset. It's the sole-surviving wheelset of four that were used in our self-funded wheel comparison from 2008 - 2009 because they were the ones that we simply liked the best. By liked the best, I'm talking mostly about vanity. They remain nearly equal to or better our 36h conventional WhiteInd/Velocity Deep-V wheelset in terms of handling, stability and comfort while being far more visually and technologically interesting. There's also something about that extra 1lb weight reduction that simply brings a smile to your face when you pick up the tandem, noting it's really quite improbable that I could tell which wheelset was on our Calfee in a blind tandem lift. Like I said, we really like the Topolino's and therein lies the added value, as they're certainly not going to make our tandem go faster or further than anything short of a set of 80mm deep time trial wheels.

Will we get them repaired? Still not sure. I've talked with Rafe Schlanger -- great guy doing something he's passionate about -- and have a full understanding of what it will cost and what has changed since our wheels were made back in 2008. As I expected, I'm looking at something close to the cost of a new conventional wheelset to do a robust refresh of both the front & rear wheels: two new spoke halves laced to the existing front rim, and a new rim and possibly a new drive-side spoke half in the rear + shipping to and from MA. So, the question will likely go to my wife. If she wants them fixed, then we'll get them fixed. If not, we have a set of wheels that are more than adequate for our needs plus two spare rims for those wheels that will keep us rolling for the next 10-15 years and 30,000 - 40,000 miles. I don't think I'd ante up the $900+ for the Spinergy wheels if only because I'm not sure they have the aforementioned visually and technologically interesting qualities that have made the Topolino's a bit special: they truly are a perfect match for our natural finish composite Calfee.

Decisions, decisions...


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Old 05-14-13, 10:16 AM   #30
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TandemGeek:

You mention the conventional Deep V wheel set in all your comparisons but I seem to recall you also had a lighter conventional 36 spokes set built with Fusion rims. Is there a functional problem with the Fusion rims that eliminated them from the discussion or is it the visual effect of the Deep V rim that makes them more comparable?

Also an observation: I believe that The Topolino wheels are not the only surviving set from your test as the conventional Deep V set used as a baseline for the test is still around.
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Old 05-14-13, 11:00 AM   #31
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You mention the conventional Deep V wheel set in all your comparisons but I seem to recall you also had a lighter conventional 36 spokes set built with Fusion rims. Is there a functional problem with the Fusion rims that eliminated them from the discussion or is it the visual effect of the Deep V rim that makes them more comparable? I believe that The Topolino wheels are not the only surviving set from your test as the conventional Deep V set used as a baseline for the test is still around.
I should have said "four" not "five" but technically I guess it is five. The original comparison was between the '08 Rolfs and a set of 36h White Ind/Velocity Fusion wheels that both weighed in around 1,850 grams. There was also a set of '07 Rolfs added to the mix when the '08's failed to meet my expectations for lateral stability. The Topolino's got thrown into the mix after we met Rafe Schlanger at the March 2008 Tandems East Open House and got a first hand look at the wheels.

Once I had ridden the '08 & '07 Rolfs, the Topolino's and the White Ind/Fusion wheelsets back-to-back enough to satisfied my own curiousities I acquired the the 100 gram heavier White Ind / Deep-V wheels for the Calfee. So, technically, they came after my little experiment, but yes... I have since then compared both the Rolfs and Topolino's to them. We've also used a few other wheelsets since then for one-off ride comparisons with different rims and spoking patterns, but those were all conventional wheelsets. We would have included the Shimano Sweet 16's in the comparison, but the rear spacing wasn't compartible. I'd ridden the Bontrager tandem wheels before the comparison and didn't include those because they were just too heavy and I already knew how they would fare, i.e., not well against the White Ind / Fusion.

As to why the Deep-V vs. Fusion, I've used the Deep-Vs exclusively since 2002 on both of our Erickson tandems and simply like the deep rim section for both wheel strength/stiffness as well as their proportions on tandems. When I started the original wheel comparison I thought I'd end up keeping the Fusions, but I found that I simply preferred the Deep-Vs after using the Fusions long enough to form an opinion. It was actually a Phil Wood / MAVIC CXP30 wheelset on our Erickson that sold me on the deep section rims. Sadly, MAVIC discontinued the CXP30 in the late 90's and Velocity stepped in to fill the gap with their Deep-V. I moved to the White Ind. hub as a ligher weight, less expensive alterative to the Phil Wood hubs for the last four or five wheelsets that I've built or had built, including the new ones that Mel Kornbluh just sent over for our triplet.

The '08 Rolfs (at a $200 loss) went to a sight-impaired stoker friend who I believe still has them, the White / Ind Fusion wheelset (at a $100 loss) went to another net-friend in Florida and the '07 Rolfs (at a $450 loss) went to someone in Colorado (?) this past fall as they were simply collecting dust. So, in that respect the Topolino's are the sole surviving wheelset of the original test set.

