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  1. #1
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    Calfee Tetra 2 year update

    Our Calfee Tetra will be 2 years old tomorrow. As of yesterday we have ridden it 10,279 miles in 7 different states. From a design and manufacturing standpoint there have been "0" problems with the frame and fork. The only problem that we have had was when we picked up a foreign object in the chain that caused the rear derailleur to get into the spokes and bend the rear hanger. The local shop was able to straighten the hanger and chase the threads.

    I have made several changes in the past two years, new Shimano Ultegra cranks, Gates CDX belt drive, Dura Ace caliper brakes, stoker bars (carbon in place of aluminum), longer 35 degree stoker stem. We now have three sets of wheels and and will be getting a new rear Spinergy when it is available. We started out with Bontrager wheels, then upgraded to Topolino wheels and when we broke the spokes in the Topolino we bought a set of Spinergy wheels. I have used HED 3 wheels on my road bike for several years so I put a HED 3 on the front of the tandem. The rear Topolino has developed cracks in the rim so it will be replaced with the new Spinergy 43mm deep rim wheel when it is available.

    We are still very happy with the way the bike rides and handles, and hope to put another 5,000+ miles on it this year.

    Would I buy another Calfee? Absolutely, I am mentally planning our new bike, it will be a Dragonfly with 132.5 rear wheel spacing and I will probably go with Ultegra 11 speed and a version of a compact crank. That way I can use 1/2 bike shifters and 1/2 bike wheels. I am still partial to the HED3's but in 2 or 3 years there may be something else on the market that will strike my fancy.

    For the time being we will ride and smile away the miles on current Calfee Tetra. It has proven to be a wonderful investment. We would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who wants a comfortable, great handling tandem.

    Wayne and Chris
    Last edited by DubT; 05-27-13 at 03:42 PM.

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Nice...

    Our Calfee is a bit longer in the tooth but we're also in the same camp; 100% satisfied with the ride quality, reliability, etc.

    If something was to happen to our Calfee -- and cost was not part of the equation -- we'd absolutely replace it with another Calfee.

  3. #3
    PMK
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    Having ridden with both of you, I will offer that both machines are very nice and well kept. Jeanne and I were talking about a possible frame change in the near future but have not moved forward from phone calls.

    The bike I really am impressed with is the Dragonfly.

    PK
    2006 Co-Motion Roadster, flat bars, discs and carbon fibre fork, size 22 / 19
    2006 Ventana ECDM full suspension mountain tandem
    Some single bikes and a couple of KTM's
    And most important, someone special that enjoys them with me (except the KTM's)

  4. #4
    Pic
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    If something was to happen to our Calfee -- and cost was not part of the equation -- we'd absolutely replace it with another Calfee.
    I'll bite.
    If cost was part of the equation, what would you replace it with?
    Feel free to elaborate on material/manufacturer.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pic View Post
    I'll bite.
    If cost was part of the equation, what would you replace it with?
    Feel free to elaborate on material/manufacturer.
    I agree with "PIC"...... we always hear people touting up Clafee or Paketa, but what of those of us that can't afford those bikes?

    Go to a tandem rally and you see those bikes are in the minority, yes they are top of the line but not what the average team can afford and are riding.

    I ask also..... TG and others, what would YOU ride if money was a issue??

  6. #6
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pic View Post
    I'll bite.
    If cost was part of the equation, what would you replace it with?
    Feel free to elaborate on material/manufacturer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tookool View Post
    I agree with "PIC"...... we always hear people touting up Clafee or Paketa, but what of those of us that can't afford those bikes?

    Go to a tandem rally and you see those bikes are in the minority, yes they are top of the line but not what the average team can afford and are riding.

    I ask also..... TG and others, what would YOU ride if money was a issue??
    No doubt the interest and diversity of the options may be extensive. Can we suggest taking those questions to a spinoff/new thread with a title more to that point? Otherwise, it will be buried under this thread titled "Clafee Tetra 2 year update" which really does not fit that topic.
    Last edited by twocicle; 05-26-13 at 08:46 AM.

  7. #7
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    To the Calfee feedback topic, this year we are on our 2nd Calfee Tetra - a 2013 S&S model with an ENVE tapered steerer fork (1.5" bottom diameter). This 2013 frame/fork combo is massively stiffer than the non-coupled 2007 Tetra frame/AlphaQ fork I built up last year. While I am always looking for the ultimate in performance and the new frame took a big leap in that direction, I believe the ride compliance is very much more of a "performance" feel than the very smooth and silky ride of the 2007 non-coupled model. Here, I am simply attempting to point out that even comparing one Calfee frame to another (using nearly exactly the same set of components) can yield a vastly different impression.

    This difference I am noting is not unique to Calfee, but probably relevant to any two bike models you care to compare. Case in point, my trusty old single (y-2000) Trek OCLV 5500 has a super ride quality and was a world class frame in its day. Comparing that Trek to another carbon frame I just built up this week (a 2011 Specialized Tarmac SL3 Pro) feels just as significant a difference as the two Calfee frames I discussed above. Mostly I believe it is the fork setup in both cases, as the newer massive 1.5" fork crowns and large, straight bladed forks have very little forgiveness.