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Old 05-14-13, 06:57 PM   #32
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What spokes and rims will Rafe use on the rebuild. Your wheels are the original AX 3.0 ours are the ATR 3.0. The ATR 3.0 are supposed to be an upgrade to the original AX 3.0 in fact I believe that Topolino had a special price some time ago to upgrade to the ATR over the AX.

I had our rear wheel rebuilt because the RD got into the spokes and broke some. Rafe did not have the ATR RH side spokes so we waited several months to get those spokes. What does he have in stock now?
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Old 05-14-13, 07:30 PM   #33
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Mark, you have said that when you stand to climb you throw the bike from side to side. I wonder if that may put some very severe stress on the front wheel. When I stand I try to keep the bike as stable as possible, my stoker is not comfortable standing, when I stand she knows to grab the bars and work hard, so I keep the bike as stable as possible. That might be a reason that I have not had many spoke/wheel issues over the 30 + years that I have been riding bikes.
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Old 05-15-13, 06:16 AM   #34
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Mark, you have said that when you stand to climb you throw the bike from side to side. I wonder if that may put some very severe stress on the front wheel. When I stand I try to keep the bike as stable as possible, my stoker is not comfortable standing, when I stand she knows to grab the bars and work hard, so I keep the bike as stable as possible. That might be a reason that I have not had many spoke/wheel issues over the 30 + years that I have been riding bikes.
Some rider and teams to stress wheels a lot more or less than other teams. The obvious weight differences are just the beginning of the differences. I suppose the most thorough test of a wheel set's durability would be performed by a team that historically has wheel problems.
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Old 05-15-13, 06:28 AM   #35
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I wonder if that may put some very severe stress on the front wheel.
It's not an obnoxious amount of side-to-side, but it definitely puts side loads on the fork and wheels, which is one of the reasons I tend to be acutely aware of differences in lateral wheel stiffness in other riding situations. For example, what I felt with the '08 Rolfs in hard corners -- basically poor tracking and rear wheel drift -- also showed up as enough rear wheel deflection to cause brake rub when we were up and sprinting or climbing out of the saddle. Other than the first Topolino front wheel and one of our Phil Wood front hubs which both quickly exhibited some bearing play while being sideloaded, there haven't been any other long-term illl effects to our wheels or forks. I will note that I'm very fortunate that Debbie and I always ride in sync, in and out of the saddle... as are the stokers who join us on the triplet.

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What spokes and rims will Rafe use on the rebuild.
AX 3.0T.... direct replacements.
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Old 05-19-13, 07:52 AM   #36
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If you want, I can bring the Eddy Current machine and we can do a little bit of Non-Destructive testing. Just let me know.

PK
Thank you, PK! Your testing showed 6 hairline cracks in each rim. I suggest Topo owners check their rims. Our have not been treated harshly by any stretch of the imagination, so I am very disappointed to put it mildly.
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Old 05-19-13, 08:14 AM   #37
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A blast from the past...old thread about these wheels.

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...opolino-wheels
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Old 05-19-13, 04:14 PM   #38
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Thank you, PK! Your testing showed 6 hairline cracks in each rim. I suggest Topo owners check their rims. Our have not been treated harshly by any stretch of the imagination, so I am very disappointed to put it mildly.
Art, I thought we found 6 spoke locations on each wheel failing, mostly in paired sets (side by side), with cracks propagating in two directions from each hole. I beleive maybe one had just begun at about 1mm in length and from one side of the spoke hole only.

Glad you, and the others enjoyed seeing the process in action. Even found the cracks hidden by decals.

Have fun

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Old 05-19-13, 05:24 PM   #39
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Thank you, PK! Your testing showed 6 hairline cracks in each rim. I suggest Topo owners check their rims. Our have not been treated harshly by any stretch of the imagination, so I am very disappointed to put it mildly.
What wheels do you have? The ones with the two tone yellow spokes or the solid black spokes?
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Old 05-19-13, 05:43 PM   #40
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What wheels do you have? The ones with the two tone yellow spokes or the solid black spokes?
Arts are the same as ours; the Carbon Core Series AX 3.0T with the distinctive hybrid-fiber black carbon spoke flanked sandwiched between mustard yellow kevlar material.

I've decided to retire ours vs. doing the rebuild. The juice just ain't worth the squeeze.

P.S. Art, you were right... my handlebars were not dead centered. Took me 40 miles to realize it on Sunday. Amazing what you can get used to!

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Old 05-19-13, 08:15 PM   #41
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Arts are the same as ours; the Carbon Core Series AX 3.0T with the distinctive hybrid-fiber black carbon spoke flanked sandwiched between mustard yellow kevlar material.

I've decided to retire ours vs. doing the rebuild. The juice just ain't worth the squeeze.
i just put mine into backup duty.

Front is a HED3 and the rear is a Spinergy.
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Old 05-20-13, 01:17 PM   #42
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Arts are the same as ours; the Carbon Core Series AX 3.0T with the distinctive hybrid-fiber black carbon spoke flanked sandwiched between mustard yellow kevlar material.

I've decided to retire ours vs. doing the rebuild. The juice just ain't worth the squeeze.

P.S. Art, you were right... my handlebars were not dead centered. Took me 40 miles to realize it on Sunday. Amazing what you can get used to!
I can't see rim cracks, but I can see a misaligned handlebar from a mile away!
You actually rode yesterday?
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Old 05-20-13, 01:43 PM   #43
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You actually rode yesterday?
It was something of a bi-athalon... We rode 56 miles and treaded water for the last 9!

http://tandemgeek.wordpress.com/2013...t-ride-report/
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Old 05-21-13, 09:13 AM   #44
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It was something of a bi-athalon... We rode 56 miles and treaded water for the last 9!

http://tandemgeek.wordpress.com/2013...t-ride-report/
Many rims with higher profiles have weep holes drilled into them just above the brake track. Even the new Shimano C24 I'm riding on my single have weep holes in the front rim which is not very tall.

I'm not familar with the Topo design. Do the Topolino rims fill with water when submerged?
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Old 05-21-13, 09:51 AM   #45
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It was something of a bi-athalon... We rode 56 miles and treaded water for the last 9!

http://tandemgeek.wordpress.com/2013...t-ride-report/
I assumed you were still at GTR. That was quite a rough 9 miles!
We are in ATL visiting friends, but not riding. We oldies need recovery time!
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Old 05-21-13, 10:53 AM   #46
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Topolino* has me thinking of these. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_500_%22Topolino%22

* "(from the Italian name for Mickey Mouse)"
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Old 05-21-13, 11:10 AM   #47
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Do the Topolino rims fill with water when submerged?
Wasn't riding the Topo's; as previously noted they are out of service with a broken front spoke. We were riding our 36h White Ind / Velocity Deep-V wheels at GTR and the Tour de Cure and I'm pretty sure that the Deep-Vs as well as the Rolf & Topo rims will fill with water when submerged: the spoke holes in the rims certainly aren't sealed. I should probably give my wheels the "slosh test" tonight when I re-install the chains. As you'd expect, Sunday afternoon was a tear-it-down & dry-it-out session for both the Calfee and the Triplet which was up on the roof of the truck in the driving rain for a good hour or so, both sitting at the start/finish line as we rode in the storm, and then for the 40 minute drive home.

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I assumed you were still at GTR. That was quite a rough 9 miles!
Nope, we quietly departed at 7:00am on Sunday just as the thunder, lighning and rain began at the Hampton Inn in Covington. Interestingly, we were out of it after only driving 1/2 a mile on I20 West. But yes.... it was an EPIC 9 miles for us, far more epic for many other riders who were caught out for 1 - 2 hours!

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Topolino* has me thinking of these.
I'm not going there... Hard to know why some folks have had poor performance/durability whereas others have not reported same with the Topo's.

Movin' on....

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Old 05-21-13, 11:46 AM   #48
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^^^ yy, I understood the Topos were broken. Just curious if they had weep holes.

I've been observing many of the tall aero rims do have those holes and our Spinergy are without. After riding in a real downpour or after a bike wash, they definitely slosh for a day or so. The only way to drain them immediately is to dismount the tire, then the water escapes to the inside where it can be evacuated. It wouldn't be hard to drill them myself if I wished (Ric gave the nod), but doing that alteration makes me too nervous.
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Old 05-21-13, 10:16 PM   #49
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^^^ yy, I understood the Topos were broken. Just curious if they had weep holes.

I've been observing many of the tall aero rims do have those holes and our Spinergy are without. After riding in a real downpour or after a bike wash, they definitely slosh for a day or so. The only way to drain them immediately is to dismount the tire, then the water escapes to the inside where it can be evacuated. It wouldn't be hard to drill them myself if I wished (Ric gave the nod), but doing that alteration makes me too nervous.
Drilling a drain hole is making you nervous? Why?

Yes TG, I can relate to the water inside the rims. Our MTX rims on the Fandango would always fill up via the spoke holes when we rode some of the crazy out in the middle of nowhere training rides. The rim box section would seem to drain dry quickly, can't say the same for the cotton rim tapes. I really need to convert all the bikes to either tubeless or rubberized rim strips.

Good to see and spend a few minutes with you in Covington.

PK
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Old 05-22-13, 09:17 AM   #50
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My rear Topolino has small cracks at one spoke hole. I can have a new rim installed for $190.00 plus shipping both directions.

It is going to go into backup mode. I am going to replace it with the new Spinergy that uses the 43mm deep rim when they become available. I thought about having the new rim laced onto my hub but since the Topolino has failed I will hang it on the wall and have two good usable Spinergy wheels. One for everyday use and a good spare.

Especially since Topolino has gone out of the bicycle wheel business.
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