    I guess the moral I am trying to get at... it is likely there is a very slim chance any two frame builds and component setup will feel identical, and that a team's requirements and characteristics will yield the same impression. There are a lot of variables that go into a "my impression" statement, and likely many of those variables are not relevant or of the same significance to another team.
    Last edited by twocicle; 05-26-13 at 01:31 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    I believe that most S&S bikes will be stiffer than the same bike made without couplers. The coupler mechanism is very strong and stiff and along with some added material on each end of the coupler stiffens that portion of the tube. Modify or replace 10% of a tube so that the new section is extremely stiff and the resulting total tube including coupler will be about 10% stiffer.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
    To the Calfee feedback topic, this year we are on our 2nd Calfee Tetra - a 2013 S&S model with an ENVE tapered steerer fork (1.5" bottom diameter). This 2013 frame/fork combo is massively stiffer than the non-coupled 2007 Tetra frame/AlphaQ fork I built up last year. While I am always looking for the ultimate in performance and the new frame took a big leap in that direction, I believe the ride compliance is very much more of a "performance" feel than the very smooth and silky ride of the 2007 non-coupled model. Here, I am simply attempting to point out that even comparing one Calfee frame to another (using nearly exactly the same set of components) can yield a vastly different impression.

    This difference I am noting is not unique to Calfee, but probably relevant to any two bike models you care to compare. Case in point, my trusty old single (y-2000) Trek OCLV 5500 has a super ride quality and was a world class frame in its day. Comparing that Trek to another carbon frame I just built up this week (a 2011 Specialized Tarmac SL3 Pro) feels just as significant a difference as the two Calfee frames I discussed above. Mostly I believe it is the fork setup in both cases, as the newer massive 1.5" fork crowns and large, straight bladed forks have very little forgiveness.

    I guess the moral I am trying to get at... it is likely there is a very slim chance any two frame builds and component setup will feel identical, and that a team's requirements and characteristics will yield the same impression. There are a lot of variables that go into a "my impression" statement, and likely many of those variables are not relevant or of the same significance to another team.
    Is the stiffer, less forgiving ride actually providing an improvement in performance? Are you getting around the courses that you train on any faster because of it?
    There is obviously some sacrifice in the comfort department, so would be interested to know if you think it is worth it.

  10. #10
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waynesulak View Post
    I believe that most S&S bikes will be stiffer than the same bike made without couplers. The coupler mechanism is very strong and stiff and along with some added material on each end of the coupler stiffens that portion of the tube. Modify or replace 10% of a tube so that the new section is extremely stiff and the resulting total tube including coupler will be about 10% stiffer.
    It would be interesting to compare the ride of this coupled frame with a non-coupled Calfee frame that has their option for the stiffer top tube. My bet is that they would feel very similar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
    Is the stiffer, less forgiving ride actually providing an improvement in performance? Are you getting around the courses that you train on any faster because of it?
    There is obviously some sacrifice in the comfort department, so would be interested to know if you think it is worth it.
    Actually, yes it does allow for a faster ride... if you are pushing it. If you are just cruising then there is likely no gain realized and no need. As we do not race, the need for top performance is only due to riding style. I do tend to ride aggressively which moves us toward the high performance requirement and we have to deal with some trade off in comfort.

    Other than the extra 2.8lbs for couplers, I think this 2013 model would be perfect for a race tandem. For a cruiser, maybe it could use a little more compliance in the fork selection and design. We have the very beefy tapered ENVE 2.0 fork, but there is a non-tapered 1.125" fork version too.

    Regardless, this one should be a keeper for us. We have done only a couple thousand tandem miles since the beginning of last year (we mostly train on singles), so a lot more just to catch up with DubT's (Wayne) feat of over 10k.
    Last edited by twocicle; 05-28-13 at 08:35 AM.

  11. #11
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    We saw two Calfees on a 1.5hr ride in Boulder this afternoon. So the bikes aren't that unusual, at least here in lycraland.

  12. #12
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    I must have been asleep when I wrote this. I spelled Calfee wrong! LOL....

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DubT View Post
    I must have been asleep when I wrote this. I spelled Calfee wrong! LOL....
    Might recommend you edit the post so it can be found with a Calfee thread search (though a post/content search will find it anyway).

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DubT View Post
    I must have been asleep when I wrote this. I spelled Calfee wrong! LOL....
    I just thought you didn't actually have a Calfee but some Chinese take off instead!

  15. #15
    Senior Member VaultGuru's Avatar
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    Our S&S Calfee Tetra is a 2008 vintage. We have put significant miles on it over the years (although not a many as TG and a few more) and have taken it traveling many times, but it still has that new bike feel. No, we couldn't afford it, but we knew what we wanted and were willing to put $$ aside for the eventual day we could pay for it in cash. Well worth the wait. Our 6 year update is minimal. Replaced the fatigued Rolf wheels with new Rolf's, a couple of new chains, a new Formula rotor, (looks cool, so it must be better ), a couple of new SwissStop yellow pads, a new CK headset and that is about it. I still have to take it down to Calfee to have the left chainstay modified to accept a 203mm rotor on a standard wheel, but we still are in love with it. Great ride.

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